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Ghost Toast – Shade Without Color Award winner

Ghost Toast
Shade Without Color
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 February 2022, 11:17 AM

GHOST TOAST is an Experimental, Instrumental Progressive Rock band from Debrecen, Hungary. From their Bandcamp page, “Shade Without Color” is the follow-up for our 2020 album “Shape Without Form.” The majority of the songs were written at the same time, and we intended it to be a sort of a “double-album”, in which the two would come out at different times. Both titles come from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men and both albums mostly deal with the subject of emptiness, the process of becoming empty – only to an extent which suits an instrumental material, of course. The album contains nine tracks.

“Get Rid Of” leads us off. It opens with a heavy, staccato attack in the guitars and some seriously strong drumming. Retreating to quieter and more introspective tones, some melody passes through the door. The shifting in and out of a few different sounds here is impressive, and the band never misses a beat. “Leaders” begins with tense electronic tones and hangs in the air in front of you. Solemn piano notes lead the way from there, and they are so charming in their simplicity. This smooth, mellow and mysterious track is glorious in its impact. Spoken word reflects the song title, with a statement on leaders.

“Chasing Time” is an epic twelve-minute song. It opens with haunting keyboard harmonies, leading to some soft and very beautiful strings. The band’s sophisticated sense of melody really comes through. Close to the half-way mark, they really dig deep into the guitar rhythms and foreboding keyboard melodies, in a passage that will envelop you in its charms. From there, it rolls forward to completion with stalwart accuracy and every note falls into place, like the pieces to a three-dimensional puzzle that just know where to go. “Let Me Be No Nearer” begins with a Middle-Eastern flair of strings and clean guitars. Following a fairly hard, fast and heavy passage, it drops to some female vocals over a soft bed of guitar and piano melodies. “Acceptance” features a sultry swing of piano and clean guitars. Spoken words talk about how wealth and fame really don’t mean much in the scheme of life. Accept yourself for who you are. “Deliberate Disguises” opens with a heavier and more mysterious sound. Dark clouds settle in and thunder and lightning roar and light up the sky. More spoken words whisper about the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“Reaper Man” is a nine-minute beast. Opening with smooth and easy tones, it quickly moves into an attacking stance. Some spoken words talk about the process of life and death. The mysteries of life are contained in the music. If only you had a way to excavate them. Thick bass notes carry the melody forward. A prayer follows, and it pushes hard towards the end. “Whimper” begins with another heavier sound in the guitars and drums. About mid-way in, some wonderful melodies develop. This time, the spoken words are magnanimous, coming from the lips of an old man. “Rejtekből” closes the album. The translation to English means “hidden.” Soft, delicate tones open the song. Cello notes and tom drums enter following a short female vocal passage. Towards the end the melodies begin to open, leaving you with a smile on your face.

The main knock I often here with instrumental music is “how can the band push emotional and poignant qualities in their music without vocals and lyrics?” My answer is, actually, quite simple. Instruments themselves, by virtue of how they are used…what notes, at what pace, and when…can evoke just as strong as a response as vocals and lyrics. You need to be able to focus on the music a bit more, I will give you that. But once you do with “Shade Without Color,” you will find endless fields of colorful flowers that you never knew existed in nature. The colors are so bright and varied that you are like a child discovering the world for the first time. The album is a bright and fresh look into an old genre, with beautiful and glorious results.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Get Rid Of
2. Leaders
3. Chasing Time
4. Let Me Be No Nearer
5. Acceptance
6. Deliberate Disguises
7. Reaper Man
8. Whimper
9. Rejtekből
Papp László – Drums
Stefán János – Bass Guitar
Pusker János – Keyboards and Cello
Rózsavölgyi Bence – Guitar
Record Label: Inverse Records


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