Ghost Bath
Moonlover


2.5
average

Review

by zaruyache USER (21 Reviews)
March 29th, 2015 | 384 replies


Release Date: 03/13/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "China/North Dakota's answer to Deafheaven?" Contrary to initial reactions, probably not.

North Dakota's Ghost Bath is the latest in a long line of black-ish metal bands to be hopefully heralded as "the next Deafheaven." Given that band's quick rise to fame with their highly acclaimed sophomore effort, Sunbather in 2013, few can blame the black metal scene for endlessly hyping any "new" acts that sonically resemble Deafheaven in the slightest.

After releasing only the first track from their own sophomore album, Ghost Bath unsurprisingly became the next target of this seemingly never-stopping Hype Train To Blackgazeville after endless comparisons were made between this new piece, "Golden Number", and pretty much anything else Deafheaven had ever put to tape. So, after smartly creating an air of mystery and hype surrounding this lone 9-minute opus of powerful Deafheaven-meets-Woods-of-Desolation aural melancholia, the question unavoidably arose: Was Moonlover set to be the "next" Sunbather?

Sadly, the answer to that oft-asked question seems once again to be a disappointed "Nope."

While its more "depressive" take on aggressive-yet-shoegazy black metal was a fantastic opener and hype-builder with its tortured screams, uplifting melodies, and beautiful piano outro which together made it sound like a veritable Deafheaven/Woods of Desolation lovebaby, the rest of the album sadly does not really follow along this same line as “Golden Number”, and subsequently never again reaches that same level of awe-inspiring power.

For example: while track three, “Happyhouse”, does its best to experiment with slower tempos and atmosphere, it simply cannot compete with the intense heart-wrenching cacophony of the album’s opener. The same can much be said of the rest of the album; while Moonlover’s take on depressive blackgaze isn’t bad--far from it!--it simply set itself up for disappointment by placing most of its eggs in the first track, then essentially coasting on those fumes through its remaining thirty minutes by never again really attempting to reach that same level of intensity and emotional depth outside of a few moments here or there.

While the other two black metal pieces on the record (“The Silver Flower pt. 2” and “Death and the Maiden”) mostly resign themselves to mid-paced-to-slow blackgaze, both do excel through their smooth transitions between styles and tempos, as well as through their particularly powerful use of melodic lead playing--these melodies often creating more melancholic atmospheres, or providing ever more effective contrast between the uplifting quality of the instrumentation and the horribly tortured, piercing vocals. Through all their melody and atmosphere, though, none of the tracks really go anywhere to set themselves apart from the rest or raise themselves up to the level of “Golden Number”, which clearly holds the record back from ever realizing the true potential hinted at in the first track.

In the end, Moonlover quite simply is not the long-sought answer to our prayers--our black metal messiah--but is better akin to one of his disciples--a lesser John the Baptist to Sunbather’s Jesus of Nazareth, so to speak. In that sense, Moonlover seems to only baptize its followers in water which, while currently getting the job done, will be of no comparison when the next “true” king of the genre reveals himself and begins to baptize with more than simply water--but with spirit, too.

Like John the Baptist, Moonlover will probably only succeed in tiding over the most fervent of followers until the next "true" king comes to claim his mantle, and little else.



Recent reviews by this author
Black Malachite NightfallGhost Bath Starmourner
Unru Als Tier ist der Mensch NichtsSix Feet Under Torment
Wiegedood De Doden Hebben het Goed IIEl-Ahrairah El-Ahrairah
user ratings (222)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
zaruyache
March 29th 2015


17037 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Relistened while writing and this is like a 3.3/5 if you like blackgaze like this, I think.

I recommend checking it out either way, since Golden Number alone is really killer.

https://ghostbath.bandcamp.com/album/moonlover

YakNips
March 29th 2015


18926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aw!! was happy when i saw this got a review but its better than a 3 imo

Digging: ostraca - last

someguest
March 29th 2015


28162 Comments


In the end, Moonlover quite simply is not the long-sought answer to our prayers--our black metal messiah--but is better akin to one of his disciples--a lesser John the Baptist to Sunbather’s Jesus of Nazareth, so to speak.


Off with their heads!

Lethean
March 29th 2015


1487 Comments


decent

zaruyache
March 29th 2015


17037 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sorry Yak but if this had been more like Golden Number with longer blasty bits then it would've been better imo. As is the rest of the tracks seem sort of predictable with their mostly slow-blackgaze-then-do-some-blasts-in-the-middle-then-be-slow-again structures. Those two instrumentals stuck back-to-back in the middle also sort of kill the flow of the record for me (cough Celestial Lineage cough).



: - 3

PotsyTater
March 29th 2015


1559 Comments


album is just little too 'post'

RustCohle
March 29th 2015


174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album, doesn't get much better in this genre.

Digging: Exist - So True, So Bound

emester
March 29th 2015


8107 Comments


yeah this was pretty boring

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2015


2389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was a little disappointed with this in the end, as if I expected more from the album that I originally should have. Nonetheless, a fairly decent listen, especially like you say, for blackgaze fans. My personal highlights would be "Happyhouse" and the two-part "The Silver Flower".

Digging: Impetuous Ritual - Blight Upon Martyred Sentience

Grizzlypyro
March 29th 2015


272 Comments


Glad I wasn't the only one that was disappointed with this. Like its alright but it never feels like its own individual thing, the Sunbather influence is undeniable and it suffers for it.

Grizzlypyro
March 29th 2015


272 Comments


Golden Number is a jam tho

DoctorDoom
March 29th 2015


2983 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Was obsessed with this for like a week an its quickly losing my attention.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2015


9989 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, pos'd. Dug this quite a bit, but I do agree that Golden Number is head and shoulders above the rest of the material.

Alastor
March 29th 2015


1674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

An enjoyable record from a promising band. O and that album cover is golden.

Mewcopa0
March 29th 2015


1878 Comments


this seems like a good album for people who don't listen to a lot of atmospheric black metal, but it's pretty textbook. there is something about the mix, and the guitar tones that is at least interesting though.

VaxXi
March 29th 2015


3674 Comments


I'm just happy there is actually a decent band in this shithole of a state

Digging: Flotation Toy Warning - The Machine That Made Us

DoctorDoom
March 29th 2015


2983 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, the album cover is great?

Alastor
March 29th 2015


1674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ita est

YakNips
March 29th 2015


18926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

north dakota's chinatown's premiere atmospheric blackgaze quartet



never thought i would say that

zaruyache
March 29th 2015


17037 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I wonder how Pest Productions feel about this band now heh.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy