GosT – Skull 2019 EP Review

Baalberith’s coming of age gets a nifty vinyl reissue. 8/10.

GosT Skull cover artwork image. A pencil drawing of a skull in what appears to be a ritualistic circle with symbols in it and the letters of the band's name. The skull has a a similar design etched into the forehead. The jawbone is broken off and sits next to the skull. Around the skull are pieces of bone, bundles of twine and what appears to be a tattoo machine.

 

‘Her name’s Christine…’

And as Cursed’s driving beat kicks in and a certain 1958 Plymouth Fury has that unholy engine of hers serenaded in a glorious mix of squelchy bass and earworm hooks, you get exactly where darkwave artist GosT was coming from with 2013’s Skull.

Released again – on limited coloured vinyl only – after being signed up last year by Century Media and to coincide with the US leg of his tour with Perturbator, this is a violent, seductive beast. Skull paints its vocal free sonic assault with brushstrokes of synth, electro house, distortion and atmospherics. Catchy? Yep. Danceable? Absolutely.

But there’s a pervading darkness here, a monster in each and every track. No, this isn’t metal, despite what the logo up there or his stage presence as Baalberith might suggest. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s heavy.

Chasm sets the tone, drops its beat, shimmers and shines then kicks you into freefall. The previously mentioned Cursed is the standout track, rocking up and rolling in for your soul. They and Oddened might recall the glitched funk of 2007’s dance darlings Justice but are quick to layer a touch of creeping dread into proceedings. The spirit of 80s horror is here in force, reeling you right back into the spools of video nasties you should never have seen as a kid but were all the better for watching.

Manic plays that hand particularly well, warning of what’s to come with an ominous yet inviting loop sliding into dancefloor friendly fun and frolics before coming back in force to chase you down, cut you up and slice your frikkin’ head clean off. John Carpenter’s musical influence hangs heavy in the blood thick air, the sound of a good night going to very literal Hell.

Rounding off proceedings are a couple of newbies that cropped up in 2018. The Call Of The Faithful is a banger built for filling floors while the unexpected slow burn of She Lives in Red Light is a welcome change of pace. Similar in tone to Sigil from last year’s Possessor album, this vocal led track slips under your skin with a gothic gloom and pop sheen.

Skull is a great place to start if you’re new to GosT and the synth/dark/retrowave genre itself. He went harder and he went darker but the groundwork for everything you need to know is laid down here. Recommended. 8/10

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Image of Baalberith of GosT. He is dressed in a black tunic with large gold buttons and wears a black hood over his head, like a shroud. His leather gloved hand hold a glowing skull. The background is a dark red colour with a texture like crushed velvet. Above him is the GosT logo which is black and virtually unreadable due to it having fancy curls everywhere.