Iceburn Multimedia/Independent

For some odd reason I totally missed the debut of Ghost Ship Octavius, the band formed around God Forbid’s (& Warrel Dane’s band) Matt Wicklund and Nevermore’s Van Williams, and completed by vocalist Adön Fanion. Not that I’m able to keep track of all releases in nowadays’ metal scene, but missing a great one is happening to me too much lately. `Delirium’ was passed on to me by editor in chief LiLo and upon first spin made me hunt down their debut to add to my collection. GSO is exactly what I want to hear while the storm is withering and autumn is taking shape outside, drenching our surroundings in the most spectacular of colors.

And spectacular and colourful is also what applied to the music of the Ghost Ship Octavius. While crossing the seas the band has explored the musical horizons to embed sights and sounds of the different continents in their melodic progressive metal. The outcome is of the same magnitude as that of Amerigo Vespucci. Exploring the boundaries set and meanwhile leaning strongly upon the shoulders of reliability. That reliability also gives face to the band’s underlying comfort. All sounds pleasantly comfortable and nesting, while the layers reveal the greater above-mentioned magnitude of the album. The alternated chords and drums are tarnishing the steel chops and mould them together into progressive appealing structures without losing sight of the song’s captivating melody and feel. The bombast and theatrical forte is key as the Ghost Ship sets sail on this new mission with ,,Turned to Ice’’. It’s surface is cold and taut but the cracks are beginning to show when it kicks alive with great riffs and atmospheric keys. Adön’s vocals are intense and powerful breaking the ice on the spot. Think Ayreon, think Nevermore and multiply the intensity by 5. The music is gripping and operatic and wields forward like the entire album does. Piano swirls over loud bass parts and rolling intense drums. Chanting Fanion calls his Ship forward over the ocean of decay. Towards the end the song intensifies with a whirl of piano and powerful drum rolls dramatizing to the max. Drop dead gorgeous melodic riffs break course to the ,,Ocean of Memories” with almost serene whelming melancholy. The depth of layers is impressive and knocks you off your feet instantly. The drama is impressive and when the ship navigates onwards a brutal storm hits the crew on ,,Saturmine”. The anger-laden evil present commands the spine to shiver with head banging unwillingly taking over. High waves wash you back and forth with ponderous power when it dramatically peaks. The dynamics are exigent, but refined. `Delirium’ also packs that turmoil over a melodic bridge unloading into a powerful chorus. Fanion belts the impossible with precision and panache. The dominance of the guitars, both acoustic and electric, makes way for his overpowering presence. Again the solos are spot on, intense and impressive, hinting immediate greatness. Imposing dramatic scenery upon the listener Ghost Ship Octavius manages to strike nerves by the dozen. The band delivers melodic epical books with urging storylines aligning the heartfelt emotion drawn up from the intense musical mastery. ,,Ghost in the Well” is another masterpiece of greatest magnitude. Whirling with emotions it ploughs forwards with tremendous strive, much like the late Nevermore. Absolutely mind-blowing, as is ,,Chosen” with it’s atmospheric biotope of emotion and heartfelt passion. Again the drums are light-footed and intensify with powerful drumrolls setting the song ablaze in melodic and dramatic perfection. Gut wrecking persistent is pulls forward halfway in to fuse past and present with theatrical grandeur. ,,Far Below” is oozing with grandeur and larger than life sound, but also shines with AOR reminiscent magnitude. GSO naturally masques their multi layered and complex indulged sounds with an over-whelming comfortable, almost snug, melodic feel. Listeners are drawn in with impressive melodies and hooks, without wondering how complex it is all crafted. ,,The Maze” is Celtic tinged with warm vocals and jaw dropping instrumental interaction. Bridge and chorus again are captivating, its solo astonishing, with whipping drumbeats kicking up high. Clearly Van Williams acts as captain on this journey and without degrading his past, he lays down the most perfect performance of his career. He implements double kicks and double bass into the poly rhythmic patterns with impressive perfection, mastering the impossible. That same dynamic drumming takes the album into ,,Bleeding on the Horns”. Oozing with eponymous intension like ,,Edge of Time”, it flowers in high pace and turmoil. With ,,Burn this Ladder” Ghost Ship Octavius returns to form, to moor in safe harbour. Much like the starting point of their journey the song embellishes a persistent grandeur and restrains listener and crew of encompassed journeys. Dramatically building to a larger than life ending, the crew unleashed with sheer power.

Sailing onwards the course is yet uncertain, but the future shines bright for the haunted vessel. Ghost Ship Octavius is a force to recon with and is certain to deliver. Their music is extravagant and impressively crafted. Melodically striking, all songs are short opera’s with embedded diversity and impressive pasted scenery. Mastering musical geniality the band sails the seas of modern progressive metal, crossing oceans to explore its world. Discarding shorelines, boundaries and borders they sail towards a bright future. Exquisite perfection…
I’m surprised by the high quality of releases surfacing at this end of year, as this quality appeared scarce in the first half of the year. Save the best for last… 


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