In producing Isolation Songs
, Ghost Brigade
took everything brilliant from their debut album Guided by Fire
and added to it even more excellence. Their sound is much clearer and simply refreshing. The characteristic harmonic compositions are back and better, with the distortion on the guitars much cleaner - often the separate chords blend together incredibly and it becomes impossible, undesirable in fact, to tell them apart. The vocals are stronger than ever and the growling too sounds a great deal crisper than the previous album. As with Guided by Fire
, this is not a "heavy" album: the band's focus is on doom, and they've definitely succeeded at that. Their choice of keys and chords comes together in a powerful "doomy" atmosphere.
Variety, too, has increased from the debut. Isolation Songs
features an instrumental track, one with entirely clean vocals, and multiple with entirely growled vocals. The long song lengths allow for good progression in several songs, such as Birth, which takes its time with a calm intro and ends with one of the best outros I have ever heard.
However, one of the band's weaknesses is making the non-melodic parts sound good. One or two songs feature boring verses with heavier but uninventive riffs that make you wait for the chorus. When you get there, though, they truly deliver: each chorus, without fail, is a beautifully crafted combination of chords, vocals, and backing rhythms which you will want to let flow into you. Coupled with the band's ability to make excellent bridges and powerful outros, this results in an album of songs that start off at least "good" and generally improve to "amazing."
The lyrics in Isolation Songs
are just as good as Guided by Fire
: nihilism reigns strong, and insanity takes its right hand. The hate is gone, replaced by confusion and desperation. At the same time, Isolation Songs
puts a brighter light at the end of the tunnel. Hope
is back and pushing through the doom a little, and bittersweet is a recurring flavour. The words are still often cryptic, but the better for you to interpret them as you will; Ghost Brigade
doesn't seem to want to instruct and preach a crystal-clear message but rather convey emotions and concepts that many will find relatable.
Taken as a whole, Isolation Songs
is a step up from Guided by Fire
, and that's saying something. If you liked Ghost Brigade
's debut sound you will love this, and if you haven't explored the band's music yet this is an excellent starting point.