Danish quartet Ghost Iris return with ‘Blind World’, a ten-track masterclass in tech-metal that combines the polar opposites of crunching heaviness with soaring melody to form irresistible vocal hooks wrapped around brutally massive riffs.
Wasting absolutely no time getting stuck in, first track ‘Gods of Neglect’ is blisteringly heavy. The low, growling vocals and technical riffs provoke comparisons to SikTh, Periphery and early Northlane, and are easily as good as either. A piano break provides a nice twist, and signals early on that the band are capable of interesting arrangements, before the breakdown threatens to kick you through the floor with an even lower bottom end.
After a brutal start, ‘Save Yourself’s opening melodic vocal passage is a stark contrast, but just as you acclimatise, the guttural screams and low riffs return. Bands that use a combination of clean and harsh vocals tend to save the clean parts for the choruses and scream through the verses, however the vocals across ‘Blind World’ aren’t arranged in prescribed, predictable patterns, but interwoven at the points where they’re most effective instead. This is helped by having just one individual responsible for the whole array. Despite sounding like at least two people are involved, Jesper Vicencio handles all vocal duties, his voice somehow having the capacity to sink deeper than the earth’s core in one breath, yet project itself to the heavens with an angelic melody in the next.
Vicencio is surrounded by equally impressive musicians, demonstrated in no small part by ‘The Flower of Life’. The bridge crashes through various time signatures and tempos and these subtle nuances appear elsewhere on the record, elevating it and giving each song a separate identity. ‘Time Will Tell’ acts as a perfect summary for what makes Ghost Iris a special band. The interesting instrumentals are reminiscent of SikTh and the superb vocal arrangement sees Vicencio creating as many interesting notes with his voice as there are in the guitar lines. It’s an intelligently constructed, flawlessly executed track that showcases everything this band does well in one song.
‘Blind World’ is a perfect cocktail of powerful, groove-laden riffs and highly melodic vocals. The amount of variety scattered throughout keeps the record fresh to the very end, making full use of groove patterns, time signatures and tempos to create a surprisingly accomplished, heavy record. The band manage, between the four of them, the range and depth of sound that should be impossible without at least six members and their ability to harness this power through intelligent, varied song writing means the future should bode very well indeed for Ghost Iris.