Hailing from the Chicago metal scene, Red Tongue Ghost unveils their first LP to the name of Ghost Stories I. Marching to a tune called Blackened Stoner Metal, we’re seeing this band of experienced musicians explore an interesting creative direction.
Slightly reminiscent of High on Fire, the intentions of the album as a whole seem clear; heavy grunge texture in the instrumentals, with some mystical witchy allure. Makes sense right? We all want it to. However, as much as it looks good paper, the real finished product should also reflect balance and depth. This finished product seems slightly too gimmicky, by auto tuning voice samples, and choosing an album artwork that is nostalgic of any dime-a-dozen crappy Netflix horror film.
With relatively ‘normal’ song structure, and lots of space to play with the spiritual forces of stoner metal, the expectation to find breakthrough moments is unfortunately let down by being a tease of something that could’ve been much more complex. The black metal realm isn’t a place of swimming shallowly into what seems like reality; and neither is the stoner metal one. The entrancement is something we are missing in Ghost Stories I, still sounding just fine on several levels, but rarely ever hitting that sweet spot.
Red Tongue Ghost are very much aware of how music making works, as they have a relatively strong instrumental base to this release. Overall groove and flow of the instrumentals are present most of the time, but a little stepped-on by vocals that don’t leave much space for anything else once they come into the spotlight. This lends towards the overwhelming feeling of imbalance. Believe it or not, balance can also be achieved in the most aggressive and ruthless of soundscapes.
Written by Talia Plante
*Edited by Dominic Abate