Album review: The Ghost Inside – Searching For Solace

Californian metalcore heroes The Ghost Inside find fresh shades of suffering and salvation on excellent sixth album Searching For Solace…

Album review: The Ghost Inside – Searching For Solace
Sam Law

In many ways, The Ghost Inside have been Searching For Solace their whole careers. There has been no shortage of strife to suffer, no lack of obstacles to overcome. Never before has that search felt as urgent, however, as it does on the indomitable Californians’ spry sixth album.

People talk about ‘difficult second album’ syndrome. But it’s nowhere near as tough as finding the purpose and meaning to follow-up your first record back after career-defining time away. Nearly nine years on from the New Mexico bus crash that would change their lives, and four since 2020’s definitive self-titled return, it’s a challenge they seem to relish here, not buckled by the weight of collective trauma but galvanised by it, celebrating the wild ride they’ve been on rather than lamenting roads not taken.

Sweeping opener Going Under sees them set out their stall. Its self-reflective examination of internal psychology could’ve descended into metalcore cliché. Instead, it brings hopeful tones and punky, propellant momentum. Death Grip immediately counters with crushing heft and a chest-beating, pit-ready chorus: ‘Don’t need a life line / I’ve got a death grip!’ Light Years and Secret broaden the palette a little more, injecting synths and layering on djent-style six strings like latter-day Parkway Drive while maintaining a distinctly TGI flavour.

Importantly, that expanded stylistic breadth always feel like the product of Searching For Solace’s affirmative mindset rather than artists reaching to stay relevant. Moments in the album’s accessible midsection, like the clean choruses of Wash It Away, or Cityscapes’ ballad-ish grandstanding, would have rankled with fans if featured on their comeback. Here, though, they legitimately feel like the sounds of a band moving on.

Of course, Searching For Solace isn’t a record that’s aiming for heavy music’s cutting-edge. Subtly game-changing as it may be for its authors, there’s nothing here that’ll put off long-term listeners. Hell, the reversion to gravelly machismo on later tracks Wrath and Reckoning feels almost like fan-service. From this band, that’s absolutely fine. A few short years ago, it seemed the story might have been cut short, so there’s pleasure in just seeing them be TGI.

These days are numbered,’ sweeping closer Breathless spells it out. ‘So keep on screaming until our hearts break.’ After all these years, it’s still worth hanging on every word.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Stick To Your Guns, Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember

Searching For Solace is released on April 19 via Epitaph. The Ghost Inside play Slam Dunk Festival May 25 and 26.

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