There’s something about Finnish melodic death/doom metal that sets it apart from other regional scenes. Amorphis, Insomnium, and their contemporaries continue to set the standard for the subgenre. Ghost Brigade are a slightly newer and less well known group compared to the aforementioned, but they’re no less genre defining, especially on this, their fourth full length album. One With The Storm may be overlooked in favor of more high profile releases in the genre this year, but that would be a mistake.
Opening track ‘Wretched Blues’ sets the tone from the onset, with the band adopting a darker and more raw sound for this album, with plenty of harsh vocals mixed in with the cleans. Traces of black metal can be found along the edges, with Manne Ikonen’s pained screams evoking those so commonly found in the genre. Don’t worry, though, the band haven’t abandoned the melody and gloomy ambience. Everything that defined them on previous albums is still here, it’s just darker and better.
IV: One With The Storm is certainly Ghost Brigade’s best album, as they’ve taken the elements that worked for them in the past (Dark ambience, minor key melodies and choruses that glide rather than soar) and honed it to perfection, whilst adding elements reminiscent of other bands in the subgenre, such as Katatonia and Insomnium. In fact, some of the more “mellow” songs are straight-up Katatonia worship, but it’s executed so well it comes off as sincere rather than imitation.
The raw aesthetic Ghost Brigade have adopted for One With The Storm, however, is the opposite direction to what a great many of their contemporaries, such as the aforementioned Amorphis and even Insomnium, have taken in recent years, their latest albums leaning more towards melodic metal in the case of the former and embracing melody and atmosphere while scaling back the darkness in the case of the latter. One With The Storm is a very dark album, both thematically and sonically, and it’s a welcome throwback to the earlier, rawer days of the Finnish and Swedish melodic death and doom scenes, while still retaining a modern sound and style.
One With The Storm feels like a cohesive package of songs while still being stylistically diverse enough to contain the depth required for repeated listens. That the songs themselves are so well written and darkly infectious helps as well. The clean singing has even more impact now that it’s complemented by harsh vocals, and the slower songs are even more haunting than they were on previous albums.
Ghost Brigade have crafted one of the finest melodic doom albums of the year, and hopefully one that will gain them the mainstream recognition that bands like Katatonia and Insomnium enjoy. They certainly deserve it. One With The Storm positions Ghost Brigade as a band ready to become the next big name in Scandinavian melodic doom. If you’re a fan of the genre, do not miss this album.
Ghost Brigade’s IV: One With The Storm gets…