Album: Death Velour
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: 20 April, 2018
Ghastly hails from Finland and this is their second official full-length release. The boys bring a cantankerous sound out of their homeland, steeping their riffs in filth, the drums so loose it’s like the kit is ready to fall apart at any moment, and the vocals are desperate and scary all at once. They are a warm band, even if they sound cold. If you took an old, creepy haunted graveyard and plopped it right down into the middle of a sleazy, crime-riddled big city back alley, you would have Ghastly.
Everything here crashes and clanks and rumbles, full of evil tales of the unknown, smashing up against an urban sheen that gives them a pretty unique sound. This reminds me of early Swedish Death in the natural, organic feel of it. There’s also quite a bit of Deceased in here, younger Deceased, less-polished and more frightening.
“The Awakening” is really just a short intro track, but I have to say, it does its job. The sense of foreboding it brings, with that single drum strike, like yes, these guys are summoning an Old God, and here it comes. This blasts right into “Death By Meditation” with comes out swinging and smashing its way around, a drunken kung-fu master fighting invisible demons. There is a sense of showdown here, the band speeding up in parts but really, sticking with a sort of mid-paced crunch that simply devastates. This one is pretty nasty in its swagger.
“Velvet Blue” is another rumbler, the guitars weaving a magical spell, the cymbals crashing like breaking waves, the vocals reaching deep and guttural. There’s some Black Metal picking going on in this one, giving it an added flavor of darkness. As with all the songs on this release, there’s a desperate sort of supernatural presence, a bit of a psychedelic swirl. “Velvet Blue” blasts but it also staggers, threatening to fall apart in its middle section, about two minutes into the track. Those guitars bring it back up, a corpse digging its fetid skeleton out of the grave, clawing its way towards the full, shimmering moon.
“Scarlet Woman” is both the closing track and the epic track, clocking in at nine minutes long. This one has a swing all its own, the drums pummeling as the guitars swirl and pull you in. It’s an invitation into a parlor of death, as ominous tones ring out, and slowly you’re sucked into certain doom. “I saw her standing there,” the lyrics begin, and you know right away just how screwed you are, the band dancing you into the gloom. About three minutes in we get some “speed” and things build up quite a bit before pulling what I think is a patented Ghastly move, which is to slow it right back down to a cryptic crawl. This song showcases everything that is right about Ghastly, and plays to their every strength.
Death Velour is a bit of a difficult album to listen to if you’re wanting just straight-up Death Metal. These guys bring their own tastes to the proceedings, and if you’re not patient, you won’t catch on to some great tunes. However, if you like older Death, the kind that used to creep around through backroom demos and tape trading, you will find a happy home here. This is gritty, cryptic, frightening music, and Ghastly have made a record they can be very proud of. Looking forward to more from them in the future.
1. The Awakening
2. Death By Meditation
3. Whispers Through the Aether
4. The Magic of Severed Limbs
5. Velvet Blue
6. Violence for the Hell of It
7. Scarlet Woman
Total Playing Time: 37:13