Written by: Blackie Skulless
The infamous band that manages to pull a slew of opinions every three or so years has come back to continue their evolution. Every Ghost record seems to follow a bit of a theme, or at least weave itself together with a vibe that separates itself from the prior, but stays consistent standing alone. Ahead of releasing Impera, we were given several tracks that sound pretty different, which was an accurate depiction of what was to come. While the mixing of ballads and heavy hitters always went together smoothly, that somewhat changes here.
Despite no signs of ditching the catchy or upbeat chorus’s and memorable radio tunage, Ghost took their biggest step towards more progressive writing. That’s not to say you should expect a Dream Theater record, but there are extra theatrics, extra shifts in tonal delivery, and all sorts of fun instrumentation that gives some serious Styx vibes gone dark. Unfortunately, this causes an awkward flow, and a little bit of placement that feels off at times. For the most part, I can overlook that, save for a few moments of going too long, or the unnecessary use of several “interludes.”
And now for something completely different!
Welcome, dear readers, to a long-overdue edition of a regrettably infrequent segment we like to call "Is it metal? Who cares?" It's the part of the show where we openly admit that everyone likes different types of music, and thereby acknowledge that pigeonholing one's listening habits is nothing more than an exercise in stagnation.
Indeed, while we do often focus the limelight on loud and/or angry music, this particular population of slumbering scribes knows a thing or two about enjoying a well-crafted and otherwise highly listenable tune. Case in point: the latest single from Oakland-based solo artist James Utterback, who has been finely crafting a debut indie/psych/prog/surf rock album for the better part of 15 years under the Fire Whale moniker. "Serenity Within Chaos" has been on heavy repeat 'round these parts for the better part of a month, and we're honored to share it with you here today. Give it a listen below, and, as always, we'll catch ye on the other side!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.