Gig Review: Ghost Bath / Harakari For the Sky

The Spring Asylum Tour Cured Me

Hi, I’m Elliott, a guest writer from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I listen to Hornthrowers religiously and you should, too.

I saw Ghost Bath over the weekend and it changed my life. The Autumn Asylum Tour was supposed to happen in 2022, but it was postponed due to visa issues and became the Spring Asylum Tour in 2023. Regardless of the name or the season, it featured 3 artists that exist within different fringes of black metal: Canada’s Unreqvited, Austria’s Harakiri for the Sky, and Ghost Bath, who isn’t from China, as it turns out, but in fact the USA. The concert took place at a teeny-tiny bar/restaurant/venue called Boggs Social, which I definitely plan to return to in the future.

Ghost Bath came through Atlanta in May 2022, along with Rotting Christ, but I had to miss it due to catching covid for my first (and so far, only) time. Therefore, I was extremely excited to finally get the opportunity to see them live. I bought my ticket back in 2022, before the show was postponed, and the wait was absolutely worth it.

Unreqvited absolutely killed it. I really enjoy their blend of uplifting, atmospheric post black metal sounds with the occasional scream thrown in for good measure. They were also really nice – they ran their own merch table and I bought a shirt through PayPal before seeing them perform, a purchase which I absolutely don’t regret. (I’m actually wearing it as I write this.) I also had no idea what they looked like going into this, so I didn’t realize who they were until I saw that same nice dude I’d just talked to get up on the stage. They assembled onto the tiny stage at Boggs Social wearing matching shirts, each featuring their signature upside-down crescent moon design, and created a nostalgic vibe that I’ve never experienced through any other band. They played some of my favorite songs, like “Anhedonia” (a big mood) and “The Autumn Fire” with precision and elegance. 

Then came Harakiri for the Sky, which is apparently the artist most people were there to see, and for good reason. Although I wasn’t entirely familiar with them beforehand – I’d heard the name, but hadn’t given them a very good listen prior to the show – I fully plan to do a deep dive on them through Spotify (or Bandcamp) soon. Everyone seemed very stoked to see HFTS, with one friend of a friend telling me, “I’ve been waiting, like, 10 years for this!” Their style was heavier than Unreqvited, but still very dreamy in the way post-black metal usually is. Probably because the stage was so tiny, the singer kept walking off of it and screaming right into our faces, which was a cool and very intimate experience. At one point, he wandered into a corner and crouched there until it was time to scream again, and because I was able to get so close to the stage despite the crowd, I watched in awe. They also played an encore, which was interesting because I’ve never seen a band that wasn’t the headliner do that. Because I’m a heretic and don’t know which songs they played, I’ll just tell you this much: every song slapped. I’ve definitely been sleeping on them for too long.

The final band was Ghost Bath, which I’d obviously been highly anticipating. They started at 11:00 PM, which was pretty late for a Sunday night, and a lot of people seemed to have cleared out after HFTS. The singer and nucleus of the band, Dennis, started the show by inviting us all to “come on up” in a surprisingly normal-sounding, even chipper, voice. I ended up in the front row, which was really exciting, even though my knees and feet were killing me by that point. They started with “Hide from the Sun”, which was the first single off of their latest album, Self Loather, launching us into an hour’s worth of deliciously depressive suicidal black metal. Ghost Bath’s stage presence was delightfully ominous, with Dennis occasionally slumping over, seemingly in despair, between growls and yells of agony. At one point, the person who was running their merch table took over and did some screaming. (They were really good, actually.) Then, at the end of their set, Ghost Bath just…left. They went onto the porch of the venue without so much as an encore. To be fair, it was nearing midnight, and I’m sure they were even more tired than we were. My only regret is that I didn’t even try to say hi, but I was so exhausted and had to work the next morning.

The entire experience was magical. It sounds weird, but I’m convinced that Ghost Bath cured me. Going into the concert, I’d been suffering from headaches, toothaches, and neck pain for a few weeks, and I was really worried that headbanging would exacerbate the problem, but instead I found that I felt miraculously better the next day. Despite staying up until 2 AM because I was still hyped, I also had an abnormal amount of energy that Monday. Thanks, GB!

It was also one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever been to. The tiny venue, the fact that the third band played an encore but the headliner didn’t…it was a unique experience, for sure. Five stars, 10/10, will absolutely see Ghost Bath again if they come back next year.

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