Genre: Death Metal
Label: 20 Buck Spin
The second album by Ghastly first draws the attention from its elegant, pale-blue cover artwork, which now grants a more accurate first impression of what the music might be about than the stoner / doom art from their debut in 2015. These hints showcase how the band does not follow the conventional death metal format and in fact, but labeling them as “death metal” one might be differently predisposed on what to expect from such a Finnish band.
“Death Velour” was released a few months ago and it is almost exactly the same duration as their previous record (37 minutes) but with one less track, and that might be due to the nine-minute closing number “Scarlet Woman” and a couple of six-seven minute tracks. Ghastly’s music is a thick fluid, undulating into eerie melodies and beautiful riffs with some more aggressive parts, always preserving a fairly dark atmosphere that doesn’t remind a lot of other death metal bands, which is great to me.
The record begins with an introduction that could fit to a horror movie too, and quickly catches the ear of the listener with “Death by Meditation”, which is a short track based on the musical approach of the band in the whole album and a legit piece as well. I like how Ghastly manoeuvre to avoid boredom by changing their tempo frequently and by adding small fascinating twists in the tracks, like the outro of “Whispers in the Aether” (which also has my favorite guitar lines here), or the addition melody towards the end of the amazing “Violence for the Hell of It”. The more you listen, the more fun “Death Velour” is.
They do not enter frantic speeds at any time in the album, which would not be picked among the most brutal or heaviest pieces around. Instead, the middle paced tracks emphasize on the variety of the guitars in what would be stated as “the correct way to use melody in death metal”, along with vocals that also aren’t the typical growls of the genre. The vocalist has a higher pitch and a raspier voice, which fits more to disquiet shouting that growling. In “Velvet Blue”, a track which starts slightly heavier than the rest of the tracks, features some vocals that could be closer to growls, yet it’s only there. You should not be afraid of clean vocals either because there are not any.
As the final track has been mentioned before, it has a really long ending part that lasts three-four minutes which could have been excluded, making me think if the band pressured themselves to reach a certain minute mark. This would be the only negative point I can find on “Death Velour”, which is otherwise interesting and a better installment than the band’s debut. It is not completely shocking and doesn’t have a massive impact, but it will find its way under your skin and it should be appreciated as a fine death metal record.