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Ghost Toast - Shape Without Form CD (album) cover


Ghost Toast


Heavy Prog

3.66 | 78 ratings

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5 stars With a name like 'Ghost Toast', what do you think you would expect? It's probably not exactly what you are going to get here. This band started out in 2008 in Hungary founded by 3 members Bence Rozsavolgyi on guitar, Laszlo Papp on drums and Janos Stefan on bass. They were later joined by Janos Pusker on keyboards and cello. Most of their instrumental music comes from improvisations held during their rehearsals.

Their fourth album 'Shape Without Form', released in March of 2020 shows the band maturing and still creating heavy instrumental prog with the same line up. The fact that these four musicians have been working together since 2009 is quite obvious as their sound is tight. The tracks on this album prove that they work together well, knowing what to expect from each other. It is almost hard to tell that most of the music is improvised as they move from a heavy, almost metal-type sound to a sudden shift to a mellow jazz interlude that builds into a swirling miasma of keyboards and build back to a solid punch filled with metal hard riffs in the track 'Eclipse'. It's the smooth shifts like this that make the music from this band so easy to gravitate towards.

The beautiful rhapsodic piano at the beginning of 'Frankenstien's' might throw one off of the expectations that you might have of the heaviness of the music. This continues on for a minute or so before exploding into the heaviness that you expect. But it is also an indication of the exploratory music you are going to get on this album. What you can expect is a lot of variation in sound as you move from one track to another. We talked a bit about the excellent flow of music on 'Eclipse' already as it overall stays with a heavy sound mixed with jazz inflections, but 'Y13' lets the piano take charge again and the guitars become more atmospheric and sythns give a really nice cinematic feel to it all. This gives this track a much different sound from the two preceding tracks, and the spoken word on this track (which comes from a 1960 movie called 'Space Men') narrates a story from time to time that makes it even more movie-like. It makes the loose concept of the album much clearer, that being the fight between being human or unhuman. This track would stand out as an amazing musical journey on any album, but the solidity of this band really makes it hit home.

'Hunt of Life' continues the wide pastiche of the album. This track is a cover of an Icelandic folk song and the vocal samples in the track are from an acapella cover of the song found on You Tube (the vocalist's name is Kelly Jenny). Her vocal samples are back by a sweeping instrumental foundation that also calls up a Norwegian feel, but against an almost reggae backbeat. It really works, especially with the amazing percussion surrounding it all. Very unexpected and pleasantly surprising. Later the bass leads the way as it takes things up another level in intensity. 'Follow' has a more steady sound, but it uses this pace to build tension, utilizing the balance between instruments quite wisely and bringing things to a solid guitar riff halfway in while twinkling keyboards retain a level of building tension until it all boils over, then calming to a sparkling finish.

'Before Anything Happens' is a bit smoother following a beat and piano riff that sails along before bringing in guitar to toughen things up a bit, but staying quite melodic and heavy at the same time. The track turns to a more symphonic feel as it continues . 'W.A.N.T.' features sound clips from the movies 'Nineteen Eight-Four' and 'Apocalypse Now' with Marlon Brando reading 'The Hollow Men' by T.S. Elliot which is where the album title 'Shape Without Form' comes from. The track begins with these clips superimposed over each other before a crushing riff from the guitars take over with progressive rhythms and a cello pumping out more intensity.

This album is full of surprises, variety and stellar performances from all of the band members. If you are a person that is normally turned off by all instrumental albums, you should still hear this album. There is so much variety and feeling in the music that you don't even miss the vocals. If you do love instrumental albums, then you will definitely want to hear this. It is definitely one of the best albums I have heard this year. The music often swells to uplifting and cinematic heights, and its all done with perfection and professionalism. This is one solid album and, strange band name aside, should be taken completely seriously as these musicians prove that they mean business, not only creating a solid heavy prog album, but one that also uses dynamics and balance to keep you guessing what surprises hide around each corner. This one is highly recommended to those who love a lot of variety in their instrumental music, packed with emotion and sweeping passages that take you right along with them. This is one that comes highly recommended to those that enjoy balance between soft, pensive passages to loud and heavy yet emotional highs. This might just be the album you are looking for that will catch you by surprise in 2020.

TCat | 5/5 |


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