Ghostbound
All is Phantom

Reviewing something lovingly created by one of your peers is always a challenge. The balance between being honest yet objective and not destroying friendships or relationships is a hard one. Such is the case with All is Phantom, the debut from Ghostbound a project from the mind of Alec A Head, a man whose reviews I read for may years at Satan Stole My Teddy Bear, one of the internet’s early and most respected yet divisive metal review havens.  And when he asked me to review his baby, I was honored, but a little nervous.

You see, Ghostbound is indeed a wholly unique and wonderfully creative entity with gorgeously rendered, delicate, post rock and shoegaze, and indie/prog rock elements seeping from every note and pore, but it’s not really a sound I would put fully under the ‘metal’ umbrella. It might have one little piggy dipped into the metal pond with some atmospheric black metal  sparsely scattered around the heartfelt, acoustic ebbs and flows, but certainly not an album I’d really throw on and listen to on a whim.

The thing is, in the right setting or mood, it could be perfect. It’s perfect back ground music if your were to attend a post funeral visitation or somber  stately dinner with Opeth’s Micheal Akerfeldt, Jackie Perez Gratz (Amber Asylum and Grayceon), Morrisey  and Nick Cave. The thick New York, art house ambiance of  “The Wildest of….” “Earthen Ground”, “(I Will) Keep my Dreams Inside”,or more uplifting “Tidings”  and alluring “Night Time Drowning” waft with despondent, but jangly, cello tinged, artful prose, fronted by Head’s clean, distinct vocals.

But it’s the band’s everso slight black metal dustings that recall Alcest or Amesoeurs where my ears perk up and you can see what Ghostbound could fully explore. Grandiose opener “The Gallavanter” and Ulver-ish  throb of “Root and Wall” show a elegant, velvety  black metal canters with Head’s vocal’s smoothly layering the proceedings. But that’s only two tracks on a 10 track album, I just wish there were more of it, as it really is a agreeable,  svelte, unique sound.

Most purist corpse paint clad black metal fans or neck bearded, traditional post rock metal fans will scoff at this project, especially the vocals. But this clearly, labor of love project wasn’t designed for either, but for a more vulnerable, open minded and perceptive music lover, which I am not, hence my slight apathy, despite my respect for the vision and creativity on display. That said, if I ever found myself at a high society metal gathering surrounded by fume cigarettes, medallion suits vests and Remy Martin, this would be the perfect sound track.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 16th, 2018

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