Sound — 8
After the leave of Kerith and Brian Telestai, Ryan Seaman, and Gabriel Iraheta, I am Ghost's line-up changed greatly with their third album, Those We Leave Behind. Vocalist Steven Juliano and Lead Guitarist Timoteo Rosales III bought on Ron Ficarro, Justin McCarthy, and Chad Kulengosky as replacements and new members. I would like to say this didn't effect I am Ghost's sound, but it did. Juliano said early on in the writing on Those We Leave Behind that there were going to be no more long intro songs (I.e. Crossing the River Styx), but just great rock songs. And that is exactly what they did. They are less epic than before, which I felt had been my favorite appeal to them, but there style and sound of We Are Always Searching is defiantly there. Their key chorus's and pounding breakdowns and bridges remain untampered, and the drumming is still right on track. The First track, "Intro: We Dance with Monsters," is a short piece of dialogue, read by Allison Murphy, lasting about forty-five seconds, then going write into an original I am Ghost riff, and ripping into their second song, "Don't Wake Up." Violin's are still not completely absent album, appearing in a hand full of songs, and additional vocals by Cody Leavitt. Also appearing in is a minute and a half interlude, in which Steve reading a monologue about an internal struggle and insanity, which I thought the drum beat and piano alone would've sufficed. Nevertheless, I am Ghosts presents their thirds album with, "fourteen brooding tracks of passion-fueled anthems." (said my CD package).
Lyrics — 7
Juliano's lyric subjects have defiantly stayed with him. His tragedy, love, and murder return with blazing vengeance with the line, "Take my hand and let's set ourselves on fire." He has gotten even better with his singing abilities, and has pretty much perfected screaming. Here are then notable tracks: 01. Intro: We Dance with Monsters - another chilling intro with a lullaby-like melody behind Allison Murphy's whispered voice. 03. Those We Leave Behind - One of the best songs on the album. A ripping verse, with a very catchy Chorus, "Hold me, like you did when we were younger, your eyes speak to me it's the truth/Our haunting; the days of my surrender. I kissed your head and said goodnight, I raised the dead and said goodbye." The Final Chorus give a cool sounding shift upwards. 05. Bone Garden - Another highlighted song. I love the verse lyrics here. "I am the man they couldn't hang/A forced-fed son of romance dressed in hooks who kissed your head, killed 12 dead baby/I am an addict burning winter, a closed-door annihilator/Motherfucker burned who was married in your bone garden." 06. The Saddest Story Ever Told - I was reminded of old My Chemical Romance here, I don't really know why, but I was. Probably the most sincere song though, and the most emotional. 07. Smile of a Jesus Freak - Sick bass intro with the creep of an acoustic pick slide and intro. But this song sounds annoyingly like Escape the Fate (which I don't care for) so that kinda put me off, but that's just my preference. Great song otherwise. 08. So I Guess this is Goodbye - After a short acoustic, they rise into a pretty decent song, especially with Cody Leavitt singing at the interlude. 11. Rock N' Roll High School Murder - After a Coheed and Cambria like intro, I am Ghost presents their always fun bouncy tragedy, which of course, is about a school shooting.
Overall Impression — 8
The search for the narrator and his lover to find peace within their lives continues on, and I am Ghost lives on, rocking their way through their own dark world of love and death. They seemed to lose some momentum with their drastic line-up change since "Lovers' Requiem", but they are coming back strong. Hopefully they will gain it back in time for their next album, whenever that may be. The most impressive songs on the album are, "Those We Leave Behind," "Bone Garden," and "Smile of a Jesus Freak."