Although paraded as a death metal band, Ghastly’s ghoulish sound has more than a hallmark of maggot-ridden black metal about it. It’s interesting to read of a recognised affinity with Darkthrone’s “Soulside Journey”, but also with the likes of Execration and Autopsy. This is the Finnish band’s second album.

After the creepiest of openings, there’s an anarchic piece called “Whispers through the Aether”. The instruments sound like they’re being dragged through mud, that is until even darker clouds enter the fray and witheringly depict rottenness and decay. The throaty vocalist belies any sense of harmony in keeping with the terrible atmosphere. Ghastly seemingly like to introduce spookiness and spend the last couple of minutes dragging us head first and slowly through a scene of death. Now we’re into pure death metal as “The Magic of Severed Limbs” takes its deep and muddy course. The deliberate progress, accompanied by sirening slabs and echoes of death, means that the atmosphere is infectious like a disease. It won’t go away and is impossible to escape. We find ourselves between a world of nightmares and irrepressible hardship. “Violence for the Hell of It” starts out in typically creepy fashion, deviating in a heavier downward direction. The morbidity branches out into a discordant-sounding soundscape. “Scarlet Woman” drags us down again. Enveloping us in death seems to be purpose of this exercise. The guitar emits typical menace. The vocalist utters deathly words. The drum pounds mercilessly. It’s like being snared in a web from which no-one can escape. And that’s what “Death Velour” is – a rancid mixture of threatening black and death metal atmospheres.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)