Ghost Brigade - Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (Season of Mist)

Metal as Fuck says 'cut down on the metal!'? Surely not!
Release Date: 
18 Aug 2011 - 11:30pm

There are times on Until Fear No Longer Defines Us when Finnish misanthropes Ghost Brigade seem to be genuinely revved up and in danger of losing their collective (and no doubt Vodka-soaked) rags. It’s at these points that you feel genuinely like telling the boys to calm down, take some time out, and have a think about things for a second. Actually, that’s probably a bad thing as the levels of glumness evident on this album point to five young men quite capable of ending it all at the drop of an elkskin hat (do they have Elk in Finland?)...erm, I seem to have got somewhat sidetracked here.

Back to the matter in hand. What I was trying to say is that, when GB up the pace and start to rock, they lose a lot of their appeal. When the axes are churning and vocalist Manne Ikonen is growling, Ghost Brigade comes across as a slightly generic, though occasionally appealing, version of what Amorphis was a decade or more ago. When they take the foot off the gas and explore a little, then there’s more than enough here to suggest a bright future for the band in slightly calmer waters.

There are still too many echoes of elders and betters here – with Katatonia always lurking like a trenchcoated elephant in the room most of the time- for Ghost Brigade to warrant your undying devotion at this point, though if they follow the path of another obvious influence – Anathema- and ‘go prog’ (that’s to say, slowly cut out the sturm und drang and phase in the ethereal elements that often threaten to make this album a top notch proposition) then I’m predicting big things for this act. Not convinced? Have a listen to the utterly mature and compelling brilliance of Divine Act of Lunacy if you don’t believe me. Shorn of most of the ostensible trappings of metal save for a driving, compelling riff that propels the song in a way not too dissimilar to Anthrax’s neo-grunge triumph Only, DAoL carries with it overtones of Irish pop noiseniks Therapy? before erupting into a gloriously lush chorus that’ll be hovering around your memory for days after just one listen.Then listen to the ten times heavier Breakwater, where the band still impress with their musicianship but - and this is a big but- sound like just about every other act on the planet peddling their wares under the doom flag; After you've had time to cogitate on matters tell me I'm not right. You won't be able to do  it, my friends, because I am. I’m convinced this band will prosper if they develop this side of their talents to the full.

Plenty to like then, and lots to look forward to if the band does as I tell them...