Ever not know that you needed something until you've had it? You're hanging with your buddies and someone suggests stopping at the local Chinese buffet for lunch. Instantly you require a plate full of General Tso's finest battered chicken bites and those little rib slices that you know aren't really ribs but you eat them anyway, blocking out all impure thoughts as you eat until your gut hates you. Such was the case when 'Death Velour', the sophomore album from Finnish death metal trio Ghastly dropped into my lap today. Unlike meat of highly questionable origins, this is grade A, non-genetically modified blackened death metal that was fed a steady diet of organic evil. The follow-up to their 2015 LP 'Carrion of Time', Death Velour is like a time warp to a simpler, less dynamically compressed time in which monster riffs, a pummeling rhythm section and tortured screams ruled the day. The stalking, unsettled instrumental intro of 'The Awakening' heralds the coming of 'Death By Meditation,' a blackened bit of menace built on a heavily distorted lead that gets crushed by ten tons of Scream Bloody Gore-era Chuck Schuldiner. 'Whispers Through The Aether' follows and a monstrosity of a riff is drilled directly into your head Tony Iommi-style. Simple, instantly memorable and wonderfully effective. 'The Magic of Severed Limbs,' in addition to being the best song title I've heard in a while, is easily my favorite track here. The crashing and clanging rhythm section has an all-together garage band feel to it; as if every snare and crash strike was an attempt to beat a demon out of a possessed instrument. Ditto the hollow, hateful electric guitar that alternates between lighting fast wankery and plodding, abhorrent doom. Coupled with a chorus of screams and growls that crawl all over one another, vying for supremacy, and you have one of the most genuine sounding death metal songs I've heard in along time. It's really quite good. But you know what's coming, don't you loyal Abyss reader? Never EVER take my word for it. Head on over to Bandcamp and give Death Velour a listen for yourself. Both digital and physical copies are available, but be fore-warned that those physical copies are already starting to sell out. After my third play-through while doing this quick blog I see why. Give Ghastly a shot and as always, let us know in the comments section what you think. Rage on! JPR
Video: 'Velvet Blue' From 'Death Velour'