Review Summary: Enter the storm...
Sometimes happens that a great band spends its entire career overshadowed by other(s) with a similar sound, that are usually more popular or recognized. That could be the case of Novembre related to Opeth, Threshold-Dream Theater, or, in this concern, Ghost Brigade-Katatonia. There is also another remarkable fact: Ghost Brigade`s sound takes elements both from Katatonia and Opeth. Is that bad" Maybe, if its done by mediocre musicians, or if it is a flagrant rip-off with nothing new to show, in those cases the music usually ends being intranscendent, no matter how much technicality is put on. But with Ghost Brigade, specifically with their fourth album, named "IV - One with the Storm", the things are different, because creativity and inspiration are put together to create an album where the emotional density and the sheer melodic beauty lead the listener to different states of mind, combining heaviness and atmosphere to create sonic landscapes where melancholy reigns, but, somehow, hope still remains. For example, the song Disembodied Voices combine some moaning clean vocals-which are clearly improved from their previous effort " Isolation Songs"-with harsh screams plenty of feeling that since to take the pain and desperation as a lead to a future uncertain, but maintaining the decision of going forward. The progressive/doom/alt structure of the songs is managed very well, with some of those elements being more prominent than the others in some cases, but always creating a captivating aura that induces to keep listening. In my case, when I listened to the album by the first time, I found myself immersed in a kind of grey sea, where some rays of light appeared during the songs, sometimes clearing the shadows, others, burning, and warming for a moment the cold but surprisingly familiar atmosphere of the album. This may sound rhetorical or pretentious for some , but I just left myself go in the stream of the album`s music.
Although for some moments the songs are a little predictable, they always succeed in their quest of waking emotions. They could be introspective and somber as Electra Complex, harsh and relentless as Wretched Blues and Stones and Pillars, or introduce a gothic feel, as Departures, but one thing is for sure, all them are moving in a certain way and capable to be cathartic according to the mood of the listener. As I said before, melancholy is their main key, but, at times, while we listen to the album, we see some sparkles now and then; the upcoming storm that the band since to embrace as we see in the title, could be in its own nothing more than a shelter from apathy, immobility and emptiness, voids that are very easy to fell on in these days, where communication is immediate and frenetic, but for some, can make impossible to connect with others spiritually. In that sense, I think that the album is not an anthem to sorrow and despair or anything like that, but take those emotions to mark the contrasts between darkness and a light that its elusive, but not impossible to reach.
I think this is the best Ghost Brigade album so far, it doesn`t deny its influences, but they are melt together and combined in a personal style, I believe that the band has already found its own creative language.With great musicianship, powerful and touching vocals, and a special sensibility to create songs that inspire us to look inside ourselves and onward into life, IV - One with the Storm is an album that we should listen to very carefully, in it we can unexpectedly discover more of us that we could think.