Sound — 10
What can I say - when I first heard about this record coming out, I pretty much creamed myself. The Phantom on the Horizon - it even sounded awesome. I knew that I had to get my hands on it, and I eagerly anticipated its release, and being able to listen to what would no doubt be a masterpiece. With the addition of bassist Frank Black, this trio would have rather high expectations to live up to, and they definitely did.
Guitar: Wow - what can I say? Just beyond awesome, Thomas Erak completely destroys all of his opposition with creative finesse on this album. The guitar is utilized in tons of ways, and he just lays out riff after riff to the listener, without mercy. This guitar work is easily as good as the previous eras of The Fall of Troy, if not better, and you would be wise to pick it up, especially if you're an aspiring guitarist.
Bass: I don't tend to pay much attention to the bass in a song, but wherever his playing was highlighted, it was pretty great. I don't have too much to say about it, to be honest, but Frank Black seems to fill Tim's shoes pretty well.
Drumming: The drumming in this album is pretty much amazing. Although the guitar tends to be the highlight, there are several points in songs where Andrew Forsman shows off with creative fills utilizing the different aspects of his trapset, and he sure knows how to make a song sound heavy.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics of The Fall of Troy have never been something that I neccessarily listened to them for, but in this concept album the lyrics do tend to be more creative than on other albums, and they follow a definite storyline. It is definitely the trippiest album that they have, and it takes only fifteen seconds of the first song to demonstrate this. As soon as Black strikes the first mutant bass note, you know this will be far different from before, and the lyrics shows. "The stars scream out, and spew our names, told through the skies and hellacious waves... copied and calculated we waited forever and now I remember, how cumulus clouds turned our world upside down." Definitely some of my favorite lyrics, at the beginning of Chapter I. The other awesome ones are in Chapter IV, but I mention those later in the review. The singing... well, there's definitely more of it. There are parts that used to be screamed and now are sung, and then there are parts that were originally exempt of lyrics that have now been filled. This isn't always a bad thing - for example, in Chapter V, I love the way the voices of Erak and Black mesh in the chorus - but in the epic screaming part of Chapter IV, there is now singing, which is a definite downside if you ask me. However, Frank Black replacing Tim as a screamer in the band turns out to be a good thing rather than bad, as he provides a sort of bassy balance to Erak's more shrill screams. As a matter of fact, there are many parts in the album where Erak tends to go all-out falsetto, and it is really amazing at some times, where others he winds up sounding like a deranged chipmunk.
Overall Impression — 10
Chapter I: Introverting Dimensions - This was always my least favorite of the Ghostship Demoes, but with this release, my ideas were suddenly reversed. This is now probably one of my favorites of the album, as there have been many significant changes to it, while still retaining the original feel. For example, this one has been slowed down immensely, and it clocks in at 10 minutes. However, contrary to some of the other songs, this is actually a good thing, and the guitar-work shines on this track. It starts off with a dreary, warped bass line, after which the creepy guitar enters. At about 4:30 the breakdown begins, which is definitely pretty awesome, and features some lighting fast palm muting and creative tapping worthy of mention. Then at 5:50-7:30 begins one of my favorite Fall of Troy moments ever, near the end of which Erak just rapes his Guitar with some spontaneous improvised shred. Afterwards is the melancholy bridge, with a pretty awesome riff, and some more improvised soloing by Erak, albeit not quite as sickening, but more technical by far. Then there's a minute and a half break leading into Chapter II. Rating: 10/10
Chapter II: A Strange Conversation - The classic crummily recorded favorite has been revitalized and emerges as amazing as ever. With an intense intro utilizing combinations of power chords and rapid hammer-on/pull-offs, the song enters with a bang. It doesn't slow down through the song, piledriving your face into the ground with a speedy verse that would confuse the most learned of guitarists. The chorus is one of the highlights, with screaming contributed by both Erak and Black. The bridge is very trippy, with Erak's voice sounding almost chipmunk-like with a strange sort of speed riff in the background. The breakdown afterwards, though, is outright amazing, although short, with an addition of screaming. Everything comes to an abrupt halt at 3:15 though, and a dissonant riff plays in the background leading into the highly anticipated Chapter III. Rating: 9/10
Chapter III: Nostalgiac Mannerisms - The song opens up with an extremely weird riff with tons of bent chords, interrupted by the verse, which has loads of cool riffing, and then leading into...something else? It just shoots right past, throwing riff after riff into your face with barely enough time to comprehend the awesomeness. There's some creepy laughing at 1:40, and the track begins to enter full blown "BLOW-YOU-AWAY" mode. Erak chips in a minute later with a crazy falsetto, where you're afraid your mp3 player screen might implode. Then there's a girl speaking - I think it's Erak's girlfriend, or maybe Erak himself, as strange as that would be, and an almost lullaby riff, but with a demonic overtone. "Can you guide me home?" Erak sings in his high-pitched voice with a deceptive riff in the background, and then a heavily muted breakdown and some awesome screaming by Black. Then the weirdest riff comes in, with tons of bending and an out of tune sound coming in, and a complete "insane-asylum" feel to it, like Erak has completely lost his mind. The transition to Chapter IV is smooth and simple. Rating:8/10
Chapter IV: Enter the Black Demon - Our favorite riff from the Ghostship Demoes opens up with wild abandon, letting loose immediately, trilling like there's no tommorrow, followed by an immense screamed "yeah!!!" The entire thing seems smooth until the Black Demon comes in with speedy singing, but exempt from the extreme screaming we all loved. "God's not a goldmine, God's on the inside, selling everybody on the frontlines out. Did you think your were rightside in, maybe inside out? Reaching for, the gun, to load and pursuade you, to stay..." Probably my favorite lyrics in the Ghostship series. Then there's the "murder!!!" screaming, going overboard on all counts, and Erak begins to sing in his classic reverb loaded voice. The breakdown is very fast, and the then another awesome guitar riff is loaded into the gun and fired off, and then - it ends. The minute and a half transition into Chapter V is my favorite yet, and beauty seeps from all of the pores. Rating:9/10
Chapter V: The Walls Bled Lust - You can tell immediately that this one has been slowed down, but in this example, it turns out to be a blessing rather than a curse, and it is automatically established as an interesting song. The chorus has slightly less screaming, but it still sounds great, better than the original in fact. The second time the chorus comes around there's an awesomely fast riff that has maybe twenty notes in a couple seconds. The next part, bass-heavy, is extremely trippy, almost like a dance portion. Then there's the "I made up my mind," part with yet another unique but speedy riff. Then there's my favorite part, at about 3:20 onwards, and I won't spoil it for you - it just gets better and better from that point on, with a seemingly cheery riff in the background, like everything was going to be good again. When the everything starts slowing down and dropping octaves, it should be a hint to the listener that everything is about to go downhill. One of my favorite EVER breakdowns for The Fall of Troy starts at about 4:40, and is a complete mosh-fest/headbang-extravaganza. It's almost sickeningly awesome. The only one that could touch it is the one in Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Man's Bones, or maybe the one at the end of Seattlantis. But right when it seems it's over, the cymbals of drums kick in as do the screams, and you realize it's the best breakdown you've heard. EVER. The only way to listen to it is loud. My ears about had an orgasm. Then near the seven minute mark, the outro kicks in, and you can envision the Ghostship leaving the carnage - the Phantom on the Horizon, if you will. It's the perfect end to the album. Rating:10/10
Get this album. It's an epic neccessity to any collector of The Fall of Troy's albums, and it will not dissapoint. If it was stolen from me, I would congradulate the burgler on his good taste before beating him over the head with a sledgehammer. (ba-DUM - lame pun) But seriously, this album is great.