I have oft driven through the long, winding mountain paths of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado en route to Arizona. My extended family lives in the “Grand Canyon State” and I frequently made this trip with my immediate family during my youth. There are times where the road can be exciting; like when you hit a new state, scenery or find yourself invested in a particularly interesting bit of conversation. Other times, the desolation of the road can overwhelm; those quiet moments when no one is talking, reflecting on some significant moment in their respective lives, daydreaming, or even drifting into slumber.
Where the mind goes in these quiet moments mirrored where I was transported to when listening to Ghostbound’s debut album All is Phantom (released July 13, 2018).
Alec A. Head (vocals, guitars, atmospherics) is the man behind the vision and Noah Shaul (bass) and Talha Alvie (guitars) fill out the unit. This album is something that has been in the works for quite some time and Head poured every ounce of his human experience into the project.
“Ghostbound is meant to be seen as a compendium of everything and everyone I see, hear, meet, taste, either in ‘real life’ or, perhaps more importantly, what I envision in my mind’s eye,” explained Head. “The goal has always been to evoke some manner of otherworldly image or atmosphere with sound.”
All is Phantom takes the listener on a journey but what you make of that journey is dependent on your own life experiences. This is truly an album that is meant to be listened to in its entirety, much like seeing a broadway play, you wouldn’t want to miss any necessary plot points.
The band labels themselves as “atmospheric, cinematic rock/metal with nods toward black metal and post punk,” I would say there’s a dash of avant-garde/art rock in the mix but you get the idea. On my first listen, I likened the sound as a cocktail of Opeth, Queensryche, Dream Theater and Queen but Head insists these were not conscious influences on the writing process for the album.
“Essentially a lot of the clean guitar tones you hear on the record stem from my fervent and unceasing love for post punk, death/goth rock, and 80s ‘Big Music’,” says Head. “In regards to the heavier portions of the record, this can all be traced back to my love for black metal and its innumerable off-shoots and sub-categories…”
The beautiful thing about art is that everyone can interpret it uniquely; Head only wants to take you on this odyssey with him, regardless of what personal discoveries you make along the way. As you peel back the layers on this album, you’ll see that Ghostbound has created something truly memorable, each listen you may catch some detail you missed before. The standout on the album is the emotional album closer that plays out like the final act in a Shakespearian work.
“Let us just say that ‘Goodbye’ the album’s closing track, was a particularly cathartic song to write and sing. I mean for the record to be a help for those who have lost someone close to them. Nothing will ever fully close the wound, but perhaps it can help bring a certain bit of understanding to the nature of what it is to grieve.”
Go on a late night cruise and play All is Phantom and let it transport you to another time and place. Say hello if you come across me while you’re there.
You can catch Ghostbound live in New York or follow the links below to listen to them today. Support this band. You’ll be happy you did.
Ty is the co-creator of Super Metal World and co-host of Super Metal World Podcast. His favorite metal subgenre is thrash. You can find him playing RPGs on the Switch or Ps4 in his spare time.