It’s interesting how easily musical sounds evoke physical places in the world. And I’m not talking about specific cultures, like folk music might reminisce, but rather particular biomes. Listen to how Ugasanie crafts minimalist wave forms and white noise to call up snow-covered mountains. See John Foxx craft a concrete wasteland of empty tenements and crashing automobiles. And witness Ghxst conjure dry, dusty American desert on Perish.
Ghxst is a two-person doom metal/industrial group from Brooklyn, NYC consisting of Shelley Ex and Chris James. Not much else is known about the group or how they divide musical duties. They both play guitar, and Ex sings, but everything else? It’s just the band. Does one of them play drums? Are the drums programmed? What about some combination? It’s all possible.
Perish is the band’s fourth EP, and it’s their dustiest, sludgiest one yet. Clocking in at only twenty-three minutes with six songs and one interlude, this is an album you can easily listen to multiple times in one go. Album opener “Southern Eye” kicks things off immediately with a “boots and rattlesnakes” vibe that has surprising swagger for its slow tempo. The melancholy “Stories that We Tell” is both the longest song on the EP and the album highlight. Thundering drums and fuzzed-to-Hell-and-back guitars are reminiscent of Chelsea Wolfe’s latest work, although Ex never sounds quite as crushed by the world as Wolfe.
“Summer Moon” brings the tempo way up and is most reminiscent of Ghxst’s more industrial early EPs, Evil’s Wasted on You and No Rest for the Wicked. This song probably earns the “darkwave” genre tag, although you could consider the entire album goth, just with cowboy boots instead of Doc Martins. Ghxst always sounds metal, often industrial, but never country/western, and that’s impressive. Perish is the desert of red Camaros and death by heatstroke, not of pickup trucks, cold beer, and good ol’ boys.
Ghxst is flying under the radar, and that’s a shame. If you have any taste for doom, darkwave, or Americana, and particularly for projects that muddle the lines into a whole new flavor, you need Perish in your ears. Glasgow’s Clan Destine Records has a limited-edition tape out now, and of course it’s available in digital. Regardless of what media you listen on, you won’t do yourself wrong throwing this on the stereo and driving out into the desert.
A1) Southern Eye
A2) Stories We Tell
B1) Some Look for a Beautiful Place (Interlude)
B2) Summer Moon
B3) Waiting for the Night
B4) No Wild West