Andy Black (or Andy Biersack, whichever you prefer) is back, and this time he’s got a concept album to share with the world. With this release he steps away from some the pop influences on his first album, without committing to any predefined boxes or genres. But there is no doubt, Andy Black has assembled a quality record.
After the success of The Shadow Side (it wasn’t just me that loved it, right?), Andy Black had to do something big. The Ghost of Ohio is an ambitious project, because it’s a concept album. Yes, in addition to creating two wonderful concept albums with his main band, Black Veil Brides, Andy Biersack has crafted another concept album.
Like The Wretched and Divine albums, The Ghost of Ohio has really tight writing. The narrative is stitched together well. However, The Ghost of Ohio is all about Andy and his relationship with this hometown (seriously, he said so in this NME interview, plus its plastered on some of the YouTube videos of the songs). With this premise, the album could have been forty-minutes of whiney ranting, however, Andy Biersack is a great lyricist and all-around good musician, so he was able to craft an album that is personal to him, plus relatable for his fans and listeners.
Sonically, the album is all over the place. It blends numerous influences and sounds together. According to the NME interview mentioned above, Andy just wanted to use sounds and noises that sounded good; he didn’t want to “genre bend”. That being said, this album feels more like a rock album than Shadow Side. While I’m not generally a fan of poppy tunes, I thoroughly enjoy anything Andy Biersack creates. In the end, The Ghosts of Ohio boasts some poppy tracks and some more rock-based tracks, however, all of them are enjoyable tunes.
Theme wise, this record feels similar to the last Black Veil Brides album, Vale. Humanism is a prominent idea throughout both records. However, much of The Ghost of Ohio is about coming to know yourself. Afterall, the songs were derived from Andy Biersack getting to know his hometown and his connection to it. At times this comes across as a “coming-of-age” theme, which isn’t anything flashy or new. However, he has a way of polishing up a familiar subject and tweaking it so we can view it from a different angle.
Songs Worth Investigating
“The Promise” is a great tune, it’s also steeped in rock ‘n’ roll more than other songs. When I listen to the song, the protagonist is escaping their hometown and running away. But perhaps that’s just my bias and personal experience coming through. “Heaven” is a cute, yet depressing love song. So naturally, it resonated with me.
…And to Conclude
The Ghost of Ohio is another solid entry into Andy Biersack’s collection. In some ways, this album felt much more like a Black Veil Brides record than The Shadow Side. However, this is still very much related to the first record. No matter how you try to cut it, The Ghost of Ohio is a fun album, drenched with dark themes, pop and rock influences. In addition to the album being a brilliant mash of genres, the story is well done, as we could expect from a veteran musician.