Ghost Brigade is hard to classify. I suppose that brings up the point that bands shouldn’t be classified, but since we’re in the business of reviews, it needs to be done. They have been labeled Gothic metal, sludge metal, doom metal and melodic death metal, but none of those labels really apply perfectly. I have viewed them as Finland’s answer to Katatonia: melancholic and melodic. They can appeal to a wide variety of metal fans as well. Singer Manne Ikonen can do an excellent harsh vocal but is equally adept at clean vocals, and like Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse, he always sounds like he needs a hug.
Ghost Brigade's fourth album is aptly named “IV – One with the Storm.” They aren't about changing their style – they basically have had the same overall sound on each album – but they have a wide range of styles they pull from. The first track, “Wretched Blues,” has a very Enslaved-style chord pattern and it really rocks. For those who pine for “Deliverance”-era Opeth, this track is definitely Opethian. The second track, “Departures,” shows the opposite end of the band’s musical spectrum. It’s a radio-friendly, clean-vocal track that could easily be Katatonia going for a hit.
To cover the slower, doomier portion of their sound, the epic “Electra Complex” fits the bill. At 10 minutes, the song brings to mind the expansive, thick sound of Swallow the Sun at their most ambitious. “Anchored” is the flip side once again, with a strong melody and “to the point” attitude. “The Knife” is a standout and one the band’s heaviest tracks ever.
“IV – One with the Storm” is Ghost Brigade’s best release to date. That’s a bold statement since each album has been exceptional. If there were any doubt that the band could maintain their sound but still push to be a better version of the band they are, “IV” puts those doubts firmly to rest. This is the release that should bring them a wider audience. Highest possible recommendation!