Written by Barlovv
Ghosts of Shadow Moses – Demons
> Ontario, Canada
> Released October 12
When my eyes closed
I barely noticed the nodes
on my temples and chest.
Disclosure: While this album and all previous releases from Arklay Mountains and Ghosts of Shadow Moses are not affiliated with my label, Syrup Moose Records, it does seem prudent to acknowledge the fact that I am collaborating with both bands on future releases. While I always do my best to be as objective about an album as I can, this disclosure felt relevant and so here it is.
Nothing creepier than your streaming service releasing your album a few weeks ahead of time, but it wouldn’t be the most beautiful time of the year without some creepiness so, thanks to—I assume—the thinning of the barrier between the living and the dead, we were graced with the latest release from Ghosts of the Shadow Moses, a metalcore quartet from Ottawa, Ontario, appropriately titled Demons. Made up of three members of the also truly excellent instrumental band Arklay Mountains, but this time with an excellent vocalist, these soft and gentle Canadian boys are ready to rip your head absolutely the fuck from your body.
Demons rips from moment one, introducing itself with a swarm of flies and some vocal-chord shredding opening screams. There is also this really beautiful melodic nature to the guitars that almost feels tinged with an 80’s vibe, though that could just be me not knowing hot to describe music again. I’m also realizing, the more I write about music, that I am extremely nostalgic for metalcore because goddamn does this take me back. It doesn’t sound dated either; it’s a fantastic and up-to-date version of a thing I liked when I was young—and gives me that exact same feeling of energy and satisfaction. The experience of being in a mosh pit when I was 16 and welcoming having elbows thrown in my direction; something which now my horrible old body just wouldn’t permit.
Coming from a fully instrumental band at its core, it’s not going to surprise anyone that the instrumentals on this record are great, and the addition of a vocalist really does bring it up to a whole new thing. The vocals are fierce and brutal, and there really isn’t any respite from start to finish; the thing just goes hard and isn’t interested in letting up. The single-named Graham really is an excellent addition to the group here, and makes his presence felt immediately from the first time he opens his mouth. There really isn’t anything unremarkable here, the riffs are catchy and heavy, the drums are excellent, and I’ve already gushed too much about Graham’s vocals probably, so you get the idea at this point.
It’s an interesting thing, to me, how much truly excellent Canadian music seems to fly under the radar, and I really hope we can avoid that happening here for Ghosts of Shadow Moses. The Canadian metal and punk scene is honestly popping the fuck off and there really is no excuse for the lack of exposure so many of these bands seem to receive. The online spaces are, obviously, very insular, but it does seem like we could stand to push up some more excellent small bands rather than hyping the same bands ad nauseum, doesn’t it? We could start here with this, or with the truly excellent dudes over in Eaten by Sharks maybe? I’m getting off topic here, but there really is so much excellent indie talent in a space that is just full to bursting at this point, and Demons is just another reminder of that.
Ok, back on topic: Ghosts of Shadow Moses have managed to pop themselves directly on to my AOTY list, which seems to be getting longer at an alarming rate (could everyone just chill or make worse music for like two weeks so we can all catch up?). On top of the music being rock solid, they are just genuinely good dudes openly on the left, which you KNOW makes this wokescold cuck one happy guy. It’s an easy thing to review when you can just get on board with everything they’re putting down. So get suited up and start throwing some fucking elbows, because this album is required listening for you this October.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is so much to love about this album, and while I know that there is some kind of weird snobbery about metalcore—you know its there, I’ve seen it on Metal Twitter™—to suggest that this thing doesn’t absolutely rip in all of the best ways would be disingenuous to say the fucking least. There is a whole lot of fun to be had here, and you should absolutely check it out.