REVIEW: Until We Are Ghosts – Bitterseed [2014]


Artist: Until We Are Ghosts

Album: Bitterseed


There is music out there that is capable of lighting the darkest moments in our lives. Collections of sound arranged so perfectly that they strike with fury and conviction enough to free us from the chains of our depression and shatter the anvils of anxiety and anger. Such collections of undeniably positive energy and emotional strength and courage aren’t always poppy, upbeat melodies and bouncy, frenetic rythyms. Rather, at times they manifest themselves as Bitterseed, a collection of brooding—but unstoppable—anthems by emotional hardcore juggernauts Until We Are Ghosts. Bitterseed acts as a filter for the listener’s negative energy, draining them of negativity and hopelessness as Until We Are Ghosts transfer every ounce of the listener’s pain and heartache into their own music—creating an immersive, emotional and enduring testament to hardcore in the process.

Bitterseed plants itself firmly in the listener’s head right from the get-go. “Weighted Down” sinks nails deep into the listener and hammers away, belligerently hammering away with an incessant, percussive attack that bleeds the listener dry of negative emotion. Until We Are Ghosts beat and batter onwards into the thicket of the listener’s head and heart—with tracks like the calm and collected “Tradewind” and “Trails” book-ending three of the most energetic and instrumentally awe-inspiring tracks emotional hardcore has ever had the glory of witnessing. “Wearing Thin” kicks off with a bouncy, almost groove-influenced attack from the bass and kick drum that socks the listener squarely in the jaw, knocking them backwards with surprise. Contrast this with the powerful—but brooding—introduction to “The Deserter,” which cuts the chain of negative energy hanging around the listener’s neck, only to decorate their stellar soundscape with it. “The Deserter” is so thoroughly defined by cavernous, expansive emptiness that sucks away the listener’s negative energy.

Until We Are Ghosts are far from a one-trick pony, however. While they create stunning and stellar soundscapes from basic, emotive hardcore elements, they tell stories and rend the listener’s heart defenseless with moments of surreal lyrical perfection. For this, the listener can turn to the beautiful and brilliant “Wearing Thin,” where the lyrics grate and roar at the listener, “suspending hope in a home filled with ghosts—but I will hold this close…”

Well, you know the rest.

Regardless, Bitterseed is a collection of simply perfect lyrics that tell stories the listener can relate to. It’s the ability of the listener to relate to the tales told on Bitterseed that allow them to surrender their negativity to Until We Are Ghosts—to truly give way to the positive energy inherent to their hearts and hold their heads tall without fear of their spine collapsing. Until We Are Ghosts free the listener of the weight hanging about their shoulders with poetic and endearing lyrics—lyrics that would not be half as powerful were it not for their instrumental vector.

Bitterseed’s lyrics and instrumentation combine to form an obelisk of true magnificence. The way the harsh, raw and shouted soul-filled lyrics to “Weighted Down” match its gritty instrumental energy, for example. Or how “Hourglass” tells the story of hearts beating, pounding, racing against time to match its racing, incessant pace and boundless, bouncy energy. Finally, the epic journey of “Bitterseed,” capturing the entire album’s penchant for both the ambient and the aggressive—painting brush stroke after brush stroke of masterful melody only to burn it down with sheer passion and fury—sparking a fire of positivity in the listener’s heart.

At the end of the day, Bitterseed is far from a happy album—if anything, it is weighty, gritty, raw and brooding. But by building such detailed and dedicated examples of negativity, the listener finds themselves drained of these feelings—left only with the will to make positive changes in the world around them. Dedicated to bettering themselves and the lives of others until they are ghosts.



For Fans Of: Defeater, Liferuiner, Worthwhile, Hundredth, Counterparts

By: Connor Welsh