Ghast - Dread Doom Ruin
Todestrieb Records
Black metal
6 songs (56:55)
Release year: 2014
Official myspace, Todestrieb Records
Reviewed by Charles
Ghast is probably my favourite UK black metal band at the moment. They cobble together a brilliantly primitive sound as if from sticks and mud; the dominant material being rain-sodden planks of second wave black metal, sort of mashed together add odd angles with buckets of squelching doom. It is dirty and rudimentary, with a completely unpretentious feel, and hence refreshingly distinct from the overblown “communing with the ancestors” bollocks that masquerades as the hip new thing in British extreme metal.

Dread Doom Ruin is largely the same as styllistially as the album May the Curse Bind or the Terrible Cemetery EP, but perhaps not quite as immediate. Terrible Cemetery, in particular, is amazingly hook-laden considering the kind of music it is, and if you like black metal but have not heard it you must track it down immediately. This (their second full-length) is a bit more sourfaced and less ‘catchy’. It growls and rants like a one of the more troubling characters on a late night bus; from fast, rumbling blasting to lethargic slow section and back again. The effect is compounded by the lunatic shriek’s in which Arrrrrrrach delivers many of his vocals, and the malevolent primitivism of Kz’s drumming (e.g. in the sparse breakdown a few minutes into Festival of Serpents, which comes across a bit like Abscess doing a waltz).

So it is the kind of album that has to seep into your brain over some time, and some parts still have not for me, but at its best it is first rate black metal. I think it ends on its strongest two tracks. Lost in Fog (perfectly named) opens with misty, murky blasting, sort of in the classic early '90s style but dosed up on sleeping pills so that the fast bits sound strained and grumpy. Then out of nowhere it kicks into a virulent sludge hook, like a blackened Iron Monkey or somesuch. Very nice black metal; rustic and characterful. Then there’s the closer Scorn and Death, with these buzzing tremolo riffs which melt suddenly and even gracefully into melancholy (as they also did on the majestic title track from Terrible Cemetery). Dread Doom Ruin is a grimy but well-crafted album, which deserves more listeners than it will probably get. I say: give it the Mercury Music Prize!

Killing Songs :
Lost in Fog, Scorn and Death
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Ghast that we have reviewed:
Ghast - Terrible Cemetery reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
Ghast - May the Curse Bind reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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