It's awfully tempting to completely write off most of the new breed of "metal-core" bands that combine clean sung hooks with cheesy breakdowns and moderately competent riffing. It's even more tempting as a critic to rant and rave about the downfall of hardcore as we know it and the commercialization of an art form and lifestyle. I've certainly given into these temptations in the past, but am attempting to approach Ligeia's Your Ghost Is A Gift with a combination of open-mindedness and fairness that it probably doesn't deserve. This debut full-length, courtesy of Ferret Music, is less a hardcore record that integrates metal and pop and more a mish-mash of metal and hardcore parts held loosely together by frequently strong hooks. As unappealing as that might sound, it works pretty well almost as often as it fails. This record, produced by Ken Susi of Unearth, has a similar balance sound wise to recent Unearth recordings; everything is sharp and even, without ever coming off as too polished. The overall feel of this record is somewhere along the lines of earlier Killswitch Engage, but the clean vocals are a lot stronger. The screaming portions are pretty standard and entirely serviceable. For the most part, all the instrumentation of this disc is by-the-numbers reproductions of the bands that paved the way for Ligeia. It's logical then that the interesting parts of this disc are largely the melodic portions that stand out as a positive, rather than working together with the heavier parts to create an interesting contrast. It's honestly a shame that singer Keith Holuk isn't given a bit more to work with vocally, as his voice could definitely fit well with more melodic songwriting. Most of the songs on Your Ghost Is A Gift really just suffer from indecisive song craft. It's almost as if Ligeia understand what they do well, but feel obligated to insert bad metalcore breakdowns into each song. While they don't necessarily hurt the heavier songs like "I'm Sorry You're Ugly," they feel entirely out of place and unnecessary in tracks like the lead-off "Beyond A Doubt." One of the few generally standout tracks on the disc, "Heart Attack" suffers from sub par lyrics. If Ligeia seemed more genuinely interested in playing to their strengths rather than trying to please their potential audience, their music would certainly be even more enjoyable, but as it stands, the moments of greatness are just too few and far between. Bottom Line: There are bands that play this sort of pop-metalcore extremely well and have done quite well for themselves doing so. Then there are bands like Ligeia who seem uncomfortable trying to find the balance between melody and heaviness. If they could embrace their talents and progress, they could potentially forge a powerful, unique sound the way that Silent Drive or the Postman Syndrome did. As it stands, Your Ghost Is A Gift is a listenable melodic metalcore record that just doesn't seem sure of itself.