Ghost Bath - Funeral
Pest Productions
Post-black metal
12 songs (64' 47")
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Andy

A random hunting session in Bandcamp this weekend netted me Beijing post-metal outfit Ghost Bath's first LP, Funeral, now on the bestsellers list on Bandcamp. After listening to this, the biggest regret I have about it is that I didn't hear such a darkly beautiful album earlier this year. I could say that Funeral is roughly akin to a heavier, more blackened Agalloch without the nature themes, but that doesn't really do its haunting post-black-metal soundscapes justice.

Judging only from the Facebook page, one-man act Wúmíng (无名) spends a lot of time thinking about his musical subject matter; where most people are posting uplifting thoughts of the day with a picture of a kitten or something, he posts black-and-white, gothic-style images of death with a suitably depressing quote. And with the first track, Torment, his musical talents are immediately obvious. The production is amazing, especially on the clean portions, where one can hear the shivering chord background underlying both picked clean melody and harmonizing electric solos, and the sound of his palm-muted finger-picks is exquisite. Unlike many albums of its kind, Funeral doesn't stay quiet for long, but jumps to a hammering beat with screams of agony for the vocals. Masterful as this one is, however, the diseased glory that is the following track, Burial, puts this one in the shade not only with an even better melody than its predecessor, but also with its rather disturbing ending, where a heartbreaking female voice sobbing to clean guitar suddenly ends with a horrible scream from the vocalist that sent a chill down my spine. The loudly clanging church bells at the end are also a nice dramatic touch.

That doesn't mean all the tracks are quite as intense; Sorrow is almost all plinking piano (again I am reminded of Agalloch, but perhaps not so pleasantly). But even that is listenable, and when it comes to melodic instrumental pieces, the tube-amp harmonies of Birth or the church organ blasting of March, Wúmíng's quiet fugues make even the smaller, weirder tracks feel like an intentional ploy on the part of the composer to show the listener his bleak but gorgeous world. Nor does this even require longer or more guitar-oriented tracks like Calling -- which just kills, by the way, with a sharp, whining guitar lead in the foreground --, because this is accomplished just as cleverly with Forever, at the end, which doesn't even last three minutes but still hands the listener an almost uplifting melody. As much as one can get on an album like this, anyway.

Anyone who likes post-black metal in any form really needs to check this out; whether the heavier, headbanging portions of such music are your favorite, or you like the more introspective side of things, Funeral delivers all of it in a delectable package. Ghost Bath produces an incredible sound here that promises to surpass many of its predecessors in the genre.

Bandcamp: http://ghostbath.bandcamp.com/album/funeral.

Killing Songs :
Torment, Burial, Calling, Birth
Andy quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Ghost Bath that we have reviewed:
Ghost Bath - Moonlover reviewed by Andy and quoted 89 / 100
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