“Look away, it’s unholy, it’s ghastly, it’s a…blood feast!”
With a strong affinity for b-grade horror and Death/Thrash, Ghoul have carved out a niche that satisfies people who love metal and a good ol’ slasher flick (similar to GWAR). Musically this album combines thrashy song structures with elements of Death Metal (largely the vocal work which flickers between Carcass highs and low growls), Grind, Heavy Metal (solos and leads), as well as Surf Rock guitar tones and chord progressions (Death In The Swamp in particular), as well as a general air of schlocky b-grade horror theatrics.
The theatrics are most obvious on the late album, 8 minute long (and slow paced) Illuminati themed Morning Of The Mezmotron; the almost spoken word vocal delivery as the song details the conquest of the Illuminati and the introduction of the awe inspiring mezmotron could belong in a horror themed Broadway act to be honest. The rest of the songs though are pretty standard Ghoul material; catchy and fun death/thrash that flirt with grind, as well as have horror movie samples, gang vocals and interesting leads dispersed throughout the album.
Production quality is pretty standard and no instruments drown each other out; the leads and the solos are clear over the drumming and everything sits well enough in the mix although the bass doesn’t provide enough of a bassy tone to the album, leaving it sounding a tad flat. The song writing is catchy and thanks to the obsession with b-grade horror that has seeped into the material, its surprisingly fun for Death/Thrash though this does lead into probably the biggest issue that the album holds; its bloody cheesy. Transmission Zero being the 4th studio album in Ghoul’s releases of similarly styled material (as well as a recent split “Splatterhas” with Tankcrimes labelmates Cannabis Corpse), the obsession with b-grade horror humor and cheesy theatrics might be running a little old for people who have been keeping up to date with this band while for new people, the amount of cheese that this band oozes can be cringe-worthy. Take the lyrics from Death In The Swamp for example, consisting entirely of “I can tell there’s death in the swamp because I can smell there’s death in the swamp.”
The album is pure cheesy horror fun and for people familiar and new to the band can look past or even enjoy (guilty!) the immense cheese oozing from this album and Ghoul’s material, it’s a recommended listen, akin to getting trashed and watching an obscure b-grade horror for your ears.