Ghost Iris - Blind WorldTo me, there’s no music genre entirely without merit. Hardcore? Give me some Counterparts, please. Hip hop? Aesop Rock is my jam. Emo? I’ll rock out to Taking Back Sunday like it’s 2005 and I need something playing in the background while I apply eyeliner for my Myspace profile pic. Djent? Now that’s a tricky one. In recent years the genre has largely taken metalcore’s place as the go-to whipping boy for online metalheads, and not without good reason. For someone who was there back in 2011 for the six months when the genre was actually cool, the torrent of weedlin’ and palm-muted chugs the style has shat out since has, frankly, all started to sound the fucking same. I don’t care what happened After the Burial or what’s behind the Veil of Maya. The perfect djent song has already been written — it’s called “Letter Experiment,” and Periphery wrote it for their debut album back in 2010. If every djent song aspired to be “Letter Experiment,” I might have a higher opinion of the genre. As it is, we’re stuck with syncopation ad nauseam and a complete lack of anything resembling interesting songwriting.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s review. Formed in 2015, Ghost Iris released debut Anecdotes of Science and Soul that same year before becoming — according to the quartet’s promo blurb — “the most streamed Danish metal act of 2016.” Blind World is the band’s “complex and funk-inspired” sophomore release. Does it djent? Oh, it djents. It djents from the obligatory fade-in of “Gods of Neglect” right to the final chugs before the ambient outro of “Detached.” Anyone who’s paid any attention to the genre in the past five years knows exactly what to expect here: spindly melodies, a mix of harsh and clean vocals, and a cleanly picked interlude with voice-overs about cosmic insignificance (see the title track). And of course, those repetitive staccato rhythms, blended with some diddly licks to add a little pizzazz to things.

Is World a repetitive 37 minutes? Absolutely. After third track “The Flower of Life,” you’ve pretty much heard everything this album has to offer, and there’s still seven more songs to go. By record’s end, the aforementioned diddlin’ and chuggin’ becomes all too similar, not to mention the recycled clean vocal lines in late-album tracks like “After the Sun Sets.” Likewise, the spotless production, while fitting the record’s mechanical and modern feel, is loud enough that my ears start to tune things out early — though repeat listens convinced me I’m not missing much anyway.

Ghost Iris 2017

Still, it’s not all bad. Early highlight “Save Yourself” bursts right in with a soaring, reach-for-the-sky bout of clean vocals which remind me of the better moments off Periphery’s second album.1 In fact, vocalist Jesper Vicencio does a decent job in general considering he performs both the clean and harsh vocals — even if his rasps sound core-ish and remind me of Aphyxion, of all things.2 There are also a few twists in the second half that prevent things from getting totally stale, including the gleaming sustained notes of “Time Will Tell,” the soft clean chords interspersed with the chugging of “The Silhouette,” and the charging riffs of aforementioned “Sun Sets.” Some clean picking is occasionally layered in the mix as well, which makes things feel busy and a bit more interesting.

Yet in whole, World is merely a refined djent album that falls victim to all the genre’s common pitfalls. The rhythms, riffs, and tracks are numbingly repetitive, and the songs never feel like they climax or go anywhere. This isn’t a bad album or even a particularly disappointing one, it’s just one of those records that bob along with a pleasant and slick polish yet fails to produce anything particularly notable or original. Hardcore djentlemen may find more to like with Ghost Iris — for me, I’ll stick with my eyeliner and Taking Back Sunday, thank you very much.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Long Branch Records
Websites: ghostiris.bandcamp.comfacebook.com/ghostiris
Releases Worldwide: February 17th, 2017

Show 2 footnotes

  1. And maybe their later stuff, but that was the last one I actually listened to.
  2. Must be something in that Denmark water.

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  • Piet
    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      LOOKS LIKE JEEBUS DROPPED A DEUCE. ABOVE THE RIM!

    • AndySynn

      Who wore it better?!?

    • This makes no sense atoll.

      • DrewMusic

        You don’t sea what they did there?

  • DrewMusic

    Meh… Uneven Structure, Vildjharta, Tesseract and Astraeus are the only djent bands I can even stand by this point. Djent has some cool elements to it and is stupidly fun to play on guitar, but those 4 are the only ‘djent bands’ that wrote well-crafted, intelligent and intense albums IMO. This, too, is not sans merit, but the djenre is todays nü metal, taking a few specific tricks and beating them to death in an unsustainable state of constant rehashing. If it djents, it probably doesn’t albumoftheyear.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Earthside. Better than all of those bands combined; “A Dream In Static” was the best metal release of 2015. It wasn’t my AOTY but it was easily more impressive than anything I heard from any genre that year bar Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington. If I wasn’t such a tech-death and folk head (Ad Nauseam and Wilderun took the cake), it EASILY would have been my AOTY for metal in 2015.

      • DrewMusic

        I dug the fuck out of the artistic direction of A Dream but it just didn’t do it for me. Admittedly, I like my music darker than not and that played a factor with them, but ultimately it djust didn’t do it for me. And I suppose I’ll just hand in my metal snob card now, but Kendrick Lamar can do no wrong. Well, relatively little wrong.

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          Understandable. Hardly a metal snob card; I just blatantly jacked off a prog album lmao. Yea, Good Kid and TPaB are practically perfect really.

      • Reese Burns

        I didn’t really classify them as djent, but yeah, fantastic album.

      • brutal_sushi

        Earthside is great… but I have to give it to Uneven Structure. Also being far, if you put “Februus” side by side to “A Dream In Static”, they are two different beasts

        • DrewMusic

          Seconded, this opinion is now fact.
          For reals, though, Februus 00000d its way into the little black hole in my heart that used to house Lateralus and took the fuck over. Shit, 8 is spectacular, and when you take into consideration that it’s essentially a restructuring of their riff recycle bin, that’s just strong band work no matter what genre you call home. I hate calling them a djent band since every other djent band djust sucks, but those uneven bastards certainly know how to make a killer album.

          • brutal_sushi

            La Partition drops April 21th my dood!!!

          • DrewMusic

            Thou hast made mine day. I’d pretty much given up after Funambule turned 1, that’s now the only specific album I’m presently looking forward to this year. There will be more, but they’ll all be by bands I’ve never heard of til AMG enlightens me.

          • Drew Music

            Man… am I a bad person for being as underwhelmed by Crystal Teeth as I am? I’m hoping it will function better as part of the album, as opposed to a stand-alone playing, but currently I feel cheated and dirty.

          • brutal_sushi

            I haven’t listened to it. I’m trying to stay away from hearing anything and just listen to the whole album when it drops. I did however just read that, according to the band “Crystal Teeth belongs to the brighter end of the album’s spectrum, revealing the most rock impregnated riffs we’ve got there.” I wonder if they released Crystal Teeth to off set what Funambule might represent the heavier side of them…

          • Drew Music

            It’s not outright bad, and that certainly seems like an apt summary of it, but so far as a stand-alone track it’s not doing it for me. I’m still excited for La Partition, I knew it couldn’t be another Februus no matter what, I do hope the musical grounds of Crystal Teeth don’t comprise the majority of La Partitions territory though.

    • HeWhoKnowsAll

      Uneven Structure makes me laugh.

  • David D.

    The Amanuensis by Monuments is my favorite djent album. TesseracT’s Altered State combines djent with some interesting atmospheric prog stuff. I’m excited to hear the rest of this album

  • Reese Burns

    I can list off tons of good metalcore bands that write excellent, interesting music. Djent though? I can’t think of even one band I’m really interested in. Nothing against the genre on principal, just never heard anything that I’ve been into.

    • Lord Lucan

      I have a lot of time for After the Burial. If you can grit your teeth and ignore the brick wall production, Wolves Within is really enjoyable. Not sure if they’re considered proper djent anymore though. I lost track of the defining criteria long ago.

      • Reese Burns

        I’ll have to check em out, but I’ll admit I’m going in a bit biased, not expecting to do a 180 with my opinion, but I’ll give em a listen.

    • HairyToeKnuckles

      No Meshuggah love, at least? Really?

      • Reese Burns

        Are Meshuggah considered djent? I was under the impression that they were accepted as a technical death metal band, and that djent was sort of a twisting of their sound. I take back what I said, if I’m wrong though, since I enjoy some quality Meshuggah.

        • HairyToeKnuckles

          Well, their later stuff is definitely djent. Koloss, Obzen, Nothing, etc all amazing albums. Their latest, for me anyways, is just ok.

          I’m no classification aficionado by any sense, but djent would be one genre I’d put them firmly in–if not the ambassadors of said style.

          • Thatguy

            Meshuggah ain’t djent. Nothing about them is diddly.

        • mtlman1990

          Its there genre.

          • HeWhoKnowsAll

            Meshuggah is Meshuggah, djent is a genre born of the desire to imitate Meshuggah.

        • DrewMusic

          My two cents would put Meshuggah being djent to be as fair a statement as ‘Black Sabbath are (I won’t ‘were,’ I won’t!) doom metal.’ I for one don’t view ones responsibility for the other as inherently damning them to arbitrarily belonging to the same family, but I can understand how (th)all things djent end up finding their way to Meshuggah.
          That being said, Meshuggah are better than djent, djesus, you, me, and erbody else who made it this far into the rant. Pretty much all things djent, and every non Clear album Periphery track ever, are filler. I phased out by 2013 after thalling it up for a few sweet years, I don’t take it or anything I said back.

        • naoto

          Avant-garde metal. Absolutely.

        • HeWhoKnowsAll

          Proto djent lol. No, Meshuggah is simply just Meshuggah.

      • I’d rather listen to Meshuggah than all of those chugga+boy band vocal acts, but I still don’t consider them a good band. Everything Meshuggah does sounds the same to me.

    • mtlman1990

      Cloudkicker

    • brutal_sushi

      Please give Uneven Structure a listen. They are one of the the few “Djent” bands that, I believe, transcend the genre.

      • Reese Burns

        I’ll give em a listen as well. I’d be happy to have my opinion changed. Thanks for the tip!

        • DrewMusic

          If you’re gonna check them out, I strongly encourage you to do so properly, from the first track of Februus til Finale fades out. Add a little THC and you’re on your way to having yourself a time. You recently exposed me to a bunch of killer black metal, I wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction.

          • Reese Burns

            Thanks man, I’m gonna make sure to go into it with the right mindset!

    • I have a friend that loves Periphery. I try to avoid talking about Periphery so as to not offend him.

    • Diego Molero

      Inmazes by Vola is a pretty cool album. Not great, but worth a listen or two. (And I hate djent.)

      • Reese Burns

        I’m not sure if it was just me not looking hard enough, oraybe the bands were so obscure I’d never heard of them before, but I’ve had a lot of really good djent music recommended to me here. I’ll definitely give it a listen, thanks for the heads-up!

        • Diego Molero

          Can’t blame you for not looking hard enough, djent really is boring basically always. And my pleasure!

      • GrandmasterB

        Inmazes was one of my AOTY contenders for 2016. As repetitive as some of the guitar riffs are, the vocal hooks carry the album and make every song memorable.

  • Lord Lucan

    What would be your go-to crunkcore choice Mark? I’ve been thinking of dabbling but don’t know where to start.

  • Lord Lucan

    I used to be of the opinion that there was no such thing as a legitimately bad genre as well. Then I discovered crunkcore.

    • Reese Burns

      You know what, I genuinely believe that every genre has a right to exist, so long as someone out there is enjoying it, and that there’s potential for great music in every genre. Except that. Never that.

      • DrewMusic

        Never heard of it and have zero desire to change that. However, I agree about equal rights for genres so much that I’m willing to posit that it would be entirely possible to create… to create…
        Jesus, it’s tough to willingly use the phrase ‘a good crunkcore song.’
        But I think it could be done, if only ironically, like via talented musicians utilizing the nuances of the (barf) genre set to intelligent lyrics deliberately shitting on the partially aforementioned aural abortion. Like, I feel dirty having commited to any of those words, but my conscience is at peace. I maintain that if there’s a way of making songs, there’s a way to make those songs well. It doesn’t happen basically ever, but a lad can dream.

        • Reese Burns

          That’s fair enough, but bless your soul for never having heard it. I would advise you never to change that.

          • Soge

            Googling crunkcore lead me to the amazingly named “Unicorns killed my girlfriend” band, and the one song I heard was the funniest shit I heard all year.

    • I thought it was djent. Same thing to my ears.

    • Nukenado

      You tricked me into listening to brokeNCYDE.
      You are a horrible, horrible person.

  • Norfair Legend

    Sounds like the dude has a pretty cool voice, just needs to apply it to something worth listening to. I feel like they just copy and pasted some random guitar noises off some cheap dollar store music program and called it a day.

    • Thatguy

      That’s diddly for you.

    • He did 1 high pitched scream late in the track that impressed me. Otherwise, meh. Next.

  • Thatguy

    The embedded song is not good. It got diddly very quickly. Diddly is going to be my word of the day – thanks MZ.

  • naoto

    College metal?

  • R.Daneel Olivaw
  • Marc Rikmenspoel

    I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what Djent is. Everything I’ve ever read about it suggests I wouldn’t like it. This song is awful, at least for my taste, but I’m 46 and have invested years in seeking out tunage that captures epic qualities. Ghost Iris seem entirely free of any hint of the epic. I guess I’m too old to listen to kids trying to sound edgy. I’m going back to the Evilfeast I turned down to play that sample.

    • DrewMusic

      Ótta by Sólstafir may be the most epic thing ever recorded, and if ya don’t know, now ya know.

      • Marc Rikmenspoel

        I’ve listened to Sólstafir some, in the last year. They’re good, but not my favorite. Moonsorrow are still my benchmark for epic and blackened.

    • It’s just a very particular guitar riff style. My main gripe with bands that stay within this genre is that there is very fucking little you can do with that sort of riff, so it gets boring in seconds. Djent type riffs can be great on their own, but as the fondation of a whole genre, it’s the pits.

      • Marc Rikmenspoel

        Thanks, that makes sense.

  • Innit Bartender

    Still, nice cover art…

  • This kind of thing is starting to sound so samey I’m wondering if they all use the same sample CD. It’s my new tin foil hat conspiracy theory = no band of this style has ever written any actual music. What the purpose of this conspiracy is, I haven’t figured out. Chicks don’t care about this kind of thing. Only guys who binge on WOW do.

  • Planex

    I’m not a huge fan of diddlecore, but I could definitely go for some more skronkcore

  • PanzerFistDominatrix

    Djentrification is always a bummer… Guy on the right, I can’t see his pants but for sure they’re tight as fuck. Most likely owns a fixie bike and a Macbook.

  • Aguy

    The only djent I could ever stand was instrumental djent. The vocals kill it for my every time.

  • a glass o’ milk

    I think this record has precisely one really good track, “Save Youself”, which is the only track, that can be described as an actual song with memorable hooks, vocals and melodies, with the riffing not being too obnoxious. The rest is Djent as cluttered and boring as these albums come.

  • HeWhoKnowsAll

    The songs don’t “climax”? Which album have you been listening to?

  • HeWhoKnowsAll

    Calling this band djent is insulting. Ain’t no one trying to copy Meshuggah here, and other than some of the tones and techniques he uses, this is NOWHERE as reductive as djent. This dude still knows how to play guitar, and this band knows how to write songs that aren’t just cheap Meshuggah rips (like every fucking djent band)