Upon first hearing GHOST9’s debut track Think of Dawn, I was disappointed that they seemed to be opting for a heavy, lumbering sound that had already been done to death. But in the context of the album, the song began to make sense and eventually grew into a 2020 highlight. This is the importance of a consistent production team. So far, nearly all of the group’s work has been crafted by the same few composers, which gives it a viewpoint of its own – even if the songs still kowtow to a few overused trends.
New single W.ALL is the same way. In some aspects, it’s a big improvement over Think of Dawn. In others, it’s even more frustrating. I guess we chalk this up to rookie growing pains, and choose to focus on the moments that show incredible potential.
With that in mind, let’s start with the undisputed highlight. W.ALL’s chorus is immense, and immensely satisfying. It pounds forward with great drive, tethering an anthemic hook to a propulsive electronic backbone. It’s one of the best refrains that GHOST9 have found yet. Unfortunately, it’s preceded by a lumbering shout-a-thon, which brings the flow of the track to a screeching halt. This pre-chorus sounds more comfortable with each listen, but still feels like a missed opportunity. The same could be said about the second verse, which predictably pulls back on the energy in favor of an aimless breakdown that goes nowhere.
Fortunately, that megawatt chorus is lurking just around the corner. It’s odd that W.ALL jettisons its second repetition entirely, choosing instead to move into the bridge before delivering its rousing finale. I think I would have thrown in another chorus for good measure, especially since it’s the song’s greatest asset. But in the end, GHOST9’s strong vocals and adventurous spirit carry the day, making this a late-2020 highlight despite its flaws. They are definitely rookies to watch in 2021.