Hungry Ghost
'The Hungry Ghost'

(Self released)


MARK: 78/100



A 'Hungry Ghost' is a sentient being from a particular realm depicted by Buddhist Samsara who feels strongly attached to our world; it is also the name chosen by the mysterious protagonist of a real original mix I'm about to describe to you. Try if you don't believe me! Weird newcomer, bringer of fresh ideas, many good, some others unexplainably shameful. For example it isn't clear why the man behind this monicker always plays sinister and then often chooses such horrible vocals; that makes me think he might not take the band too seriously, the way the Addams family was cinema-wise for instance. Moreover, not much about the band transpares, but I believe this is its debut CD.

The opening is entrusted to "Haunted", ope
ned by spooky keyboards, soft male voices, electronic beats and some trip hop ones. Later some vocals are even a là Elvis Presley or somehow perverted.
A not reassuring and creeping bass, together with samples, looped noises, and male vocals dear to Cramps compound "Heaven Is a Dark Place". There's also an acoustic guitar playing a light relaxing riff.
The first masterpiece we meet is "Walk on Fire", made with a repeated layer of keyboards, which only changes after some time, becoming debtor to the atmospheres of 50's horror flicks; there're several kinds of vocals, dark and also soul. The bass is deep and probably only DJ Shadow's beats and scratches can be gloomier than the Hungry Ghost.
And now "Brooder": wha-wha guitars sampled, a distorted bass and guitar and some female vocals aren't enough to save it. As a matter of fact, gay vocals deign of a disgusting drag queen along with ridiculous keyboards make it the trash of the CD. I don't have fun when I have to be so brutal but honesty is my job and my language is as straight as Bukowski, so you won't have to be surprised if I say that only fanatics of 80's softcore may like this shitty song, I swear it!
Soon afterwards it's time for a cool electro-pop track with oriental elements and occasional X-Files effects; lots of climaxes and relaxings; "Lady Twilight" is a high quality song where the keyboards are the best of all the record; somehow remind me of the ones utilised by 80's greatest bands like Level 42. Thumbs up!
Simply fantasmagoric the sonic landscapes contained in "Scary Town"; an arpeggio, a few reverberated male vocals, later duetting with female ones; beats, keyboards and recitative male vocals, a prolonged keyboards sound, Japanese flavored-scales with a flute make it an absolutely unconventional composition. It's up to you to take your conclusions: a mad chap or a genius? Sometimes the edge line can be very subtle.
Things change one more time with the urban "This Cold Abyss", tremendously sullen, but at the same time weird, with bizarre noises and beats, low male vocals, tender female ones, theatrical keyboards; then at last an arpeggio in the vein of the never-enough-late-lamented Blind Melon, which doesn't last long yet. The looney keyboards notes and the rest come back, creating a song that Marylin Manson would dig very much.
One of the 2 songs not written by this one-man band is the wonderful "First Kill": this is pure dreampop, gifted with powerful EBM beats, a Pakistan/Indian mandolin or bouzouki, and catchy memorable keyboards strongly connected with the European school of experimentalists (Die Krupps, Einsturzende Neubauten, and some courageous gothic experimental bands). Definitely the 2nd masterpiece of the homonymous record.
"Evil Never Dies" (nothing to do with Overkill's homonymous song) includes triple menacious low vocals (2 male ones, of a white and a colored man, the only guest musician, and female ones); an excellent example of mental hypnotism, seduction and horror. Use this track before starting your séance to establish the right atmosphere. The vocals, the keys and the samples here really have something magic, I'm not exaggerating.
An LSD intro is the prologue to "Supernatural Serenade", afterwards tribal and ambiguous; again the same queer vocals, the spectral keyboards already used before, a small gong, low beats, strange piano inserts complete the picture. Not bad, yet improvable.
A sampled violin (?) opens "Frightened", continuously characterised by a vynil ground noise; an acoustic guitar is rhythmed by lazy beats; different male vocals (of which a few are even outa tune) and the songwriting remind me of Dinosaur Jr.
The last composition, "She's a Mystery to Me", is also the second not written by the mastermind's hands. A repetitive base and some profound layers sustain the fragile male vocals; only in the end a deviated guitar scale appears, so as to close the most suitable manner.

Besides the 2 false moves of "Brooder" and "Frightened", ruined by those hateful horrible vocals extraneous to the concept of the remaining material, the CD presents an innovative act with a large dose of inspiration; the recording is good and the artwork minimal, but I can't but say the world needs daring people like this to let music progress and refresh itself. So I'll forget the venial mistakes of the debut and wait for a mature following.