Excluding a select few shows, including an acoustic Warped Tour set a few years ago and playing in support of Glassjaw at The Rave last month, Milwaukee’s City Of Ghosts hasn’t exactly been on the radar of most local listeners since the release of The Calm In The Current at the tail end of 2013. There were good reasons for the downshift in activity, though. First, the departure of guitarist Shane Langenfield forced Michael Nelson to move from bass to guitar, which brought Greg Alfaro into the fold as the band’s new bassist. Then, once the new lineup was solidified, there was the matter of writing and recording new material. More than two years since the band’s last volley of volume, it’s almost as if City Of Ghosts never left.
PRISMS—which will be released Friday at Club Garibaldi—finds the post-hardcore outfit reprising the distinct sound employed on previous releases. While the six-song EP treads similar territory as the band’s first two releases, City Of Ghosts walks to path with more confidence and pushes on further than ever before. After instrumental opener “Kali Yuga” lulls the listener into a sense of comfort, “Arjuna” breaks the calm with an overpowering onslaught of technical guitar picking that proves a perfect complement to the powerful pipes of Brian Tombari. The ex-Hail Archer frontman’s voice leads the way on the title track and “Hidden Kings,” both of which highlight Ghosts’ penchant for ambient atmospherics through squealing guitars and rhythmic breakdowns.
By the time emotive closer “Cold Machines” reaches its concluding crescendo of snare thuds, distortion, and Tombari’s voice climbing to its highest point, City Of Ghosts has fashioned its own sonic universe over the course of the EP’s 25-minute run. Pay it a visit and listen to PRISMS in its entirety now, only at Milwaukee Record.