Now here’s a band that’s doing something different, and of course I’m talking about Gost, not Ghost – even though I admittedly enjoy a bit of that band every now and again being the boomer that I am. When Ghost first started out, it was a bunch of dub, DJ effects and black metal. I hated it. Then finally, the awesome power of synthwave came along and I unexpectedly fell in love with the band, or at least some of the songs here. You see, synthwave is coming to conquer because we deserve an apology for dubstep. Call Of Duty three-sixty no scope videos aside, of course. But that was the age of bro and now we’re in the age of bruh, so we just have to think of synthwave as a way to cope.
“Relentless Passing” is a good sign of things to come, but “Wrapped In Wax” sounds like early Grendel and I suppose I dig that. I wonder what happened to him? As we keep going, we eventually get to the first great track which would be “Dreadfully Pious” which still needs a tad bit of retooling. The synths sound a bit too Mega Man and less new wave, which is a bit of an issue. The goal of proper synthwave is to sound like an eighties cyberpunk soundtrack, something John Carpenter inspired or influenced by new wave, but this sounds a bit too gamey in the synths for me. I don’t like it as much as Confrontational‘s “Queen Of Vengeance” (but to be fair, there are few synthwave songs I like more) but it has the right idea. “Timeless Turmoil” is a joke, but another synthwave number crawls up here with much better synths. “Bloody Roses” feels more like Ministry‘s With Sympathy, which is definitely the kind of sound that these guys should be going for. But it’ll be my luck and the next record will end up having no synthwave on it at all, which will be a shame as I’m getting tired of black metal as it is, and from the sound of it – these guys are too.
“The Call Of The Faithful (Faithless)” is the band’s attempt at an instrumental synthwave track and it’s actually pretty good. The synths aren’t too overbearing, it has the right feel, reminding me of a neon cityscape. After that, we get into the best song on this whole album, “She Lives In Red Light.” There’s the right amount of Goth, the right amount of horror influenced synths and it still feels robotic. I’m gonna say it here and now, this is yet another lovemaking song for your robot waifus… which we don’t have yet, but soon will. So start saving up.
“Ligature Marks” brings in the harsh vocals, but it still maintains a fair amount of new wave influence. Depeche Mode was certainly an influence. “Push” has even more Depeche Mode influence. These guys seem to be so good at this style, that I hope they’ll throw the black metal portions of their performance in the trash. Unfortunately though, that is not the case – but I don’t think the harsh scowls go well with the bouncy nature of the track and the electro-fuzz. The final experiment attmepts to merge classic synthwave with black metal scowls once again, melding what feels like Pertubator with unnecessary harsh vocals.
At the end of the day, it’s whatever. Valediction is the only Gost album I’ve ever liked and maybe they’ll continue in this style. I like that there’s a shovel on the front cover, which means they’re telling fans that they’ll finally stop butchering black metal and continue to pursue this awesome synthwave style that they’ve embraced to go along with the revival of the genre that we’re experiencing right now. So far, no one has fucked that up.