HGR CD Review: Ghost Of War

GHOST OF WAR – ONLY DEATH IS REAL (no label) Since their formation in 2010, Gettysburg’s Ghost Of War has made their presence felt on the mid-Atlantic metal and rock scene, performing at several major festivals and serving as backing band during recent East Coast tour swings by Metal Church singer Ronnie Munroe and Anthrax’s Neil Turbin. Ghost Of War’s debut CD, Only Death Is Real, presents their terse statement of purpose; mixing classic, power and thrash metal fireworks through nine songs. Guitarist Thane Farace, bassist Gary Daniels and drummer Jim Mathis provide the instrumental thunder and aggression behind singer Ronnie Peterson, who combines full-bodied vocal power and range with a savage bark. Following the introductory doomsday interlude “This Is Not a Test,” Ghost Of War lays down the law with rampaging Slayer-ish power metal on the title track disc-opener “Only Death Is Real” and the multi-speed “Heaven’s Burning,” and they also turn up the aggression during “Falling into Eternity” and “Absolute Nothing.” The group recalls classic Ronnie Dio-era Black Sabbath with darker-toned rockers like “Beautiful Lies” and “Future of the Past,” and conjures an Ozzy-like acoustic-geared ballad on “She.” Ghost Of War also gives power metal makeovers to two classics, their hammering take on The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s 1968 hit “Fire,” and a full-throttled rendition of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band” to slam the exclamation point on the disc. The performances are tight and powerful with the band clicking on all cylinders, and Peterson exudes a commanding voice and presence throughout the disc. The mix is balanced and full, and enables Ghost Of War to show their teeth and sharp edge. Ghost Of War connects with the jaw on Only Death Is Real, as they tap traditional classic and power metal influences and integrate them into a brash and bold direction all their own. (The CD can be obtained through the group’s website, www.ghostofwararmy.com.)