Ghoul – Dungeon Bastards
Released by: Tank Crimes Records
Released on: July 29th, 2016.
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Hailing from the very bowels of Creepsylvania, hooded thrash-trash titans Ghoul are back with their latest album, Dungeon Bastards. Comprised of Digestor on guitar and vocals, Dissector on lead guitar, Cremator on bass and vocals and Fermentor on drums (with contributions made from the likes of Baron Samedi, Mr. Fang and Kogar The Destructor), these guys have been around for awhile now. This is their fifth full length recording, it offers up ten all new tracks from the hooded ones in the crossover style that the band has become known for over the years. Take one look at this band and you more or less know what you’re in for…
As to the album itself? It starts off proper with Ghetto Blasters, which starts off as a spoken word piece with some strange, horror-tinged instrumentation behind it that tells us of a land untamed, how the people embraced the mandate of the new world. We learn how a son was born to a sorceress, how he became a leader of men who would become a tyrant. A minute or so in and KABOOM, guitars! Bass! Drums! No vocals though, just thrash! It segues beautifully into Bringer Of War, which just goes a zillion miles an hour straight for your throat. The vocals are over the top but so too is the playing – grunting and growling vocals trading off with less grunty/growly vocals are laid over top of speed metal licks and blistering drums. It’s a great thing. We even get some gang vocals at one point.
Shred The Dead, well, it shreds. Guitars are way up front, in your face, kicking you in the taint over and over again. Demonic vocals pull you in, slap you around a bit, then a catchy chorus makes you go ‘huh I can sorta sing along to this’ and so you do just that. The title track, Dungeon Bastards, is everything that you want out of crossover style thrash blast. It’s ridiculously fast, it’s relentless and it’s catchy, channeling D.R.I. in spots but with a bit of a death metal influence too (it’s the Cookie Monster vocals, but they work).
Ghoulunatics is a call to arms of sorts. If Manowar can write a song called Manowarriors then Ghoul can write a song and call it Ghoulanatics. And so they did. And it was good. This one is catchy as catchy can be, it’s got a really rhythmic backbone to it, the chorus is a call to arms of sorts, a rallying cry to the faithful. Great guitar licks here. Blood And Guts is a bit sludgier than what came before but not without its own serious dose of adrenaline to it with a pretty great breakdown in the middle complete with howls and screams and other assorted horror movie influenced awesome nonsense. Word Is Law has a bit more of a hardcore sound to it, less straight up metal with gang vocals and a serious hook – you can even understand the lyrics, which is always a plus.
Death Campaign brings us closer to the big finish. At this point the band isn’t reinventing the wheel but they’re doing what they do really well, blending punk and thrash and metal and hardcore and gibberish and insanity into their own wicked stew. Guitarmageddon has another odd spoken word intro, encouraging us to live to fight another day and yammering on about nuclear explosions while guitars swirl around behind it. Gears shift around a minute and a half into the song, the samples play over a very determined riff and it just sort of builds and builds and builds – this kind of sound like Ministry at times, which you don’t expect but which somehow works really well here. Last but not least, Abominox ends the album on a fairly epic note. The drums are a lot bigger here and things sound a little more serious, a little more ominous and they allow the band to prove that not only are they cool looking what with their masks and all, but that, yeah, they can play. The shock value of the live show is certainly part of the appeal here but the music holds its own too. If you haven’t checked this band out before, Dungeon Bastards is a great way to do just that. And Ghoul are on tour now with Carcass – which is rad.
And the video for Ghoulunatics!