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Ghost Brigade - IV - One With The Storm (2014) - Review

Band: Ghost Brigade
Album: IV – One With The Storm
Release date: 11 November 2014
Label: Season Of Mist

01. Wretched Blues
02. Departures
03. Aurora
04. Disembodied Voices
05. Electra Complex
06. Stones And Pillars
07. Anchored
08. The Knife
09. Long Way To The Graves
10. Elämä On Tulta

Nowadays bands seem to go only two directions style wise: either they play the most stereotypical possible version of a genre, going completely by the book or they integrate so many various influences in their sound, you find it almost impossible to pin them all down. Moreover, from the second category, you can either go wrong all the way and deliver a massacred version of what was once called music or you go all in and find yourself on a victorious march, since you pulled a royal flush. Why am I telling you all this bollocks? Because well, if you haven't come across of Ghost Brigade – who are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year – they fall into the second category of the second category (go figure out that by yourself). Enhanced by two new members, who joined the forces of this incredible post-metal meets a wholesome of experimentations extravaganza in 2013, Ghost Brigade delivered their 4th studio effort, IV – One With The Storm and swept me off my feet in a blink of an eye. With their previous three full length pieces the Finnish sextet already came to establish their signature sound and with their newest effort took you are witnessing a natural progression of six talented and insightful musicians, that know exactly what they are doing, but are not afraid to peak out of their comfort zone either.

The beauty of Ghost Brigade is they are fully aware of how to shift between a wide array of different sounds and managed to master the sound with elegantly equilibrating them. To tell you the truth, when I first put this album on and the opening "Wretched Blues" started, I instantly had a feeling I'm listening to Enslaved's "Ethica Odini" from their 2010 masterpiece Axioma Ethica Odini, because the beginning melodies surely sound more than strangely alike. But have no fear, because they soon took a rapid twist into alternative metal waters and delivered an opener, oozing with anguishing atmosphere, which comes out so very strong, it will awake your deepest ghosts of anger and despair. And from that moment on, consider yourself doomed, because they did not hesitate and made an opener that you will fall head over heels for and crave for more and more as you go along with it. While most of the songs carry incredibly introspective and dark vibe, "Aurora" stands out with its upbeat and optimistic melody. The more than 10 minutes in length post-metal astonishing masterpiece "Electra Complex" - a song which builds a familiar atmosphere Cult Of Luna fans may recognize - on the other hand, is a handful of devastation, carrying a massive sludge influence, which will capture you in its dissonance and leave you wandering in the corridors of your own deepest emotions. IV – One With The Storm will also make you put your sensitive hats on: the gothic/doom elements, which even listeners of Katatonia and Paradise Lost may fancy, are vividly shown in "Elämä On Tulta" and "Long Way To The Graves'"; especially the latter, a beautiful ode to sadness and grief. I rarely point out a song that has me quiver for more, but the angsty "The Knife", a full on alternative metal bomb is the one I can have on repeat for days, as its atmosphere sways from primal anguish and hatred to a melancholic touch and it really sends shivers down my spine every single time I listen to it. The nice fluid motion between atmospheres is also fairly evident it "Disembodies Voices", which starts in a calm, almost astral manner and ends with an epic melodic guitar riff crescendo. Another harsher track, "Stones And Pillars", may even find a warm place in the ears of Alice In Chains fans. Nonetheless, with being musically impeccable, all these voyages from the known to unknown would not as nearly be as prefect without Manne Ikkonen's tremendous vocal work. Swicthing between profound growls and emotional clean vocals is something this man can deliver flawlessly, thus vocal work being an important part of the album, as in intensifies all the sensations this album draws. With IV – One With The Storm you won't just be feeling sad, angry, grieving; you will be on the edge of these feelings, watching into the abyss in which you will fall if you won't manage with them.

Harsh, melodic death metal driven guitar riffs with an addition of mesmerizing post-metal and even sludge ambiance, post-rock trippy insertions, melancholic gothic/doom atmospheric features, progressive black metal moments and alternative metal intensity is what makes this particular record one of the best metal releases I came across with last year. The melodic and repetitive guitar riffs, which never get tiresome, and diverse vocal work, with so many perfectly intertwined various elements, make this album simply a fascinating workpiece, full of rich soundscapes and memorable melodies. It keeps the listener wide awake IV – One With The Storm is a step further in the evolution of the band and not merely a product of raw talent and dedicated musicianship; but also a close attention to details and polished production. Yes, Ghost Brigade found their sound and peaked out of their comfort zone once again, which results in an album the band's fans will enjoy, as well as an album someone who is completely new to this outfit may grab and grasp onto. Marvellous, emotional and intense, this release crawls deeper and deeper under my skin with every listen. More than recommended!

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9,5/10

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