UNEARTHLY TRANCE, the iconic trio from New York City, has been into the frontline of doom metal/sludge for around twenty year (if not more). Fueled by their collaboration with Relapse records, the band released numerous of records and various other releases, leading to their return with “Stalking the Ghost” in 2017. “Stalking the Ghost” marks the band’s sixth full-length record, after a seven year absence (a break called by the band’s members themselves in order to focus on Serpentine Path and other projects).
The band introduced, back in 2000, a sludge- metal style close to doom; heavy, raw and in-your-face, the band needed no well-polished sound or technical, complex riffs to spread their artistic ideas. “Stalking the Ghost” sound heavier than ever. The band composed songs that are close to their other projects, managing to sound original as well as fitting their trademark sound as UNEARTHLY TRANCE.
“Within this record you will find the warm, old-school sludge metal we kind of forgot that existed due to unconventional sludge-metal bands.”
With an artwork that introduce the listener, from the very first time, with the band’s occultism, “Stalking the Ghost” kicks off with ‘Into The Spiral’. ‘Into The Spiral’ introduces the heavy, rhythmical theme that the record orbits around, with harsh vocals and doom guitars to claim the listener’s attention. Progressing further into the record, ambient and, somehow, trippy elements blend perfectly with UNEARTHLY TRANCE’s music, reviving the band’s oldest record which probably the listener has already been experienced with. Do not forget that Unearthly Trance are no newcomers; their ‘recipes’ are old and classic, influenced by NEUROSIS, CROWBAR and definitely the doom metal genre as a whole.
Within “Stalking the Ghost” the listener can find compelling songs like ‘Scythe’ and more trippy songs, that will for sure be appreciated by the fans of sludge metal. As a whole, it is hard to find a bad moment; however, the record lacks the enthusiasm of the first UNEARTHLY TRANCE records, or the sludge-metal releases of the previous decade. We all have heard those songs, those sounds, in the back of our head, because if you follow a music genre for year, you get experienced with what to and not to expect from the fathers of specific music genre.
UNEARTHLY TRANCE made a great comeback that will, for sure, stay into the playlists of everyone for long. Do not get fooled by the sirens of modern extreme metal bands, you won’t find anything new in “Stalking the Ghost“. On the other hand, within this record you will find the warm, old-school sludge metal we kind of forgot that existed due to unconventional sludge-metal bands.