King Fowley is metal’s equivalent of a late-night creature-feature host or narrator of a old horror comic book. One can picture him spinning yarns from a moldy castle or abandoned mansion as he heartily laughs at your terror with rats crawling about his feet. Having been plying his trade for around 35 years now in bands such as October 31, Doomstone, and Abominog, Fowley’s primary act, Deceased, offered us Ghostly White in 2018, a ghoulish corker of a concept album steeped in metallic history.
“Mrs. Allardyce” opens the album in triumphant form, sounding as if Cronos has usurped King Diamond’s position in Mercyful Fate, marauding and creaking and bludgeoning with lycanthropic cunning.
A 13-minute epic in “Germ of Distorted Lore” follows and is a true excursion into phantasmagoria into funereal doom and all-out, raving mad thrash.
“The Shivers” is a highlight among highlights, a Maidenesque banger that could’ve ended up on a NWOBHM single. The strangely and eerily melodic “Pale Surroundings” serves as a haunting closer, spectral, chanting female vocals following escaped interlopers as they run for their lives.
But nevermind the picking of choice cuts, Ghostly White is a well-constructed album
that holds its own against the fragmented forces of modern metal. The guitarwork of twin axemen of Shane Fuegel and Mike Smith serve as beacons of burning embers in the foggy night as the drumming of the late Dave Castillo, who died tragically and unexpectedly shortly after the album’s completion, creates a heart-thumping, suspenseful vibe that serves as a fitting monument to his impeccably talented life and career.
I’ve said before that I feel
that the old titans of the underground are generally making better albums than they ever have, and Ghostly White is another example that solidifies that opinion. Songcraft and musicianship win out here over dizzying innovation, the undead bogeymen of Deceased merely doing what they do best and getting better with with each solstice.