Friday, 8 December 2017

REVIEW + TRACK PREMIERE: Ghastly Sound - "The Bottom" [EP]

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 15/12/2017
Label: Magnetic Eye Records

The band returns with its second offering of 2017, and it gets back in the mud with this ridiculously catchy EP.  It will leave fans wanting but "The Bottom" closes out the year for Ghastly Sound in grand style.

“The Bottom” DD track listing
1. Waves
2. The Bottom
3. Holy Serpent
4. Deadtooth
5. Sink

The Review:

In February, Vermont sludge metal trio Ghastly Sound offered their self-titled debut to big fanfare. The band, composed of just a bass, drum and vocal, generated buzz for its metal roots that integrate hardcore, noise and dashes of dream-pop into the songs. And when a follow-up was announced, hype for the young band was building.

Besides recording, it's been a busy few months for the three-piece. Over the summer, Ghastly Sound bassist T. J, Maynard gained viral notoriety for outing white supremacist Ryan Roy to his Vermont employer. Roy, part of the white power metal band Hate Speech, was among hundreds of participants in Unite the Right protests in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of a protester and a national outcry. In an interview after Roy's termination, Maynard said, "“They didn’t fire him because he went to the rally or exercised his right to freedom of speech. They fired him because when the community saw that he was there they told his employer that they would lose business if they kept him around. It was that free market conservatives love to tout at its best."

Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, in addition to liking the music, you might want to give points for being willing to call folks out.

Ghastly Sound's members didn't let the media attention go to their heads, clearly. The band returns with its second offering of 2017, and it gets back in the mud for clanking, yet ridiculously catchy, metal on "The Bottom."

What makes Ghastly Sound such an intriguing group in the metal ecosystem is how fluidly it incorporates inspirations into a sound that is squarely hard rock/metal in breeding. Not having a guitarist makes the trio far more innovative than a lot of bands, and vocalist Tyler Gurwicz is versatile enough to hit a range of notes and emotions with his singing. "Waves," its opener, hooks you with both melodies and driving volume. It's a rollicking cut, where Gurwicz goes from shouts to soaring vocals over its two minutes and change. On the title track, Maynard and drummer Ryan Lewis provide a charging backdrop for Gurwicz to flex his diverse approach.

Ghastly Sound count bands like Unsane and Torche among its influences, and those among others are flags flown high on songs like "Deadtooth." Additionally, Ghastly Sound's aesthetic very strongly merges touches of more mainstream music with metal. Acts from Word Alive, Myrkur and The Devil Wears Prada have created releases in not dissimilar ways, to both love and hate. And while Ghastly Sound is unlike all of them, the Vermont team's savvy feels familiar, in a good way. Lastly, you might expect a song named "Holy Serpent" or something else might explicitly address the Roy incident, or white power bands, but it doesn't, at least directly.

By the time you finish the EP, your main complaint may well be that "The Bottom," at just over 15 minutes, is simply too short. Perhaps it is better to leave fans wanting more than wanting less. Regardless, "The Bottom" closes out the year for Ghastly Sound in grand style.

The title track from “The Bottom" is streaming in full below and the EP available to pre order/buy here and via bandcamp here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook