Ghost Bath: Moonlover

Shoegaze black metal enters a grippingly perilous state

Ghost Bath album

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Courting controversy from day one with the public confusion around the band’s origin – their Bandcamp said China, but it’s actually North Dakota – Ghost Bath’s debut has now been issued on Nuclear Blast.

The comparisons to Deafheaven are obvious but unfair as the nameless mastermind himself cites Agalloch and Darkthrone as personal favourites. That being said, Moonlover is a barrage of blastbeats and shoegaze guitars mashing into one impenetrable structure. But where other black metal vocalists bark and scream, Ghost Bath’s shrieks and yelps create a feeling of fear and despair intertwined with power and menace.

This overarching peril is juxtaposed by how accessible their brand of blackgaze is. The guitar lines in Golden Number and Death And The Maiden are on the verge of pop, but the spacious tidal waves of Happyhouse cater to anyone with even a passing interest in My Bloody Valentine.

Tied together with ethereal, swirling instrumentals altering the pace and atmosphere, Moonlover’s building, brooding menace evolves into a fully formed monster.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.