Bastard Priest: Ghouls of the Endless Night

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Bastard Priest: Ghouls of the Endless Night
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Bastard Priest: Ghouls of the Endless Night
Death Metal
Blood Harvest Records
November 30th, 2011
Release length: 37:50
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Roughly one year ago, Bastard Priest stormed onto the Death Metal world thanks to their debut offering, Under the Hammer of Destruction. With this release, the band presented material from their demo recordings under a new light with a few new songs to present a brand new full-length offering to introduce themselves through. This release immediately took fans of the style by storm, and this Swedish Death Metal act quickly became a band to watch. However, it’s been roughly one year since that release, and the band returns with eight new tracks of what should be skull crushing Death Metal. But, does this group’s old-school sound stand up when it’s not redone material from the many years prior?

In keeping with the spirit of the early Death Metal sound, the album has a bit of a raw taste to it. This works perfectly with the heavy, bass-driven sound of the album that gives off a crushing, haunting atmosphere to the music. The guitars here feel sharp in the traditional Swedish Death Metal fashion, but it’s the louder bass accompanying the guitars that really gives it that edge without drowning anything out. The vocals also work in favor of an eerie tone to the music, largely thanks to their presence being pushed back a bit in the audio with a performance mixed with sickening rhaspier growls and deeper gutturals. At times so effects are placed onto them, such as during “Enter Eternal Nightmare,” which gives them a creepier tone through things like a stronger echo effect and a thinning of the voice itself to make it sound more like a ghoulish growl traveling in the wind. The cold, often melancholic sound of Ghouls of the Endless Night is complimented by deep thudding bass kicks against tight, louder snares and cymbol crashes which stand out well, all filling the music well to give it a rich sound, even when the pace of the music is slowed dramatically, like with the crawing Death Metal offering “Poison.”

And that’s just one part of the madness to the album’s pace. There’s a decent amount of trudging slower material, but there’s plenty of faster paced Death Metal assaults to be found, and many of them are pretty good. The only issue here is that the faster they are, the less of an atmosphere they have. “Pestilent Force” brings back the early Death Metal animosity and hatred with unstoppable rage in the music and an energetic vocal performance, and on first listen it’s a fantastic track. But, while the song is still great no matter how many times you hear it, later tracks manage to bring in a stronger hopeless vibe that puts the tone of this song to shame. Prior to the guitar solo, there is a bit of an atmospheric section that comes out of nowhere, but it just feels very random and sadly doesn’t do much considering that fact, as well as how short it actually is. Had the band used that as an introduction, or a closing to the song and expanded on it, then the point would have gotten across nicely and the atmosphere established right from the start. There’s also “Sacrilegious Ground” that slams at the listener with the same faster pace, though there are many opportunities that are taken by Bastard Priest to accentuate the grim tone of the music, as well as features some really creepy guitars later on that really stand out.

“Ghouls of the Endless Night” starts a gradual slowing of the album’s pace, and with that comes a much stronger environment. “Enter Eternal Nightmare,” however, feels like the perfect combination of aggression, speed, and atmosphere. The song varies between a good mid-tempo to trudging pace throughout, both of which hammer away at the listener nicely with a crushing sound that benefits greatly from the bass kicks and guitar. The echo on the vocals really makes the whole situation feel grim and melancholic, and when the song speeds up after a period of creeping material, the guitar solo kicks in and just completes the whole package as it comes to a suitable close. But, when it comes to intros and outros on this release, there is one that feels very out of place, and greatly affects the entire track.

“Fucking Slaughter” kicks in rather oddly for this release, and it’s clear that the band wanted a completely old-school Death Metal meets Crossover Thrash Metal style song. The sound of a glass smashing starts things off, and then a rawer, faster song kicks in with the latter of the two aforementioned styles really taking over. The echo effect seems to be podded up moreso too, and all the atmosphere established after “Pestilent Force” is just completely gone. While the track itself is still solid, it feels very out of place, and even comes through rawer in comparison to the rest of the album, almost as if this were an unaltered demo recording of some kind. And it doesn’t stop there. This carries onto the song “Last Scream” which now caters to a more Punk fueled sound and not so much the Crossover Thrash Metal of “Fucking Slaughter.” Again, it’s not a bad song, but it’s just so drastically different that you cannot help but think this and the previous track are covers of originals by various other bands, though the liner notes state they are Bastard Priest original compositions. Luckily the album ends like it started: Fast and heavy. “Enormous Thunder of the End” brings the album back to the slightly atmospheric Death Metal sound it started with on “Pestilent Force,” making for a solid closing track after the two shakey but still enjoyable out-of-place cuts that came before it. The bass-driven song really makes better use out of it then the first song on the release, and the intensity is matched with a rhythm you can immediately headbang to that becomes infectious in it’s glorious old-school Death Metal ways.

The only faults that Ghouls of the Endless Night have lie in the band’s aggressive speed causing a loss of atmosphere, and two songs that bring the music back even further in Death Metal’s roots then the majority of the album does, which causes them to sound very out of place. Bastard Priest show their love and dedication for the earlier sound of the style well, and create a rough, raw, and spirit crushing (for the most part) album that any fan of the style would be proud to have in their collection. With only a roughly one year gap between releases, this effort is surprisingly solid, and even if your anticipation to hear it is sidetracked by the worries of too little time to write solid material, you have nothing to worry about. Ghouls of the Endless Night is definitely an album worth checking into.

01. Pestilent Force – 3:56
02. Ghouls of the Endless Night – 5:22
03. Enter Eternal Nightmare – 4:31
04. Poison – 4:46
05. Sacrilegious Ground – 5:14
06. Fucking Slaughter – 4:16
07. Last Scream – 3:51
08. Enormous Thunder of the End – 5:55
Overall Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Blood Harvest Records.