I’ve long admired Jonathan Vigil and the rest of The Ghost Inside for writing passionate, emotional songs that encourage positivity. I was happy to see them continue this trend on their sophomore release, Dear Youth, especially by covering ground the band has never tred before. The opening track, “Avalanche,” features a groovy bass riff that foreshadows the album’s creativity. “Out of Control” is an outcry against the epidemic of hate in today’s society, showcasing the depths of the band’s passion, one of the driving characteristics behind the band’s success. The breakdown near the end of “With the Wolves” may be the album’s best, driven by one of those riffs that chills your spine. “Mercy” will show absolutely none of it, wasting no time fading into a bonecrushing breakdown as Vigil growls “for whom the bell tolls.”
The second half of the album showcases TGI’s maturity and experimental creativity. “Phoenix Flame” closes with a beautiful orchestral movement, while “Wide Eyed” includes a unique and soulful vocal performance from Letlive vocalist Jason Butler before slaughtering another heavy breakdown. “My Endnote” offers a taste of pure hardcore, while “The Other Half” provides a unique choral ambiance.
The closing track, “Blank Pages,” caps the record’s brilliance by recycling the chorus from “Avalanche” with a distortion of its original chord progression. In doing this, Vigil and the gang bring Dear Youth full circle and stamp it as a melodic hardcore masterpiece.