Ghost Bath, Astronoid, ION
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Ghost Bath refers to the act of committing suicide by submerging in a body of water. Ghost Bath writes and creates under the assumption that music is an extension of one's own soul.
They journey through the sorrow and sadness that all lives experience, but leave a glimmer of hope. They portray both deep anguish and angelic soundscapes that are sure to leave an impression on the listener. The band started in October of 2013 with the release of their self-titled EP on Solitude Productions (China). This was followed by their debut LP titled, "Funeral," which was released on Pest Productions (China) in June of 2014. "Moonlover" was released on Northern Silence Productions(Germany) in 2015. In 2016, the band was signed by Nuclear Blast Records.
A recently found note...
"He walked the graveyard every night. I watched from my bedroom window. His pitch black cloak fluttered in the wind and the silhouette of his sauntering walk proved hard to catch in the darkness of the graves beneath the trees. It was after a few months of observing that I decided to follow him. He admired the many tombstones and crypts before turning down an abandoned part of town. I tucked my head into the front of my sweater to brave the cold and kept back as to not alert him.
We arrived at a broken down shack of a home and he walked down a set of wooden stairs. I could hear whispers and screams coming from the basement and, as much as I wanted to turn around right there, I did not falter, continuing into the abyss. A small crowd gathered near what I presumed to be a stage. They chatted quietly under sounds of agony projecting from behind a nearby door. A small amount of candlelight revealed music equipment on stage ready to be played.
Before long the tortured screams came to an end. The mysterious door opened and group of robed individuals solemnly ambled towards the instruments in a single file line. The crowd shushed itself quickly and all eyes turned. With equipment in hand, most of the candles were blown out leaving an eerie atmosphere. A soft intro was played on the piano in the corner. It was beautiful.
Then something strange happened. As the piano intro ascended into intense chords, complicated scales, and heartfelt melodies, a pure, porcelain bathtub was carried into the room. A few members of the audience set candles around the tub while others filled the bath with clear water. An aroma of lily-of-the-valley filled the room and danced in unison with the passionate sound of piano keys.
Soon, the guitars sprang forth. The beginning chords were loud and startled me. When the full band entered a song all at once my heart almost couldn't take it. Delicate guitars, alluring keys, and an unrelenting drum sound saturated the cellar air. It comforted me more than I ever imagined music could. When the vocalist began his howls of anguish, I knew this was something different. His arms shown vivid crimson gashes that told the story of a lonely and disturbed soul. Contrast of uplifting, almost angelic, music and the vocalist's deep pain created conflict that spoke to me. Not a dry eye existed in the place. The first tune finished with more piano and all I could hope for was more.
A stunningly gorgeous woman strolled onto the stage after a good amount of songs had been played. Her jet black hair nestled on her shoulders. She also wore a robe and released it onto the ground near the bath. Her arms, thighs, and stomach exposed a life lived in depression. Scars marked her otherwise perfect flesh. She gazed upward and stepped into the frigid tub one foot at a time. She lied down and her face sunk in clear liquid. Her auroral jade eyes remained visible in the water. I shot a stare to the others around but not one of them moved.
Swells in the continuing music released all tension. My thoughts propelled into brilliance visions soaring through the clouds above. Before the magnificent bridge came to an end the woman gaped her mouth wide. Her jaw remained in eternal yawn. As water filled her lungs, a smile grew on her pale cheeks. She floated to the top of the bath -lifeless.
Such conflict of emotions. Such a contrast of distress and euphoria. When the song concluded I quickly regained my senses. I had just witnessed someone taking their own life. My heart raced as a shiver ran down my arms. Before the next song could begin I found myself sprinting up the splintered staircase and through the graveyard -the sleeping fields. Sleep did not come easy.
No signs of the previous night's events existed upon my return the next morning. I scoured the deserted home without success. But just as I decided to give up my eyes caught a glimpse of two words carved into the bottom wooden stair: "Ghost Bath." - (Nameless)
Astronoid is a five-piece band from Boston, MA with influences ranging from Devin Townsend and Mew to Alcest and Cynic. Their first full length album, being released by Blood Music in 2016, is part of an evolving experience that complements their two acclaimed EP’s from 2012-13, "Stargazer" and "November". The driving rhythms, subtle time signatures and soaring vocal harmonies combine to create an auditory cloud to lift you into the ether. There’s always something new to discover hidden within the dense layers of thrashy guitar riffs and euphoric vocals. Lyrically, the record conveys a disillusioned and hopeful view of the world as a whole.
A lot of different elements make up this album and while sometimes the post-metal leanings often times border on overindulgent, you'll be hard pressed to find a more interesting and genuinely experimental black metal record this year. This is an example of a band that is fusing many disparate styles into a single whole that manages to do it right while also standing quite far out from the pack. There is some smoothing out required to truly make this a single cohesive sound, but for a debut, this is really fucking solid and I am eager to see where this band goes. If they continue to evolve and get smarter about how they mix different genres together ION may very well be the next "it" band of black metal.