Originally labeled as a mysterious Chinese outfit, Ghost Bath has taken the Depressive Black Metal/Post-Black Metal scene by surprise since their debut release “Funeral”. The band plays very raw and emotional Black Metal that instantly transmits feelings of despair and unease, unlike any other band in the world. Fast-forward 2 years since the release of their debut album, the band turned out to be from North Dakota and their sophomore release (which is even better than the fest) is currently being re-released through Nuclear Blast in June 2016.
Having played over a thousand times “Moonlover” when it first came out in 2015, it is quite impressive to see that this release still has the same effect on us after more than a year. Opening with the mysterious atmospheric elements of “The Sleeping Fields”, the album comes wide open until the blistering “Golden Number”. In this track, we can instantly hear the band’s raw emotions explode with the harsh vocals as they perfectly contrast the intense drumming and the punishing riffs. The track nicely morphs into a very unique kind of beast when the guitar leads change the tempo and the drumming because more intricate. Comparisons to the likes of Deafheaven, Bosse-de-Nage are instantly warranted, but Ghost Bath is its own unique monster.
The bleak mood continues with the mellow “Happyhouse” and its haunting shrieks of pain. This track combines ones of the most vicious onslaughts in this whole release with lush atmospheric elements and superbly depressing melodic passages. The band nicely brings the listener down to a more peaceful tempo with the atmospheric pieces “Beneath the Shade Tree” and the dreamy “The Silver Flower pt. 1”. The slowly evolving “The Silver Flower pt. 2” punishes the listener once more with very rhythmical sections filled with powerful distorted guitars and mid-tempo drumming that suddenly morph back into catchy depressive brilliance.
Saving one of the best for last, “Death and the Maiden” perfectly completes this release. The track’s opening intensity reminds us of bands like Germ and Austere, but with the signature Ghost Bath atmosphere. The bone chilling closing will be something that will stay engrained in your psyche for the next 50 years. Overall, “Moonlover” is one hell of a release that perfectly combines melancholy and unrivaled aggression. The band has perfected their craft to deliver some of the most oppressive and disarming songs that you will ever hear, so be warned.
|Band: Ghost Bath
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release: June 10th, 2016
Genre: Depressive/Post-Black Metal