3

The Ghost You Gave To Me

01. Sirenum Scopuli
02. React
03. Sparrow
04. High Times
05. Numbers
06. On With The Sun
07. The Ghost You Gave To Me
08. Pretty
09. Afterglow
10. It’s Alive
11. Only Child
12. The Barrier

[10/11/11]
[Metal Blade]

This is a band that I was just recently exposed to. Like most metal fans I’m constantly seeking out new musical endeavors and possibilities, and I was more than pleased when I first heard the title track from 3’s The Ghost You Gave To Me a few weeks ago over at Metalsucks, and whilst I was excited to hear this record, it’s not exactly what I was hoping for.

Like I said, I’m fairly new to 3, but I did take the time to delve into their back catalogue, because I truly believe that context is an important part in understanding a new release from a band.

While The Ghost You Gave To Me is a piece of music, 3 are not really trying to make any drastic changes to their sound. They know the kind of music they’re best at creating, and they know that detracting from that would only cause them harm in the end – so despite this album being slightly heavier, keep in mind that 3 have unashamedly decided to stick firmly to that catchy throw-back rock music that fans have fallen in love with over the years.

The music on Ghost is, on first listen, something not completely out of the ordinary, and maybe to some slightly too derivative, but once you let the music settle you’ll be amazed at the band’s ability to craft this radio friendly pop-rock whilst simultaneously interweaving dark atmospheres and gritty undertones. The darkness in the songs seep through the upbeat Beatles-esque vocals and infect the listener with a feeling of unease and anticipation – in a good way. This is partly due to some great production, and mostly due to the band being able to write awesome riffs. They’re usually quite subtle, never overshadowing the music like they obviously could, but instead carefully lending themselves to complement the rest of the music, all the while covertly lodging themselves into the listeners mind, sticking to the inside of their head for days. This inconspicuous riff writing is one of the biggest highlights of the album, and without I feel that the album would have suffered severely.

As I said, the songwriting is great, but the true highlight of The Ghost You Gave To Me is Joey Eppard’s vocals. It’s quite obviously even from the start of the album that the man’s range has improved, and features some of the best vocal melodies I’ve heard all year. What I find really interesting is just how much his vocal style changes. At some points it sounds as if Eppard could be giving James Labrie a run for his money in a Dream Theater cover band, and at other times he sounds like something out of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Now let me make this clear: neither of those are a bad thing; it just proves my point that Eppard has the great ability to mix up his vocals instead of sticking to one high pitched range — and succumbing to ‘white man vocals’ as a friend of mine likes to point out — like too many clean sung bands. The only complaint I would have is that he doesn’t show off his metal side as much as I would have liked. Songs like “It’s Alive”, are a real treat because of how much he lets lose, and it would have been cool to hear that a bit more.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people praising this record for “avoiding the pitfalls of modern prog wankery”, but I have a bit of an opposite opinion. This album does have a tinge of prog that adds a nice little edge of complexity to their sound, but the band’s reluctance to really delve into the full possibilities of that sound really puts me off. It’s a fun record, but it’s also very safe. That little fact is the exact opposite of what a band needs to do with their music.

As a whole there are not many other bad things I can say about this album — which is good I guess — but I do feel like it’s a bit long, and maybe repetitive towards the end.

Overall it’s a really good album. It’s not a masterpiece, and it may not appear on many year end lists, but it’s definitely worth a listen if you feel the need to break away from the heaviest of the heavies for something more accessible and poppy music. Give it a listen; you may be surprised.

3  – The Ghost You Gave Me gets…

3.5/5

– EC

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