Artist: Ghost Iris
Album: Blind World
With outstretched hands you reach ahead of you—fumbling for anything you can get a firm grasp on, stumbling for solid footing and ground that won’t give way beneath your shoes. Every twig and branch you lock your fingers around slips out of your grasp; every step you take seems to fall out from underneath you. The world is crumbling all around you—your senses deteriorate, your sympathetic nervous system roaring like a jet engine.
Everything smells like sweat—you can’t see a thing, but you’re still reaching. Reaching for anything, you tell yourself—but what you’re really reaching for is an experience like the one waiting for you within Ghost Iris’ forthcoming full-length release, Blind World. An adventure in aggressive, groovy and technically savvy progressive metalcore that knows not the meaning of “straightforward” or “blunt,” Blind World is what it must feel like to have lived your life deprived of senses only to have them all come flooding back at once. Bright, floral guitars weave hither and to between bastions of bold, brazen percussion and low, rumbling bass—breakdowns heavy enough to shake the world until it crumbles, yet moments of atmosphere divine enough to reassemble an entire galaxy, Ghost Iris capture the essence of both alpha and omega; creating a dismally heavy yet deceptively beautiful release that fans of anything progressive need to experience for themselves.
For a release named Blind World, Ghost Iris have brought a shimmering, luminescent and visionary attitude and energy to progressive metalcore. Recent years have fostered a number of talented acts within the genre—but where many are content to sound like a regressed Northlane, Ghost Iris know no such thing. Instead, they combine visceral grooves of almost-Meshuggan savagery with moments of ethereal, atmospheric bliss that seem to stem from a passion for post-rock. Percussionist Sebastian Linnet finds himself at the band’s core, effortlessly transitioning between tedious, tumultuous and tumbling fills and punchy, yet dancy and jazzy moments of laid back, bouncy percussion. “Gods of Neglect” hits this nail squarely on the head; Linnet’s kick is cavernous and explosive while his snare snaps and claps ferociously into the darkness. Meanwhile, bassist Dennis Nielsen is always at his side, adding fluidity and groove to even his moments of murderous, cutthroat aggression. “No Way Out” is an excellent example, with moments of spine-splitting intensity that segue back and forth between subtlety and skin-shearing intensity. While Linnet’s percussion sets the tone and Nielsen adds thickness and density, it is guitarist Nicklas Thomsen that truly defines Ghost Iris’ instrumental effort—and that’s probably one of the only ways Ghost Iris are alike any other progressive metalcore band. “Blind World” earns the ethereal majesty worthy of a title track—while its follow-up number, “Time Will Tell” is almost equally captivating. Thomsen’s talents are vast, ranging from ferocity enough to tear off ears and limbs, yet lavishing, lovely forays into fluid, jazzy and glossy fretwork that slides into the listener’s head like silk coated in melted butter. Thomsen is the crown atop a creative throne, making Blind World something you don’t have to see to believe.
Vocally, Ghost Iris take the inner folds of their dynamic talents and unfurl them, reaching near the apex of their true potential. Songs like “No Way Out” and “Time Will Tell” showcase the full range and variety present in the vocal folds of frontman Jesper Gün. Gün’s cleanly sung choruses and beautiful bridges on “Time Will Tell” are a tremendous contrast to his crushing, abrasive lows throughout “No Way Out,” and his shrill, pitched screams that span “Gods of Neglect” are a bizarre but beautiful hybrid of peace, serenity and shrill, savage aggression. Gün finds himself taking the moments of instrumental beauty that define Blind World and adding to them without distracting from the music itself—a difficult feat for any vocalist, let alone ones infinitely more experienced than Gün; however he manages it with poise and ease. While his lyricism may find itself somewhat complacent and uninspired at points, his vocals carry all the meaning and emotional intensity the listener can handle, keeping their attention firmly engrossed.
While I’ve always found transient enjoyment in progressive metalcore, it takes a unique artist within the genre’s confines to truly hold my interest over a span of repeated listens—and that’s something Ghost Iris have done in short order. Not only will listeners like songs like “Gods of Neglect” or “No Way Out,” they will find themselves coming back to Blind World time and time again, keeping it on repeat for hours. Whether it’s the harrowing awe within the confines of “After the Sun Sets” or the creative, climactic power-house ending to “Detached,” Ghost Iris take fantastic fretwork, energetic percussion and punchy, powerful bass and top it off with Gün’s unique voice and versatile range—so even if you’re blinded by it’s beauty, you definitely will have no problem hearing Blind World.
For Fans Of: Northlane, Ceiling of Anvers, Spirit Breaker, Volumes
By: Connor Welsh