This is no mere pansy love song. This is deep, cutting metal written with a heavy heart and backed by heavier tonalities.
Sometimes you have to start from the present and work backwards to get a story in context. On 27th April 2015 Stoneghost will release the relentless and blistering New Age of Old Ways on the Mascot Label Group (Black Label Society, Volbeat, Gojira, Joe Bonamassa), but the band very nearly never made it to this point.
Front man, tattoo artist and mouth piece Jason Smith recalls; “I was having a kid and I couldn't cope with it, I didn’t think I would be able to carry on with the band too, I wasn’t in a good place.”
Deciding to depart with a powerful epitaph of what they were capable of, every strained emotion, the fury and anger that rose from the pit of each stomach was pushed to the limit to create a beast of significance, to collectively exit the world with a 'New Age of Old Ways'. The last record of a promising but fledgling act, it was then that the reverberating noise reached the ears of Mascot and things were to change.
- Press Release, February 2015
The story of Stoneghost plays out like just that - bringing your inner masochist from the lurid depths of your being in the process. Like a louse from the woodwork it crawls out for adventure, impending chaos palpable in the air. The thing is, Faceless Ghost is a viscous single that whets - ay, soaks - your appetite for an album that almost didn’t come to fruition. But hail Jesus, out of the darkness comes the light – or even bleaker darkness in the case of this analogy - and Stoneghost have, in while staring face to face with their own demise produced what could arguably be defined as their finest hour. Or so the strength of this single alone leaves us to believe.
It’s masochistic in the sense that the ferocity and fury that marks this record is what makes it what it is: It batters your eardrums but you can’t help but fall in love with the beating, this is real pain for pleasure stuff. Underpinned by rapid fire drumming, hardcore-tinged barraging guitars and slower never less powerful sections that draw more on the Melvins and Mastodon strands of their DNA, Faceless Ghost always keeps the crosshair pointed right at your jugular.
Formed originally as Snakebite in 2007, the quartet consisting of Jason Smith (vocals) Cris Finniss (Drums), Jamie Nash (Bass) and Andrew Matthews (Guitar) opened have Bloodstock festival in 2009 before being bunked up to the Ronnie James Dio stage alongside the likes of Opeth, Children of Bodom, Gojira and the Devin Townsend Project the following year. They have also made their presence known at Wacken and Hammerfest IV in 2012.
A year on from that Hammefest performance though, to speak in frank layman’s terms here…shit hit the fan: “This was when I wrote Faceless Ghost,” says Jason on his dilemma. “It was about my daughter, she was on the way, I was feeling apprehensive and scared about the responsibility and seeing a therapist at the time, I was having some really low points, but because I had a daughter on the way it gave me the reason to sort myself out.”
But from the anxiety Faceless Ghost was born, the rain cloud that hung over Smith’s head channelled into the creation of a monster song. Alongside producer Russ Russel (Napalm Death, SikTh, Dimmu Borgir) they have created a powerful record that stretches far beyond Faceless Ghost. The Devil’s Motion talks about carnal pleasures, All They Need Is Light Tackles childhood nightmares while the lyrical themes of mythology, defiance, reflection, irritation and civilisation are also covered. This is no mere collection of pansy love songs. This is deep, cutting metal written with a heavy heart and backed by heavier tonalities.
What was meant to be an overture has contorted into an interlude to a new start for the band, a second wind that will see them bring the noise, and bring it loudly. Words: Phil Weller