Ghost Iris - Anecdotes Of Science & Soul - (8.5/10)
Published on March 4, 2015
Anecdotes Of Science & Soul, the debut release from location’s Ghost Iris, is the album I wish Monuments had released last year, and in many ways the one I was looking for in the two released by Periphery earlier this one.
When Monuments first hit the scene in 2012 with their own debut Gnosis, and then-vocalist (name), it was immediately propelled to the forefront of what I consider to be the apex of the (then-blossoming) djent genre. On that record, the British quintet showed such a firm grasp of everything the djent style was capable of and suited to, and combined this prowess too with a firm grasp of memorable and interesting songwriting. Heavier than Periphery and more accessible than Vildhjarta – Gnosis represented the pinnacle of what the genre could achieve, and remains an outstanding example, and my favorite release of its kind, to this day.
Their sophomore effort, which saw Monuments replace vocalist Matt Rose with former Periphery frontman name, although an outstanding and consummate effort in its own right, just didn’t grab me in the same way and still doesn’t, landing it as (rather undeservedly) one of my biggest disappointments of 2014. The same can be said of Periphery’s newly released Juggernaut, which though and album(s) I quite enjoy, simply lacks the immediacy and kick of their last two releases (the highly underrated Clear EP and the phenomenal Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal – the objective and rightful holder of the best djent record title). Anecdotes Of Science & Soul, on the other hand, seems a worthy continuation of what those two trailblazing bands carved out with those awe-inspiring records.
Right from the get-go, “Dreamless State” shows such a proficient and captivating understanding of what djent is and can be that it’s hard to think that the newfangled Ghost Iris could possibly keep this sort of quality up for their debut’s entire duration but they succeed despite the odds. “Phalanx” and “Magenta Pt. 2: Astral Projection” resemble Periphery at their best, while “Influx” and “Parallel Passage” are heavier numbers, littered with Meshuggahisms, that explore the deeper end of the genre, previously fleshed out by Vildhjarta. Ghost Iris’s resemblences aren’t limited to their immediate sphere of influences however. “Euphoric” brings to mind metalcore pioneers Misery Signals, with Jasper (no last name given)’s vocals in particular sharing a similar vocal tone with that of Karl Schubach, which similarity temporarily lends Ghost Iris the emotional wight of that band.
If there’s one major drawback to Anecdotes Of Science & Soul it’s that the record lacks that one or two really big tracks that stick with you well after the record’s conclusion. For all their deft songwriting and progressive focus, Ghost Iris are yet to produce the equivalent of a “The Walk,” “Dagger,” “Admit Defeat” or “Doxa,” even if many of their Songs, particularly “Dreamless State” and the record’s later tracks, come strikingly close.
Ghost Iris more than make up for this shortcoming, however, by remaining focused in their delivery and consistently accessible, without ever once loosing sight of their ultimate, progressive, goal. They might not have the technical flash of Periphery but by approaching djent from a post-metalcore songwriting standpoint Ghost Iris are more able to clearly communicate their valuable take on the given sound while retaining enhancing its melodic aspect and progressive song structures. This is one record that I revisited a lot before publishing; I kept thinking it can’t really be this good, can it? It is. Anecdotes Of Science & Soul is a remarkably accomplished record that constitutes one of the finest djent releases to date.