New Cathedral want to haunt you with their new EP Ghost. I say that with complete seriousness, and even though it may sound cliche, this release is anything but that. It has become increasingly harder to provide listeners with a healthy dose of hard rock while still managing to sound passionate and original. In the the age of Internet gimmicks and banal, uninspired pop music, this band wants to provide you with nothing but an honest representation of how these four men view the world. Vocalist/guitarist Scott Perez has quite the set of pipes on him, leading the band with soaring vocals when the instrumentation is in full swing and using his lower register to provide passionate and hushed vocals among the ethereal atmosphere that is present. Many bands choose to employ the dichotomy of heaviness and contemplative atmosphere, but New Cathedral are able to switch back and forth with incredible ease without making it seem that two songs are being mashed together. “Emerald Eyes” starts off as an excellent mid-paced song, and builds up to an extremely climactic ending where Perez, gasping and screaming, ends the song on the heaviest note of Ghost. The angular guitar riffing that is present in slower song “Stay” helps to build the Thrice-like verses and larger-than-life chorus. The drums provide a solid backbone with the occasional surprise fill, which suits the music better than anything else. There is a restraint and patience that is not present in many alternative and indie rock bands that this one possesses in spades. The perfect example of this is the epic and larger-than-life beginning to the last track “I Won’t Come Around Pt. 2”; the woah-ohs that dominate the chorus point show just how dynamic and exciting New Cathedral can be. The beautiful and energetic guitar solo that Ricky Stephens uses towards the end of the song is reminiscent of Dredg, and is a perfect example of how this band can take elements of the best parts of genres of music and employ them seamlessly and creatively in their music. The small details make all of the difference here, as the dirty bass riff and rapid-fire drums that sound off “Holy Ghost” segue perfectly into the catchy chorus.
The best part of Ghost is undoubtedly the atmosphere that is incorporated into it. For as anthemic as it is, the slower songs are so emotionally charged that it in itself makes the music almost palpable. It seems like the songs twist and morph into their own separate entities while keeping with a strong underlying theme. The maturity that this band has shown from their prior release to this one is staggering, and the obvious chemistry will propel them even further in the future. As a reviewer, there are some times when I feel as if I am phoning it in; looking for insight into an album that simply has not one iota of substance. New Cathedral has given me an album that has great songwriting value, interesting lyrics, and some incredible atmospheric layers to peel back. With bands like Thrice disbanding, I can safely say without being affected by hype that New Cathedral could potentially hold the flag for hard rock bands that have substance in the future. I implore you to have a listen to the whole album; the Ghost that haunts them is one that I am familiar with, and you probably are as well.