Aug 2017 04

Ghosts in the Graveyard - Monsters for the MassesGhosts in the Graveyard
Category: Shock Rock / Darkwave
Album: Monsters for the Masses
Blurb: Former God Module member Byron C. Miller takes his lifelong love for all things horror in a whole new direction with his new lo-fi darkwave project. Unfortunately, spotty vocal work tarnishes what would otherwise be a fun Halloween record.


 

God Module has been a force in the EBM world for 18 years now. Filmmaker Byron C Miller joined the band in 2002, just two years after its formation, eventually becoming co-front man in live performances and, along with founding member Jasyn Bangert, used dark imagery, heavily distorted vocals, and horror movie samples to make God Module one of the best known horror acts in the industrial scene. Miller left God Module in 2010 and four years later, he has formed his new band Ghosts in the Graveyard, along with his wife Shelly Smith, and Wiscon member Paul Morgan. But if God Module could be compared to Hellraiser, then Ghosts in the Graveyard could be compared to The Nightmare Before Christmas – the band is showing its love for horror without actually being horror. Miller’s childhood of haunted houses, abandoned graveyards, and homemade Halloween mazes are what this album feels like it about, more interested in trying to get you to have fun rather than scaring you. One can feel that the band put a lot of passion into the project, which is why it’s disappointing that it doesn’t work quite right.

The album starts with a ghoulish voice speaking to us, guiding us to the door of a mansion. We visit this character in interludes between songs throughout the album, leading the listener on a guided tour through various parts of a haunted house, and it’s played straight with no joke or scare that pops up during. The songs themselves are simple but mostly effective, all utilizing simple, lo-fi synths and drum machines, with a piano being the go-to instrument that is used on almost every track. This is most effective in songs like “Old Dark House,” in which it provides the base melody, particularly in the chorus, as well as high end flourishes all over the heavily overdriven drums. Morgan’s guitar work is used sparingly, but it adds an edge to the songs when needed, the best example of which is in “Monster Mask” where he uses it for small buildups and lingering distorted notes that he lets hang throughout the chorus.

But the problem with the album is the vocal work. Miller is frequently out of tune, whether by himself or with Smith and Morgan singing backup, and the timing of his vocals seems sloppy. This actually works to the band’s advantage in the song “Better in Black,” which is the one of the fastest songs on the album and has a very punk feel to it where having less polished vocals is actually a trait of the genre. But in songs like “Needs” and “The Danse Macabre,” Miller’s attempts at a more traditional singing style make his voice stick out like a sore thumb. I feel that this is a hurdle most listeners won’t be able to get over.

Miller has also crafted videos for some of the songs, playing out like mini horror movies. The band has labeled itself as shock rock, but that doesn’t come through on the album for this writer; it isn’t until one sees the music videos that the label is better understood. Overall, if you are a fan of bands like Creature Feature or Ghost Town, then you may be able to find a place for this album in your collection. But for everyone else, they may tune out as the singing starts.
 
Track list:

  1. Welcome…
  2. Thirteen Ways to Die
  3. Better in Black
  4. Old Dark House
  5. Dracula’s Room
  6. Needs
  7. Another Night
  8. Monster Mask
  9. Drink Your Blood
  10. Marigold
  11. The Danse Macabre
  12. The Dungeon
  13. The Last Halloween

 
Ghosts in the Graveyard
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
A.D.S.R MusicWerks
Website
 
Purchase at:
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Bandcamp
 
2016-10-21
 
Doug Leach (DLeach)

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