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Ghost Bath – Self Loather

Ghost Bath
Self Loather
by Gary Hernandez at 06 November 2021, 9:59 PM

GHOST BATH is a Depressive Black Metal band out of Minot, North Dakota. When they originally formed in 2012, they indicated they were based in Chongqing, China. They even used Chinese names. I find it hilarious and wish they would have kept it up, but I understand such a ruse might be difficult to maintain. I do wonder if being from Minot, North Dakota AND being a DSBM band was just too much, or redundant, or simply too unbelievable for even the metal community to absorb. Anyway, on October 29, 2021, the quintet released their fourth full-length album, “Self Loather.” While it isn’t going to win any innovation awards, it is a solid artifact of post-modern Black Metal . . . though I do desperately wish they would buy a hyphen for the title.

“Self Loather” is the final installment in a trilogy of albums which started with “Moonlover” in 2015 and continued with “Starmourner” in 2017. Number three was four years in the making but there was that one special year sandwiched in there, so yeah, no one’s really counting. Except for me. I obviously counted. And since I am counting, the album comprises ten tracks and times out at just over 45 minutes—so a solid album this one which takes its time in evolving over multiple movements including a surprisingly long piano instrumental, “I Hope Death Finds Me Well,” about three-quarters of the way through. I mention this song specifically because it is so absolutely gorgeous. I was expecting a throw away buffer interlude, but what I got was just stunning.

I’m not necessarily attracted to DSBM. I mean, I don’t go out of my way to listen to DSBM or to follow bands representative of the subgenre. Internally, I have nothing that is assuaged or affirmed by the music. Contrast that to Doom or Stoner or even Thrash. Sometimes (daily) I just gotta have ‘em to scratch that itch, but not so much with DSBM. Having said that, I didn’t find anything especially dark or emotive about GHOST BATH (beyond the standard BM vibe) . . . that is until I read the lyrics and then I was like, “Okay, DSBM, that sums it.” Yeah, so some dark depressive stuff going on there, but a lot of times you gotta look into the abyss to come to terms with it. That’s Metal 101. So, hails and horns to ya.

I am new to GHOST BATH and finding that “Self Loather” (no hyphen) is the end of a trilogy just intrigues the hell out of me. The album is good enough to stand on its own, of course, but now I have a need to find out what came before and how it led to this conclusion. GHOST BATH, “Self Loather,” a strong recommendation here. A quick trip to Bandcamp will get you sorted.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1.  Convince Me to Bleed
2.  Hide from the Sun
3.  Shrines of Bone
4.  Sanguine Mask
5.  A Crystal Lattice
6.  Sinew and Vein
7.  I Hope Death Finds Me Well
8.  For It Is a Veil
9.  Unbearable
10.  Flickering Wicks of Black
Dennis Mikula – Vocals (lead), guitars, piano, synths
Josh Jaye – Bass
Jason Hirt – Drums
Tim Church – Guitars
John Olivier – Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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Edited 03 June 2023

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