Saturday, September 07, 2013

Ghost Avenue-Ghost Avenue

Pitch Black Records

Ghost Avenue, who were formerly known as simply Ghost, were formed in 2002. I'll take a wild stab in the dark here and guess that the name change had something to do with the fact that they were being overshadowed by the Swedish band Ghost (who have now changed names to Ghost B.C.). It's more perception then reality though (the one Ghost overshadowing the other Ghost) as Ghost Avenue, especially when it comes to this self-titled release, offers up a fresh take on melodic heavy metal as we'll soon see. This self-titled, 11-track LP, is the follow-up to Ghost Avenue's 2010 debut-album, "The Engraving". While that album was self-produced and self-released, which didn't stop it at all from receiving good reviews, this new disc was mixed and mastered by Vagelis Maranis at Maranis Studios in Germany. Getting extra help in the studio has only helped this group from the looks of it as this 11-track recording features one catchy track after another. Up front you've got lead vocalist Kim Sandvik who, just like many other hard rock and heavy metal singers who have come before him, has a voice that is forceful enough for guys to get into (this is heavy metal after all) and yet his voice is also smooth enough that one could easily see girls swooning over him. If that doesn't make you think of 80's hard rock and heavy metal bands then I'm not sure would! He has that same kind of raw sexuality/animal magnetism that made bands like Van Halen, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe and Guns N' Roses all too popular with the ladies of the day!  Music-wise there is some of those same influences to Ghost Avenue's sound ( or more specifically Van Halen, Skid Row and Guns N' Roses), but then again there's a fair bit of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Saxon going on here to. Especially when it comes to guitarists Øystein Wiik & André Berger. Here's one of those albums where the music might be contemporary, but the lead solos seem as if they have been ripped right out of the playbooks of some real classic acts.  The guitars on "Ghost Avenue" bring to mind (all at once) both G N' R and Judas Priest, but the band is neither sleazy or sinister. Reference points would be more then appropriate when talking about this Norwegian act I suppose. While it's a sound that is every bit as contemporary as they come there is still a lot of riffs that seem like they have fallen out of time and onto this album. But that just comes easy when we're talking about a talented band like this whose game-play come from such a wide range of classic acts. In a way Ghost Avenue, which also features bass guitarist Magnus Liseter and drummer Petter Lein within it's ranks, reminds me of band's like Leatherwolf, early Sinner (especially Sinner's "Danger Zone" album), Mainiax, Cities, Lions Breed, Salem UK, California's Blitzkrieg and Lion (both of which were 80's metal bands), Canada's Fist, Lady Killer and Leather Nunn. There's quite a few other reference points I'd like to add to that list, but only album art flashes through my mind and not actual  band names. That's not really all that important though as Ghost Avenue, while indeed a combination of 80's heavy metal, classic hard rock, melodic metal and what not, are more about being true to themselves. That and they're more about being original than being just another mere carbon-copy of so and so's band or another retched, retro-loving act. That does bring up another point about this band as, unlike a lot of other bands these days playing a hybrid of hard rock and heavy metal (whether retro or not), the individuals in Ghost Avenue strive to be original at any and all cost! To that end they employ a lot of classic rock and roll hallmarks to their hard and heavy metal. So these guys might be flirting with eighties metal and eighties hard rock while they also flirt with the sounds of modern rock and roll. The leads might be metallic, but they are complex and catchy and man, they flat out rock! And what's metal without a little bit of melody? Ghost Avenue know how to write songs that have heavy metal's energy and attitude while also having enough melodic moments to keep this self-titled album from being too one-dimensional. It's a thing of beauty. If melody is a bad word word to you though then try not to worry so much. Norway’s Ghost Avenue can be every bit as melodic as the next melodic rock act and their music can be every bit as catchy as they want it to be (and hell if it isn't just about some of the catchiest rock-based material I've heard in awhile!). But when it comes right down to it the band end's up having more then enough balls to court the headbanging crowd! Pitch Black Records has scored big with this band and seeing as they are still somewhat young in their career, while they've also been around the block a few times, the future should point to even bigger and better things from this group. For the meantime though I'm not sure how I'm going to squeeze another killer album into my list of "The Best of 2013". It might just be that some band/album will need to be knocked aside as this 11-track album is way too fucking wild to be ignored! 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait for this Album man, bought "The Engraving" the last time. GL Ghost Avenue!

10:52 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

This album is insane on the coolness scale!

9:07 AM  

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