Ghost Bath – Starmourner (2017)


Ghost Bath – Starmourner
April 21st, 2017 (USA);  Northern Silence Productions
LP (71 min.)
Post-Black Metal, Blackgaze

杰米 – Bass
泰勒 – Drums
多诺万 – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
丹尼斯 – Vocals (lead), Guitars, Piano

Track list:
01. Astral
02. Seraphic
03. Ambrosial
04. Ethereal
05. Celestial
06. Angelic
07. Luminescence
08. Thrones
09. Elysian
10. Cherubim
11. Principalities
12. Ode

I normally avoid writing negative reviews because I see this blog primarily as an opportunity to promote music that I like and not to rant about music that I don’t like. But sometimes I want to do just that. Rant about bad music.

And, my oh my, is this album bad.

Ghost Bath is a band that gained a lot of attention for claiming to be from Chongqing, China while actually being based in Minot, North Dakota. And ever since they released their first full length album they have been rather polarizing. Many seemed to hate them while others celebrated them as one of the best Post-Black Metal acts in existence. Their newest album “Starmourner” seems to be just as polarizing. When you look for reviews of this album online, you find almost exclusively positive reviews – except for Sputnikmusic, where everyone hates the hell out of this album. And I must say that I cannot understand the positive voices in this case.

For me, “Starmourner” is the first experience with the band, so I can’t compare this to the bands earlier works, but if they are similar to this, then I don’t have any interest whatsoever in checking them out.

I don’t really get what Ghost Bath are trying to achieve with this album. They combine happy sounding melodic Power Metal-esque guitar lines with depressive (?) Black Metal and Shoegaze atmosphere and incredibly terrible howling/screaming/crying (?) vocals. This could probably work (except for the vocals, those are terrible, no matter the context) if they knew how to fuse these elements into something listenable. But they apparently don’t. The songs are very oddly structured and sound very similar to each other. They go on forever and they go from nowhere to nowhere. Oftentimes this album sounds like an accidental fusion of different albums that should not be fused, ever.

Not that this album doesn’t have any good moments – but, unfortunately, every time I actually thought “This isn’t bad at all!”, Ghost Bath find a way to completely destroy it – completely unfitting happy-clappy guitar solos or harmonies, weird out-of-tune piano or guitar passages or THOSE ATROCIOUS VOCALS THAT MAKE ME WANT TO WRITE THE REST OF THIS REVIEW IN CAPS LOCK TO SHOW HOW MUCH THEY GOT ON MY NERVES!

Writing this, I realize that this review is probably very similar to the album – it lacks structure, it is not easy to follow, it is boring and it is pointless. Well, maybe that’s the best way to demonstrate what this album is like.

In conclusion, I’d rather take a “ghost bath” (“the act of commiting suicide by submerging in a body of water”, according to the band) than listen to this one more time. Man, I already spent two and a half hours on this.

Why? WHY?!