Review: Ghost Season – Like Stars in a Neon Sky

Ghost Season describe themselves as an alternative metal band from Athens, Greece. When I discovered the band was from Athens it started to make a whole lot of sense to me. I have previously mentioned that Greece has a cracking metal scene at the moment but regardless of the genre there, for me, is almost a Greek sound that I hear and I suppose feel through these different releases. It can best be described as a soulfulness, a deepness of thought that a lot of these bands seem to have in common. This melancholy, feeling of longing and sense of belonging is addictive and helps make Like Stars in a Neon Sky a record that is not just great musicianship and catchy songs but also a record that speaks to you.

We first featured Ghost Season as our band of the day in October 2014 following the release of their debut EP. Mosh was very impressed with the range of songs and pointed out Ghost Season as a band to watch for in the future. It seems to have taken a while for the debut album to arrive but it does not disappoint and what is immediately apparent is the thought and care that has gone into every aspect of this debut. From the album cover to the ebb and flow of the album, the dynamics and soundscapes they have introduced makes for a cohesive piece of work. Atmospheric, epic, heavy at times and oozing that soulfulness which will seep into you as you listen. It’s hard to immediately find any comparisons to give you an idea of the feel of Like Stars in a Neon Sky but if you think of Trivium and their ilk with even more melody you would not be far wrong.

That atmosphere is created with the intro song “The Reckoning” followed by the excellent “Sons of Yesterday”. “The Reckoning” is an ambient, almost space travel like soundscape, finger picked opening. Regular readers will know I love this type of thing, I think soundscape songs really help create dynamics on an album and help create an expansive and cohesive piece of art. This is really telling when “Sons of Yesterday” kicks in. The contrast is stark, dynamic and exciting. The drums are militaristic and constant, the riffs come in hard yet the intro has already put you into a certain mindset. So despite the rockiness of the track you can instantly hear the subtlety of the music, the depth and vastness and the sadness that infiltrates all these tracks. Add to that a pretty cracking, full band chanted chorus and you have the perfect opening to the album.

“Break My Chains” is a standout track on the album so I was not surprised to discover it had been the first single released. Again, it has this perfect mix of melodic metal. The bass and guitars are crunchy, funky even and the solos metal but the vocals saturate the track with a melancholy, dipped with optimism that are captivating whilst at the same time cementing that cohesiveness of the album. Its almost hard to put into words what it is that entraps you with this track, but through this song and the album the dynamics are used not just to create light and dark but to really push the catchiness of certain riffs, solos and small breaks that make you want to listen to this again and again.

I almost want to tell you about every track on this album. The next track “War of Voices” is ballad like but certainly is a very good hard rock tune. Again, the layered voices and group involvement carry the lyrical content. It is an incredibly catchy track, thoughtful and carried throughout by some sublime guitar solo work. But, it is the double headed “The Highway Pt I” and “The Highway Pt II” I wanted to discuss next. They sit right bang in the middle of the album and are a great focus point. To give an idea of the sound of these two songs I would reference …And Justice For All era Metallica the vocals actually sound like James Hetfield at times. Part I has a picked, slow and brooding acoustic intro before the song picks up with some pretty heavy riffs on Part II. These two songs stand tall and do not in any way pale in comparison to Metallica.

A couple more songs on the album that stand out and are worth a mention are “Just a Lie” and “The Mirror. “Just A Lie” is a more ballad style song, again perhaps a little bit more hard rock but it is these moments on the album that stand out for me. “The Mirror” in contrast is at the other end of the heaviness scale for Ghost Season but if you cut this song in half you would see the same soulfulness running through this song as the whole album like a piece of  Blackpool Rock.

It is always an honour at Moshville Times to be able to support bands at all times throughout their careers and Ghost Season we have had the honour of seeing blossom from their first EP, which we were already pretty excited about, to this their debut full player. This is a band that oozes class, talent and that rare nugget that all bands ultimately aspire to: an identity, all Ghost Season. If you like your metal melodic and want to lose yourself in the soul of an album then Like Stars in a Neon Sky, will not leave your record player for some time to come.

Like Stars in a Neon Sky is out now

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