Hailing from New York, Unearthly Trance is a doom and sludge metal band that, while remaining active for the most part (through various EPs, splits, and compilations), haven’t released a full-length LP in nearly seven years. For fans, the expectations were undoubtedly high, especially since their last record, V, was phenomenal. So, did their latest release, Stalking the Ghost, live up to those expectations? Let’s find out.
You know how a lot of doom records start off with some kind of ominous, evil sounding intro, or perhaps a little guitar feedback to set the mood? Unearthly Trance throws your expectations out the window and starts off with a track titled “Into The Spiral” that kicks you in the teeth immediately with a loud dose of fuzzy guitar. So begins the carefully blended brand of sludge and doom that Unearthly Trance brings to the table.
Up next is “Dream State Arsenal.” This song starts the way I expected the record to start, with a dark-sounding, heavy bass-line and some feedback. Things are brought to a slower, doom-filled pace with this track. “Scythe” follows the same path with another slow, plodding melody. “Famine” is about as melodic as Unearthly Trance gets while still maintaining that same level of sludge and heaviness that is present throughout the record.
The record ends with “In The Forest’s Keep.” Like something out of a horror film, this track has a scary drone sound, reminiscent of something you might find on a Sunn O))) record.
After a few listens of Stalking The Ghost, I will admittedly say that it falls into a somewhat formulaic doom-sludge approach at times. The last few tracks blend together and almost sound like one long track, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a doom record, but it does feel a little repetitious at times. Still, at the end of the day, Unearthly Trance hasn’t let us down with this record. It’s a doom and sludge album that rocks. Period. If you’re even remotely a fan of the doom genre, you won’t have any issues enjoying this one. So sit back, spark one up (if that’s your thing) and allow Unearthly Trance to transport you into the dark, demented work that is Stalking the Ghost
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Kate Erickson