Since announcing their reformation in 2015, Unearthly Trance’s sixth album has been greatly anticipated. It was a dreary few years without them after their split in 2012, but it has been a massive 7 years since ‘V’. With ‘Stalking the Ghost’, they are really bringing their best.
Unearthly Trance were never a band going for the low end, dripping bass sound of Windhand or Cough, but opt for crusty guitars, pounding bass and a snapping snare from the kit that sounds like a smack to your face. Into The Spiral opens up with a straight up heavy and distorted riff that leads into an increase in tempo not unlike something you may hear on a High on Fire record. Ryan Lipynsky’s vocals ring out with an echoing atmosphere. It's as if he has stumbled upon a jagged mountain edge in the middle of the storm. The perfect brew for some chilling doom vibes.
Buzzing feedback and bass greet you on Dream State Arsenal, sounding like an old school horror track. Slow paced strikes of guitar build a tense but meditative state for head banging introspection.
The riffs like up through the song and into the next with some strong, Tony Iommi inspired lead guitars on Scythe, that another their soon meanderings perfectly.
Halfway through and things just get darker. The album's doom storm really raging, the vocals become a more possessed bellow, but keep their raspy nature. Creepy guitar bends and higher pitched strokes with a real metal dirge makes it feel everything is crumbling down. Lion Strength provides a moment of clarity with beautiful delayed scratches of distortion that roll into a wicked solo.
Invisible Butchery sees the storm at full force. Ryan now sounds like a full beast, over the top of a much slower tempo of traditional doom, plodding and dragging itself up to engage you into a whirlwind of riffage. The Great Cauldron closes with more intense, traditional doom metal structures. It's a bittersweet ending of epic lingering guitar leads that let’s out the last breath of the album.
If you buy the album digitally, there is an elegant, bonus instrumental song. The fuzzy feedback in the distance, and still gloomy quality lands itself well to the barrage of intensity of the tracks that precede it.
Unearthly Trance have fully delivered here. ‘Stalking the Ghost’ is an intense, gloomy and epic thriller that provides riff and melancholy; creating a place for the band to stand tall over everything that has stood in their way.
For fans of Yob, High on Fire and Neurosis. Stalking the Ghost is out February 24th through Relapse Records.