With Isolation Songs
done, Ghost Brigade
spent two years on their third album, Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
. In many ways, the songs here reuse the musical elements that were developed over the past two albums. However, instead of creating an album of cookie-cutter songs that are all much the same, the band has managed to maintain the variety and go a few places they hadn't gone before. They still have their signature guitar harmonies and emotional bridges but in each song these are different and well worth hearing. What the band is doing is not repeating themselves but rather using the theoretical framework they've found works so well and applying it creatively to every song. This yields an album that, like the last two, has songs that are each unique and stand out on their own.
The first song, for example, is completely acoustic with clean vocals, something the band has never done before. Despite
this they manage to build brilliant acoustic harmonies and the lyrics are mostly well done, reflecting the nihilism present in the rest of the album.
What the first song will not reveal about Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
, though, is that as a whole the album is a whole notch up in heaviness. Certainly the sound is still mostly "doom," but Ghost Brigade
has modified the distortion on their guitars to add grit, and in general the growling with backing guitars is much more frequent. This heaviness is reflected by Clawmaster, the very second song, which opens with uncharacteristically brutal guitars playing chords that are simply dripping with doom. Add to that the nine minute long Breakwater, which sounds like a doom-trip through a swamp, and the relatively short Torn
, which is perhaps Ghost Brigade
's most hate-filled song ever, and you have what is definitely the heaviest album from the Finnish band yet.
The primary issue with this increase in heaviness is that it brings out Ghost Brigade
's primary weakness a little more than the previous albums: segments of heavy-but-plain guitar riffs are more frequent and very often they can be a little boring. The band's strength lies in harmonics, so whenever there are non-harmonized guitars playing away the verse, you have to focus on the lyrics to stay interested. For example, much of Divine Act Of Lunacy hinges on the same uninteresting riff repeating during the verse, and the only way to really enjoy those parts is listening to the singer. Of course, as with all of Ghost Brigade
, the song redeems itself at the chorus with beautiful chords.
Lyrically, Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
is true to the band's established style with "nihilism" being the single one word that best describes the themes contained. However, the band appears to have moved away from pure apathy and closer to sorrow and reflection. Multiple songs speak of the lamentable state of humanity as a whole, while others involve the singer's sadness in very relatable contexts. Also more prominent is hate, with many of the lyrics being accusative lyrics and obviously angry. These are all emotional themes, making the songs cathartic and thus pleasant to listen to for a simple mental release.
Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
is good progress for Ghost Brigade
, though it reveals some weak spots that keep it from quite reaching Isolation
Song's level. If you found the band's first two albums too light and slow, this one will probably appeal to you more. If you've been with Ghost Brigade
for a while, this will not disappoint, so long as you don't mind a few hiccups along the way. Certainly a masterpiece, just not exceptional by Ghost Brigade
's incredibly high standard.