Heavy music generally relies on the power of six-string guitars, but like an increasing number of killer underground bands, Vermont’s Ghastly Sound are all about that bass. The trio’s self-titled debut EP doesn’t conform to any blueprint, though: this is thunderous, alternative heavy rock that never sounds like anything else.
“When we started, the idea was to see how full and lush we could sound with just drums, bass and vocals,” says bassist TJ Maynard. “We didn’t set any limits in a stylistic capacity, we just wanted to write songs that we wanted to listen to, and to make Ghastly Sound a band that’s fun to be in.”
That united pursuit of good times comes across vividly amid the flailing eruption of Ghastly Sound’s genre-blending and elegantly melodic racket. What also comes across is a strong sense of emotional rawness, as vocalist Tyler Gurwicz’s impassioned delivery skates across his bandmates’ furious squall. The new EP’s opening track, in particular, positively crackles with real-life disquiet.
“The Worst is about a tough subject. A couple of years ago, TJ hurt some people close to him,” Tyler tells us. “The song is a response to people’s reactions regarding those events. Without getting into gritty details, it’s about embracing your role as a villain and letting everyone know you’re capable of going much further. It’s a cautionary tale exploring some of the self-fulfilling prophecies one can make pursuing something they think they love.”
But it’s not all grim introspection with this band. Although their artistic goals may be sky high and their intensity off the charts, a sense of humour has provided Tyler, TJ and drummer Ryan Lewis with a means to stay grounded.
“The ‘Ghastly’ part of our name refers to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,” says TJ. “When Ace meets ‘The Monopoly Guy’, the guy says, “Who is this ghastly man?” It’s in line with our 90s upbringing, and Jim Carrey seems to have an appreciation for heavy metal. We’ve got a soft spot for Ace. He’s an asshole, it’s hilarious.”
Ghastly Sound’s self-titled EP is out now via Magnetic Eye