Over the course of the past fourteen years (a timescale that included the band breaking up in 2012 and getting back together three years later), Long Island, New York’s Unearthly Trance have been the purveyors of the heaviest and most primal form of pissed off and cathartic doom metal with healthy doses of the heaviest drone and sludge bolstering their intense sound as well. The bands new album (their first full length since they got back together and first since 2010s V), Stalking The Ghost only enhances their legacy with its intense sound of hammering riffs and abrasive rhythms.
The band waste absolutely no time in reminding you just how heavy and powerful they are on the albums opening track, the monstrous Into The Spiral and this sets off a chaotic motion that sees Unearthly Trance commandingly staking their claim for the heaviest release of 2017 and they succeed triumphantly.
Riffs as heavy as titanium will crush your very soul in an unrelenting fashion throughout and they are the foundations on which this album and Unearthly Trance as an entity are built on and this would be good enough for most other bands but Unearthly Trance are not most other bands and there are elements of sublime and haunting melody littered throughout Stalking The Ghost which add to the brilliance of the bands music.
Phenomenal tracks such as Scythe and Famine are executed with a precise heaviness and contain mesmerizing use of riffs while the slower paced Lion Strength brings proceedings to a crawling pace at times but loses none of the bands heaviness, especially when the song explodes with energy halfway through with a commanding rhythm and anthemic guitar solo that typifies Unearthly Trance tremendously.
The equally paced Invisible Butchery amps up the viciousness with the vocals of Ryan Lipynsky sounding particularly brutal and unhinged and the epic The Great Cauldron rounds things off on the album in the most perfect and cathartic way possible.
It’s great to have Unearthly Trance back with this crucial new material and back with a vengeance considering how assured Stalking The Ghost is. This is an album that is as heavy as a Manhattan skyscraper but with the intense grit and grime of the 1970s and 80s New York and in this age of the rapid gentrification of the city, it is comforting that real music like this still exists and in Unearthly Trance it’s in safe hands.