Dungeon Bastards

dB rating: 8/10

Release Date: July 29th, 2016
Label: Tankcrimes

For 15 years now, the mutant cannibals of Ghoul have issued a gushing ectoplasmic goo geyser of predictable, fun-loving shtick metal, each release an expansion of the sprawling Ghoul mythos. As Creepsylvanian music trends come and go, Ghoul have tinkered with their sound. Crossover thrash, grind and surf music have all punctured Ghoul’s death metal surface, like different skin diseases on the same irradiated corpse. But in the Ghoul canon, artistic development takes a backseat to rocking the fuck out. As long as the tunes are bangable, Digestor, Cremator, Fermentor and Dissector will rise to tell their sordid tale.

On paper, Ghoul’s fifth full-length Dungeon Bastards is more of the same. They’re still sloshing around in the metallic Bermuda Triangle formed by Carcass, D.R.I. and Dick Dale. But something funny happened on the way out of the cemetery this time: Ghoul got really, really good. Maybe it’s the beefy production job. Maybe it’s the fresh blood (rumor has it that the old Fermentor and Dissector were replaced with two new bloody bag-masked musicians for this album). Call it what you will. Dungeon Bastards sounds ace, and “Bringer of War,” “Ghoulunatics” and “Abominox” are some of their sharpest, most aggressive songs ever.

Dungeon Bastards is also a reminder that silly music can be seriously great. Ghoul indulges in every thematic cliché in the thrash/death metal rulebook here, from horror and nuclear holocaust to songs about themselves. And they still come across as a vital, modern band. Is there room for a gimmick band like Ghoul? When it’s this good at both poking fun at metal and playing the music it’s poking, hell yes.

— Etan Rosenbloom
This review taken from the September 2016 issue.