Reviews Unearthly Trance Stalking the Ghost

Unearthly Trance

Stalking the Ghost

To my mind Unearthly Trance was the act that truly defined the doom/sludge push of the '00s. Starting off with their debut album, Seasons of Seance, Science of Silence they displayed a claustrophobic, catastrophic drone induced version at a time where the push was towards the more fun side of doom/stoner. Through the years they kept evolving, switching from the extremity of their early days to more straightforward works, signaled by Trident and especially Electrocution.

In 2010 they released V, and went into a state of hiatus, even though all members participated in the newly formed band Serpentine Path alongside Tim Bagshaw (ex-Ramesses, ex-Electric Wizard, With The Dead). Even though the new project definitely had a healthy dose of Unearthly Trance within its core, and the quality of the music was not compromised, it featured a more standardized form than records such as In The Red or V. In other words, I was really missing the sound of Unearthly Trance.

Gladly Stalking the Ghost, the sixth album of the NYC based trio, follows down the heavy footsteps of their previous works. The record is the sonic descendant of V in most ways, in terms of distilling the essence of their history, from the drone beginnings, the sludge weight, down to the punkish tones and the blackened aura. These guys have definitely come a long way since they started out, and as a result there is a cohesion of all their different sides that is really striking. They do not go into many outbreaks of black metal fury, as they did in Trident, or the rocking tones of Electrocution. But the spirit of these aspects is intact, a listen to the upbeat quality of “The Great Cauldron” and the asphyxiating aura of the opening track will give a glimpse of their bestial nature.

This is an act that never truly comprised when it came to their vision. As easily as they could go on and fill the space with extreme dissonance, each note painstakingly placed in a world of inharmonicity, with equal ease they would go on bluesy tones and rock n roll solos. A listen to “Invisible Butchery” is enough to remember the dragged out guitar strums and heavy drum hits that echoed through the ages, the deconstruction of groove, and the glorified repetitions.

It is a mentality that comes from years past, and Unearthly Trance seem to be one of the few bands that understood the messages of a different era. Their adventurous outlook when they begin enriching the background with obscure leads or temper with noise, when they indulge into black metal outbursts, epic moments, as with the clean vocal parts of “The Great Cauldron,” and at times when ambiance and atmosphere devour the sceneries, as in the closing track, make you think of how Celtic Frost approached compositions. On the other hand, their interpretation of doom/sludge, the cold aura between guitar notes, the unyielding approach to pacing is of the lineage of Winter's Into Darkness. In other words, with each passing second of the album you realize (or remember?) more and more what kind of animal you are dealing with.

8.1 / 10Spyros Stasis
Leave a comment

Relapse

2017

8.1 / 10

8.1 / 10

Share this content
Related features

Interviews Unearthly Trance

Posted May 1, 2017, 3:59 p.m.

Unearthly Trance is not your usual extreme metal band. Since day one, and the release of their debut album, they have been alchemically working towards ...

Recent reviews

Worriers

Survival Pop

9.0 / 10 Worriers - Survival Pop album cover

It seems like Worriers nailed down their sound on day one, when they rose from the ashes of The Measure S.A.. The Lauren Denitzio-fronted group plays a melodic and quirky style ...

Grit

Diamond EP

8.0 / 10 Grit - Diamond EP album cover
200 Words Or Less

These past few weeks have been very busy weeks for me. My girlfriend moved in. Happy news for me and her of course. Moving her stuff, renovating my home, vivid ...

Black Anvil

As Was

7.5 / 10 Black Anvil - As Was album cover
200 Words Or Less

Black Metal as a musical genre is not known for it's subtlety. The pendulum will usually swing between low-fi heavily distorted guitar and blast-beats or overwrought, overproduced operatic epics. But Black ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.