Monday, February 17, 2014

Drug Honkey - Ghost in the Fire

Written by Ulla Roschat.


When I listen to an album for the first time I do it with headphones, if possible. So I did with Drug Honkey’s album “Ghost in the Fire”. This was basically my first encounter with this band’s music. It was twice, during this first listen, that I pulled the headphones from my ears to check if the sensations happening in my head would go away when I do and I even considered shortly to stop listening at all, but I continued (maybe addiction had already set in?).

With “sensations in my head” I don’t mean pictures and thoughts in my brain, but rather in my head as a physical place, so that a strange desire appeared to open my own skull to see if there are “things” in it that had no business there ,things that were able to unleash my carefully dungeoned demons.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Drug Honkey are a four piece Chicago IL. based band that formed in 1999 and Ghost in the Fire (May 2012) is their fifth album. In terms of genre categorization the music is something like experimental, psychedelic, electronic, industrial, Sludge Doom, but actually it is a sonic mindfuck, psychosis turned into sound, endless torture and pain condensed into a lysergic addictive drug named Ghost in the Fire.

The basic structure of the songs is kind of minimalistic. There’s rarely something you could call melody or a dramatic build up. The songs are somehow crawling, creeping and wavering along, carried by riffs that are stretched and slow and barely recognizable, fuzzy heavy  bass lines and an incredibly slow plodding drumming. An almost permanent, slightly varying droning background sound induces an uneasy feel that accumulates into a kind of sickness not unlike a naupathia from the soft but permanent sway on a long time boat trip.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The multiple layers of electronic effects, distorted sounds, industrial noise create an incredible dense atmosphere, a lysergic hallucinatory disturbing soundscape immersing everything in a boiling thick viscous filth, painfully slow, heavy and dissonant.

The most effective element enhancing the eerie psychotic atmosphere are the vocals. These vocals that appear in nearly every possible form utterable by a human being and often additionally electronically modulated sound strangely humanly unhuman and really freak me out, scare the shit out of me and speak to my unleashed demons.

All of this is put together so carefully and cleverly like a well directed horror movie.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The first extreme listening effects that caused me to pull off the headphones lessen of course later, which is a good thing... for one thing I have to cope with my demons and get them back in the dungeon, and for another thing I can enjoy this masterpiece of diabolical psychedelic heaviness much better when I’m not scared to death.


[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]


Notes: Originally posted on the defunct Temple of Perdition blog. If you want to support the band directly, Ghost in the Fire is also available on Drug Honkey's Bandcamp page, albeit at a higher price.

Tagged with 2012, doom metal, experimental death metal, John Mourlas, Transcending Obscurity, Ulla Roschat
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