NSP 133 :
Ghost Bath - Moonlover DigiCD/CD/LP
Release date CD: April
Release date LP:
Release date LP reissue on red vinyl: March
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Ghost Bath refers to the act of committing suicide by submerging in a body of water. Ghost Bath writes and creates under the assumption that music is an extension of one's own soul. They journey through the sorrow and sadness that all lives experience, but leave a glimmer of hope. They portray both deep anguish and angelic soundscapes that are sure to leave an impression on the listener. The band started in October of 2013 with the release of their self-titled EP on Solitude Productions (China). This was followed by their debut LP titled, "Funeral," which was released on Pest Productions (China) in June of 2014.
A recently found note...
"He walked the graveyard every night. I watched from my bedroom window. His pitch black cloak fluttered in the wind and the silhouette of his sauntering walk proved hard to catch in the darkness of the graves beneath the trees. It was after a few months of observing that I decided to follow him. He admired the many tombstones and crypts before turning down an abandoned part of town. I tucked my head into the front of my sweater to brave the cold and kept back as to not alert him.
We arrived at a broken down shack of a home and he walked down a set of wooden stairs. I could hear whispers and screams coming from the basement and, as much as I wanted to turn around right there, I did not falter, continuing into the abyss. A small crowd gathered near what I presumed to be a stage. They chatted quietly under sounds of agony projecting from behind a nearby door. A small amount of candlelight revealed music equipment on stage ready to be played.
Before long the tortured screams came to an end. The mysterious door opened and group of robed individuals solemnly ambled towards the instruments in a single file line. The crowd shushed itself quickly and all eyes turned. With equipment in hand, most of the candles were blown out leaving an eerie atmosphere. A soft intro was played on the piano in the corner. It was beautiful.
Then something strange happened. As the piano intro ascended into intense chords, complicated scales, and heartfelt melodies, a pure, porcelain bathtub was carried into the room. A few members of the audience set candles around the tub while others filled the bath with clear water. An aroma of lily-of-the-valley filled the room and danced in unison with the passionate sound of piano keys.
Soon, the guitars sprang forth. The beginning chords were loud and startled me. When the full band entered a song all at once my heart almost couldn't take it. Delicate guitars, alluring keys, and an unrelenting drum sound saturated the cellar air. It comforted me more than I ever imagined music could. When the vocalist began his howls of anguish, I knew this was something different. His arms shown vivid crimson gashes that told the story of a lonely and disturbed soul. Contrast of uplifting, almost angelic, music and the vocalist's deep pain created conflict that spoke to me. Not a dry eye existed in the place. The first tune finished with more piano and all I could hope for was more.
A stunningly gorgeous woman strolled onto the stage after a good amount of songs had been played. Her jet black hair nestled on her shoulders. She also wore a robe and released it onto the ground near the bath. Her arms, thighs, and stomach exposed a life lived in depression. Scars marked her otherwise perfect flesh. She gazed upward and stepped into the frigid tub one foot at a time. She lied down and her face sunk in clear liquid. Her auroral jade eyes remained visible in the water. I shot a stare to the others around but not one of them moved.
Swells in the continuing music released all tension. My thoughts propelled into brilliance visions soaring through the clouds above. Before the magnificent bridge came to an end the woman gaped her mouth wide. Her jaw remained in eternal yawn. As water filled her lungs, a smile grew on her pale cheeks. She floated to the top of the bath -lifeless.
Such conflict of emotions. Such a contrast of distress and euphoria. When the song concluded I quickly regained my senses. I had just witnessed someone taking their own life. My heart raced as a shiver ran down my arms. Before the next song could begin I found myself sprinting up the splintered staircase and through the graveyard -the sleeping fields. Sleep did not come easy.
No signs of the previous night's events existed upon my return the next morning. I scoured the deserted home without success. But just as I decided to give up my eyes caught a glimpse of two words carved into the bottom wooden stair: "Ghost Bath."
The 1st press of the CD comes in Digipack, limited
comes with gatefold cover, in four different
"Half Moon Edition" - 100x
black/white half & half vinyl [sold out with
"Fake Moon Edition" - 100x clear
vinyl [sold out with pre-orders]
Edition" - 380x white vinyl
"New Moon Edition" -
420x black vinyl
1. The Sleeping Fields - 1:26
2. Golden Number - 9:08
3. Happyhouse - 8:44
4. Beneath the Shade Tree - 4:47
5. The Silver Flower pt. 1 - 4:03
6. The Silver Flower pt. 2 - 7:33
7. Death and the Maiden - 6:25
Official Bandcamp page
“Ghost Bath have really outdone themselves on Moonlover. It is simply a gargantuan effort chock full of monumental highs and subterranean lows, but meant in the most sincere way possible. Moonlover is clearly a front runner for album of the year and could possibly propel Ghost Bath to the status of standard bearer for the entire genre. This review will not do justice to amount of emotional content held within. The best solution is to take a heavy dose
"[The album is] full of vast sound colors in which fastness and melody explode into melancholy and sad nostalgia in the vein of Woods Of Desolation.
[…] However, “Moonlover” is not made only of fastness and sound explosions as we also have smooth, introspective and beautiful
soundscapes. [...] the record’s studio work is fantastic and
(8/10 - www.againstmagazine.com)
"...with the release of Moonlover it’s apparent that Ghost Bath has broadened its horizons while honing in on a truly tragic, beautiful sound that still retains a heavy focus on its bleaker roots. In less than two years, such growth has me wondering if this wasn’t a planned transition. The bait was set with a good debut and then almost immediately developed upon with a release that is leagues ahead of the initial promise. In case it’s not obvious, I’m quite taken by this new release. [...] It’s the crisp, clean plucked guitars and the expertly played piano segments that elevate these moments of serenity from mere breaks in the actual music. While I’ve seen folks likening this to Deafheaven and other artists who draw considerable influence from shoegaze, I feel there is little similarity here. While Ghost Bath seems to draw from some of the same post-punk palette as groups like Amesoeurs, the blending of guitars isn’t so present as is traditionally inspired tremolo picking. Instead of fuzzy walls of sound, Ghost Bath favors deliberate, precise melodies that kick through their unique mixture of black metal. [...] The vocals retain the tortured, Burzum-esque howl that evokes the depressive black metal comparisons, yet they are mixed thoroughly into the songs rather than standing against them. The harmony Ghost Bath has found within itself and its collective set of sounds is what makes Moonlover such a memorable
"Moonlover ... is atmospheric, almost lyrical black metal with no perceptible Chinese character. The music has attracted comparisons to Deafheaven, presumably for its bleak but triumphal melodies, elegant postrock bombast, and wistful, aspirational chord progressions. [...] The band says the album is about "hopeless longing for something unattainable," and the vocals—mostly deranged, grief-stricken sobs and howls—bear that out. This beautiful, ferocious music demonstrates how fine the line can be between exhilaration and terror—it's for people who can't take a walk in the woods without seeing all the decaying bodies feeding the roots of the
"Rather than approach blackgaze with bared teeth and sharpened knives, Ghost Bath lets you hear the thudding beat of its heart until it can’t hold up
(B+ - www.consequenceofsound.net)
"Die Chinesen Ghost Bath legen mit „Moonlover“ ein starkes und absolut konkurrenzfähiges Machwerk mit Shoegaze Einlagen vor. [...] Fans von Bands wie Lustre, Buried Inside und Falloch sollten unbedingt hereinhören, wobei der Sound der aufstrebenden Band eine noch intensivere und klarere Wirkung
(8.5/10 - www.crossfire-metal.de)
"Sure, to get the comparisons out of the way, there is definite appeal for fans of staff favorite An Autumn for Crippled Children, So Hideous, Alcest, or Woods of Desolation. However, don’t expect this to be a sound-alike competition. One of Ghost Bath’s strongest attributes is how simultaneously it can be utterly bleak yet strangely uplifting. [...] There’s just something extra potent here in their take on the genre, that’s been missing in much of what has been released
(8.5/10 - www.deadrhetoric.com)
"Ghost Bath have displayed an incredible creative vision which pays homage to Deafheaven and Alcest while remaining far more than just a product of its
"The bright and beautiful music blends quality post-metal and suicidal depressing black metal in the most purest and perfect of ways. [...] Ghost Bath are the best depressing black metal band right now. Without a doubt. [...] It’s not often that I just want to constantly listen to an album over and over and over but Ghost Bath’s Moonlover definitely has that hold on me. I could listen to this daily, several times a day. There is a lot of meat to be picked from this bone of dismay but it’s worth it. God damn is it worth it. Chew away at what Ghost Bath has to offer. There isn’t enough words, expressions and metaphors to fully explain how wonderful and delightful this album is. Over everything else, the music is the absolute best and they stepped it up a notch from their last release, Funeral, which I thought was going to be impossible."
(9.6/10 - www.headbangorgtfo.com)
"...their maturation into one of the finer crestfallen acts is on stark and crippling display. Laced with tortured cries, an impressively vibrant drum sound, and moments of searing melancholy, this particular strain of black metal comes with a surprising accessibility, one no doubt manufactured by the excellent, often uplifting guitar work. A uniquely rewarding effort that pleases with every listen, despondency is but an afterthought with Moonlover and its gorgeous cold
(4.5/5 - heavymetal.about.com)
"As gargantuan as the hype machine powering it has grown since January, Moonlover fully lives up.
Right from the get-go, the album serves up exactly what you want from depressive black metal: peaks; valleys; moments of joy, but also others of deep sadness and vulnerability. With lead single “Golden Number,” for example, we’re treated to an exercise in pure exhilaration. [...] Just as Deafheaven did on Sunbather, Ghost Bath finds ways to channel elegance from a wide range of vibes, each case somehow more compelling than the last. And through it all, the album never loses its
(5/5 - www.indiepoprock.fr)
(10/10 - www.kaaoszine.fi)
"As for the album itself, Moonlover achieves a sort of mystic completion by doing exactly what you expect, and turning that expectation over on its head. Melancholy is manifest here in both minor and major keys. Some motifs are of unexpected happiness, while others feast on abject sadness and the infinitude of deep atmospheric chord progressions. What surprised me foremost was how focused the instrumental sections were. With thoughtful composition, no second feels wasted, and the music itself survives despite lacking the highly characteristic shrieks that otherwise fill sonic voids. [...] Be it that this album finally defines the presence of blackgaze and its combination with atmospheric black metal as a complete and driving genre-shift, I cannot say that I disliked it one
(4.5/5 - maliciousintent.blogspot.de)
"I know I am jumping on the Ghost Bath praise bandwagon here but it is just impossible to ignore the appeal of 'Moonlover'. Sure, it is a highly fashionable form of black metal and just like bands as Deafheaven, Alcest and Woods of Desolation draw in fans from unlikely sides (affectionately called 'black metal hipsters'), Ghost Bath is guaranteed to one of those hyped bands of 2015. [...] a gorgeous piece of melodic black metal. Yes it is stylish, yes it is fashionable and yes this subgenre is very in vogue at the moment. None of that matters though; 'Moonlover' is a great album. Gorgeous melodies, terrific songwriting and musicianship. [...] Brilliant (post) black metal, that is a must-have for fans of Deafheaven, Woods of Desolation and the
(9/10 - www.metalimperium.com)
"Ghost Bath has become one of the bands I admire the most. This is the second release I listen from them and, already grading it, I’m, one more time, giving it a ten. Another gem composed by highly creative and skilled musicians, played with real emotion, passion and poignant honesty. This isn’t just another Post-Metal, Suicidal Black Metal album that sound alike, but rather a sublime and impressive unique composition, filled with many beautiful moments, very melodic and brilliantly created. A fine work of art. Much like in “Funeral”, the vocals are still anguished, tortured and fierce, while the instruments are simply outstandingly played, alluring and enticing. Moonlover is simply a breath-taking release, mesmerizing and seductive in its downer mood and yet
(10/10 - www.metal-maniac.com)
(8/10 - www.metal-norge.com)
"...interplay between light and shade is at a premium throughout, airy interludes and balmy ambience blur into gusts of tremolo-picked major chords, backed by waves of blasts and somewhat distant howling. [...] the sound vacillates between moments of serene beauty and extended periods of angst-ridden melancholia [...] layers of textured riffs swell and retreat until the inevitable climax, melodies sound equally depressive and wistful depending on your mood, and manic howling vocals do their thing far back in the mix (essentially melding in with the guitars and all-round ambiance). They’re very much dabbling in formula but I’ll be damned if they don’t do it
(8/10 - www.metalobserver.com)
"I liked Funeral a lot, and many of its strengths, refined in some different directions, are on the new one, Moonlover. [...] Like Funeral, the production is magnificent, with such beautifully precise, well-done drumming (or maybe drum programming) that it stands out on its own. [...] Moonlover proves that Ghost Bath's first LP wasn't a one-off. There are still some indulgent portions on there, but the sheer musicianship and songwriting attention of the guy behind this overcomes a lot of the growing pains of his sound. After a second album with a lot of the same elements, I'm still quite impressed with
(89/100 - www.metalreviews.com)
"Ghost Bath has authored what will be the unquintessentially quintessential black metal album of
(5/5 - www.metalsucks.net)
"I don’t know about any of you out there reading this, but “Golden Number” gives me chills. It’s so good. This kind of music is unprecedented in its extraordinary way to keep improving itself over and over again. [...] I think that it would be important to note the distinct similarities with this album and “Sunbather” from Bay Area-based shoegaze-and-black metal successors DEAFHEAVEN. It’s one thing to sound similar in style and form with GHOST BATH musically but even titles like “Moonlover”, “Happyhouse”, “Beneath the Shade Tree” which mimic DEAFHEAVEN titles like “Sunbather”, “Dream House”, & “The Pecan Tree”, perhaps GHOST BATH is trying to outdo their predecessors. The odd thing is that they totally accomplished that if that is what they were going for. If WOODS OF DESOLATION’s “As the Stars” hadn’t made me move on after “Sunbather”, GHOST BATH’s “Moonlover” has beaten a completely new path from which might make you ever return to DEAFHEAVEN. [...] GHOST BATH was an underappreciated band in 2014 but with “Moonlover” I think they should expect to start receiving a lot more attention. This year has only just begun and we already have a memorable and fantastic hit straight out of the
(10/10 - www.metal-temple.com)
"The Deafheaven comparisons will overflow Ghost Bath’s ethereal tub, but at its heart Moonlover favors its depressive black metal side over any of the shoe-gazing it flirts with. [...] if you think Deafheaven sold out by playing Bonnaroo (you might not be wrong), here is a band that has yet to do that and can fill that space in your heart. They are not just melancholy and introspective, they wallow in their beautiful
"Ghost Bath leaps out of the speakers like the bastard love child of Wolves in the Throne Room and Alcest. [...] At their best, when they deliver what I think of as “slow songs played very fast”, Ghost Bath are a band that could have massive cross-over appeal, skipping merrily between the bleakest black metal and the jangliest of
"So bewegt man sich hier auf einem emotional geladenen Pfad zwischen schrillen Black Metal-Tönen, elegischen, ruhigen Momenten und wilder Ekstase. Das wesentliche Element, die die Musik vorantreibt, sind dabei sicherlich die herausstechenden Melodien der
Gitarren [...] Die verschiedenen Passagen gehen nahtlos ineinander über und in Kombination mit der ausgeglichenen, druckvollen Produktion wirkt das Geschehen doch sehr eindringlich. Die seltenen Momente, in denen Tasteninstrumente eingearbeitet werden, sind schön subtil gehalten und bereichern eher, als dass sie stören. So weben sie entweder ihren synthetischen Klangteppich oder kommen in Form von angenehm geschmackssicheren Piano-Passagen daher. [...] Musikalische Parallelen würde ich so am ehesten zu Bands wie AUSTERE, WOODS OF DESOLATION oder zum letzten
(8/10 - www.rottinghill.eu)
"Mit klarem Sound werden hier ergreifende Riffs kredenzt, untermalt von druckvollen Drums, alles in Verbindung mit verzweifelten Schreien, die es nicht zulassen, nur ein Wort zu verstehen und stattdessen die Fantasie anregen. Selten hat mich eine Band so sehr an Woods of desolation erinnert. [...] Fazit: Wer "Torn beyond reason" für den Höhepunkt der Diskographie von Woods of desolation gehalten hat, der sollte sich "Moonlover" definitiv zulegen, denn trotz deutlicher Unterschiede schlägt das Album in die gleiche Kerbe. Auch Austere-Fans dürfen ein Ohr
"Compared to Funeral, Moonlover moves deeper into atmosphere which is similar to Woods of Desolation and Deafheaven than it is to other DSBM acts. [...] Moonlover is melancholic [...] the music is devastating in its reserve. As much as harsh tonality inhabits the record, it is balanced by clean guitar and a dreamy
(8.5/10 - www.thrashocore.com)
(80/100 - www.zwaremetalen.com)