American prog trio Ghost Ship Octavius went ahead and tossed out their self titled debut album back in 2015, and have since kept teasing a follow up. Backed by private kickstarter patrons, said follow up is finally arrived. Titled Delirium, it is in every aspect a stronger effort than the first album, even though it doesn’t carry the same dramatically emotional highs. A more moderate effort, Delirium showcases first and foremost restraint from the members three, in songwriting, musicianship and how the album came to be. Not released until the result was deemed absolutely finished, the album presents a formidable darkly progressive metal album in the vein of Nevermore (well duh) and the likes, while carrying on the sound introduced on its predecessor. The band consists of drummer Van Williams (ex- Nevermore, ex- Ashes of Ares) and guitarists Matt Wicklund (ex- Armageddon) and Adon Fanion, the latter also doing vocals.
While the latter two deliver some great parts, the guitar sound and the riffing doesn’t carry the same lethal venom as before. Still, it’s potent and delivered with a laid back sense of purpose, while never taking the upper hand or showing off. Solos in Chosen and Turned To Ice are sweet and emotive, with Williams’ drums laying meaty ground work for the melodic flow to enlight. Admittedly, a track or two is somewhat lackluster and added as padding, but mostly, the guitar work of Wicklund and Fanion on Delirium is a thing of laid back beauty. They deliver hard trimmed riffing straight out of hell in parts of Saturnine and Ghost In The Well, and softly toned melodics in parts of the meaty title track or Edge Of Time. The inclusion, but not overuse, of keyboards as an accent piece also adds another dimension to the already deep and versatile scope. The drums have a solid sound to them, fleshy and vibrant, giving Williams’ input a more organic sound than on the debut, which was slightly canny. Fanions vocals feel restrained, but colorful and bursting at the seams with passion; choruses such as in Chosen or Edge Of Time deliver with a heartfelt slap.
Delirium is a more moderate piece than the first album, going the length to present a wholly stable listening experience, that’s just as fresh at the start as it is when it closes. Whereas the previous album was heavy with dark melodics and a progpower tinge, Delirium is instead built on a progressive foundation with progressive fillings. Opening track Turned To Ice is at first glance not your typical opener; while most of the album deals predominantly in mid paced tracks, Turned To Ice feels even slower at times, but the melody in Fanion’s voice is undeniable as the striking chorus, delivered with ample emotion, hits hard. The piece that is missing, is that burst of untamable energy (listen to In Dreams from the debut) to stand out and deliver all with a massive burst; Delirium holds back, and while in the majority of the album it is a good thing, as a whole it… lacks. Still, the emotion put on display, coupled with the musicianship and above solid songwriting makes Delirium a must hear in this year’s prog metal output.
Standout tracks: Turned To Ice, Saturnine, Chosen, Edge Of Time