Ghost Bath - Self Loather (2021)


As a huge fan of the band’s first two releases, the band continues to struggle to find a new identity. With “Starmourner” things seemed to be going well as it had great ideas and solid songs, however, “Self Loather” seems a bit too sparse and while it has some fine moments, the band sounds too much like others in those slivers of home. For over 45 minutes we get a mixture of old-Ghost Bath and some odd new elements thrown into the mix, creating an interesting release in some parts, but mostly average.

Starting strongly with “Convince Me to Bleed”, we get a blistering opening with crushing drums, punishing harsh vocals, and soaring guitars similar to Deafheaven’s pre-2021 releases. With a darker atmosphere, “Hide from the Sun” is an interesting piece with a certain sinister sound that we enjoyed. On the other side, “Shrines of the Bone” and “Sanguine Mask” mix long instrumental and minimalist sections with average heavy onslaughts.

The release starts getting interesting and a bit different as the end of “A Crystal Lattice” comes around and with the mid-tempo tremolo-picking aggression of “Sinew and Vein”, which has a nice doomy and more melancholic edge. After the dramatic piano of “I Hope Death Finds Me Well”, the release continues to descend into darker and more promising territories with the excellent “For it is a Veil” and the more introspective “Unbearable”.

Closing the release we have the formulaic “Flickering Wicks of Black” which emulates some of the band’s earlier glories but feels a bit flat. Overall, there are some solid moments in this release but also a few clunkers. While we still enjoy the band’s sound and execution, the album seems a bit lost in trying to find a consistent path. Trying to stay away from the Deafheaven comparisons is a hard thing to achieve while keeping Ghost Bath interesting and engaging, there are a few moments that showcase some light at the end of the tunnel, but the band is still a bit aimless.

Band: Ghost Bath Album: Self Loather

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Release: October 29th, 2021

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Genre: Depressive/Post-Black Metal

Country: USA

Rating: 82/100

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