Most high schoolers have someone in their class who “isn’t like the other kids.” 

No, I’m not talking about the girl who listens to Billie Eilish, or the one kid who still rocks out to dubstep. I’m talking about the pretentious rocker. 

In an age where popular music is dominated by industry and produced until all the flavor is sucked dry, it is easy to see why many search for alternatives. Some, such as myself, tend to look to genres like blues, jazz, and indie rap artists. Others go to a time when the message at the forefront of popular music was more abrasive but equally anti-establishment. These are the rockers, the punks, the metal heads, the scene kids. These are the ones channeling their emotions through volatile musical expression.

Even in the rock/metal world, music is becoming increasingly formulaic. In the same way that many of the most famous rappers are hopping on the emo train, rock and metal music has largely been centered around djent, an offshoot of prog metal that is nearly devoid of emotion, other than processed anger. 

The Boston hardcore group Great American Ghost certainly embraces anger (their 2017 album is literally titled Hatred Stems From The Seed), but they bring something entirely new and refreshing to an increasingly bland world of rock.

With a powerful rhythm section comprised of a versatile drummer and an aggressive driving bass, Nico Gasparini’s muscular guitar riffs are filled with tasty earworms and intense hooks. However, the real focus of the music, for me at least, is the frontman Ethan Harrison. His lyrics propel their songs with torpedo strength, and his screams are far from the basic template of a metal vocalist. 

Rather than sticking to the expectations of what a generic hardcore singer should sound like, Harrison creates his own vision for the music and blends his voice into the band’s dynamic, so that everything he does fits in perfectly with the sound.

Their formula is a good one. And the monster riffs and brutal breakdowns are enough to have you head-banging for days. So if you’re looking for some of the good intense untapped rawness of musical expression that is colloquially referred to as “hardcore”, look no further than Great American Ghost, the band that’s about to put hardcore back on the map.