Ghost-B.C.-2013The Fighters: In the black corner, representing the softer end of the European metal spectrum (more on this later but the new record’s more ‘The Final Countdown’ than ‘Number of the Beast’), Sweden’s Ghost. In the green or greenish-red (those being the shades of decomposition according to this) corner, grindcore institution Fuck The Facts. Also, Ghost play dress up a la Alice Cooper et al. and don’t sound nearly as scary as they look. Fuck The Facts are more of a ‘walked on stage wearing whatever was on the end of the bed that morning’ affair but create ugly and aggressive sounds that start at nihilism and only get darker as you go. In cinematic shorthand, Ghost are a Universal monster movie and Fuck The Facts are something more like this.

The Albums: Meliora is Ghost’s third full-length. Opener ‘Spirit’ sets the tone by opening with a B-movie flourish, complete with Theremin (or, at least, a synth programmed to sound like one) thrusting the listener immediately into Doctor Frankenstein’s laboratory. You know, with all those Tesla coils? It gets even less metal from there; ‘Cirice’ contains a piano/vocal interlude that really, really sounds like a character in a musical singing exposition, as characters in musicals do. The guitars and drums sound kinda thin, which is what happens when synths are your priority. A little deeper in the record sits ‘He Is,’ which actually sounds like Asia or some shit. Nothing wrong with Asia, it’s just not a sound that sits well with the image, IMHO.

ftf

Fuck The Facts’ latest, Desire Will Rot is…well…certainly a grindcore album. Blast beats and shrieking/guttural vocals? Check and check. I read another review of the record that credited the band with bringing “song writing chops” to this arguably monochromatic playground. Not so sure about that myself but one can be grateful for the occasional downshifting to half time and the three more ambient/experimental tracks (‘False Hope,’ ‘Circle,’ ‘Nothing Changes’) that close the record out. Were they spread out across the sequence as palette-cleansers rather than all crammed together at the end, the experience of Desire Will Rot would be greatly enhanced. Still, in stark contrast to Meliora, the production is bracingly visceral and huge.

The Decision: Fuck The Facts by technical knockout. Neither band is doing anything terribly original, but Desire Will Rot is the one that’s sticking with me.

Websites – Ghost-official.com, Fuckthefacts.com

Facebook – The Band Ghost, Fuck The Facts

Twitter – @thebandGHOST, @FucktheFacts

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