People enjoy holding grudges. Hell, many are still pissed off at Lars for shutting down Napster and no one will stop complaining about SUICIDE SILENCE’S new direction. However, sometimes you just have to let go and listen to the music instead of having a stick of doubt and anger stuck inside of you lacking repellent to loosen up and expand your mind. With that said, GHOST BATH didn’t come from China, they came from Minot, North Dakota, a place not many would imagine visiting. However, if you do go you would appreciate its beauty.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or transcended to GHOST BATH’S new Starmourner, out now via Nuclear Blast Records. Imagine yourself gazing into the stars at night, laying on a mountaintop reflecting on your life. Well, in some aspect, that is how I feel about the latest record. It begins with “Astral,” a piano, film score-esque track, transporting you to their musical realm of instrumental to a blackened atmosphere. The song ends as though you just entered into a psych ward or haunted house as it takes you to “Seraphic.” The horror tone soon fades out as a guitar riff implodes, filling our eardrums with instrumental anticipation.
Melodically we move into the gates of hell with “Ambrosial,” the strongest tune on the album. The drums pedal at fluctuating speeds with bursts of insanity as the melody continues to rumble along with chaotic doom. The ending sets you in for a repetitive ride, similar to a broken record. This said repetition enhances the album’s overall mysterious plague. The pace slows down with “Ethereal.” It moves in a more CASPIAN style as it morphs towards their initial atmospheric black metal sound.
“Celestial” changes the mood once again as it brings a soothing progressive blend while providing a shoegaze arrangement. The album enters intermission with “Angelic” as the shortened tune holds a somber acoustic pace. After a short break, “Luminescence” picks up the tempo filling with screams, sirens and atmospheric experiments. Heaviness continues with “Thrones” with teasing guitar riffs, speedy drums and a cinematic conclusion, similar to a 40s Horror film score.
The album embraces progressive guitar parts which you can hear in “Elysian.” Additionally, the bass lines separate the pace, enhancing the tracks overall rich melody. The drums introduce us to the next “Cherubim” as it swings into innovative riffs. Everything is distorted in the next tune “Principalities” until 90 seconds in it returns to the overall atmospheric blend. The album ends just how it began, with compelling keys. The final tune “Ode” brings us to a soft dramatic conclusion.
Overall, GHOST BATH’S Starmourner has a stronger first half than second. There are certain areas that feel repetitive or a fill-in gap that had they cut a song or two, it could have been phenomenal. However, when you listen to it, you enjoy it more and more. You don’t want to shut off during the stronger songs.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Seraphic”, “Ambrosial”, “Celestial”