ALBUM REVIEW: Fisherking bring anger, honesty to new album "Ghost"
Lansing's Fisherking has put out a record I can't stop listening to. It's hardcore punk to a T; singer and bassist Ryan Holmes' yelling vocals, blast beats and lightning fast one-two snare/bass drum combos from drummer Alex Corey and heavy, crushing and punctuating power chords from guitarist Ben Jenson. The songs don't venture past the three minute mark. It's quick and to the point.
And man, does it make a point. A few to be exact.
"I am the ghost/The lonely soul," are the opening lines of their first full length album, which is being distributed primarily through their Bandcamp page but will have a limited physical release at their show with California punk band "Ceremony" in Lansing at Mac's Bar on Thursday Sept. 20.
Those and other honest, emotional lyrics make this record stand out. On tracks like "Conflicts Reside," Holmes sings "I don't speak my thoughts/instead I bottle them up," and "I know I can't hide forever/I just don't know what to say." On "The Difference," he yells "You know, you don't really have to scream/You know you don't really have to be the center of attention." I love his lyrics. I think many of us can relate to them.
The music, though, adds a backbone to his lyrics. That's not to say the music here is boring. Quite the contrary. On multiple listens, there are many time changes, a couple slow and quiet sections and even a bit of experimentation. On the track "Giver," where Holmes' vocal sounds like it was recorded through a bullhorn. There's also a guest appearance by Zach Smith, of Kalamazoo band "Ackley Kid" on the track "Defeat Me". Smith's voice takes the anger and amplifies it to the maximum. When both of them scream along to a chaotic aural scene of crashing blast beats and guitars, it becomes a bit overwhelming.
Even the track list itself is subtle. Listening to the album from beginning to end, the listener hears a bit of musical continuity, which has made me keep the record on repeat for days. Listen to it from beginning to end and you'll know what I mean.
I love this record for its under-the-surface musical complexity. The album makes subtle, successful attempts at breaking away from the hardcore mold, while staying within it. Post-hardcore tendencies abound here. It satisfies a strict hardcore listener while giving other more adventurous listeners a treat too.