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GHOSTKID Hollywood Suicide

By Terry Martinson, Contributor
Tuesday, May 7, 2024 @ 4:15 PM


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GHOSTKID
Hollywood Suicide

Century Media Records




OK. Woah. I am not going to stand on ceremony or beat around the bush with this review, I am jumping right in headfirst with a simple fact: GHOSTKID and their sophomore longplay Hollywood Suicide is an absolutely lethal and amazing band with a stunning, staggering album. The production, oh dear. I am absolutely smitten. An absolute winner for fans of the criminally underrated and equally unknown SLOWRUSH (AKA GENERATOR), one and only release Volume from 2000, anything that STABBING WESTWARD has ever touched, MURDERDOLLS, and to a lesser degree old school Marilyn Manson, hints of LINKIN PARK and a low hanging fruit (obvious) comparable ESKIMO CALLBOY (yes ESKIMO, not the cop out ELECTRIC CALLBOY, but that is another tangent). Now for some backstory and long thoughts.

Enter Sebastian "Sushi" Biesler, AKA Ghostkid. Sebastian cut his teeth with the pre-"Hypa Hypa" ESKIMO CALLBOY, releasing multiple albums with the band before moving away from them in early 2020 to focus on the heavier and maybe less pigeonholing aspects presented by CALLBOY to start his own band GHOSTKID. GHOSTKID's self titled debut dropped in the fall of 2020 to much fanfare, but the world would have differing plans for Sebastian and his band, a worldwide pandemic, shutting the world down for a couple years and hindering everything the world was used to in making, and promoting music. As the world started to get "right" again, Sebastian and GHOSTKID partnered once again with Century Media and producer Sky van Hoff to bring forward 2023's Hollywood Suicide.

Hollywood Suicide is all killer and no filler. I mentioned the production earlier and when I revisit the debut, which is no slouch of an album, I hear a natural progression in Sebastian's songwriting that resonates with this listener immensely and the overall song structures and production value are near perfect.

Hollywood Suicide begins with the title track, an absolute smoke show of a track, replete with the techno nods and Sebastian's razor blade strained vocals, I am not sure how this kid can talk after belting out like this for 3 minutes, let alone 30 minutes or more. Impressive. Hollywood Suicide has a brutal breakdown and ominous synths, but Sebastion's vocalizing teeters between said throat-destroying screams to the softest melodic clean voice. An excellent opener for sure. "S3x" is a much "gentler" song that focuses on a more subdued and melodic approach. "S3x" has a stunning chorus, with a beautifully structured songwriting and a guitar solo that is not common but Jan or maybe Christian plays with proficiency and a flair that lets the listener know they are not one trick ponies and can shred with the best of them. "FSU (Fuck Shit Up)" is another uptempo nu-metal classic/masterclass but again the chorus is diabolically catchy. The band gets really HEAVY, but then juxtapositions into the most melodic of musical refrains. So far so good, 3 distinct songs, but all very wonderful. "Heavy Rain" shifts back to a more arena rock (ish) nu-metal anthem with mid tempo heaviness and the melodic choruses. I very much hear STABBING WESTWARD in this one with the almost whispering vocals, and very heavy lyrics. I can absolutely see every junior high schooler in a break up or the like using this song as the "they wrote this song for me" healer. "Valerie". Oh yes. What a great song. Very, very mood-fueled and quite obviously heavy lyrical context. The song is very ambient and moody. A definite nod to STABBING WESTWARD's heavy lyrics on everything they touch. The song structure is perfect as is the playing, vocalizing and lyrics. Plus it is short and sweet.

"Black Cloud" begins very akin to many nu metal roof ripper offers with the detuned bass open note rattling for all its worth before the band slams in hard as all get out. VERY reminiscent of SLOWRUSH's "Junkie". Screaming vocals, strained with emotions, but again into the most melodic and heart wrenching of chorus', all the while the band plows through and along systematically and like metal machines. I can barely fathom the skills these lads possess to perform at this level. A staggering song to say the least. Ugly, swings the pendulum back to that Manson-esque, NIN (Reznor) and SW blended vibe with monster keys, screaming vocals, massive breakdowns and trap beats, flexing in and out of the tempo's. Again the chorus is hook laden, but heavy, daring the listener to not tap a foot, sing along and/or downright bang their head. "Blood" begins with huge, screaming and soaring vocals littered over heavy musicianship, dipping to melodic for the chorus, but only fleeting this time as "Blood" is a heavier, uptempo number throughout. Huge nods to the snare mix on "Blood", and truthfully through most of the album, when electronic drums aren't used for obvious reasons. I have to say the use of traditional drums is something that really punctuates this band and this album. Murder does not deviate nor disappoint.

Staying true to the metal vibe that has been prominent throughout the album, I rather enjoy the programming on the vocals, ie: the "electronic skipping" and the "you're #1 on my death list" lyric needs to be on a shirt stat. The keys are beautiful, yep beautiful. Maybe haunting is apt as well, but nicely played and placed. The double bass drumming is a fabulous touch and the outro is befitting of this STABBING WESTWARD-esque song. "Dahlia", is another in the standard being hammered home, key and melodic driven verse, drops into heavy screaming and then shifts back out into a monster chorus, very melodic, with a huge drum and guitar sound. Fabulous. The (what I assume) triangle in the verse is epic as is the entire song. "Helen Drive" puts a bow on this banger of an album with another very radio friendly almost ballad. If you play "Helen Drive" and don't want to thrust your cigarette lighter (ahem cell phones these days) into the air and sway rhythmically to the swelling all consuming aura of the music then your deader inside than GHOSTKID would like us to believe he is through the obvious references in his lyrics. I have witnessed a few Sebastian interviews and he seems like a solid and intelligent young man, so nothing implied, just my observations on the heavy nature of the songwriting. The chorus can not be matched, "we're all like broken little puzzle pieces, try to fit into a world that's incomplete", "we're all like broken little puzzle pieces, born to lose, lose it all, me and you, until we fall". Along with slew of poignant verses and pre-chorus' "nothings going to change or get better at all" and "so perfect on the outside, so fucked up on the inside". I mean, ya'.

I could prattle on longer than this nicely timed just over 30 minute album, quoting lyric after lyric and pointing out this drum fill or that haunting keyboard layer or that guitar lick or rhythm or this breakdown, or, or, or. I would love to sit in on a GHOSTKID band practice and just stare in awe, amazement and bewilderment as they do what they do, and from the live performances and videos, they appear to do so without even contemplating breaking a sweat.

It should be obvious that Hollywood Suicide, to me, is an absolute hit. Not a single, solitary skip-worthy moment on the album and each and every song is perfect. Kudos to the band for stepping up their game and delivering an easy top 10 album of 2024. I for one am very much listening and looking forward to where and what GHOSTKID drops next.

4.9 Out Of 5.0


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