Everyone copes with loss differently. The same thing can happen to fifty different people and each person will find their own way of processing and handling the sudden onslaught of emotions that accompanies the sudden departure of a loved one—be it to the great beyond or to another lover. However among the immeasurable number of differences, the first step to the coping process is more or less the same for everyone: separating what was a shared life into two different pieces. This is where Detach Me from You begins—with the harsh opening bray of “there is growth in decay,” Until We Are Ghosts dive headlong into the horrors and hectic melting pot of emotion that accompanies loving and losing.
Until We Are Ghosts find themselves at the dead center of the crossroad made by melody and aggression. Detach Me from You oscillates fluidly between furious and forlorn in a multitude of levels. On one hand, the band compose songs that are either comprehensively aggressive or completely mellow. Percussionist Jordan Blankenburg often dictates this—as his hurried fill kickstarts “Undone,” but his melancholy, moderate drumming in “Acceptance” serves as a subtle backbone, as the song slowly builds into a scenic—yet soft—climax. Especially during the more mellow moments, Blankenburg’s drumming is accompanied by the slinking, low and serene bass tones from Kevin Dickes. Together, these two keep the softer songs subdued and temperate, while the more aggressive and over-the-top forays into melody-tinted brutality see them roaring forward as one low, raunchy machine. However, not every song is so black-and-white. Thanks to the dynamic fretwork of guitarists James Blankenburg and Kyle Hapeman. Take, for example, the anthemic “Spinning Into Nothing”: where the track is defined by a back-busting breakdown, it also features segments of cleanly-played ethereal calm. This is also true in “Burden,” which is an uproarious display of unruly aggression that quickly calms down smoothly enough to segue into “Acceptance.” Blankenburg (James, that is) and Hapeman work together to cover the heavier end of the “hardcore” aspect of their genre while still paying plenty of attention to the “melodic” component that allows them to stand out.
Where Until We Are Ghosts’ musicianship does enough back-and-forth to emulate the emotional uncertainty of coping, it’s the band’s frontman, Rob Anders, who gives a narrative and a voice to Detach Me from You. From the first howl of “Undone,” throughout the bitter and beaten brays of “Aggressor,” Anders plays double duty, jumping back and forth between harsh, mid-range yells (reminiscent of Counterparts or Hundredth) and soft, crooned clean vocals. “Pilot Light” sees Anders adding extra pitch to his screaming, providing a hint of variety to his otherwise relatively two-dimensional vocal range—which might sound like a shot to Anders’ talent, but truly isn’t. While everyone loves vocals that drop from earsplitting to prolapse-inducing, that isn’t Anders’ goal here. Anders tells a story, of sorts, and it is one that sees him opening himself up entirely to the listener. He strives not to awe the listener with range, but with relatability and vulnerability, which his honest and heart-rending vocals and matching lyrics do with brilliant ease.
Sounding a small amount like a version of Counterparts that focuses less on moshability and more on emoting, Until We Are Ghosts are catchy where they need to be and crushing where it fits. “Spinning Into Nothing” and “Deceiver” are excellent examples of tracks that will get be crowd moving during climactic segments yet reflecting solemnly during the interim between intense breakdowns—while “Acceptance” and “Stones” are serene and solemn tracks that hit harder when one is alone in bed than while they are at a live performance. Drawing influence from post-rock to metalcore and from several styles in between, Until We Are Ghosts’ debut full-length record is one that sees them moving upward (even if they aren’t necessarily moving on), never to stop until they themselves become ghosts.