Today's post-hardcore landscape is filled with tons of bands that sound, well, exactly like every other post-hardcore band.
For that reason alone, post-hardcore makes for an interesting case study. The genre's popularity, it seems, has either everything or nothing to do with its narrow scope its bands often seem as interchangeable as cogs in a wheel.
Well, unless you throw the Long Beach, Calif.-based I Am Ghost into the mix, as so many post-hardcore fans have been tempted to do. Sure, the genre's elements are in place for it the loud, rhythmic guitars, the screamed choruses but there's more going on with I Am Ghost. Enough, at least, to the point where IAG, as fans refer to the band, doesn't label itself with the post-hardcore tag.
"We call ourselves "epicore' because we add orchestration, metal and whatever else we feel out," drummer Ryan Seaman says, speaking over the phone in a recent interview.
Yes, at first, the very sound of the word "epicore" is laughable. But in listening to the band's debut album, Lovers' Requiem, "epicore" starts to sound as reasonable as anything else might. Lovers' Requiem is an album rife with ambition, big guitars and big hooks, the kind of album that bands try to make a few years into their career.
For the barely 2-year-old I Am Ghost, Lovers' Requiem was a starting point literally. The band was signed to Epitaph Records after just four live performances.
"All the band was trying to do was get shows, and all at once we got signed to Epitaph," Seaman says, obviously still excited about his band's relationship with the legendary punk label. "A lot of our favorite bands are [on] Epitaph, so when we signed, we were stoked."
Two years into that relationship, Seaman says the band has finally settled into the idea of being professional, label-backed performers. And now that I Am Ghost seems ready to take on the world, members like Seaman speak as if the band is in it for the long haul. Seaman says he sees his band as one that will outlast most of the disposable post-hardcore bands currently out there.
"If you're going to do something, you should do it 110 percent," he says. "A lot of bands put out one or two records, and you never hear from them again. We don't want to be that."
With a sound so brazen and epic, I Am Ghost seems to have built itself a firm foundation, even with the one, lone album it has to its name. Already, critics have compared Lovers' Requiem to everything from show tunes to Meat Loaf. And though Seaman's a bit unsure of that second one, there's at least one reason why he's fine with it.
"I thought, "What the fuck?'" he says. "I guess it's a good thing, comparing us to something that's been around for so long."
I Am Ghost with Strung Out and Evergreen Terrace
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $13 in advance, $15 day-of-show, all ages; visit ticketweb.com or call 866/468-7621.