Release DetailsLABEL Season of Mist
RELEASED ON 8/23/2011
Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
posted on 12/2011 By:
Ghost Brigade feels like the modern metal equivalent of a really freaking tight episode of Law & Order. Apologies to our non-American readers who might not be familiar with the show -- especially its mid-90s peak -- but Law & Order is essentially the pinnacle of procedural cop dramas. The kind of show that not only failed to defy convention, but actually reveled in it. Law & Order -- at it's Sam-Waterston's-steely-glare-piercing-through-your-moral-inadequacies best -- was a show so confident in its ability to tell stories in a prescribed context that viewers celebrated its box-checking ability. So, Law & Order, instead of defying conventional wisdom, was just conventionally wise.
That's what's happening on Until Fear No Longer Defies Us -- the third release from Finland's Ghost Brigade. We've got 10 moderately paced, modestly lengthed and unabashedly modern and broad metal tracks. The production is just massive and precise; Ghost Brigade sounds like they rolled out of bed and decided to take a mix that Godflesh and Fear Factory made sound so horrifying and decided instead to make the most unthreatening record of all time with it.
The songs themselves are really tight. If a composition is a puzzle that can be "solved," then the guys in Ghost Brigade are puzzle masters. Here are the pieces Ghost Brigade is working with on Until Fear No Longer Defines Us: Brave Murder Day-era Katatonia melodic verse parts, streamlined yet still plate-shifting Mastodon / Neurosis heft, melodramatic alt-rock vocals, big goth-rock choruses and Opeth-inspired harmonic chord progressions.
Ghost Brigade generally stacks these parts up in a melodic intro, mellow verse, heavy chorus, mellow verse, huge bridge, soaring melodic guitar solo, outro fashion. (To their credit, they do mix in at least one relentless bruiser "Traces of Liberty.") Though Until Fear no Longer Defines us may seem like a pretty rote affair, Ghost Brigade can slide because they are--wait for it--a good band.
Ghost Brigade can essentially take everything that's tiresome and predictable about modern metal and toss it into a pot and serve up something tasty simply because they are good at their jobs, which is to sit in a studio and play songs. "Chamber," for example, shimmers, builds and booms in a way that made Rapture my favorite band for about six months in 2004. "Divine Act of Lunacy," probably my favorite track, is the snappiest number on the album and sounds something akin to Layne Staley singing over a Moonspell riff before building up into one of those "I am going to punch my boss in the dick and reclaim my shattered adulthood tomorrow" choruses.
I know this entire review just reads like some dismissive bone being tossed to a solid but unspectacular act that's too competent for some loser like myself to truly criticize, but I honestly have enjoyed my time with this record. If you've got a bunch of Katatonia, Rapture or Novembre albums in your collection and are even half-curious as to what those bands might sound like if they mixed in some modern alt-metal heft, then you will like this record. If you dug their previous work, you might be bit dismayed that the band's moved into slightly more streamlined territory, but the basic gene of what makes Ghost Brigade essentially themselves is still there. And if you've ever found yourself trapped on a sofa on a Saturday afternoon watching a Law & Order marathon, this is at least worth a stream on Spotify.
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