Review: Ghost Bath “Starmourner”

Review: Ghost Bath “Starmourner”

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Ghost Bath “Starmourner”
Nuclear Blast Records

This is a tough one for me. I’ve been a fan of Ghost Bath since everyone thought they were Chinese, including their Chinese label. And 2015’s Moonlover album is one of my favourite albums of the past decade, even though it’s in a genre I tend to stay away from…

But this album, the bands third, just moves too far away from what made them great, in my humble opinion.

The warning bells ring immediately as the intro, Astral and the start of track two, Seraphic, are way too melodic and the guitars are sugary sweet with their catchy leads… thankfully, the harsh, hap-hazard vocals of Dennis Mikula do come crashing in… but when you view the album as a whole, the niceness overrides the craziness… and that’s not really what I want to hear.

Ghost Bath are a band that need to blow you away, because average isn’t something they can settle on with their “out there” love ‘em or hate ‘em style.

And while I didn’t just want a re-hash of Moonlover, this seems like his timid cousin.

They get called Hipster Black Metal by the naysayers and up until now, I didn’t agree with that sentiment at all. But on the first half of the album, this isn’t Black Metal in the slightest and Post Black Metal isn’t a genre I agree with… so I’m just left feeling a little deflated by the melodic morass I’m confronted with.

I want Metal and I’ve been given catchy shoegaze fodder for the trend followers.

We get to track seven, Luminescence and it’s only now that Dennis Mikula seems to grow a pair and he comes out fighting… well, the start of the song anyway as the aggression retreats as quickly as your balls do on a particularly cold morning.

The same shit happens on Thrones, which explodes from the speakers and this is EXACTLY what I want to hear from Ghost Bath… and then the saccharin takes over (once again) and I’m getting so pissed off with this album.

It’s like religion. You can’t be a Christian and a Satanist. Sometimes in life you need to decide which direction to take and I feel that’s where Ghost Bath are musically.

You either shun the trends and become an avant garde Black Metal band, for example, or you jump on the bandwagon and play trend driven Post Metal.

With Ghost Bath, I love their more creative, more edgy side… and I have no time whatsoever for their happy fucking.. well I call it nursery rhyme side, because that’s what it reminds me of… you know, very safe melodies.

After the brilliance of Moonlover, this has left me very nonplussed… and this’ll be banished to the pile marked, “never to be played again”.

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Steve Thomas-Green
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