Unearthly Trance – Stalking the Ghost (Review)

Unearthly TranceThis is US doom/sludge band Unearthly Trance’s sixth album.

Full of heavy riffs and weighty attitude, Stalking the Ghost is an album of gritty doom metal with sludge proclivities.

Brutal hard-hitting riffs are strategically placed alongside more atmospheric ones, creating tracks that occupy a strong position in both worlds. Unearthly Trance can engage the listener with walls of crushing guitars and emotive atmospheres, sometimes doing both at the same time.

Stalking the Ghost is an album of riffs, both catchy and subtle. The band’s direct assault can sometimes hide a personal side to the music that allows this album to go beyond mere doom metal. This aspect of the band’s sound is still unholy and steeped in doom’s fever dreams, but it allows the listener a glimpse into the human side of the band, with all of the pain and suffering that comes with it.

Unearthly Trance unleash hymn and after hymn to misery, all wrapped in distortion and delivered with occult fervour. Rumbling and brooding with an intense attitude, these songs warp and twist the conventional view of doom metal, mutating it into something sludge-fuelled and full of bitter bile.

The last song is a little different, more of an ambient mood-piece. It’s as if the gratuitous distortion of the previous tracks has spent itself, resulting in just the underlying negativity being left, laid bare.

This is a dark album that celebrates its misanthropy through malicious guitars and vocals that are spewed forth with charismatic invective. It’s also a very engaging and enjoyable one, a welcome return to the fray by these sonic acolytes of doom.

This is the first Unearthly Trance album in seven years, but it’s been well worth the wait.

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