Ghost Brigade is one of the fairly new bands in the progressive dark metal scene influenced by Opeth, Katatonia, and a fair share of death/doom acts. However, rarely does this scene reach where their potential lies. Ghost Brigade’s debut release showed that they just wanted to be a band with the relative sound you heard, but other than that it left a lot of empty space for not only improvement but rational thought of what direction the band wanted to go towards. Isolation Songs sees them starting their direction, but overshadowed by their embrace of their contemporaries’ flaws.
The interesting thing about Isolation Songs as opposed to Guided By Fire is that even though typical song structures are still there, Isolation Songs has so much more staying power, possibly due to the actual passion of the band coming through on the record. While that may be promising to some, the issues of generic arrangements, extremely little experimentation, and dynamic singe that which could be greatly improved. These alone are the pros and cons most of this record.
In fact, Ghost Brigade stick to the same style as the first record up until 22:22 – Nihil, a refreshing instrumental somewhat reminiscent of Forgotten Tomb’s Springtime Depression. This track begins the album’s small venture towards something special, cohesively carried through Architect Of New Beginnings and Birth. Architect is probably the band’s heaviest track and because the flow of the track is so organic the simplistic arrangement isn’t bothersome. Birth, however, is the band’s first magnum opus: a nine minute dirge that separates them from their contemporaries due to its raw power and post-metal elements. Sadly, aside from Secrets Of The Earth, the rest of the album follows suit of the first half with their recycled “heavy riffage” and uncomfortable needs for putting in choruses.
With Isolation Songs we see a band slowly understanding themselves. Their heads are getting to the right place, but what they need in order to develop their potential of being a truly great and unique band is to experiment with their arrangements, embrace their simplicity and sparking technicality when it fits, and simply follow their own path rather than the rest of the scene. A lot of metal has become poppy as hell, so don’t follow Lamb Of God’s lead, you are not limited by song structure and repetitive waste. If Ghost Brigade continues to embrace their dynamic, they will certainly be an act to watch.