Ghost Iris

support Embracing Sickness
author PP date 20/02/15 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN

It's Friday night and Ghost Iris are about to release their debut album "Anecdotes Of Science & Soul" next week. To celebrate the occasion, they've elected to play a release party show free of charge at KB18. They'll be playing the entire album from front of back as an introduction of sorts to their admirably large following, which has come as a result of successful singles and powerful live performances in the Copenhagen underground over the past year or two. Free Jägermeister is being handed out to early arrivals, before Embracing Sickness hit the stage pretty much exactly at 9pm as promised on the Facebook event.

Embracing Sickness

Embracing Sickness

Though I've heard the name Embracing Sickness mentioned a few times, this is my first time experiencing the band in any context. Pay attention now so you don't make the same mistake as I did not checking them out earlier: their brand of melodic hardcore follows along similar patterns as The Ghost Inside, Hundredth and others like them, meaning plenty of lingering guitar lines, uplifting passages, polyrhythmic melodies, and great songwriting to go with it. On stage, the band's energy is infectious. They jump around frantically, often crashing into each other, creating a sense of urgency and immediacy to their performance as they passionately air songs both old and new to a dedicated group of fans going crazy up front. Already on second song "The Likes Of You" they have most of the crowd convinced, but as soon as their vocalist Tue Roikjer opens his mouth we're all sold. This is probably the nicest guy you've ever heard fronting a band playing this style of music, sending waves of positivity and love our way at every chance with a charismatic and down-to-earth, cozy approach to in-between song banter. He's sporting a huge smile on his face throughout the performance, which just makes the band's performance ever more likable. The guitarists, when they aren't busy headbanging and bouncing up and down the stage, are showcasing impressive two-handed fretwork during the technical passages. In general, the band look like they really believe in their material, which is what makes their set extremely convincing. Make sure you check this band out, they will be all over the place when their debut album lands later this year.

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Ghost Iris

Ghost Iris

Having spent intensive weeks listening and analyzing Ghost Iris' debut album, I knew ahead of time they were going to have a couple of challenges ahead of them. One, the incredibly crisp and crystal clear production of the record, which allows for an excruciating level of detail when listening on headphones, was going to be a question mark in a live environment especially at KB18 where the echoes of the venue sometimes cause problems for heavier bands. Two, given the complexity of the material, it requires multiple active listens before the songs start growing on you properly; they're certainly not suited for experiencing them live for the first time. On both counts, the band do their best to alleviate concerns but predictably can't control the slightly muddy sound where the vocals often drown the guitar intricacies underneath them throughout the night, nor the lackluster crowd atmosphere given the first time ever experience with the songs that tonight represents.

As a result, the crowd appears a little bit confused most of the time, except when we reach songs on the record which have previously been released as singles. "Phalanx", for instance, sounds extremely good live with Jesper Gün's strained clean vocals landing spot on and causing havoc in the crowd up front. Still, some of the more groovy tracks like "Parallel Passage" see the crowd two-stepping enthusiastically to the friendly but punishing djent grooves that the track has to offer. But the majority of the time, the crowd seems a little impatient in letting the songs in with someone even shouting "play something we know" at one point at the band.

Ghost Iris

At the same time, Ghost Iris look comparatively less energetic on stage than the chaos of Embracing Sickness moments earlier. They're probably slightly nervous as this is the first time the songs are being played live; vocalist Jesper forgets the titles of the songs he's about to announce at least twice during the set. The rest of the band feels a little bit shy as well, and I'm not sure why. But again, as with a lot of djent, the first listen, especially live, is always difficult. A few months from now this will be an entirely different song when people have had a chance to familiarize themselves with the album a little better. Tonight, Ghost Iris doesn't capture the crowd the same way as Embracing Sickness did, despite delivering the songs in a tight, mistake-free manner throughout the set. Let's check up on them in the near future again to see visible improvement, I'm sure.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Dreamless State
  • 2. Influx
  • 3. Phalanx
  • 4. Immaculate
  • 5. Dream Catching A Nightmare
  • 6. Magenta Pt. 1; Perfect Symbiosis
  • 7. Magenta Pt. 2; Astral Projection
  • 8. Parallel Passage
  • 9. Euphoric State
  • 10. Everlasting Bliss

Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

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