REVIEW: Ghost Orchid – Bloodbound//I[EP/2014]


Artist: Ghost Orchid

Album: Bloodbound//I – EP


Everything is perfect. Her body, naked, lays stretched upon a makeshift altar—your apartment’s coffee table—bound, gagged and blindfolded. Candles placed precisely where they need be, chalk and powder spelling ancient incantations, besmirching your once-pristine living room floor—you stand above her, leather bound testament cradled in one palm while a glistening, far-from-ceremonial bowie knife rests in the other. Just as you are perfectly poised to carry out a surreal, sanctimonious summoning unlike any previously attempted, Ghost Orchid stand at the precipice of pure metalcore perfection at the onset of Bloodbound//I. An EP that is simultaneous aggressive and haunting, atmospheric yet punishing, Bloodbound//I shows the young band embracing all of the quirks and oddities that define their sound and manipulating them to create an all-too-brief yet amazingly immersive experience. Take a deep breath—here comes the plunge.

Plunge indeed, as your knife slide smoothly, unobstructed between her ribs, searing and slicing through flesh, fat and muscle. Like a surgeon, you slide and carve her carapace, serrated blade bobbing in perfect time with the age-old syllables spilling from between your lips. Once Bloodbound//I breaks the listener’s skin, there is simply no stopping it. Driven by a raunchy, galloping drum line and deep, throbbing bass, “Mare//Posession” kicks the listener’s eardrums clean off their figurative hinges. Even in spite of its brief runtime, the percussion throughout Bloodbound//I is unfailingly energetic, never missing a beat in its oppressive, in-your-face attack on the listener’s sanity. Right there alongside it is Jay Gayoso and his deep, rollicking bass. Gayoso combines his efforts perfectly with those of the percussionist to create a driving, furious baseline from which guitarists Mike Coscia and Cameron Knopp can extrapolate. Coscia and Knopp provide an incessant array of inventive, razor-sharp riffs that cut through the listener like a katana through a cucumber. “Witching Hour” shows Knopp and Coscia playing nice with Gayoso’s plodding, groovy bass guitar, while “Ephemeral Trepidation” takes the already impressive amount of atmosphere the duo create and amplify it, creating great caverns of masterful musicianship where previously, there were but crevices.

It isn’t long before her blood spills past the pools in her recessed form, over her sides and onto the table—then tumbling, pouring onto the floor. As your cuts deepen and your voice raises from barely-audible whisper to belligerent roar, the blood pool at your feet spreads, soaking into the powder outlines. Here, the light dims. Like her blood gushing forth from the deep cuts you’ve founded, the vocals on Bloodbound//I erupt forth from the valleys and canyons carved by Ghost Orchid’s gruesome instrumentation. Vocalist Timothy Recchilongo paints the musical canvas of Bloodbound//I incarnadine, with one of the most distinct and incredible screeches the genre has ever seen. Reminiscent of Heavy Heavy Low Low’s highest screams, Recchilongo’s unique vocals dominate over the instrumentation—especially throughout the EP’s latter two tracks. This, however, is not to say the vocal effort throughout the release is monotonous. With Recchilongo’s low bellows, haunting singing and the appearance of two Floridian vocal juggernauts, Bloodbound//I is just as vocally visceral and complex as it is instrumentally inventive and fresh.

The lights dim to the point where you can hardly read the words written in this leatherbound novel—barely enough to follow the twists and turns of your victim’s body with your blade. However, unafraid, you continue—and before long, the summoning is complete. The ghost called into this realm? The full majesty of Bloodbound//I. Ghost Orchid’s debut EP is the picture-perfect amalgam of grotesque, heavy metalcore and over-the-top haunting atmosphere. The climactic sequence of “Summoning Sickness,” for example, where grooves slow their candor and collapse, giving rise to a crushing, soul-splintering breakdown that makes the listener feel as if they are truly splitting off a portion of their soul, creating a horcrux of sorts within Bloodbound//I. Perhaps it’s portions like the eerie chorus of “Ephemeral Trepidation,” which rings loud enough to warp its way into the gyri and sulci of the listener’s head—only to stay stuck there on repeat with no desire or ability to leave. This ghastly spirit Ghost Orchid have divined becomes a parasite, sucking and leeching off of the listener’s soul—growing enough to tower above the band’s peers in the process.

The spirit rises, looming over your head. Its eyes—you think it has eyes—lock with yours. The lights cut, and it becomes one with you, melting into your bones, coursing throughout your blood. Make no mistake, Bloodbound//I is this potent a poison, and Ghost Orchid are more than masterful enough to manipulate their sound to do just as they desire—even if their spell seems a touch short lived.



For Fand Of: Villains, Barrier, Sworn In, Beacons, Victims

By: Connor Welsh