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Ghost Brigade - "Until Fear No Longer Defines Us"

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Ghost Brigade - "Until Fear No Longer Defines Us"

7.3 / 10

Ghost Brigade”, a progressive / melodic death metal band from Finland, releases their highly anticipated 3d album “"Until Fear No Longer Defines Us”" on 19 August 2011.

I am not entirely convinced that the title “melodic death metal” is accurate. I suspect the description came from the fact that vocalist Manne Ikonen has a mean growl reminiscent of late 80’s / early 90’s thrash metal bands, which is employed every now and then together with smooth stoner rock / post-grunge clean vocals.

Whereas Ghost Brigade’'s first two albums (“"Guided by Fire”" released in 2007 and “"Isolation Songs"” in 2009) could be described as a nice even blend between progressive / doom metal and melody / stoner or post-grunge rock, the new album “"Until Fear No Longer Defines Us"” leans closer in my opinion, on balance, to the 90’'s post-grunge / stoner rock side of things, but with occasional elements of excellent metal.

"“Isolation Songs”" and "“Guided By Fire"” brimmed with excellent songs, emotion and originality and set the bar quite high for “"Until Fear No Longer Defines Us”". Does the new album live up to the expectations?

Mmmmm….... I'’m not sure to be honest. There are at least two, maybe three, excellent tracks on the album (“"Clawmaster"”, "“Traces Of Liberty"”, "“Breakwater"”) but when the clean bits / post-grunge elements kick in on this record it reminds me too much of the very commercial band "“Staind”". If someone were to describe this album as sounding like a depressed "“Staind"” with occassional death / thrash metal vocals, I don’t think they would be too far off. I don’t want to criticise the album too much, its really good; its just that too many parts of it is on the verge of falling out of the metal description and into the rock category (listen to the tracks “"Grain"” and “"In The Woods”" and think again about my “"Staind"” comparison). Metal is metal and commercial rock - that is "“Staind"” post 2000 and “"Nickelback"” - is not metal. When you blend them you need to get it just right. This album may still be permitted under the metal category and earns a well deserved 7.3 / 10 for the quality of the production, musicianship and the raw sombre emotion. It would have been a lot higher had it not been for the pain of "Staind" in my ears. Old-school metal heads beware, this may have too many moments that will remind you of those cursed grunge bands that took over the stage of your favourite local speed metal band in the 90’s. 7.3 / 10

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