Gost exist in the dark crack between black metal and the most shadowy end of electronic music. Since the release of the Radio Macabre EP at the start of 2013, and the remorseless digital nightmare of their Skull debut album six months later, Texas-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and main-brain James Lollar has become an increasingly singular force in music. Far more aggressive and sinister than the synthwave he's often grouped with, Gost is a harsh and unique digital nightmare that takes the listener right into the heart of the abyss.
Now Gost return with their sixth album, and their most exhilarating and dangerous-sounding work to date, Prophecy. It's a record that perfectly reflects the horror and grim anxieties of a world beset with religious and political overreach, and progress "being rolled back to the fucking 1950s".
"It's about an imaginative fall of the Western civilization, the biblical end of the world - the rise of Satan and Armageddon," says James. "In America, there's been a big rise of scared, reactive Christianity again, and almost like a re-emergence of the Satanic Panic. So it felt like an appropriate time to bring Satan back into things."
Recorded alone in Texas during a burst of creativity at the end of 2022 ("I can't put a song down once I start it, I'm too OCD, I have to finish it"), Prophecy is the perfect vessel for such things. Following the experimentation and more melodic touches of 2019's Valediction, James says it also acts as something of a return to older roots, to recapture the spirit of Gost.
"When Valediction came out, COVID hit, and I guess people weren't so into art while the world was on its knees," he says. "I also wanted to reconnect with some of my older fans who maybe didn't feel that album so much. I wanted to go back in time and bring some of the older shit back, some of the older sounds."
Indeed, on tracks like the industrial scrape of Death In Bloom, the doomy Decadent Decay and Golgotha's demonic pulse, it's clear what he means. Throughout, he welds together elements of pulsing synthwave, the otherworldly nastiness of black metal, and the pound and snarl of Ministry at their most unhinged to create a whole that sounds genuinely dangerous, somewhere between metal and a rave in Hell.
"If people listened to my music at a rave they would have a bad fucking trip," laughs James. "But it's a fun challenge to try to make metal with digital noises. I love processing on a computer and electronic equipment, and trying to make it sound raw. It's a unique challenge, because everything in there is clean, and you're using plug in distortion and things like that. It's just a whole different realm than using pedals and amps and shit."
For an artist who drinks so heavily from the world of electronic and dance music - albeit at its most extreme edges - James says Gost hasn't been taken in by that world at all. Instead, he's built a home in metal, as seen when he was invited to tour with black metal legends Mayhem.
"On the Mayhem tour, I ended up one night in a hotel bar talking to [bassist] Necrobutcher. I was thanking them for having me on the tour, and he's like, 'That was me, I wanted you on this tour.' That's fucking bizarre. But it's cool, man," says James. "It's weird to be accepted by the metal community, it's humbling, it's honourable. It's where I come from."
Whatever you call it, Gost have made something intense, cathartic, creatively rich and not quite like anything else out there. Watch them fulfil their Prophecy…