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Ghold

Ghold - Stoic album art

Stoic

3rd November 2017 – Crypt of the Wizard Records

01. Nothing Dreamt
02. Blue Robe
03. Ruptured Earth (Head In Sand)
04. Faeder Ure
05. SKHUL V
06. SKHUL VI

By turns thunderously heavy and unfathomably weird, Ghold occupy a singularly wild niche in heavy music. Historically colourful and bizarre, Ghold’s latest release is testament to their open-arms approach to wild experimentation whilst remaining rooted in a rich, heavy aesthetic.

Stoic represents a proud Ghold tradition of being weird as fuck but without being completely indecipherable. The record sits nicely alongside the latest Big Business and Ohhms records and represents the flipside of UK bands like Bongcauldron or Orange Goblin; here, unfettered creativity is favoured over dense riffs and familiar structures. Rooted as they are in a sound which owes a lot to some of the dadaist doom and sludge pioneers (that’s you, the Melvins), they nod heavily to some psych influences; they play nicely alongside people like Hey Colossus and Hookworms. In any case it feels a little silly to pigeonhole such an exciting, effervescent band.

Picking apart Ghold’s influences is a fruitless task; everything from shoegaze to krautrock is on display. They’re definitely more than the sum of their parts; the anchor to their aggressive eclecticism is their mass-and-volume approach, which aids the record’s coherency. Stoic bounces from the trance-y, lush “Blue Robe” to the deconstructed horror soundtrack of “Faeder Ure“, to the wild freak-out psych of “SKHUL V“. You get the idea; this is a fantastically rich record, and it’s easy to get lost in the unfamiliar sonic landscapes.

The concluding tracks, “SKHUL V” and “SKHUL VI“, are the most conventional on the record; layers of screeching and wild, barely-contained guitar noise over a frantic drum pulse, but just about resembling a song shape. They’re certainly where the heavy psych influence bares its teeth and makes the conclusion of the record the most cohesive. Despite the tracks dissolving into noise, focussing more coherent, riff-centric tracks at the conclusion help to bookend the album.

Ghold shimmer and twist; they cascade and change under the light, and the slightest lapse in concentration is punished with a complete shift in tone and style. I would suggest the title Stoic is a necessary attitude for the listener; those familiar with Ghold will be pleased to hear this is even more off-the-rails than usual, and newcomers will be overwhelmed by the dramatically mercurial qualities.

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