Saturday, February 28, 2015

Black Metal History Month: Ghost Bath's "Moonlover"

Asian metal has been more miss than hit with me, these guys how ever are pretty dark and I would say with all the Deafheaven comparisons , that  they are darker than Deafheaven.The shoe gaze element seems to be set against more depressive black metal. The opening "Golden Number" uses more synths and piano than "Sunbather" had as an entire album.On "Happyhouse" the band makes it even clearer that the depressive elements are more important to them than the shoe -gazing. The drill into the blasting section with their drummer attacking with with more feral precision than Deafheaven.

The crystalline ringing of "Beneath the Shade Trees" guitars is darkly beautiful , though it is just an interlude that gives some breathing room before the first part of "the Sliver Tree". From this point on the album takes a turn away from more vocal centered music into atmosphere and ambiance being the emphasis and dragging you along for a melodic hypnosis before the blast beats kick you off the cliff. Single screams accent the doomy staccato build up the second part of the Sliver Tree goes into. When this riff begins it's triumphant gallop into the octave chords and sonic build the vocals are left behind, until they resurface later this time buried so low in the mix that I didn't catch them until my second listen. The kick of the cliff at the end of this one the vocals come back in for anguished cries, whines and blubbering gurgles.These are soon cascaded over by a the blatantly melodic guitar melody.

The final song "Death and the Maiden"takes a more metal approach. The guitar continues on with the in your face melodies as the drums take a mid-paced pound over the howling vocals which die down along with the intensity when the blast beat comes. This is a pretty cool effect for the drums to hit the blast beat and then every one else backs off and wanders around it. The guitars melodies almost seem to bright for black metal on this one. i normally need more dissonance in my black metal, but these guys have opened the floodgates for cool accents so it's hard to argue against it. The most Deafheaven moment of the whole album comes in the final big build of the song. The guitar melody almost sounds like it would be from the big clean sung chorus of a Killswitch Engage song, it's the whistling synth that sounds like the theme from the X-files that balances that part out and redeems the song.

I'll give this album a 9.5 as I like when they are playing the actual songs , some of the more ambient interludes eat up time better spent screaming at me. If you think Deafheaven sold out by playing Bonnaroo (you might not be wrong) , here is a band that has yet to do that and can fill that space in your heart, they are not just melancholy and introspective , but wallowing in their beautiful misery.

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