A melody and a word is, sometimes, all you need.  This week’s guest on Discover New Music is Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside discussing the band’s sixth release “Searching For Solace.”  With the help of four producers, Vigil says the band approached this latest work with “an open mind” and that “there were no bad ideas” to help create an amplified version of everything the band has done up to this point.  Plus a quick round of Rapid Fire is played…a 7’7″ round!

“Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.” Perhaps no band represents the spirit of that famous line from Rocky Balboa better than The Ghost Inside, the metalcore force whose songs of resilience, perseverance, and vulnerability are born from genuine life experiences.

Captivating and cathartic bangers like “Engine 45,” “Avalanche,” “Aftermath,” “Wash It Away,” and “Pressure Point” are anthems for outcasts. Since their formation in El Segundo, California, they’ve inspired international audiences with sincere passion and determination. As the band proclaimed in 2014’s “Mercy”: “Life’s swinging hard, but I’m swinging harder.”

A harrowing bus crash was a defining moment for the band in 2015, but it didn’t define them. When the group reemerged in 2020 with their first new music following the accident, the triumphant celebration was cut short by the pandemic. But setbacks and obstacles from without and within never dampened their energy. The Ghost Inside is stronger than ever. 

The lesson isn’t only about strength through adversity. In recent years, vocalist Jonathan Vigil, guitarists Zach Johnson and Chris Davis, bassist Jim Riley, and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk learned an esoteric truth about tranquility. As the axiom says, it’s the journey, not the destination, a theme throughout the band’s dynamic sixth album, Searching for Solace.

“People always ask me how I remain positive,” Vigil says. “I’m realizing now that there’s never really a time where you reach that point of ‘happiness.’ It’s a constant journey. I know that life is hills and valleys. You must be willing to embrace new things, stand up for yourself, and adapt. Because the goalposts just move further away. The search for solace never ends.”

The Ghost Inside merges the New Wave of American Metalcore’s proficiency with punk’s urgency, building a bridge between more aggressive sounds and thoughtful messaging. Melody is another constant, explored to dizzying new heights in Searching for Solace.

A highly collaborative effort equally unafraid to embrace darker themes and expanded sonic landscapes, Searching for Solace is nevertheless a quintessential album from The Ghost Inside.

“Going Under” opens the album with confessional self-reflection. As Vigil explains, the song is about overthinking, “getting stuck in your head,” becoming one’s own worst enemy. “Wash It Away” is about the realization that anything, even the band, can quickly disappear.

“There’s more singing and song structure than on the previous album, but there are also some of the heaviest songs we’ve done,” notes Riley. “We really know who we are, and we also feel comfortable stepping into the future. This is a new chapter, but it’s not disconnected from what the band sounded like before. It’s more of an extension of it. We’re excited by it.”

Adds Tkaczyk: “This is the record we wanted to make. We didn’t limit ourselves or try to cater to anything. All these songs fully happened organically. There’s an updated and mature feeling to the record, but at the same time, this inexplicable, almost ‘nostalgic’ factor.”

Dan Braunstein (Spiritbox, Dayseeker, Silent Planet) produced most of Searching for Solace. Cody Quistad (Wage War) handled two of the tracks. The band also worked on one song with Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland (August Burns Red, Bloodywood, From Ashes To New).

Vigil says the most essential elements of The Ghost Inside remain honesty and vulnerability, the message, and the melody. “Our band’s core values and ethos haven’t ever changed.”

Fury and the Fallen Ones (2008) and Returners (2010) preceded The Ghost Inside’s breakthrough album on Epitaph, Get What You Give (2012). Goodwill, momentum, and engaging live performances continued behind the conceptually driven Dear Youth (2014).

In late 2015, while driving outside El Paso, Texas, the band’s tour bus collided with a tractor-trailer, killing the drivers of both vehicles on impact, and severely injuring the band and their crew. Kerrang! called The Ghost Inside’s return to the stage nearly four years later “Rock’s Most Miraculous Comeback.” Their historic gig in Los Angeles, chronicled in Rise from the Ashes: Live at the Shrine, sold out so quickly that it had to be moved to the parking lot.

A reflective and defiant fifth album, recorded in 2019, arrived in June 2020. “The Ghost Inside’s devastating bus accident may have broken their bodies, but it didn’t break their spirit,” Revolver Magazine wrote upon the release of the band’s self-titled comeback. In a 4-star review, NME heralded the “metalcore heroes’ stunning testament to strength and bravery.”

Loudwire included The Ghost Inside among the Best Rock and Metal Albums of 2020. Performances at the world’s most important rock and metal fests and a tour supporting A Day To Remember demonstrated the band’s continued relevance with fans, both old and new.

The group unleashed the first taste of Searching for Solace, an urgent admonishment of entitlement called “Earn It,” in the summer of 2023 in the run-up to their co-headlining tour with Underoath. “Nothing worthwhile is ever gonna be handed to you,” Vigil explained. 

“Death Grip,” one of the album’s most blistering outbursts, followed. “’ Death Grip’ is a song about survival and defying your fate to create your own destiny,” said Vigil. “When push comes to shove, believe in yourself. You don’t need a lifeline when you’ve got a death grip.”

The eleven tracks on Searching for Solace collectively offer a complete picture of The Ghost Inside’s past, present, and future. “This record represents the darkest and brightest places we’ve been on our journey,” says Riley. “It’s about learning to accept good and bad equally.”

Remembering how adversity nearly washed the band away more than once over the years is an integral part of that journey. “There was a time when all five of us thought this band was over,” Vigil says. “Having a new lease on life means we won’t pander to anybody or sacrifice ourselves. If our story had ended, I would have been so sad knowing we have so much left to give, say, and do. So, we’re not going to squander it. We’re going to take it to the fullest.”