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October 2019
Album review

'The Ghost of Ohio' sees Andy Black at the peak of his creative powers

It's at once a soundtrack to a graphic novel, a one-man rock opera, a kaleidoscope of genres and an identity crisis.
Label: Island Records
Released: 12th April 2019
Rating: ★★★★
'The Ghost of Ohio' sees Andy Black at the peak of his creative powers
Published: 10:14 am, April 11, 2019Words: Jack Press.

In a career that’s had more wardrobe makeovers and genre evolutions then this writer’s had hot dinners, Black Veil Bride’s Andy Black is ever separating his solo music from his band and himself from the scene that made him a star.

Ripping up the rulebook written on 2016’s ‘The Shadow Side,’ Andy Black embraces synth-pop and alt-country, painting it in a rock opera for dummies gloss on sophomore outing ‘The Ghost Of Ohio.’ Written and curated as a soundtrack to the graphic novel of the same name, the album twists and turns like it's emo’s answer to Meat Loaf.

Whilst the graphic novel is a fictional characterisation of Andy’s alcohol abuse, anxiety, and passion for ghost stories that utterly terrify him, the album is a nostalgic reflection on the events of Andy’s personal life before he found fame as Andy Sixx and the way perceptions change as a result.

On an album that in concept should be gothic and dark is instead painted in shades of bright, colourful synthpop (‘Ghost of Ohio’), alt-country (‘The Promise’) and folk-pop (‘Heroes We Were’) juxtaposed with sobering piano sections and string sections that clamber for attention amongst the smorgasbord of sounds Andy narrates his stories too.

There are moments ‘The Ghost of Ohio’ gets everything right, and there are moments it gets everything wrong, often in the same sequence of songs. Throwing fuzzed-up distorted angst into battle with pop-heavy hooks to juxtapose the bittersweet sentiment of fame and its ability to change perceptions on album highlight ‘Know One’ falls pray to its underwhelming anti-climactic follow-up ‘Soul Like Me’ which amongst its clashing electro string-and-key attack is left as lost as the souls Andy’s looking for.

‘The Ghost of Ohio’ is at once a soundtrack to a graphic novel, a one-man rock opera, a kaleidoscope of genres and an identity crisis; all in all, it’s Andy Black at the peak of his creative powers.

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