Ghost Bath - Funeral

Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In Chinese, a “Ghost Bath” is when you kill yourself by drowning. With a name like that, you’re not going to get happy music by any means. I’d heard that this band was Depressive Black Metal, so I kind of expected them to be more like Burzum, incorporating grim and suicidal atmospheres by way of droning guitar riffs and repetitive song structures. This is not the case. The closest we get to Burzum is the vocalist, 多诺万, wailing away like a banshee. Funeral is a strange listen to say the least. The music is melodic and unsettling, but I’m hesitant to call it depressive or very dark. There are lots of acoustic guitar parts and melodic solos interspersed throughout the length of this album, and while it’s well played, it lacks the dark atmosphere that you need for music like this. It’s like walking through a graveyard at night, but with reasonable lighting instead of stumbling around with only moonlight to guide you. You might feel a bit unsettled by the gravestones all around you, but you don’t have the terror of the unknown that you’d get if you were out there in the dark. A part of this lack of atmosphere stems from the music, but the vocals also play a significant role. The screeching that passes for singing on Funeral is disruptive. Some bands experimented with this style of vocals back in the early ’90s, but dropped it after a while because the sound took away far more atmosphere than it ever added. When you’re trying to build a grim or melancholic ambiance, nothing shoots it down faster than the wailing vocals. Part of it has to do with the pitch, which is extremely high, contrasting negatively against the lower tones in the rest of the music. I’m not saying that they should ditch their current singer, but a serious rethinking of how he delivers the vocals is definitely in order. Funeral did have some interesting moments, though. Aside from the detractions, this was a fairly well executed LP when it came to the music. If they can sort out the vocals and add some darker atmospherics to their sound, their next release could be pretty deadly.

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