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Ice Giant - Ghost Of Humanity review

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Band: Ice Giant
Album: Ghost Of Humanity
Release date: September 2023

01. Heritage
02. Grandeval's Machine
03. Emergence
04. Serenity Of Darkness
05. Home For Eternity
06. Venthos Prime
07. Ghost Of Humanity
08. In The Maw Of Reality
09. Unification Epoch
10. Visages Of Our Past Despair
11. Legacy

And so, it is told that Boston's very own Ice Giant will save Humanity from the brink of extinction through this extreme power metal saga.

Ice Giant are a U.S.-based power metal band who formed back in 2015 and, two years later, went on to release their self-titled full-length debut Ice Giant. Six years following their debut, we're now presented with the band's second release to date: Ghost Of Humanity. There are two new members this time around: Danny Saillant (bass/vocals) and Alexander Paiva (drums), who join founding member Olive Gallop (vocals/guitars) and Eddie Shifflet (vocals/guitars). So, with this line-up, what can we expect from the power metallers' sophomore release? Now, wouldn't it be an interesting concept if this band name was taken from a fictional Ice Giant who resided on an Iced Earth — but, then again, perhaps I could just be looking too much into the rather unoriginal-sounding band title. Having said that, Ghost of Humanity is, in fact, a concept album; one which follows a tale of hope and desperation as we see the final survivors of the human race escape from Planet Earth, seeking a new home in the cosmos to save the future of the human race. 

The album features 11 tracks (including the less-than-a-minuite-long intro "Heritage") and is just shy of fifty minutes in length. The intro "Heritage" immediately begins in true power metal fashion with cosmic synth soundscapes and heavy guitar work, which, you'd expect, would set the tone nicely for what's ahead. Following the intro is the opening track "Grandeval's Machine", which begins with nothing out of the ordinary (it would seem at first). However, it isn't long before you realize this style is not just going to be typical power metal. The first thing that strikes me are the vocals, in which you'll hear an astonishing variety of styles, ranging from thrashy rasps to basic power vocals and even death growls. The vocals certainly go hand-in-hand with the instrumentation, which varies in style as well, from melodeath and thrash to general power metal, often swinging from one extreme end of the spectrum to the other. Throughout each track, the band introduces a wide range of influences from Wintersun and Atavistia to Stratovarius and even Children Of Bodom. So, definitely an unorthodox approach to power metal (if you can even call it that).

The second striking feature is the incredible usage of synths, which are expertly orchestrated by session musician Vikram Shankar. The synth and keyboard work is clearly intended for creating the album's all-impressive cosmic soundscapes, which appropriately fit into the album's pattern and structure. The riffs and solos (although not as striking as the synths, it seems) also play a vital role in the album's overall structure, from the technical thrashy leads to the melodeath style riffing, along with the cosmic fantasy-themed lyrical content (which, as I already mentioned earlier, are presented through various vocal styles). It can often be difficult to determine a single genre tag for one particular album, and that's very much the case here for Ghost Of Humanity

An example of these overlapping genres and styles is the track "In the Maw of Reality", which has a satisfying fusion of melodeath and thrash with many technical riffs and solos, complex d-beats, and menacing death growls. These are accompanied by occasional high-pitched shrieks, all whilst being heavily driven by the epic sci-fi synth work. The following track "Unification Epoch" turns to a more melodic, thrashy approach, with the riffs being less technical and catchier, and the solos also being stepped up a notch. Powerful cleans are also introduced, most notably for the striking chorus as well as for certain verses, which still make way for the occasional death growls. Just to make the structure even more interesting, the next track "Visages of Our Past Despair" is not only a fusion of both previous tracks, but a masterful blend of just about every melodic metal genre you can name under the sun. For the most part, this track is mightily close to the style of Wintersun, with some keyboard effects that are even reminiscent of Children Of Bodom, but you can also add some Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius onto the list of influences for this track as well — the same goes for most other tracks throughout the album. The final track finishes with a relative fade-out, giving the listener a strong impression that the mission is complete, and the voyage is coming to its end. But, on the grand scale, I expected more from the closing track, as I feel the whole album had been on an epic voyage, leading to some kind of grand finale.

Overall, Ghost Of Humanity is an impressive release, and those who are into the whole cosmic sci-fi setting should be pleased with how the theme turned out here. The synths are obviously what drives the album's momentum forward and can perhaps be overpowering at times. The structure in certain areas can also be tricky to follow with the amount of genre fusions and complex instrumentation. But, in time, it can be rewarding for you in the end, I'm sure.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 8

Written on 14.09.2023 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 29 users
15.09.2023 - 11:49
Rating: 7

Pretty pleasant listen I gotta say, and this thing isn't normally my cup of tea. To add another (maybe more tenuous) similar sounding band, occasionally the almost "conflicting" melodies between vocals and music reminds me of In Mourning.
15.09.2023 - 12:52
Rating: 7
A Nice Guy
Written by Druss on 15.09.2023 at 11:49

Pretty pleasant listen I gotta say, and this thing isn't normally my cup of tea. To add another (maybe more tenuous) similar sounding band, occasionally the almost "conflicting" melodies between vocals and music reminds me of In Mourning.

Yes, there's definitely a hint of In Mourning too, good shout

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