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Ghastly - Death Velour

Death Velour
by Kayla Hutton at 20 April 2018, 7:19 AM

In preparation for all things 4/20, not only does the day bring a promised hazed to stoners, it marks some pretty epic album releases. "Death Valour" from Tampere, Finland's death metallers GHASTLY will be a delight to those craving a little aggression for their 4/20. Finnish death metal may be a dime a dozen, but expectations are always high as their reputation for cranking out quality and originality seems just as important as putting on underwear. It's not something you think about, it's just something that you do.

As I peeled back the layers and dove head first into “Death Valour”, the first release from GHASTLY via 20 Buck Spin Records, I was greeted by my old friend, Finnish quality. The album's intro "The Awakening" would be more effective in a horror movie than the generic crap they use these days. The sheer murky dread of the toms pounding like a heartbeat marching to its demise. This is the stuff that makes you wonder if you really are alone in the dark.

"Death by Meditation" begins with some well-seeded roots of doom influence. Reminiscent of old, I mean "Draconian Times" old, PARADISE LOST. As the track progressed it became more AUTOPSY influenced.If you've ever accidentally scraped a metal fork across your teeth, that instantaneous shock and thoughts of, "please let me turn inside out", is the purest sensation of realizing that GHASTLY has captured the sound of their namesake. The tempo isn't at 180 million bpm allowing some room to hear the playability. I attribute this to the doom influence I was referring to earlier.

Based on the song title alone I was most excited to hear what the 6th track from “Death Valour” had to offer. "Violence for the Hell of it." This gnawing at the wound fueled delivery is the thrill ride of death metal fans everywhere. Lots of dynamic and transitions that are a show of real riffage rather than some way to fill the gap between verse, chorus, verse. It plays out with the same satisfaction of the most aggressive and revengeful fantasy you could ever imagine.Towards the end of the song, there is a sound I couldn't quite determine due to how subtle it is.Could be some twisted out of tune keys, maybe a synth or a really great effect applied to guitar. Similar to the tones that come from an old, rusty, banged up jack in the box. When a band can generate a sound that would give a mortician the creeps, you know its playlist worthy.

While the genre of death metal itself is mostly stereotyped as blast beats and a cookie monster or just an inaudible wall of noise there does come along a band that demonstrates song structure and riff progression that can actually sound more brutal than the palm muted notes that get buried in the machine gun blasting drums and still be called death metal. What I liked most is the production quality. While most strive for a perfect mix of crystal clear audio, GHASTLY doesn't have the ProTools, over mixed, perfect compression sound. It still sounds like death metal should. Gnarly, dark, GHASTLY.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. The Awakening
2. Death by Meditation
3. Whispers through the Aether
4. The Magic of Severed Limbs
5. Velvet Blue
6. Violence for the Hell of it
7. Scarlet Women
Gassy Sam - Vocals
Johnny Urnripper - Guitars & Vocals
Ian J. - Guitars, Drums, Bass & Additional Vocals
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin


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