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mercoledì 17 aprile 2019

Ghost Ship Octavius - Delirium

#FOR FANS OF: Prog Metal, Dream Theater
Through deceptively sweet melodies combined with the theatrics of Dream Theater, Ghost Ship Octavius shows off a sophomore album that is high in concept and lending more opera and progressive digression to its melodic metal template. Light sappy arpeggios fly unfettered through an airy atmosphere, impressively intricate guitar passages are buffeted by robust percussive artillery. Ripping in some sparse places and wailing through many other passages, this Seattle power trio's music is sure to go far enough out on limbs and take the risks necessary to propel its vision seaward but also has to deal with the reality that such exposure and vulnerability in its music can conjure some serious cringe. Still, the drama aboard this vessel throughout this near hour of creativity and instrumental expertise shows the talents of a band able to find a fitting balance between aggression and astonishment.

Released independently in September of 2018 and again in February of 2019 with the backing of Mighty Music, 'Delirium' is surely an ambitious and advanced album from an adept outfit. The opening to “Ocean of Memories” sounds like it was made in tandem with Luster with its lilting bucolic innocence, yet the affectation in the vocals have me expecting a parody in the vein of Ylvis to echo across this tepid protected port rather than this forthright fairy land that Ghost Ship Octavius finds its sails slipping away from. Taking a dramatic turn, the song finds itself embroiled in short-lived conflict with its heftier guitar change churning the waters, but this microburst is only a foreshadowing of the high notes on which the ripping “Saturnine” (with its harsh Gothenburg opening and splashy stomp) leaves the ship solid as it sloshes through stormy seas and swirls around a whirlpool of crying choruses, vibrant harmonies, and plunging percussion.

Sappy openings like that of “Edge of Time” keep the album on a whimsical and light journey as harmonic vocals and opulent movements allude to the bewilderment of the album's namesake and foreshadow every encompassing ensnarement of electrifying energy lingering around every corner. Dancing through an airy atmosphere that becomes a theatrical romp, reveling in its pomp with its expansive riff joined by a classical style chorus that rings as true to the stage as it does to the heart, “Far Below” is magic to the ears with a snare double tap in the opening rhythm allowing the glory of such a catchy moment to erupt from below the profligate arpeggios. In contrast, the descent of “Bleeding on the Horns” gracefully drops with the impact of a head hitting a pillow yet this lovely track's exquisite construction, flourishing instrumentation, and ambitiously marching start show that this album, while balanced towards the eccentricities in each melody, can still bring its hammer to crack against the anvil and shatter the illusion in pinches of peril.

At its essence, Ghost Ship Octavius is what Charred Walls of the Damned could have been if the music wasn't so inundated with ego. While the latter group packed up a bus full of recognizable names and their necessary equipage in order to drive it all off a cliff into a chasm of disappointment, this fresh fellowship features folks from farther reaches of the metal sphere showing off a great balance and stellar songwriting sensibilities. The symmetry of the music's structure keeps the band rising and falling like the frothing of a sea beset by storm and returning to calm throughout this near hour. Yet also 'Delirium' also finds itself enveloped in the oddities of a transcendent scope of sound, one as alluring as spying elaborate coral cities beneath its calmest shimmering shallows and as staggering as attempting to overcome mammoth surf with only hope and timbers separating you from certain death. (Five_Nails)

(Mighty Music - 2019)
Score: 86