Ghost Bath – Moonlover (Northern Silence Productions)

Thursday, 12th March 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

After just checking out Ghost Bath’s last album, Funeral, it was with joy that there was an email that enclosed their latest effort Moonlover. Based in China, there is probably a crowd ready to adorn the band as the latest successor to Deafheaven, but there’s oh so much more to it than that in reality. Moonlover is a real treat for those looking for some depressive post-black metal.

Sure, to get the comparisons out of the way, there is definite appeal for fans of staff favorite An Autumn for Crippled Children, So Hideous, Alcest, or Woods of Desolation. However, don’t expect this to be a sound-alike competition. One of Ghost Bath’s strongest attributes is how simultaneously it can be utterly bleak yet strangely uplifting. Take “Golden Number” for instance, with its blast-ridden fury and suffocating melodies (complete with the genre’s standard tortured screams). Something about the lead melody just tricks you into whistling it along, and the piano at the end of the track is simply spine-tingling. After the first few tracks, the vocals do a bit of a disappearing act for “Beneath the Shadow Tree” and “The Silver Flower Pt. 1,” but chances are the engaging atmosphere will probably cause you to not notice their absence. The metallic edge does pick back up for the closing number, “Death and the Maiden,” bringing things to an end at quite possibly their most catchy throughout the album. It’s clear that the band isn’t going to simply follow the lead of their peers in the direction that they take the material.

While some have had their fill of the post-black phenomenon, take a moment to listen to Moonlover anyway. There’s just something extra potent here in their take on the genre, that’s been missing in much of what has been released lately. While it may not be something that one can actually put a finger on, sometimes being overly-analytical just impedes its value. Just sit back and let this one take you away for a bit.

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