What's this? A depressive black metal album that's actually... good? That's right, ladies and gentlemen. This is Ghost Bath, or as they are known in their native tongue, 鬼浴. They hail from China, and their self-titled debut EP just blew me away. Whenever I write off the depressive black metal genre as dead, a band from China comes along and prove me wrong.
What really makes these guys stand out from the crowd is how they fuse depressive black metal with post metal and give it a heaping dose of melody. The drums offer up a really diverse performance. They range from simple mid-paced rhythms that are influenced by post metal to rapid blast beats, and they even include plenty of double bass that helps to create an overwhelming atmosphere. I swear, their performance almost reminds me of Austere. I especially love how powerful the snare sounds. You can't imagine how hard it is to find depressive black metal drums that sound this powerful.
You want to know what's even better than the drums? The guitars. Unlike the rest of the depressive black metal scene, they spend far less time on sounding as sad as possible and more on offering up good riffs. These riffs sound really melodic and manage to sound both dark and graceful at the same time. It reminds me of Nontinuum's latest work. I also like the handful of solos they include here. I can't figure which band they remind me of, but they sound powerful and beautiful at the same time. They're quite a wonder to behold. They even include some post metal-inspired clean guitars that offer up a nice change of pace.
I also like their inclusion of piano. It's not the fanciful neoclassical piano that Gris plays. Instead, the piano performances on this album are simpler and more subtle. Their focus is on building atmosphere. Listening to their performance makes you feel like you're walking through an empty park on a cold fall day. There are also a few times when they're played alongside the metal in a way similar to Austere. This is especially obvious on the song “Lust”.
The one part of the band's performance that may irritate a lot of people are the vocals. They mainly consist of high-pitched screams that are full of agony. Some people might say that he sounds like a cat that's getting strangled, but if you ask me, his performance reminds me of Silencer. In short, the vocal style might take some getting used to, but they fit the music perfectly.
Ghost Bath is one of the most promising bands I've heard in a long time. I know I say that about many other bands, but I really mean it this time. I love their fusion of depressive black metal and post metal. I love their implementation of melody. I love their simple but beautiful piano pieces. These guys definitely deserve more attention, so go to their Bandcamp page and download their album now. I'm confident that you'll love it.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]