To Ghost Bath or Not to Ghost Bath?
So: what are we all feeling about Ghost Bath, generally speaking?
Last week the band released “Thrones,” the first single from their new album, and from what I can tell public opinion was mixed. Most people (including Axl) seemed to like the song OK, at least if you’re a fan of atmospheric BM such as So Hideous, Deafheaven, etc. I concur; the song is fine.
But people still seem stuck on the whole Chinese gimmick. I can’t blame them: it rankles. We were hoodwinked into paying attention to this band because we thought they were Chinese, but they’re actually just dudes from North Dakota, the whitest of all white places (meanwhile: the metal scene in China is thriving) that’s such a perfect counterpoint to China it almost seems like an Onion joke.
As far as publicity stunts go, Ghost Bath’s was mostly innocuous — compared to the band who shall remain unnamed who had the public in a frenzy over their lead singer allegedly being kidnapped — but if they’d just been forthright about their origins the whole time would anyone care about them? Would Nuclear Blast have come a knockin’? Does any of that even matter?
At the very least, their underground cred is completely shot. We can point fingers at the “elites” who only liked Ghost Bath when they were some obscure Chinese outfit, and we’d be right in thinking that’s a ridiculous mindset. But those elites are an important part of establishing any metal band’s career, and that bridge is now burned. Torched completely. It can never be rebuilt.
Ghost Bath’s success, then, will come down to whether or not they can ever become big enough to bypass that cornerstone of metal success completely. It has been done before: Trivium and Five Finger Death Punch, to name a couple. But atmospheric BM doesn’t have that kind of mass appeal. It’s a niche genre. Are there enough potentially unreached fans of the genre that can be swayed by the power of Ghost Bath’s songs? If not, can they potentially reach beyond metal diehards into Deafheaven territory?
We shall see. Starmourner comes out April 21 on Nuclear Blast, and can be pre-ordered here.
Watching the band live will certainly serve as some kind of barometer: let’s see if these guys can bring it in the big leagues or not. We’ll have just such an opportunity when they tour with Amigo the Devil (previously announced) and new dates with the always-excellent Astronoid this spring. Routing:
With Amigo The Devil:
03/01 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
03/03 Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
03/04 Baltimore, MD – Metro
03/05 Amityville, NY – Revolution
03/07 Providence, RI – The Met
03/08 Ottawa, ON – Zaphod Beeblebrox
03/09 Rochester, NY – Flour City Station
03/10 Dekalb, IL – House Cafe
03/11 St. Paul, MN – Amsterdam
04/14 Winnipeg, MB – The Park Theatre
04/15 Regina, SK – TBA
04/16 Calgary, AB – Distortion
04/17 Vancouver, BC – Astoria
04/18 Seattle, WA – Highline
04/19 Portland, OR – Ash Street Saloon
04/20 San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
04/21 Los Angeles, CA – Complex
04/22 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
04/23 Tempe, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
04/25 Denver, CO – Marquis
04/26 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room