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Underneath It All: Ghastly Sound’s “The Bottom”

ghastly sound

A quick nine months after their self-titled debut EP, Vermont trio Ghastly Sound return with The Bottom to progress and expand on the singular sound they’ve swiftly established. Despite still being sans guitar, The Bottom contains even more melodic layers and atmosphere than its predecessor. It’s also more aggressive and abrasive, with singer Tyler Gurwicz veering towards the harsher end more often than he did on Ghastly Sound.

“Waves” opens The Bottom by taking its title literally: huge, crashing drums and a push/pull dynamic between full-on metal riffing and big soaring vocal melodies. The production is massive, again making it easy to forget there are only three people in the band. The title track changes things up with a tritone riff — maybe the most rote “metal” thing the band has done thus far — but they put their own spin on it, working it into a more laid-back song structure and then culminating in a big sludgy breakdown.

At almost three and a half mintues, “Holy Serpent” is the longest song and a good survey of the band’s influences. Elements of Unsane, Kylesa, and Floor shine through, with Gurwicz alternating between clean pop-adjacent hooks and hardcore roars. Drummer Ryan Lewis has some standout moments as well, turning tempos on a dime. “Deadtooth” recalls “Cuttlefish” from the previous EP, a slower and more meditative take on the band’s sound. It’s a brief respite before closer “Sink,” a ferocious beatdown of a song. It’s Ghastly Sound’s heaviest song by far, suffocating and relentless. In a live setting, it’s easy to envision it devastating a circle pit. Despite the brevity of their songs, the band has developed a real knack for filling them wall-to-wall with both beauty and brutality. Hopefully the hits keep coming.

Here’s what the band had to say about the record:

We’re really excited to be able to present this record. The entire process, from conception to finished product, was much more measured and calculated than our first release.

We knew we wanted to work with Daryl (Rabidoux — The Radar Studio, The Cancer Conspiracy, Drowningman) from the outset.

When the first record came out, we got a lot of “I’m excited to see you pull it off” and related sentiments regarding our unorthodox lineup. Daryl has a reputation in the recording world for his ability to capture how a band actually sounds. His exceptional ability to do that, combined with Ryan’s (Cohen — Robot Dog Studio) ultra-modern approach to vocal production and mixing, came together better than we could have hoped for.

The Bottom at its heart is a reflection on catharsis… catharsis in its many forms and stages, from acts of violent purgation, to intimate, sweet release. Viscerally and sensually, catharsis is a cleansing: a purification. This is often found by hitting the proverbial Bottom. Lyrically, The Bottom explores all the ways we try to find purity of being and simultaneously, how we distract ourselves from it.

The Bottom, at once, provides some additional context for our first release, and establishes some framework for our future. When our first release was out, it seemed some didn’t really know what to do with it, because it didn’t fit snugly in a subgenre box. The Bottom has established a much clearer intent on what we’re trying to accomplish.

The Bottom will be released on December 15th via Magnetic Eye. Follow Ghastly Sound on Facebook here.

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