Ghost Brigade – IV: One With The Storm
Release Date: November 11th, 2014
Ghost Brigade hails from the far reaches of Finland and experiments within the sounds of melodic death, doom, depressive rock, and post-metal. They surprised me not too long ago with the announcement and details of their fourth full length album, IV: One With The Storm, a follow-up to their highly acclaimed Until Fear No Longer Defines Us, which I was very fond of in 2011. This newest contribution to their discography resonates a familiarity of their previous works and much more.
“Wretched Blues” is the opening track, immediately immersing the listener with an aura of harsh energy with abrasive, energetic guitar riffs accompanied by solid, concussive drumming. This immediately spells out the angrier side of the band, especially with the introduction of Manne Ikonen’s gritty vocals that spew a cold and ashy presence. Even with Manne’s commanding presence, the other members are able to stand out well on their own, including the two guitarists Tommi Kiviniemi and Wille Naukkarinen who provide much of the dark and melodic power.
“Departures” brings a contrast immediately to the forefront, with the clean vocals that immediately draw you in and encapsulate you. Veli-Matti Suihkonen’s drumming immediately changes pace while still maintaining the solid backbone for the band, accompanied by the efforts of bassist Joni Saalamo. These two members have always been one of my favorite elements of the band, keeping the darker tone intact throughout without monotony.
“Aurora” brings about a mixture of the two aforementioned key sounds of Ghost Brigade, anger and fragility. The execution is nearly flawless in regards to these emotions. If you’re new to the band and want a good idea of their overall sound, this is the track to check out to get a good idea of what you’re in for.
What I’m digging the most about the record is the production. Tuomas Kokko of Electric Fox Studios took up the task of recording and mixing and does so with aplomb. This work rivals and possibly exceeds that of the previous works, which is saying a lot. Jaako Viitalähde of Virtalähde Mastering also contributes some amazing work, giving IV some of the best production I’ve heard so far in an album this year.
Another element that surprised me was the use of keyboards/synths throughout the record. At first, they’re difficult to grasp onto, but once you get familiar with the flow of the album and start picking it apart, you’ll hear dreary background synths that enhance the mood greatly. Joni Vanhanen plays as a key modifier that adds just the right amount of punch to the grand scheme.
IV: One With The Storm continues the legacy of Ghost Brigade, with beautifully laden songwriting and a refined sound that should definitely appeal to old fans as well as new. There are very few negatives, if any at all, to point out with IV. Some may feel that it drags on too much and others may feel that the tone is too monotonous, but one can’t deny the elegance and emotion that pours forth from this release. This is the perfect addition to your soundtrack for sullen days.
Rating – 9.2/10