Finally! After five years, something new has crawled out of the smelly, putrid, noxious, rotting, maggot infested hole that are the catacombs of Creepsylvania. “Ghoul” have returned from the graveyard to melt your face with the sheer force of sound that is “Dungeon Bastards”. I have waited a long time for this and now I get to tell you why you should take a listen, or several.
Starting off with an eerie 80’s movie style warning in which we are told that the Creepsylvanians, idiots as they are, have elected some random antichrist figure as its ruler, we get a nice groovy intro with “Ghetto Blasters” nicely preparing our earholes for the massive pounding that is to cum.
If you have never heard of “Ghoul” you should know that this is more than music, they have a whole damn comic book mythology going on, their work is mostly gory, hilarious comic books is music form and “Dungeon Bastards” is no exception.
Driven from the city and into the graveyard, the fleeing hordes of indigent peasants are pursued by acidthrower wielding gangs of shock troops. The shrieks of melting villagers fill the freezing air. Down in the catacombs, oblivious, Ghoul tucks in to dinner.
Just as Ghoul in the song are quietly sitting for dinner in the harmony of their catacombs, a sudden blast of violence falls upon both. To them in the form of the frenzied escaping villagers who cause a cave-in, to us is the immediate, relentless explosion of “Bringer of War”.
The lyrics in “Ghoul’s” work has always painted a nice, vivid picture of what is going on, and this album opens beautifully with the discovery of the OMICRON PROTOTYPE 77-Y, the return of familiar characters like Baron Samedi and the introduction of Commandant Dobrunkum(the self-entitled Bringer of War), all to the frenetic grind thrash sound we have come to expect from the band. This one kicks off in great shape.
Baron Samedi’s commands to retrieve the Omicron Bomb fall on deaf ears, as Ghoul retreats deeper into the Catacombs muttering half-hearted assurances; that is, until Samedi unleashes an army of revivified corpses to persuade them otherwise.
A brutal mosh pit of epic proportions opens up in the catacombs among the dead with the groovy sound of “Shred the Dead”. You can really feel them being thoroughly shredded with skateboards and rusty axes as the music goes in your ears, you can picture the four hooded Ghouls having a fun time as they tear their way through the hordes of corpses. You can almost smell them.
After scaling the Wall of Death, Ghoul descends into the sewers of Creepsylvania, sneaking their way towards Svatoplunk Square and the bomb… but shifty eyes espy their descent.
In the song that gives the album name, we witness the return of another character, Kreeg from the “Hang Ten” EP. Under awesome riffage, Kreeg’s horde of wretches are ordered by their commander to cut down Ghoul (and don’t ask why) but as usual, the Creepsylvanian horrors outmatch any adversity, cutting their way with metal thrashing death grind through the masses of “Dungeon Bastards”, killing the big boss Kreeg and acquiring for themselves a nice little army of…
“Ghoulunatics”! A nice ambiguous song that gets you riled up before it explodes in your face like buckshot with awesome riffs and rhythm. The four Ghoul’s contemplate their shambling army of retarded morons who can’t even spell Dobrunkum. Although looked down upon by Ghoul for their inferior weak state, they are crazy about them and will do anything for their undead overlords. The ambiguous part comes in the end, when the lyrics make a sudden, discreet reference to the Ghoulunatics being the actual, real life fans of “Ghoul”.
Meanwhile, the denizens of the ghetto deemed suitable for experimentation are marched into Smolek Sanitorium, where they will be subject to the bizarre, sadistic machinations of Dr. Zabor Zongo, M.D., Ph.D., D.V.M., D.M.V.
Drumming sets off this vile experiment where Frankenstein meets nazi concentration camps. A sweet catchy tune takes us along as we are introduced and say goodbye to Dr. Zabor, who experiments heavily on the people and animals of the ghetto. This all goes very fine and dandy at the beginning, with the doctor directing orders to his shambling creations of obedience and servitude. A sweet bass line, along with some wild screams and laughter takes us from the fist and whip to the concatenation of “Blood and Guts” that the doctor becomes after he has been handled by his unwilling experiments.
Commandant Dobrunkum struts and preens in his headquarters high above the city as he watches the bedraggled slave force hang the Omicron Bomb from the iron hand of his gargantuan effigy. He is the master of all he surveys, and his…
“Word is Law”! Yes, Ghoul being nowhere to be found at this point, Dobrunkum takes this opportunity to play us a nice fascist catchy tune to show off how much of a fucking badass mother rapist he is. The entire song is sung by the Commandant and his cannibals, it serves as a threat for any who would dethrone him and a pat in the back for himself. His singing is slightly like rap since in recent years, the government as thought of rap music as a way to reach young kids with important lessons. This issue was entitled, don’t fuck with the guy who has a giant statue of himself holding a real super powerful nuclear weapon ready to drop and explode in the middle of town.
Viltek Novotny, a lonely, drunken goat salesman, emerges from a local tavern with a belly full of vodka, a head full of regret, and pants full of last night’s borscht. What he would witness, he would never forget.
“Death Campaign” is the tale of a drunken man who wandered off from the tavern for almost three minutes. In that time he witnessed a widespread horror show filled with eye gouging, brain smashing and dismemberment, an epic battle oozing with gore and dangerous chemicals as Ghoul and their army faced off against the forces of the Commandant. The song itself sounds as if the lyrics are describing what would happen if it were played live, there is no slowing down the “Death Campaign”. If that is not the kind of stuff you are into, stick to the taverns like Viltek when you visit Creepsylvania.
The overrun statue comes crashing down on the city and thousands of villagers are instantly ground to paste. The massive arm of the statue breaches the city wall and flings its deadly cargo groundward. With a flash of weird blue light, the Omicron Bomb explodes in the swamp as if in slow motion. The breathless citizens of Creepsylvania await their surely impending doom.
“Guitarmaggedon” is slow at first as the creeping rhythm drags with itself a man ranting about nuclear devastation. Then the Armageddon begins as the guitars and the urgent intensity of the rant build up together getting better and better by the second and culminating in a delicious, ghoulish solo.
A rift is opened in space and time as Omicron Energy is unleashed in the mystical deeps of Creepsylvania’s swampland, and someone… or something… slithers its way through.
“Abominox” is the final boss song as can be clearly discerned by the lyrics. A sexy and eerie bass line after the head banging start, takes us into the description of something that would be at home in a Dark Souls Boss fight as the song takes its shape. Ghoul play off their album with no conclusions or endings, just a giant mass of horror summoned by atomic devastation erupts from another dimension and its appearance is enough to ensure everyone that their race is properly fucked. As the song fades away, we can hear “Abominox” rolling without a care in the world as gunfire and devastation fill in the background.
Just another average Monday in Creepsylvania brought to us in a grind death thrash package that is utterly irresistible. The album cover tells it all, “Dungeon Bastards” is a great, solid work in every direction and you would do well to listen, as well as read those fine ass lyrics.
Text by J.P. Alves