By Lisa Burke
April 21st 2017, Complex, Glendale CA: These days as no one is getting any younger, life should be all about seeking out new adventures, and one of the best adventures you can have in the land of heavy metal is seeing newer bands for the first time in a live setting. On Friday April 21st 2017, I adventured over to Complex in Glendale for my first live viewing of Ghost Bath with support by Astronoid, Imperialist and Zephyrplex.
With my current work load and the slightly early show start time of 8:30 I completely missed the two opening acts unfortunately. Zephyrplex is an instrumental progressive band, and Imperialist is local death metal that I have seen a couple times before and I don’t doubt I’ll get the chance again soon at least. Although I attend an above-average amount of metal shows regularly I still manage to find myself amongst a majority of metalhead strangers at quite a few of the less well-known shows, as was the case for Ghost Bath. One of the nice aspects of Complex is that they don’t get random foot traffic, and everyone in the club is there for at least one of the bands so that means all metal and no distractions all night.
The popular draw on this night seemed to be Astronoid which is a newly formed young five-piece progressive metal band from Boston, and they were making their first West Coast appearance this evening. I had actually never heard of them at all before this, and was quite impressed with the whole presentation. The singer had his hair tucked behind his ears and glasses on during the sound check and then all of a sudden pulled a Superman move by removing them just before playing, and the mix of nerdy progressive music with the ambiance and great beats with divine melodies really turned heads with the audience as a Clark Kent to Superman move on its own. They just released their first full-length album last year and seem to be well on their way to gaining popularity with all types of metalheads all over the place. They seemed to have very highly technical influences they were drawing from, but definitely used their own style that holds up in any court. These dudes are the next hot new age heavy progressive metal band and they expressed some of the best melodic vocals of any in their direct competition. They delivered a kickass set from start to finish, and earned new fans. I’m excited for their future and happy to see such old-school ideals being presented in such a modern and intellectual way.
Then as quickly and quietly as a few members of the crowd dissipated, Ghost Bath emerged out of the shadow-filled smog with their dark-eye make up and more somber black metal ambiance than ever before. These guys are from North Dakota, but as the story has it, they originally claimed to be from China in order to gain popularity. Apparently this pissed some people off and those people decided music quality didn’t matter anymore. Those people missed out because the deal here is that they don’t even look Chinese at all, and they play really well. The music is modern but an odd and exciting mix with its tremolo guitar driven black metal, and then switch up to a more modern rock n’ roll guitar that creates a vocal tone of its own, which is also backed by the occasional banshee deep-throated screams and groans that define Ghost Bath in every sense.
The tone throughout their music is characteristic of the most beautifully tragic suicide ever witnessed, much in the style of Romeo and Juliet gone black metal classy. It really is an acquired taste as it will either leave you in a state of ethereal bliss or you will just not get it at all and wonder why the screaming doesn’t match the guitar. The answer to that is because it’s the dynamic of raging confined agony escaping to Beverly Hills in a brand new Maserati doing about 65 face first into oncoming traffic in the dark with broken headlights. Now that the confusion has diminished, all that’s left is the full appreciation and total absorption of the music traveling in bloody cold waves and ending with serenity and weightlessness. The use of the well-rounded Fender Sunburst guitar proved worthy of the two styles found in Ghost Bath, and the best part of the lack of actual lyrics is that the tones and moans together not only create the image of words but also bask in pure gut-wrenching emotion. If you are a fan of submerging yourself in your own personal hell and then freeing yourself when all is said and done, Ghost Bath is just the live music therapy you seek.
I had a great time at this show because I dove head first into the deep waters both these bands were leaking all over the stage, and I didn’t even drown. Therefore, I highly recommend catching these uniquely modern bands that portray hope and depth in a dominatingly shallow society.
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Remaining Tour Dates:
04/25/2017 – Denver, CO @ Marquis
04/26/2017 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room