Ghastly – Mercurial Passages (Review)

Ghastly - Mercurial PassagesThis is the third album from Finnish death metallers Ghastly.

Ghastly specialise in death metal that has a sort of creeping, otherworldly malevolence to it. It’s atmospheric and sinister in ways that are unusual. You can hear the debt that has been paid to band’s such as Death and Autopsy, etc., but you can equally hear that Ghastly have used these influences to produce something all of their own.

Mercurial Passages offers a detailed study of old-school death metal, as seen through the eyes of a band who refuse to be trapped by the generous tropes of the genre. Ghastly are more concerned with taking their atavistic influences to the next level of the underworld, birthing new and exotic psychedelic strains of death metal for the listener to become enraptured by.

The music combines engaging riffs with dark melodies and well-crafted mood-building. The songs have more depth and layers than your standard death metal band’s music does. It’s old-school cavernous death metal in some regards, packed with quality riffs, doom-fuelled heaviness, and memorable composition. In other regards it’s progressive death metal that pushes boundaries, with psychedelic explorations and rampant non-standard expressions of immersive atmosphere. Ghastly’s clash of the classic with the adventurous has led to the spawning of a 40-minute work that is of such high quality that before you know it you’re dragged down so far into the band’s virile, creative environment that you never want to leave.

Mercurial Passages is an inventive, exceptional release. If you have a passion for old-school death metal, yet tire of the same old formula being repeated over and over again, then look no further than this sterling album; Ghastly have created a monster.

Essential listening.

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