Thursday, March 9, 2017
Ghost Bath : " Starmourner"
After "Moonlover" came out the internet got black panties in a wad due to the mix up or deception as to where these guys are from. I the process they might have forgotten how good that album was. With "Starmourner" there is no mention of geo-graphics, the focus is just music. The album opens with a piano piece before going into the first song "Seraphic". Once again the band instills a more mainstream sense of metal into some of the guitar harmonies. Based on the first minute of the song you would not think it was black metal until the flurry of blast beats. The drumming feels more in your face on this album. The vocals are mixed back into the blur and almost more like shrieks that remind me a little of the Body. I guess this off sets the melodic guitar playing. The guitar playing steps into the spot light even further around the three minute mark with a dizzying pattern they hang onto an accelerate under.
"Ambrosial" slows it down a few degrees to allow the composition to have a greater range. I am most impress with the lock into the pounding drone of the riff at the five min mark which I think offers the kind of pay off the song needed. The go into a direction not far removed from "Moonlover" on "Ethereal". It has some of those more post-rock punches that Deafheaven uses. "Celestial" goes bigger and more majestic from here and everything clicks better for me on this song. "Angelic" kinda breezes by, but "Luminescence" is more interesting and engaging int where they guitar melodies take things. The production and layering of the guitars is a little weird. At times it sounds like guitar karaoke in how it sits so forward over the rest of the music.
Things get more aggressive for "Thrones" . All the guitar melodies remain in play and blast beats return. Here I also notice the vocals have more of a Deafheaven like growl to them and are not just shrieks. While this sound is pretty effective for them it really is not breaking any new ground, but if you like what this band does then this certainly caters to more of the black side of that equation. By the time we get to "Elysian" the songs are starting to run together with the upbeat guitar melody of this song the only thing that is making it stand out for me. "Cherubim" finds them punching with a more conventional metal tone at times.
At this point in the album it's clear they are getting the job done and delivering what their fans expect, but not really blowing me away with this. I do like when they get back into the more expansive post rock influenced melodies like the ones they dip back into for "Principalities" . It might be one of the album's best songs. It makes me think why were they not going in this direction the rest of the album. I'll give this album an 8.5 as they succeeded in doing what they needed, but I do not feel it beats out "Moonlover" . If you are a fan of the band it should however hit the spot you want it to thus lies their success.
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