Ever since Tony Iommi downtuned his six-string to ease the tension on his fretboard, it has been a popular misconception that the “heavy” in “heavy metal” is a product of the guitarist’s efforts. Luckily there are bands like Ghastly Sound, ever eager to defy this closed-minded train of thought - and kick ass whilst doing it. Consisting of nothing more than drums, vocals, and one very loud bass guitar (which has presumably been the lead suspect in the destruction of many amplifiers), Ghastly Sound possess a surprising range of sonic capabilities that easily rival the outputs of their stoner/sludge contemporaries. One would be forgiven for mistaking the Vermontian trio for a four piece upon first listen, but truth be told, the number of members is minuscule in importance when compared to what really defines this group: their knack for writing unpredictable and high octane songs.
Exhibit A: The Bottom, Ghastly Sound’s latest EP and second release on Magnetic Eye Records this year alone. Whereas the group’s self-titled EP, released in March, embraces more up-tempo anthems as its preferred doctrine of sound, The Bottom sees a balancing of this aggressive energy (present on songs such as “Sink” or the lead-single “Waves”) with more melodic cuts a la “The Bottom” and “Deadtooth,” the latter of which we are proud to be premiering today.
My personal favorite of the five compositions featured on the EP, “Deadtooth” exemplifies everything the band excels at, and does it all in under three minutes. The first portion of the song bleeds enchantment with a light riff before frontman Tyler Gurwicz’ etheric vocals pour out over a sludge-based groove: “Leave me alone/There’s nobody home…” His somber tone carries traces of late-Chris Cornell, a comparison I wouldn’t dream of making lightly. Just as the song drones long enough for you to coalesce with its atmosphere, however, things take a turn for the heavy and lead to a bombastic second-half that I would prefer to let you hear for yourself. Its brief runtime, shifting overtones, and otherworldly vibe, balanced with the bass’s utter heaviness, make this an ideal listen to acquaint yourself with Ghastly Sound.
Here’s what bassist T.J. Maynard had to say about the track:
“Musically, the inspiration for “Deadtooth” came while I was listening to a lot of Zao. They’re a band I’ve found myself caught up in and obsessing over periodically over the years. Curiously, I’m not entirely sure the influence comes across in a particularly overt way. Lyrically, the song addresses the need to cut out a toxic person from your life. This person is someone so embedded in your life that no matter how unsightly, or how much pain they cause you, the act of removing them is almost just as painful to bear. They’re a part of you. But you know things will be better without them.”
The Bottom will be released on 12/15 through Magnetic Eye Records, and is available for pre-order on Ghastly Sound’s Bandcamp.