Ghost Bath has not been around very long but you may have heard about them. Could be that mysterious Chinese band that is very good at creating DSBM. Could be their sophomore release being highly praised or harshly criticized (depending on if you’re a fanboy of Deafheaven or not). Could be the fact they aren’t Chinese at all and from North Dakota. Could be from a YouTube channel where they are shit on quite heavily for being “lame”. It could be your first time being introduced to the band, which you know, good for you! Welcome to Ghost Bath and their style of depressing black metal meets post-rock! If you’re a fan of super emotional driven music with a madman screaming over it, then Starmourner will be for you.
Ghost Bath returning with Starmourner will delight those who liked Moonlover’s first track “Golden Number” as Starmourner’s writing process seems to have been focused on writing a happy tune with a touch of depressing post-black rock, and then beating it to death, repeating that process over and over. Some songs are just drawn out and annoying. Some songs, preferably the instrumentals, are absolutely breathtaking. So I have this wonderful love/hate relationship with this album. I held Moonlover in high regards as the music and even the vocals just were fitting for what I was going through at the time, the music was incredibly emotionally depressing. Fast forward to Starmourner and I am feeling like the band just fell short of what they wanted and what they are capable of, especially in the vocal department.
Now the vocals performed on this album are really no different than what they did on previous albums….so why do I have a problem with them this time? The music does not fit the vocal style. The cheerful and upbeat music does not flow well with high pitched screaming, at all. There are moments where the music is fitting for the vocals and that works out well! Then we have moments where the music is subtle and quiet, with no vocals and that is just amazing. Again though, certain areas of Starmourner just do not mesh well with the vocals and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Another grief I have with this album is how long it is and how the music just seems to drag on and on. About 45 minutes into the album, I am just done. Give me a finale moment and end the album already. It’s not necessarily about time at all, I love albums that are long but they need to hold my interest the entire time for me to give it a full listen. Schammasch’s latest album, Triangle, is a perfect example of a long album but being just absolutely incredible the entire time. With Ghost Bath, we have just good moments on Starmourner and it’s not enough to make me want to listen to it over an over, especially when 1 hour and 11 minutes just seems to feel like an eternity.
So there we have it. Starmourner falls short with me and doesn’t come close to what Moonlover has to offer. They need to get rid of these poppy, upbeat riffs if they want to be taken seriously…especially with these vocals being used. It’s not all for lost however, there are some really subtle depressing moments found here and it sticks with me. It’s just shadowed by the annoying sections.
Release Date: April 21st, 2017
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Favorite Tracks: “”Ethereal” & “Angelic”
For Fans of: Deafheaven, Silencer and Austere.