Lable: Self Release
Members: Vin Price (The Ghost of Bela Lugosi) Songs/Instruments/Music. Various guest vocalist including: Zeke Sporn (Winter Corpse) Kevin Srednep (Psyclown), Sandra + Shawn Mortis (Alter Defection) Jak Taylor (Dream upon Tombs) , Owen Gillett (Ice Cocoon) , Ken Magerman + Collin Schipper (Amaranth 🙂
Ok our last glorious trip down the musical rabbit hole was for a band who is on the rise with critical acclaim. So I wanted to get back to a criminally under discussed band and personal friend Austrailia’s own The Ghost of Bela Lugosi. This has been a review a long time coming as I struggled with how to find the right words since I did have the honor of being a part of the project. Vin is a true tunesmith and multi instrument producer extraordinaire who much like a previous review Kill Shelter created an idea I am fast becoming enthralled with in modern music. A single songwriter combining a wide range of songs and styles with a different guest vocalist for each track to create an eclectic yet consistent album. A fan of the horror genre Vin created an homage tapestry to the campy, spooky, sexy concept of retro film monsters. It’s ambitious, it’s sinister, and has an unapologetic artistry that takes chances and hits the mark. For being such strange taboo concepts these songs are held together with such a beautifully woven pop sensibility. The drum beats are atmospheric and layered. The keyboards are nostalgic and dynamic. Each song has such a unique competition ranging from Ministry, Killing Joke, Devo, Shreikback, and of course Bauhaus. It’s a dance album with a lot of disco flavor. A sensual club dance feel. Just not that club that everyone can go to. That forbidden dangerous club you have to be in the know to find with no sign. The lyrics of these songs encapsulate these monsters. The ones from the 80s you found yourself drawn to.
Vin incorperates so many styles in this music but one aspect that bleeds through in all is that sense of punk rock defiance. Not in the actual sound but in the screw off I will never succumb to corporate mainstream feel of every track. While every song has a engaging hook they also lash out with a lo-fi aggression of piss and vinegar that most modern music lacks the courage to undertake.
Because there is so much to say about the individual tracks due to the different vocalist I am going to break protocol a bit and do extra stand out tracks. I won’t use my own because that is just weird but I will say I love the song I did with him Asphyxiation and think it is an incredible song that was way outside the wheelhouse of what I usually do. I really cut loose vocally in a way I rarely do with Amaranth. You should listen to it. In particular the video he did of Fright Night footage is outstanding. So here are some stand out tracks.
Berlin – This is the song that first introduced me to GOBL. It’s incredible. It’s a smokey room in a foreign land with these marimba like keyboard sounds that roll and remind me of The Cure. The guitar lines are very post punk and enthralling. It has themes of desire and obsession. A femme fatal song that has incredible pop hook and seductive whispers. It features his own voice and words which I think gives this song a particular genuine feel. I could listen a million times and still come back to this song.
Vampires of Hollywood – A sinister 80s synth build up draws you into this song. It’s lurking on the endge of your imagination. Sandra + Sean Mortis have a seductive spoken word vocal style with a creppy resonating reverb. Reminds me a bit of Tina from Switchblade Symphony. It doesn’t attack, it lures you into a dark place where you are her captive.
Videodrone – Holy creep dance burner. Owen Gillett has such a vast range and poetic style on this song. Again it is subtle and gentle like a beautiful ballad with David Gahan sex drip and Tones On Tail synth swells. The lyrics are so dangerous and forbidden. When he opens up in his high octave reaches it swells with emotions. “Like Ribbons sliced by razors, blowing in the wind” The bassline here walks a tightrope edge and gives this song motion.
Stockholm Syndrome – What an intricate club jam. The vocals have a terrifying otherworldly monster effect but delivered with a smooth crooning beauty. It’s one of those tracks that attacks you at multiple angles and never lets you get comfortable. I love this feeling and effect. It’s unnerving and unquieting.
Die With Your Eyes Open – Such a great concept for a track. The opening guitar riff is a classic. It’s a post punk throw back to old Killing Joke or Daniel Ash. The vocals are a little background but delivered with a reserved passion that fits the style.
Overall this album is such an unapologetic artistic expression. It’s full of danger and forbidden desires. It is one of the albums I love to play for people and say why do more people not know about this? Maybe it is to risque, too dangerous to make it’s way to the standard charts. I think that is part of it’s strength and I don’t think it is something Vin could change if he wanted to. Step outside the cycle of everything you are hearing and give this album a real try. You won’t be sorry. I’m proud to be a part of this record.