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Ghold – Of Ruin

Ritual Productions

Ghold - Of RuinIt’s made abundantly clear across Of Ruin‘s 45 minute running time that this is not a record for listening to at a desk, probably not really on headphones and certainly not on tinny laptop or mobile phone speakers. No, it needs — demands and commands, even — blasting out from the sort of huge stack of amps found at the average metal gig, but only so long as it’s being held in a sweaty underground black-painted box, preferably lit solely by heavy strobe lighting and drenched in dry ice and smoke — if only perhaps to cover up the stench of the crowd after they’ve got suitably filthy stage-diving to the six tracks on here and the rest of what is already developing into a fearsome Ghold back catalogue.

Taking their cue from doom as much as from the sludgy grind of a thousand crust merchants from Anchorage to Zambia, Ghold make a thick, syrupy concoction dealt out from bass and drums by Paul Antony and Aleks Wilson. As Lightning Bolt and others have proven, it’s entirely possible for a duo to generate an immense sound as Ghold do here. The distortion crunches and fuzzes with the weight of a thousand black holes, the percussion propels everything forward while the vocals swerve from some (surprisingly) Flower Travellin’ Band-style operatic swells to the more usual guttural roars and incomprehensible — if somehow still communicative — yelled lyrics which rise from the sludge as one more component in Ghold’s  jigsaw of tightly-controlled noise.

Of Ruin doesn’t step too far outside the genre as it is currently established, and perhaps they’re not so much innovators as distillers, stripping out the unnecessary fripperies in favour of a dedicated adherence to the grind, stoned or otherwise. Willing to be spare when needed and utterly, crushingly overpowering as their seemingly relentless assault requires, Ghold play metal with the broadest of shoulders.

If opener “Saw The Falling” somehow manages to hint at the hush-shuddering-hushed progressions of the likes of Slint as much as it does of Khanate (whose James Plotkin mastered the album in customarily scintillating fashion and with whom they share a propensity of for bone-crushing, tortuous dynamics), then it also simultaneously sets the scene for the following rush of blood to the head as the notional audience get their mosh and headbang well and truly on. Because that’s what this particular variety of darkling metal, and Ghold in particular, are about, an  all-encompassing momentous act of obeisance to the riff, an homage to the brutally beautiful power of amplification let rip in confined dark spaces, wherein Of Ruin is surely going to be some blazing star.

-Linus Tossio-

 

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