Despite only forming in 2012, Ghost Bath have already managed to release two albums, pick up an enthusiastic fanbase and really annoy some people. Beginning life as a one-man depressive black metal project, but introducing elements of melodic post-black metal on their sophomore full-length, the quintet initially rose to fame as an example of Chinese black/ extreme metal… receiving a significant backlash when it turned out that they were, in fact, American.
Still, while some might scorn the band’s central figure, Dennis Mikula, and his attempts at anonymity, the fact the band are now signed to industry giants Nuclear Blast probably softens that blow. Interestingly, it transpires that he was previously in a post-hardcore band and it must be said that recent Ghost Bath output does display a few punk/hardcore melodic leanings. Despite those musical similarities, however, Dennis is quite clear about which scene he feels most comfortable in.
“It’s going to sound bad but the people in metal are really, really dedicated to the bands they like and they really do support you,” he enthuses. “On a global scale it feels like the metal audience is massive compared to the audience I had with my hardcore stuff. It just felt like I was a drop in the sea of all these hardcore bands, playing all these shows. Like, out on the road people would say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s cool’, and then just move on. I’ve gotten so many letters and emails from people saying how my music [in Ghost Bath] has helped them in one way or another, or saying ‘Thank you’ for making the album, which would never happen with my last band. Maybe we were just that bad, I don’t know!”
Nevertheless, the fact that the name of the band refers to suicide by drowning is also a sign of the significant depressive black metal influence at work. Though less obvious than on aptly named first album Funeral, the tone of new opus Moonlover is still pretty melancholic and desperate, a point particularly evident in the tortured
“You’re taking negative energy and putting it into something productive,” Dennis responds, “that’s a very healthy way to deal with negative energy, depression and anger. I think the vocals really help to polarise the band: I don’t usually get people saying, ‘Oh yes, this is OK, 5⁄10.’ Either you really hate it and the vocals ruin the whole thing or you absolutely love it and the vocals. But I like it to be a polarising thing. The worst thing for me is for people to be on the middle ground.”
MOONLOVER IS OUT NOW VIA NUCLEAR BLAST. GHOST BATH PLAY BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL ON AUGUST 14