“Ghost of Ohio” Will Haunt You in the Best Way

Andy Black, lead singer of Black Veil Brides, made his solo debut in 2016 with the release of his album The Shadow Side. Despite his punk appearance and alternative sound, most of the songs on his first album focus on positive themes such as finding strength to make it through hard times and realizing the value of life. While you might expect songs about pining after a love interest, holding resentment towards an ex, or discussing how life sucks in general from your average pop-punk band, Black makes a point of veering from the status quo and writing uplifting, realistic songs despite what people may think about him at first glance. His second album, The Ghost of Ohio, has a similar classic alternative sound with some pop and funk aspects throughout. Even when the lyrical content is not the most uplifting, the music is usually upbeat. Black’s lyrics on this record also follow in the footsteps of The Shadow Side by discussing the struggles of feeling alone and his journey to overcome the darkness. However, there is definitely a darker tone to this album as the focus is more on the pain and mourning the past rather than the ability to conquer those negative emotions and move past them. Additionally, there are prominent religious references throughout many of the songs on the album and presented in the album’s artwork, more so than in his first musical endeavor.

One of the things that Black does especially well in his lyricism is accurately voicing the emotions that people experience throughout life that are not frequently spoken about. From utter hopelessness to finding hope in dark places, he doesn’t solely concentrate on the gloom and doom in the world, nor does he try to convince the listener that everything is always untroubled and beautiful. He is able to creatively discuss the struggles of dealing with difficult emotions that many people tend to keep to themselves. Even if you’re not particularly religious, like myself, the sentiments presented in Black’s songs on The Ghost of Ohio can still resonate with you.  

There are a few tracks in particular that stand out on this album. The first song released prior to the album drop was “Westwood Road,” which also happens to be one of the best songs off of The Ghost of Ohio. The lyrics are catchy and while the tempo is moderately relaxed, the prominent drums and funk-style synth give the song an upbeat feel. What the lyrics lack in length (the song is highly repetitive) they make up for in message. Another favorite is “Heaven,” a slow, romantic ballad reminiscent of “The Void” on The Shadow Side. The violin, acoustic guitar, and piano enhance the song’s beauty and perfectly accompany Black’s smooth, soothing vocals. My final top pick from The Ghost of Ohio is “Heroes We Were.” The track consists mainly acoustic guitar, electric bass, and chimes. It’s very quick paced and the lyrics come one after another with minimal breaks in between. “Heroes We Were” centers around remembering the freedom and happiness that is experienced as a child, which gives the song an overall nostalgic, positive tone.

Andy Black proved to fans that The Ghost of Ohio was well worth the three-year wait following the release of The Shadow Side. Old and new fans alike will appreciate the similarities between the two albums as well as enjoy Black’s new and unique creative choices on his second record. Listen to the 12-track masterpiece on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube and be sure to catch Black on his North American tour this spring.


Images: X X

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