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Ghost Bath: Moonlover

Shoegaze black metal enters a grippingly perilous state

Ghost Bath album

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.