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Ghost Bath Moonlover

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Ghost Bath Moonlover

Ghost Bath are an American Black metal band, they can be categorised as “depressive” Black Metal or “atmospheric” Black Metal. Ghost Bath have previously released a studio album, Funeral (2014), and an EP, Ghost Bath (2013). Their album Funeral has a very familiar approach to Black Metal, combining the instrumentation and aggressive vocals one has come to expect.

However, Moonlover (released April 2015) shows how Ghost Bath have developed their instrumentation and vocals into a truly atmospheric experience.

Vocals
The tormented vocals have a haunting reverb effect and without distinctive lyrics they become an instrument track themselves. This vocal approach differs from traditional Black Metal or Hardcore punk in the enchanting layer that they cast. For listeners new to atmospheric Black Metal, it’s best to focus on the tracks as a whole, not focusing in on the vocals. Think of them as an instrumental track, adding pain to the empowering instrumentation, resulting in the depressive-atmospheric labels give to the album.

Instrumentation

The guitar work on Moonlover works brilliantly throughout every track in this album. The guitar tracks aren’t written in a thrash metal approach, they drawn-out and melodic. With another helping of reverb the guitar tracks find their place in the atmosphere of Moonlover, creating both an empowering and, at times, depressive feeling.
The drums and low-end of Moonlover neither take a Thrash approach, instead they are simple yet powerful. The instrumentation combines for a powerful soundscape that could be seen as an open conceptual album, laying the ground work to an untold story that the listener writes.

Track breakdown

The Sleeping Fields – This is a short, introductory track. Ghost Bath layer two melodic guitar riffs, with tons of reverb and deep chord-sound. The Sleeping Fields is an enchanting and curious start to a phenomenal album.

Golden Number – The single released from Moonlover, for some this is the frontline track of the album. It starts with a Metal wall of sound approach as all instruments; including the vocals, tear down the peaceful curiosity set by The Sleeping Fields. This is a 9 minute track that doesn’t continue with this onslaught for long. The vocals are tortured and relentless, during a strong guitar solo the vocals cry out whilst the drums hammer on. By 2 minutes, this track is already incredible powerful and empowering, full of emotion and skill. The track continues with an introduction of a choir synth as the tempo drops, still the empowering atmosphere remains. This introduction of synths allows the song to become more peaceful as the drums remain slow in tempo and the guitar playing a peaceful melody. Golden Number ends with solid piano work which changes the emotion of the track altogether, this is our first taste of the depressive effect of Moonlover.

Happyhouse – Begins with with an off-key guitar riff that leads onto slow, drawn-out guitar chords. The drums are powerful and impressive. As the vocals fade in, they are crying and, again, tortured however this time there is a hint of interpretive lyrical content. This is an incredibly powerful, depressive track that remains in this tone throughout the 8 minute playtime.

Beneath the Shade Tree – Another depressive but melodic track, Beneath the Shade Tree focuses on melodic guitar soloing throughout. With deep low-end and two guitar tracks combining, this is a peaceful and mesmerising track that shows Ghost Bath’s talents outside aggressive emotion.

The Silver Flower pt.1 – Continuing the slow, emotional atmosphere The Silver Flower brings a track of nature recordings to the soundscape. If the previous tracks didn’t set a tone, or paint a mental image, for you then this track certainly will. This is a tranquil interlude of the emotional rollercoaster that is Moonlover.

The Silver Flower pt.2 – The soundscape established by pt.1 has become more brooding, with church chimes the emotion has become tense. Accompanied by a heavy drum track, the vocals come tearing back in, wailing with the aggression and pain of Golden Number. This track featured melodic guitar, strong drumming and mystical gothic synths. The Silver Flower pt.2 is an epic track similar to the Golden Number in length and emotive power.

Death and Maiden – The album ends on a track that is similar to Ghost Bath’s previous album, Funeral. A more Black Metal and less atmospheric track Death and Maiden combines the same vocal approach but in a classic-thrash style song structure. This track draws away from the story, power and emotion that all previous tracks confidently established; a strange track to end the album with. However, the track ends with an eerie whistle that is mesmerising, catchy and beautiful.

Overall

Moonlover is an incredible album, for Metal and atmospheric experimental music. Full of power, emotion and undeniable skilful instrumentation, this album will challenge your concept of genres and mesmerise you throughout.