Give Up the Ghost – Year One

I don’t know if it is really necessary to go into all of this or not, because chances are you already know what I am going to write, but here goes. Give Up the Ghost first started making noise under the name American Nightmare and released a few EPs on Bridge 9, then released the heralded Background Music on Equal Vision Records. The band then had copyright issues with the name and changed it to American Nothing, but shortly afterward settled on Give Up the Ghost. In 2003, the band put out its second full-length on Equal Vision called We’re Down till We’re Underground, which brings us up to speed with Year One, or rather back to the beginning.

Year One is mostly GUTG’s first two EPs on Bridge 9, but it also features bonus material in the form of three covers (The Trouble, Cro-Mags, MC5) and three live tracks. The material from the EPs is pretty much what you would expect; fast, abrasive hardcore – however, this is a little rawer than the newer stuff on We’re Down till We’re Underground. The vocers are pretty neat, particularly when the band covers MC5’s “Kick out the Jams,” but I’m not a big fan of the live songs because they sound like poorly recorded versions of the originals.

The packaging and production on this album are simply stellar. The artwork and design was done by Jacob Bannon, who always buts out quality work, and the production was done by Bannon’s bandmate Kurt Ballou, so you know it sounds great too. The guitar tones are thick and meaty but clear and crisp at the same time. The drums are heavy and thick to accent the rumbling bass as well, making for a good sound on a hardcore record.

Those of you reading this are probably GUTG fans and are wondering if Year One is worth the money. Well, all things considered, I say it is. However, chances are if you are really that big of a fan and need everything the band put out, you already have the original EPs. The bonus material itself isn’t worth the money, so save it until the next full-length.