Ghost Brigade
Until Fear No Longer Defines Us

Two years ago, Ghost Brigade painted the wall behind me red with a shotgun blast that was Isolation Songs; it blew my mind. Just like having the back of your head wide open, the album, with its perfect combination of dread and melody, shimmered light into the genre that had long been somewhat stagnant. It was a perfect blend between Finnish melodic doom and post-metal, spiced with modern Katatonia and excellent, catchy songwriting.

Coming into Until Fear No Longer Defines Us, Ghost Brigade didn’t face an easy task as rehashing old ideas would be suicide even if everyone was expecting Isolation Songs V2. Luckily, the band seems to have found middle ground, advancing their sound without straying away from the elements that worked. The album’s an altered beast that takes a bit more time to absorb as Until Fear No Longer Defines Us isn’t as strikingly memorable. Yet, a lot of the hardships stem from the unrealistic expectations set upon it. Once you cast away past accomplishments and look at the band anew, things start to click. Still, it’s obvious that the album misses a few of those truly standout magnificent tracks that drive you to your knees.

Opener “In The Woods” begins the 58-minute journey with acoustics and calm singing before “Clawmaster” throws in deeply distorted guitars and Manne Ikonen’s harsher vocals. Quite surprisingly, the track has a similar ambient veil that Lacuna Coil had on their first few albums, but gothic romanticism this is not. On the other hand, the track is a good example of the album’s material; shape shifting, drawing emotions and feelings from wherever, whilst maintaining musical consistency and unique identity. Third track “Chamber” makes gestures towards the previous album’s catchier moments (“Into The Black Light”). By the time “Traces of Liberty” steamrolls from the speakers, it’s clear Ghost Brigade are back. The track provides the album’s first pummel. It allures darkness into its riffs from the bleaker and blacker sides of metal.

The next batch of songs bring in experimentation, while reassuring everyone the band still knows how to craft dynamic, captivating songs that are crushing, rocking, and often beautiful. “Divine Act of Lunacy” is driven by Veli-Matti Suihkonen’s percussion work and some uplifting overtones, whereas “Torn”, with its menacing rhythm, bangs forth the album’s most aggressive cut before strings sketch its end with light and hope. Ghost Brigade might be their weakest when they deliver safer songs like “Grain”. The track gains a bit of momentum when it (only) hints of a catchy punchline, but most of the time it’s merely churning melodic hues with the safety on. Indeed, when it’s time for a new album, I’ve learned to hope that they experiment with their sound further than they have here; there’s plenty of avenues that the band could walk down to refine their distinctive style (without forgetting catchiness, without forgetting the hooks.)

Until Fear No Longer Defines Us basically continues from where the previous album left off, facing the burden of being a follow-up to one of 2009’s best records. After a few handfuls of listens, Ghost Brigade’s new one hasn’t gone above and beyond the predecessor — hardly a surprise considering the crater Isolation Songs’ impact caused. This is not to say that the band doesn’t deliver one of the year’s better releases, though, because that’s exactly what the band does: Until Fear No Longer Defines Us is a record worthy of your time and with each listen, it only seems to get better. Isn’t that enough?

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
October 25th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: jon from nj

    Ghost Brigade have yet to do any wrong. Great band, great album.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    checking this band out now. sounds cool.


  3. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Mikko, there must be something in the water (ice) in Finnland. this is great stuff.


  4. Commented by: GW

    They should just call themselves Ghostatonia.


  5. Commented by: Evil In U

    I wanna like this band but I usually get bored with them pretty quickly. Good review though.


  6. Commented by: stiffy

    I with Evil In U, I can’t get int these guys.


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