Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 4/20/2004
posted on 4/2004 By:
I’ve got no business liking this. It feature members from 2 bands I really don’t care for: Diabolic and Pessimist. But sometimes this genre can surprise you. This did.
With 3 founding members of Morbid Angel worshiping Diabolic, including vastly underrated drummer Antar Coates (formerly known as “blastmaster” Coates), you know what you are getting here: Insanely fast, uncompromising, brutal death metal. But in a welcome twist, the members formerly responsible for some of the most uncreative, faceless death metal I’ve ever heard, have somehow injected a blackened twist and some variety into their already high speed talents. The result is a surprisingly decent album that rips, shreds and tears without mercy, but has a slight degree of savage grace that results in something similar to Council of the Fallen, Internecine or Aurora Borealis, rather than purely singular paced, characterless style of their former bands.
Hardly original in its scope (is Unholy Ghost really the best name they could come up with?) but more than visceral in its content, Torrential Reign knows its place, and does not try to reinvent itself. The four members' collective experiences merit recognition for individual musicianship, but as a group they have far outdone their former bands in the song writing department. Paul Ouelette seems to have found himself as a vocalist with the new black sheen that litters the near breakneck speed of most of the album. The extremity of much of the album though, is carried by Antar Coates, who is simply Tim Yeung like at his kit, and now has some variety to his skills created by the band's slight deviations from his former band's single minded approach. Guitarists Jerry Mortellaro (Diabolic) and Kelly McLaughlin (Pessimist) have plenty of highlights with the 11 tracks on display, even showing some tentative, controlled delivery with some crawling slower moments of menace (“Eyes of Lost”, “Entrenched Warfare”, “Torrential Reign”). It's like they were taken aside and told “You can play slow, you know?”, and they are now discovering a whole new side of the genre that I look forward to hearing more of as they grasp its more controlled intricacies. Still, though, their Azagoth worship is a little too visible for the detached, ethereal solos that seem out of place with the slightly blacker riffage, of course that may be due to the production of Morbid Angel producer Juan Gonzalez, who other than the solos, gives Unholy Ghost a forceful high end buzz. The mostly breakneck songs have some surprising hooks buried deep within the staccato hailstorm: “Soul Disment”, just utterly rips through you like a hollow point round, and the seething black metalisms of “Denunciation (The Cursed)” along with Ouellette’s deep bellow and intricate breakdown makes for an unsettling three and a half minutes. For pure unadulterated mayhem, the aptly titled “Torn Apart” should please most wanting to be, well… torn apart. You can hear the band “finding” themselves as they explore more refined sounds that their former bands hindered with “Under Existence” and its churning pace with a slower Morbid Angel-ish gait.
At their base level, Unholy Ghost offers nothing new or groundbreaking, but it’s laden with intensity and a commanding presence layered with a vicious delivery that almost commands your attention. An intriguing album because this is an act I think is going to get better as they discover stuff they simply wouldn’t play before in Diabolic or Pessimist. As their song writing catches up with their skills, they could be a dark horse act to sneak up on a US death metal scene that seems mired in reruns. It could be argued Unholy Ghost are simply rehashing old formulas, given it a healthy shot of venom and a hint of black metal choler that gives it some identifiable edge. Not a need to own, but recommended for those wanting some bite with their bark.
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