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Ghost Against Ghost

Still Love

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing set. It is more electronic than anything else, but it manages to seriously rock at times. This is probably more closely linked to acts like Porcupine Tree and other modern prog bands, but there are things that bring it into other territory like Hawkwind, Dream Theater and even metal, too. This is less "song" structure oriented and more organically growing music, but there are some cuts that are more obviously divided into structure. The fact that you can't easily describe the whole album is a tribute to the fact that's it's a varied set that has a lot of different things in it. There is a wide dynamic range, too, from atmospheric to hard rocking. All in all, this is a solid release that should appeal most to fans of modern progressive rock.

Track by Track Review
Son of Cessiphus

This comes in atmospheric and grows gradually in that way for a time. Then it turns a bit more bombastic with a mysterious kind of ominous texture. As it works forward there are blasts of seriously metallic sounds. Those begin to become more frequent and steady as piano still carries on throughout. This is dark, slow and heavy. It drops back down to atmospheric stuff later and seems to get some hopeful vibes in the process.

Still Love

At over ten minutes in length, the title track is the longest piece here. Vocals bring it in with mellower sounds as the backdrop. I'm reminded a bit of Pink Floyd, perhaps merged with something like Porcupine Tree. It moves and grows slowly. It has some definite electronic elements as it builds outward. It lands near techno, or even electronic dance music in some ways. It starts to reach for the stars after the three minute mark, but rather than really exploding, it drops down to start building again. The piece works forward in purely instrumental ways for quite a while with some intriguing shifts and changes occurring. Then after the five and a half minute mark it drops way down again and grows outward from there. A crescendo near the six and a half minute mark gives way to a decidedly dropped back electronic section. The vocals return as this builds gradually. It works its way slowly to a real powerhouse arrangement as more layers of vocals make their way in and the music really starts to drive in climbing ways. There is a drop back approaching the eight and a half minute mark, but it's just to a mellower sung section. It continues to evolve from there.

A Relapse of Remembrance
Mellower, rather atmospheric keyboard sounds create the tapestry here. This is spacey, trippy stuff. There is a bit of a buzzing kind of almost bee-like element to the later parts of this instrumental.
The River of the Intimate, pt. 1

Piano brings this into being with a rather classical music approach. Other elements join after a bit, but it retains that classical bent, just getting some electronic textures. Still, the piano remains as the other things come and go. A bit after the one minute mark it bursts to a more rock based arrangement. The piece becomes one of the most full on rocking things of the whole disc. Yet, it still has plenty of that piano and the electronic elements. This is much closer to old-school prog, though. By around the five and a half minute mark this explodes into some powerhouse instrumental prog that's not far removed from something like Dream Theater. It's all been a smooth transition, though. It crescendos to take it down and end it a bit after the six minute mark.

The River of the Intimate, pt. 2

There is a mellower, folk prog vibe here. I'm not overly crazy about the vocals on the early parts of this song. Those sections have a real dreamy kind of texture. It explodes out into harder rocking stuff to continue. I like the vocals better on that part. The electronic elements dominate the sound on that portion at the start, but it works toward more "rock" styled stuff as it builds. It drops a bit around the two and a half minute mark, but then explodes out again to work it toward another mellower segment. The piece continues to evolve from there with a decided bent toward the electronic side of things. It gets into some particularly powerful territory as it makes its way along this road. It has some pretty potent instrumental work before we're done.

Resume

Electronic textures bring this in with style. The vocal sections on this are decidedly modern prog based, but they have some definite elements of 80 electronic pop music. This has some great hooks, but it's still meaty and prog oriented. I really love some of the soaring musical elements that are laced over the top of this. This cut doesn't really change a lot in terms of the song structure, but the icing on the cake is what makes it work. That portion really soars. There is, however, a major shift around the six minute mark. It works to a driving, fast paced electronic section that's quite a cool change. The layers over the top again really dominate as this continues. It's a powerhouse jam for sure.

Your Secret Ocean

Electronic elements more like atmospheric sound-effects open this. As it starts to grow and work toward something more musical, it feels a lot like electronic space music. This continues to shift and change, but never really rises upward, preferring to exist somewhere in line with atmospheric electronic Hawkwind like sounds. It does get louder at times, but this doesn't move from being more like effects than music. That's not a complaint, it's a description. In fact, I like this piece. I just think that perhaps it could have been a bit shorter than the almost eight and a half minutes devoted to it and still worked.

Unarm
This comes in with some powerful electronic prog. This one has some intriguing vocals that soar over the top of the music. As this cut moves forward, it's got some great 80s sounding things at play, along with modern moody prog. It turns toward some particularly powerful stuff later in the track. This is the kind of thing that evolves naturally and never feels like the shifts or changes are dramatic. However, by the time you hear where it's gone, and compare that to where it started, the difference is incredibly obvious. It gets into some almost techno territory near the end.
Guerison
Mellow electronic sounds bring this into being. There is some spoken stuff heard in the background early. I make out a voice saying, "howls, like a coyote." As the cut continues there are actual coyote howls in the background. There are non-lyrical vocals. A female spoken voice is heard in the background later. There are some other spoken words that are further up in the mix later. The music on this remains fairly atmospheric, and the voices and other elements are what really makes it stand out. In fact, the spoken elements actually end it.
 
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