For a band that consists of members from Blackhole, Gallows, SikTh, and Spycatcher, it’s fair to say that there’s a lot to be expected of Gold Key‘s debut album, so, you’ll be happy to hear that ‘Hello Phantom’ doesn’t disappoint.
Unlike the members’ other bands and projects, there’s no metal or punk vibe to this record. Instead, they opt for a fresh, experimental progressive rock sound, channelling artists like Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age from track-to-track, making for what is a enjoyable and diverse record.
James Leach‘s stompy bass line as the album enters with ‘Creep In Slowly’ sets the tone of the record, with the groovy riff lifting the track up to a mighty chorus crescendo. It’s Leach‘s bass work that really adds another dimension to this powerful record. The album sounds big right from the off, and, thankfully, the production continues to be solid throughout.
Steven Sears‘ sweeping vocals ooze through the record, almost Matt Bellamy-like at times as he carries the weight of the melodic content tastefully on his tongue. The title-track especially shows this as his vocals patch together the disturbing, eerie chord changes of screeching guitars and their soft, silky choruses.
‘Sneaker’ has a creepily, mysterious intro which unsettles before the clean, echoing guitars enter to continue the spooky tone. This track in particular could easily sit alongside some of Queens Of The Stone Age‘s earlier work, as it uses the strange chord changes, descending xylophones, and bitter sweet vocals to create a sense of unease before smashing through the unstable sound into a blast of distorted guitars.
‘Juvenoia’ takes a brighter, poppier sound, and fits it perfectly with the rest of the already diverse record as a whole. The blend of groove, acoustic, and folk rock make this one of the more interestingly developed tracks on offer here, showing that Gold Key have quite the capacity to mix up their sound when necessary.
The album ends on a punchy high, with penultimate track ‘Mess’ easing you in with a hammer-on delayed riff over a sleek, tempting drum beat which escalates to a smashing, aggressive end chorus. It’s another show of the band’s experimental, transformative sound exploring different avenues.
It’s safe to say that ‘Hello Phantom’, with any luck, should do Gold Key a whole lot of good. It’s strong, varied, and takes you through a wide range of differing tracks. The experience of the members’ previous work shows to make this a very mature debut album for a very interesting band.
Written by Dylan Tuck (@dylankightuck)