New York trio GHXST started out a few years ago, delivering dim post-punk/no-wave of an excellent standard on their early singles and 2011's full length 'EVILWICKEDDESIRE'. This is thanks to Shelly X's eerie vocals combined with minimal guitars that makes their sound feel like it's come from a very wretched place. However, their newest EP 'Nowhere' adds a hefty dose of stoner rock/sludge metal to that sound and the results are jaw dropping.
Even if you've been a dedicated follower of this band for a while, this EP will startle you from the first second. Opener 'Slow Down' comes in with thick, vigorous riffs, giving a sense of invincibility made more effective by a subtle, but stiff and lifeless cymbal in the background. X's ghostly vocals make it more than just a straight up metal song, but a dreamy one amongst all the testosterone. Plus, her return maintains a sense of familiarity if you loved their older work. The title track is much the same, although the riff for this one has a cool and quick running up the frets effect in its style, with the added guitar solo, sullen in its mood, displaying obvious skill without being too showy.
'Keep Me Awake' branches out but still flows well from the rest of the songs with the clobbering replaced by a more derelict atmosphere invoking imagery of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. While preceding tracks are all about showing muscle, this keeps the strength hanging in the air but doesn't use it unless it needs to, feedback taking over the frequent but less hammered out chords. Closer 'Galaxia' contains no surprises, however; the guitars are decidedly meaty, colliding well with tarnished vocals.
The 'Nowhere' EP almost gives off a sense that Shelly X is disappointed in you; not angry, but just like you're not worth her presence with the combination of heavy versus calm. This union is sure to make GHXST more accessible to a wider range of people, so be sure to give this a chance no matter who you are.
There's the impression that GHXST are a one-trick-pony on 'Nowhere', the crunchy meets hazy formula being used to its fullest extent, but it's such a thrill that you'd be uptight to complain. If heavy riffs are your thing, then this is for you. And if you've never been into aggressive music, this is be a good starting point.
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