American Ghosts

An Album By


Review by

Minnesota-based four-piece Lessons has said it formed “in tribute to recapture the early throwback sound of metalcore,” and that’s precisely what the group delivers on its new EP, American Ghost. It’s a lean, no-frills record, and that’s definitely a compliment.

Many of the hallmarks of contemporary metalcore — namely, forced melodic flourishes and overproduction — are absent here. Instead, Lessons delivers a focused, coherent five-song effort that improves over their previous release, Five Points, in every regard.

Opener “Thieves” begins with a web of atmospheric effects before erupting into a torrent of double-time drums and sludgy down-tuned riffs.

“Diamond Skulls” — one of the more compelling metalcore cuts I’ve heard this year —  is the undeniable highlight of the record, veering from triumphant, ascending chord progressions to pulse-pounding choruses that truly showcase vocalist J.J. Snell’s talent. Meanwhile, the propulsive title track features some impressive cascading guitar licks from axeman Chad Snell.

Lessons really crank up the low end for the menacing, heavy workouts of “King of Spades” and “Recover.” The band makes subtle use of synth textures throughout, but always in a manner that enhances the songs rather than distracting from their impact.


The Undertaking 2021

Quite The Undertaking

Frenzied. Chaotic. Punk. The Undertaking!, San Diego's newest wild bunch, is about to release their debut album, and, if their live show is a premonition of any kind, the world will be opening up to one heck of a party with them. Contributing writer Andrew Voigt talks to vocalist Austin Visser about the band's new album, the reality of their music, and how they've been able to embrace their creative freedom.


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