From ‘bathroom, to shed, to studio’ was how the duo of bassist Alex Wilson and drummer Paul Antony once described their natural progression in Ghold to me.
Rewind to Ghold’s 2013 debut – the Galactic Hiss EP – and you’d be hard pressed to recognise them now. It’s a great racket. And Alex’s bass mixed front and centre has always been a force to be reckoned with. But it all sounds rather thin compared to the revised colossal dark metal behemoth the duo-cum-trio have created with new guitarist Oliver Martin on PYR.
Oddly, there is one common link between Galactic Hiss and PYR – they both share a guest appearance from Rose Dagul. She plays cello on the EP, and also lends her cello and wild vocals to the equally demented 21-minute epic closer "Despert Thrang". And what a fierce song it is. The quartet seems to relish the chance to stretch out and grind through their drone-laden gears at half speed. And by heavily manipulating her vocals, they cast her as a floating angel of doom howling above the fray of their sonic abyss.
It’s proof that for Ghold more is more – and this new concentration of sound and energy is remarkably effective. However, they show a more direct and less textural approach on the opener "Collusion With Traitors" which just rocks. The higher tempo and cleaner sound invokes the spirit of fellow South London noiseniks, Hey Colossus. And it positively bristles in its taut angular drive before dissolving into a morass of feedback and ambient tomfoolery. Not a bad one-two punch.
Between their newfound confidence, the broadening of their hefty sonic palette and their ever-present wry sense of humour and bleak dystopian lyrics, Ghold have certainly conjured up their finest work to date.