Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ligeia - Your Ghost is a Gift CD Review

Some of you may or may not have gotten a hold of the Poison the Well demos that were floating around about a month ago. If you did, no doubt your interests were piqued, much as mine were, since there hasn’t been anything new heard from them in quite a while. Fortunately, while you’re waiting for Poison the Well’s upcoming effort to be officially released, you can give Ligeia a spin or two.

To be completely frank, Your Ghost is a Gift sounds extremely similar to Tear from the Red era Poison the Well. Feel free to take that as an endearment or an insult depending upon what your feelings are towards the band Ligeia is being compared to, but the similarities are not simply casual—there is a distinct and overtly noticeable commonality between the two releases.

Ligeia’s Keith Holuk has an uncannily similar guttural scream to Jeffery Moreira. Keith’s screaming may be a slight bit deeper at times, but more often than not the two are interchangeable. At times, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense, Keith will make attempts to throw in some changes to his perfectly fine screaming technique, most notably aiming for the upper octaves, but these attempts rarely feel natural or work. Thankfully they are extremely rare.

The biggest difference in the two vocalists’ styles comes in the few moments of melody found throughout Your Ghost is a Gift. These moments are not exactly prevalent, but when they occur you will find that Keith’s approach is very natural sounding. It very down to earth, but there is a reason that he screams the majority of his vocals—melody isn’t his strongpoint. The few times he turns to it are very well executed and give the songs a needed balance to offset the staccato screaming, such as the back to back combo of examples in “The Blackout” and “Household Stereotypes”, but it’s not something that would suit this band if used too often.

Musically, Ligeia take a very standard metallic hardcore approach with the majority of their songs following similar patterns. There is very little to differentiate them from their peers, but their lack of diversity isn’t so undeniably monotonous that it will turn you away, but it does leave the CD feeling a tad stale by the time you’ve finished it up. Regardless, there are more than a few tracks that will get the pits spinning at live shows and also a few tracks that will fit in nicely with the currently popular melodic metalcore scene. There is one main musical fault, however, in that there is a little too much reliance on breakdowns that consist simply of a strong power chord or two being hit and then allowed to ring into near silence before another chord is hit. It’s not a bad technique, but they go to that same watering hole a few too many times. Besides that caveat, none of the songs come off as being terribly constructed, even if a few are somewhat basic.

Playing to their influences too heavily is the biggest thing that sets Ligeia back, but when their most noticeable influence is a band as talented as Poison the Well, it doesn’t feel quite as contrived. Given time to gain some more songwriting development, Ligeia should have no problem finding an identity that will let them create their own metallic hardcore niche, but for the time being they’ll have to be content with sounding a little too much like competently talented clones.

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