Album Review: Ghost Bath – Starmourner

By Rosie Walker

The American black metal act, Ghost Bath, is at it again. Conjured in 2013, the band released their first album through a Chinese label; causing confusion, but also intrigue. Their sound is as obscure and mysterious as where they’re from, i.e. a town called Minot in the state of North Dakota. The band is wrapped in perplexity and prefers to keep it that way. Mainman Dennis Mikyla has been quoted as saying that they do not wish to put actual faces onto the music. Their third studio album ’Starmourner’ captures the band’s mystery and highlights their brooding spirits in an enchanting, curious manner.

The first number ‘Astral’ is just what you would expect as an album opener from a band that labels their genre as ‘depressive’. The transparent piano number draws you in with its pretty but sad simplicity. The vintage-feeling melody invites and captivates you and builds an anticipation for what is to come. Then the album unfolds with ’Seraphic’. The strong, prolific guitar harmonies nearly stun with their direct, near abrasive approach. Blast beats and frantic screams capture the terror and angst that is Ghost Bath. Yet amidst the chaos you can still find the groove and melody. The layering and mix of each instrument feels balanced and fair. The two nameless guitarists carry most of the music and the vocalist seems to nearly lose his voice with his varying screams.

Each song has the ‘scary’ sound meeting major chords creating this contradictory but compelling sound that makes you curious on what’s going to happen next. The album continues with trance-like numbers ‘Celestial’ and ‘Luminescence’. The flawless energy in their unique tones makes the strength of this band. Their efficiency propels them into new realms of atmospheric metal, giving the senses multiple sounds to process. Each song blends into the next, giving the album a very cohesive feel. The overarching theme of darkness seeps into their sound with the screams and drudge of the bass. On tracks like ‘Elysian’ and ‘Principalities’ their franticness continues. The almost ambient, ethereal elegance they deliver explores the shadowed corners of melancholy and fear. The menacing mix gives you chills and thrills. They morph into some interesting landscapes where the guitars experiment and create some picturesque sounds of thoughtfulness and longing. Each song relents to nothing, hammering away to engage and confiscate the listener.

Ghost Bath has made their signature sound flourish on this new release, digging deeper into rough and restless emotions. They upheave the heart and are unapologetic for their mournful, yet slightly hopeful sound. The constant, unwavering, tormented high-pitched moans bellow and the guitars slam away with the determination of a hungry animal. The overall hauntingly harsh yet somber and graceful sound is entertaining. ‘Starmourner’ will have you thinking and feeling. It’s well worth a listen.

Rating: 8/10

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Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: April 21st 2017

Track Listing:
01. Astral (3:21)
02. Seraphic (5:51)
03. Ambrosial (8:30)
04. Ethereal (6:54)
05. Celestial (8:15)
06. Angelic (5:24)
07. Luminescence (6:08)
08. Thrones (6:21)
09. Elysian (5:22)
10. Cherubim (4:27)
11. Principalities (6:15)
12. Ode (4:29)

Total Duration: 71:20

Ghost Bath links: website | facebook | twitter | instagram