Giving Up the Ghost

One of the best perks of writing for Teeth of the Divine for a couple years now is that bands I’ve previously reviewed, such as Mountaineer, are releasing new material. Their last effort, Bloodletting, scored high marks from me, but their brand of post metal overall has not done much for me since then.

On their new one, Giving Up the Ghost, I’m giving them the tall task of releasing a post metal album about which I give a shit. No pressure, my dudes.

After a short, quiet intro called “The Ghost,” which could be considered the title track or at least part of it (perhaps more on that later), “Blot Out the Sun,” the first official track gets moving, relatively speaking. It’s still a quiet beginning, which is questionable considering the build of the intro. However, the screamed chorus brings an intensity to the track, despite the instrumentals still being somewhat subdued. This is something Cult of Luna do quite well. The last couple minutes of the track is where their post metal influence appears, bringing to mind several heavyweights of the genre.

The first couple of tracks aren’t heavy at all, but “Bed of Flowers” brings the doom. At least for a while. In its 6-minute runtime, there’s a plodding verse riff, a solid, clean sung chorus hook, and then the last 2 minutes bring a solid guitar lead and it sounds like everything is about to collapse.

The slow dirge which begins the next track could be mistaken for Gatecreeper covering Yob. The vocals add to that Yob reference as well. It’s around this point in “Touch the Glass” where I realized this album isn’t going exactly as I expected from the first two tracks. At this point, it feels like a doom album with some ethereal, post metal influences instead of what I expected to be a lighter Alcest offering.

If there’s a critique to be had, it’s that the pace doesn’t deviate much. In the final two tracks, “Twin Flame” and “Giving Up,” which is essentially the outro, they rely mainly on the quiet parts and don’t exactly pick it up at any point. On a longer album, this would be detrimental. However, this is not a longer album, so it’s not an issue.

With multiple influences, this is the way post metal should be done. It’s only around 30 minutes, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome. I didn’t expect this as their last offering was around an hour, so maybe they’re counting this as an EP? Regardless, it works. This is perfect dreary day music, which is exactly what I’m experiencing in the great state of Ohio, gazing upon all the trees with no leaves. It remains to be seen if this will stay in my rotation for the year, but I had laudable expectations, and they’ve been met.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
March 17th, 2022


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