Don’t you just love it when a band you’ve liked for years, since their first album, saw them at a festival in France, where they only played for 25 minutes on the smallest stage, you were pretty sure you were the only English guy in the crowd, finally taps into the potential you knew they had and releases an album that make you realise why you loved them in the first place and much, much more? No? Just me? Then, let me introduce you to Ghost Brigade and their third offering: Until Fear No Longer Defines Us.
Previous to Until Fear No Longer Defines Us, Ghost Brigade used light and dark extensively, by this I mean distorted and clean guitars, growled and clean vocals, etc. Things are slightly different this time around, whilst still maintaining what has come to be their sound, they have condensed their sound, this is demonstrated none more clearly than album opener In the Woods.
In the Woods is a sombre number that involves just acoustic guitar and vocalist Manne Ikonen showing off his vastly improved clean vocals throughout to its completion, an excellent, if unexpected starter to what I thought was going to be another metal stomper with some shades of gray thrown in.
Relatively normal service is resumed for first single and next track Clawmaster, I noticed that this and several other tracks on this album are over the 6 minute mark, while there were two on this last album and none on the first, which leads me to believe this move is entirely intentional on Ghost Brigades behalf and their wanted progression. Clawmaster shows just how powerful the band can be, whether it be employing chuggy riffs, melodic leads or beautiful clean passages. It is also one of the few tracks on the album where the vocals switch quite as readily as they did on previous efforts.
A few tracks on, Traces of Liberty raises it’s ugly head with riffage galore and growled vocals throughout, the opposite of In the Woods and is equally affective in a very different way. The rest of the album plays out to similar effect, it’s hard to believe that a band can make this much of an improvement on a third album, perhaps they felt the pressure was off after the “difficult” second album so just let it go for this one.
Ghost Brigades debut album and sophomore albums were both good and the second improved on the first. Despite this, they had always lacked focus somewhat, however, this album has it, in abundance. If you enjoyed them, you will love this, they have improved on their Nordic, doomy sound. but if you hadn’t heard of them before, then get on the bandwagon now, they deserve to blow up to a much bigger status than they have now and based on how superb this album is, they will and with just cause!