Like most rehabilitated metal bands seeking alternate avenues of emotional expression, Finland's Ghost Brigade have traded in wanton aggression for inconsolable melancholia, a move that obviously won't sit well with those for whom the mosh pit is the be-all and end-all, but will surely appeal to metalheads of similarly dejected disposition. Or so it would seem, given the band's rising public profile coming into album number three, 2011's Until Fear No Longer Defines Us, another study in contrasts, pitting gothic atmospheres with doom tempos and latent death metal ferocity. This is no hopelessly self-loathing suicide trip, though. In fact, despite their typically morose subject matter, songs like "Divine Act of Lunacy," "Grain," and "Cult of Decay" (all of them occasionally reminiscent of mid-period Paradise Lost) boast the occasionally uplifting passage. Others, such as all-acoustic opener "In the Woods" and prolonged denouement "Soulcarvers" (shades of Metallica's early-‘90s ballads here) barely overdrive the band's Marshall stacks. But whatever the guise, frontman Manne Ikonen's restrained singing and not-too-brutal growling -- neither dull nor overly histrionic -- manage to spare them from unnecessarily corny goth rock drama. This consigns the album's abundant metallic quotient to the likes of "Clawmaster" (a doom-paced post-metal affair evocative of Finland's own Cult of Luna), "Breakwater" (more of the same on an epic, truly awesome scale), "Traces of Liberty," and "Torn" (these two being proper melodic death/doom barnburners). All in all, Until Fear No Longer Defines Us is rarely very original, since numerous bands, from Swallow the Sun to Rapture, have wandered some of these same gloomy labyrinths within Finland's borders alone; but it's also never less than meticulously delivered and often downright enchanting -- if, again, you happen to be partial to these gloriously depressing sounds. Ghost Brigade may have to show some sort of evolution come album number four, but this should do quite well for now.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia