A lucky few of you may have grabbed the vinyl when it debuted for limited release, but now Blood Music has released GosT’s “Behemoth” album for digital download. It’s “name your price,” but I’ll save you the thought involved: go ahead and give a little, because this album is priceless.
As many of you know, I am a rabid fan of GosT, ever since his early work in 2013. I still remember finding the EPs “Radio Macabre” and “The Night Prowler” and being impressed… then being astounded at “Nocturnal Shift” and quite honestly blown out of the water by “Skull.” In 2014, GosT followed up with “S/T,” a further refinement of a style that is not only unique but extremely powerful. GosT’s music invokes both dark menace and semi-religious rapture; I have been a devoted follower ever since I discovered this artist and his work. It is definitely on the edge (fringe, even) of retrowave, but it is incredibly significant to the genre, and in many ways, undeniably groundbreaking.
“Beyond” starts off this album with a nice, atmospheric intro. It is kept brief before exploding angrily into “Genesee Avenue,” a blistering track with a drum set that hits like a hail of stones. Next comes a retooling of the track “Night Crawler,” with superior instrumentation and embellishment. “Master” is another brutal track, and it’s here that we find the signature distorted and rough tones we’ve come to associate with GosT. This track does not let up. It refuses to let you go. “Reign In Hell” is a short but effective track with some cool bendy tones evocative of a broken, possessed machine. Frantic piano arpeggios lead us into “Tongue,” a brilliantly arranged piece of music that builds on itself in a classical-music way and would be at home on any decent horror film’s soundtrack. “Without A Trace” features haunting, beautiful vocals by Hayley Stewart and carries an almost romantic undertone. It is definitely slow and soft for GosT, but it is great and definitely belongs here. “Ripper” begins to build the listener up again, and is both sinister and uplifting. GosT has a sort of gift for mixing those emotions together in his music; it is always so evocative! Things continue to pick up with “Bathory Bitch,” a track as dark and sensual as the vampire countess herself. Uptempo and busy, it still pulls visions of dark red velvet to mind. “Sacrament” is another short interlude track, drumless and fairly minimalist, but it makes a good lead-in to the title track. Speaking of the title track, it is a spectacle in itself. It needs to be heard to be believed; in the span of two years, GosT has gone nuclear and it has resulted in something of a ghastly masterstroke. “Behemoth” the track is a wonderful pin on which to hang “Behemoth” the album; richly dripping with both murder and glory, brutal and beautiful to behold. The album includes two remixes by Dance With The Dead and Perturbator, two of GosT’s peers in the dark cave on the outskirts of retrowave. They are both wonderful remixes that both alter and add to their parent tracks.
All in all, I was blown to Hell the moment I pressed “play.” I grant “Behemoth” nine out of ten. I would give it a ten, but I’ll wait for a darkwave album by The Devil Himself before handing out that laurel. My guess is, GosT would give His Dark Majesty a run for his money.