reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
Cellarghost aims to find balance. Their last album, In the Whiteout, took two years to craft and achieve the balance between carefully recorded experimental washes and gritty post-punk resonation. Their latest EP, Ritual, was written shortly after the June 2016 release of In The Whiteout, and explores themes of loss and fear with no shortage of equilibrium.
A shorter gestation period equals no quality loss for Ritual. Instead there seems to be a sonic exploration of the concept of time: the filling of it, and the way that music has an ability to remove you from it. Opening track “Ritual” ends with the poignant realization: “I’m holding onto something that’s not worth saving. In my mind. Stealing all my time”, which mingles with the recurrent ideas of rituals. And while Ritual is an EP worth saving, the line introduces expansive ideas. What is a ritual if not a process, a summoning of energies, the time to craft?
“Ritual” is full of movement, as though the very earth below your feet is shifting, unstable and exciting. Buoyant guitars bury the vocals which evoke dark poetic nuance: more about the assembling of the words than narrative. This undulating energy continues in “Hotel”, where grooving percussion creates ripple effects. Time is never wasted on Ritual, and through the first half of the EP, every second is filled with layers of sound. It has the potential of an undoing, but then strikes “Mothic”.
“Mothic” is a triumph: the darkest track, yet the most vibrant. The song features the strongest vocal performance by introducing an addictive cadence. Shouting moments work as punctuation. The guitar builds evocatively until the song breaks open and floats. This is the removal from time, the transportation from the body. “Burial” sports a grooving bass line, which weaves expertly with the guitars. It’s an angrier track, a heavier track, and allows the EP to finish with a bang.
Music as an art form is rooted in time. The time it takes to experience a song, an EP, an album. Cellarghost embrace the concept, sometimes separating from time, sometimes drawing each moment out for full effect. If you’re looking for music that unfolds like a dark ritual of the temporal, look no further than Cellarghost.
Top Track: “Mothic”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)