Ghost Season – Like Stars in a Neon Sky
Label = Pavement Entertainment
Release date – January 2017
Ghost Season are an Athens based four piece who veer between metal and hard rock influences. Like Stars in a Neon Sky is their debut 12 track album although the band have been going since 2013.
The album starts with The Reckoning which is a fairly mellow understated introduction, the instrumentation is sparse with dulled percussive noises and harmonic notes underpinning a spoken voice sample, which talks of the potential for technology to help humanity. So far so atmospheric.
Second track Sons of Yesterday kicks thing up a notch and the band launch into some slick fretwork coupled with tight drums. The chorus has an anthemic, slightly theatrical stadium rock feel, with it’s repeated refrain of the songs title you could imagine an audience eagerly chanting along. There are shades of Trivium in the sound here.
Next up is Fade Away which progresses in much the same fashion, the instrumental parts ratcheting up into the the chorus which intersperses sung vocals with more metal influenced screams. The song has an official video which features the band hammering out a version in a darkened room, and the addition of a slightly sinister figure who seems to have accessorised with light bulbs.
As the album progresses the next two songs Break My Chains and War of Voices plough a similar furrow to the preceding songs. Midway through the album The Highway Part I and Part II change things up a bit generating an interesting dynamic between the mellower sections of part I and the more full throttle hard rock overtones of part II, which has a stellar riff to kick things off. The vocal delivery also feels a little more forceful which works well.
Of Hearts and Shadows goes for a full three and half minutes of downbeat and heartfelt acoustic sounds before things get heavier. There is a nice deployment of vocal harmony in this section, before things build up with the introduction of a lead electric guitar line. The percussion remains pretty muted throughout and the final refrain returns to the songs opening feel. This then leads into the final number on the album Break Me Shake Me. This track returns to the more familiar territory found earlier in the album, heavier breakdowns interlaced with slower ascending sections under the vocals. Once again there is the use of cutouts to just vocals, light guitar and subtle drums but much more sparingly.
This is a decent album from a band who sound confident in the music they’re making, and whilst the lyrics are a little cheesy at times it is well put together. Ghost Season are clearly interested in the dynamic of contrasting heavier parts with more understated sections, often with picked guitar rhythms, inflected with a slightly swung or spanish feel. At times this works, elsewhere it becomes a little repetitious but it does provide some variation across the tracks. There are some great riffs peppered throughout the songs and by and large they tread the line between more classic hard rock influences and melodic, metalcore inflection effectively.
Recommended track: Highway Part II