Sunday 8 April 2018

Album Review: GOST - Possessor

GosT - Possessor

01. Possessor
02. Garruth
03. The Prowler
04. Sigil
05. Loudas Deceit
06. Beliar
07. Legion
08. 16 A.M.
09. Shiloh's Lament
10. Malum
11. Commandment

Possessor is the third album from producer/DJ GosT (pronounced 'ghost', which will blatantly cause confusion with the hugely successful Swedish Metal band Ghost during conversation).

To be honest, I only checked out GosT for the first time very recently. I've seen the name before, but for some reason I assumed that it was just another shit generic Death/Black Metal band with no songs. I know it's wrong to pre-judge like that, but there are so many bands around that fit that stereotype, it's easy to accidently overlook some interesting acts based purely on their imagery. Having said that, I do think that the cover for this latest album, Possessor, looks really cool, and I feel like a dick for not having taken the time to check out GosT sooner.

Anyway, I think the recent online saturation of GosT worked because I clicked on the song Garruth while browsing on YouTube. My first impression was "What the fuck is this?". It sounds overly distorted to the point of being a headache inducing filthy nightmare. After my poor brain was pounded into submission, some cool 80's style synth creeps in, not only making it catchy, but helping the song to make sense. It's very rare for me to hear a track and think it's a horrible vile mess, but then start liking it before I've even finished playing it once! It's bizarrely infectious and quite interesting on an artistic level.

To my now irreparably damaged ears, the majority of songs on Possessor sound like Black Metal created solely on a keyboard but with 80's synth, reminiscent of the soundtracks to TV's Stranger Things and pretty much every film John Carpenter ever made, carefully entwined to lace the savage barrage with carefully placed melodic hooks. If you're familiar with synth acts like Carpenter Brut and Perturbator, think of those but mixed with Emperor or Behemoth. Now add a little Glitch and Breakbeat and you're probably somewhere close.

It's not all a skull-crushing distorted onslaught though. Sigil sounds very influenced by 80's Goth and Electronica, bringing to mind bands like Priest, BlutEngel, and Violator-era Depeche Mode. It's a welcome melodic break from the rest of the record, and features some impressive vocals from GosT too. Possessor was the last place I was expecting to find a candidate for 'Goth track of the year', but there it is!

Sigil is one of the two songs on the album that has vocals. I mean the 'sung' kind as opposed to samples or tortured screaming buried in the mix (e.g. Commandment). The second wonderful oasis of melody is Malum, which has a New Romantic's vibe and a splattering of early Christian Death

Out of the instrumental tracks, I really like Shiloh's Lament which, despite being quite frantic, is a little more accessible, and has some great samples that remind me of the first Evil Dead movie, as well as being the soundtrack to dancing on a bad trip. Another stand-out track is The Prowler, with its interesting use of Glitch, and I really liked the direction the song moved into about half way through, and the feel that it's constantly developing, adding some real tension.

I found Possessor a challenging listen, but with enough gems to make it worthwhile. It's definitely an eclectic release, and I think that works well for it, as this diversity allows the listener's ears to reset now and again making it easier to digest. The more I listen to it, the more I'm getting into it, which is always a good sign.


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