GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS - American Power Metal's New Hopes Get Delirious On New Album
February 19, 2019, a month ago
I arrived at Ghost Ship Octavius' second album, Delirium, through a different path than most. For me, when I saw “ex-Himsa” being tossed around in relation to this band, I perked up and immediately put them on my priority to-listen-to list. I was stunned when the sounds on Delirium were more Evergrey than Every Time I Die, Delirium being a majestic journey through sounds that fans of bands like Pain Of Salvation or, especially, Nevermore (more on that later) will eat up. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but what a pleasant surprise, the band absolutely nailing the sound here.
“Himsa was a really fun band to be in,” says guitarist Matt Wicklund. “I think that a lot of people are surprised by the music in GSO when they learn that I was in Himsa and God Forbid. I joined both of those bands, though, after they were established and had their sound. As a songwriter, I had to do my best to keep the pre-existing vibe and also add my own flavour, which was challenging. Ghost Ship Octavius, though, is more of a pure version of my sound without any pre-existing framework to work around. Also, I am in a much different place as a person and a musician than I was during those times. I think that shows in the songs, and I am very happy that some of the fans from past bands have come along for the ride.”
What strikes me most about Delirium is the emotional heft it carries, the band really taking the listener on a moving journey with the album. It comes with the power-prog territory, but Ghost Ship Octavius really step it up a couple notches here to create an experience full of soul.
“The magic for me in music is in the emotional expression,” says Wicklund. “Whether it be something primal and angry or something touching and sad, if it makes the audience connect and feel something, that’s fantastic. I grew up listening to a lot of classical music and I felt that being drawn into the mind and emotion of the composer just by listening to the music was truly magical. It’s something that I have always striven to do and is a large part of my intention when composing songs. I also try to ignore any particular genres when writing. I love the power and tightness of heavy metal and I try to combine that with whatever emotional quality I am trying to express. I feel that Adon [Fanion, vocalist/guitarist] works in the same way, and we just try to compose songs that feel right and stand strong on their own, whatever the vibe may be. We like to be an adventurous band and like to push ourselves into a lot of different musical places in order to tell an interesting and dynamic story.”
Now, about that Nevermore connection. Wicklund played with Warrel Dane on his first solo album, and Ghost Ship Octavius drummer Van Williams played behind the kit for Nevermore for most of that band's existence (GSO has no permanent bassist at this time). While this band isn't just aping Nevermore's sound, there is an undeniable kinship between the two bands, even past the member connections. Fans of Nevermore would definitely be interested in what Ghost Ship Octavius are doing on Delirium, as it taps into the same emotional space.
“There is an undeniable connection there,” says Wicklund. “Van as a member of Nevermore being the most obvious, and I also worked on Warrel Dane’s solo album Praises To The War Machine. I spent a lot of my formative years as a musician hanging out with the Nevermore guys and I always felt that Nevermore’s music resonated with me much more than other metal bands. It was aggressive, tight, and technical but with something deeper and something darker. This is what I wanted to do with Ghost Ship Octavius, but with my own twist. The combination of myself, Van, and Adon creates something unique most definitely, but the natural combination of our styles results in something that sits very comfortably alongside Nevermore, I believe.”