Despite only forming in 2015, Danish tech-metallers Ghost Iris are already releasing their third full-length album. In the few short years since the band's inception, Ghost Iris have constantly strived to evolve and change their sound into something truly unique to them, resulting in a striking and complex blend of djent, metalcore, and tech-metal, with elements of funk thrown in for good measure. Apple of Discord is the next step in the band's sonic evolution, the culmination of the breakthroughs made over the course of the previous two albums, and serves as the benchmark for where the band are now.
Ghost Iris are often described as metalcore, but tying them to just one genre would be vastly understating the true breadth of the band's sound. Sure Apple of Discord has elements of metalcore, but over the albums ten tracks the band traverse a wide range of genres, with the best elements of each being used to create the collage that is the band's sound.
In the spirit of “start as you mean to go on”, the album rapidly gets off to a strong start with the records titular track and the second track 'The Devils Plaything'. The titular track that kicks the record off serves as more of a two-and-a-half minute intro to the album rather than a fully-fledged track, before transitioning seamlessly into the real meat of the album. 'The Devils Plaything' quickly sets the tone for the rest of the album with a hugely atmospheric, driving introduction, riff-heavy, screamed verses, and the tension released by the uplifting chorus sections. One of the more interesting parts of the track comes with the outro – a groove-laden riff backed by thumping drums that strongly contrasts with the rest of the track and is sure to get your head bobbing to the beat.
The album really starts coming into its own with the third track 'Final Tale'. The track bolts right out of the gate with a heavy djent guitar riffs and energetic drums, and the momentum just keeps growing from there. The track progresses like a tank flying down a mountain, with the heavy screamed verse backed by technical guitar lines that soon give way to a crushing breakdown, before the light at the end of the tunnel pulls you out of the brutality and into the angelic, uplifting chorus sections. 'Final Tale' is a shining example of the heights the band are capable of and showcases the many facets of the band's sound. The contrast between the brilliantly ferocious verses and breakdowns, with the shimmering highs of the vibrant chorus sections, really make this track a standout from the album.
Just past the mid-way point in the album comes a superb one-two punch with the tracks 'The Rat and the Snake' and 'Heaven Was Pure Hell'. If you needed more proof of the distinctive, multi-faceted sound that the band posses, you need look no further than these two utterly diverse tracks. Both tracks showcase two vastly different sides to the band, and how well they pull them off. 'The Rat and the Snake' is a riff-laden, complex, and savage example of the band's tactful approach to the heavier component of their sound, and confidently displays how skilled the band are within this arena. Strongly and stylistically contrasting with the preceding song, 'Heaven Was Pure Hell' comes as a more melodic, bright, and airy moment on the album. The majority of the track is made up of metalcore-tinged clean vocals and radiant, uplifting chorus sections. Both of these tracks exhibit two very different gears that the band have, and demonstrates just how proficient and well-versed the band are in multiple genres.
Whether you like djent, metalcore, or more technical branches of the metal tree, you will no doubt find something to enjoy within Apple of Discord. Very rarely does a band blend so many elements from a wide range of genres and that outcome is something as refined, coherent, and utterly brilliant as this. In the few short years since the band's inception, Ghost Iris have carved out their own space within the scene and developed a sound that is truly something to behold. Apple of Discord is indicative of a band that have settled well into their rhythm and showcases the band at their very best.
Apple Of Discord is out February 22nd via Long Branch Records