Amongst the packed djent arena, Danish troupe Ghost Iris has always been a strong and reliable act that have never quite managed to step up to the heady heights of the scenes leading lights, such as Monuments. In the face of a fast-moving scene, how can Ghost Iris now adapt? To use a wrestling metaphor, latest album Apple Of Discord (Long Branch Records) is the plucky and ever decent mid-carder suddenly about to make the main event push.
On a base level, Apple Of Discord is a leap forwards that sees Ghost Iris showing more ambition and taking more risks, and the results are sublime. As the album moves past the atmospheric intro title-track, ‘The Devils Plaything’ roars out of the gate with a massive bouncy riff, that shows they aren’t throwing away that djent/Meshuggah tone and riff style, whilst vocally this song puts forward the characteristic balance of harsh vocals and towering clean passages but with an increased confidence and infectious vigour.
It doesn’t take long for the more commercial ambitions to come to the fore as ‘Final Tale’ shows a refinement and a strength in anthemic songwriting which, in the current climate, feels reminiscent to the beginning of the ascent that the likes of Architects and Parkway Drive made to larger status.
‘Beauty In Expiration’, however, is the true watershed moment, while the latter stages take a much more melodic tone and Pop-py vocals come out of nowhere, with the realisation of how natural and fitting it feels amongst a heavy but not inaccessible sound.
The following ‘The Rat And The Snake’ ramps up the heaviness stakes while retaining a weighty punch as well. Whilst vocally things aren’t always unique, particularly the harsher vocals, they carry a sure-ness that excites, and the melodic hooks again feel fresh simply by being some of the best the genre has seen.
The face of djent itself has changed dramatically through necessity due to an influx of imitators; and whilst Ghost Iris were always one of the stronger components of a lower tier, the adeptness to new ideas in line with the honing of their craft means Apple Of Discord sounds huge and should open doors. It is hard to pinpoint bands that will become the Next Big Thing, but Ghost Iris has shown here that they have the potential to scale to heights.
Apple Of Discord could and should be a surprise hit album in our circles.
8 / 10