Sean from LMTV here. This year has been quite the busy one for Lansing music (and Michigan too). Now it’s time to choose the Album of the Year for 2012 (maybe the last one ever (if the Mayans are to be believed). Well, here it goes: The LMTV 2012 Album of the Year is….

Having reviewed Fisherking’s past releases (2 Songs and the Forget It EP) and seen the band play a few times, I’ve followed the Lansing band’s progress in the last two years. Finally releasing their first full length album entitled Ghost independently earlier this year at a rare small club show with Ceremony at Mac’s Bar, the album does not disappoint.

From my Central Michigan Life review earlier this year:

“I am the ghost/The lonely soul,” are the opening lines of their first full length album, which is being distributed primarily through their Bandcamp page but will have a limited physical release at their show with California punk band Ceremony in Lansing at Mac’s Bar on Thursday Sept. 20.

Those and other honest, emotional lyrics make this record stand out. On tracks like “Conflicts Reside” Holmes sings “I don’t speak my thoughts/instead I bottle them up,” and “I know I can’t hide forever/I just don’t know what to say.” On “The Difference,” he yells “You know, you don’t really have to scream/You know you don’t really have to be the center of attention.”  I love his lyrics. I think many of us can relate to them.

The music, though, adds a backbone to his lyrics. That’s not to say the music here is boring. Quite the contrary. On multiple listens, there are many time changes, a couple slow and quiet sections and even a bit of experimentation. On the track “Giver,” where Holmes’ vocal sounds like it was recorded through a bullhorn. There’s also a guest appearance by Zach Smith, of Kalamazoo band “Ackley Kid” on the track “Defeat Me”. Smith’s voice takes the anger and amplifies it to the maximum. When both of them scream along to a chaotic aural scene of crashing blast beats and guitars, it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Even the track list itself is subtle. Listening to the album from beginning to end, the listener hears a bit of musical continuity, which has made me keep the record on repeat for days. Listen to it from beginning to end and you’ll know what I mean.

I love this record for its under-the-surface musical complexity. The album makes subtle, successful attempts at breaking away from the hardcore mold, while staying within it. Post-hardcore tendencies abound here. It satisfies a strict hardcore listener while giving other more adventurous listeners a treat too.

Three months later I still find everything I said above to be true. The record resonates with me on a personal level, but it’s the intensity, hidden experimentation and brutal honesty I love about this record. Vocalist and bassist Ryan Holmes lays it all out lyrically, exposing his innermost thoughts in a form in which he’s most comfortable. He comes across as getting these thoughts off his chest rather than scared to do so. He’s yelling most of the time and it fits the music perfectly. Guitarist Ben Jenson adds to the intensity all the while being creative in certain areas too. Post hardcore isn’t lost on this trio. Even if the hardcore tendencies shine through, the post hardcore leanings are just below the surface.

Check this out here.