No One Is Safe From Spellbinding Ghostemane Album, N/O/I/S/E
Ghostemane, the 27 year old Floridian Satanic rapper, bestowed fans with his tenth self produced, studio album, N/O/I/SE, or No One Is Safe from Evil, an entire week earlier than it’s initial release date. (We called it!) The record introduces a new, crimson, electric age for Ghostemane, as he drifts away from Hexada’s creepy, dungeon-chic, black and white aesthetic. “Intro.Desolation,” is the first of Ghoste’s songs featuring melodic, clean vocals– something previously unheard of. A quiet woman’s voice leads listeners into the album, reiterating the beginning of the title phrase, “No one is safe.”
His signature running xylophone, drums and loud, sustained bass, notes return on “Nihil,” which features generally slower and lower pitched rapping. The track shocks listeners in a brief piano lament, “I haven’t been good to myself, and lately you haven’t been good to me.” The first of several instances where Ghostemane feels truly vulnerable. When he raps aggressively about his mental state, it’s a stylized retelling of his own truth, but this short refrain feels like a true insight into his pain.
N/O/I/S/E introduces a wide array of emotion to Ghostemane’s previously straight-forward Satanic discography. “FLESH,” released days earlier opens with a chorus of protrusive electric guitar riff underlaid with metal drums and unclean vocals. Presumably the same woman we heard earlier meekly pleads “drive safe please,” between Ghostemane’s aggressive outbursts of “Get me out.”
“Bonesaw” is a major highlight of the album, with an unpredictable synthetic beat at its forefront. N/O/I/S/E does not have the same field of depth as Ghostemane’s previous work. Vocals, synth, and voice are all placed in the forefront of the song, with embellishing sound effects and blips layered underneath.
Ghostemane flawlessly delivers the the opening lines “I’m in a million fucking pieces, Pick me up off the floor, Ceaseless, Put me together and break me more.” Listeners are left craving more than the singular utterance of the choral lyrics “I just bought a bonesaw, to cut my hands off, had to get the cuffs off, you kept me down too long.” It’s rhythm and intrigue keep it ricocheting in listener’s minds for hours.
The self-produced rapper also tackles more than his usual subjects of self-hatred. “Trenchcoat” proffers a surprising but welcome commentary on police brutality and school shootings in relation to gun control laws. Although his ideology is far from the mainstream, it’s exciting to hear Ghostemane involve himself in politics, and escape the gloom of his own struggles.
“The Singularity,” is deeply reminiscent of Industrial Rock from the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. It High pitched, saw-like synth sets the chord progression against punchy drums and lightning sharp electric guitar. Ghostemane croons about the clutches of his ex and the disgust he has come to feel for her, in long tapered notes.
Similarly, the album’s final track, “My Heart of Glass,” is one of Ghostemane’s first heartfelt ballads, which addresses the departure of his romantic partner in eloquent segments of thought; “I left my heart at the gates.” The track harkens back to emo’s Brand New, in its layered vocals and steady guitar plucking. A discussion of responsible BDSM practices,“Ballgag,” is the N/O/I/S/E equivalent of Hexada’s “Squeeze.”
N/O/I/S/E effectively mixes both vibrant and sharp sound with juxtaposed piercing and tender lyrical content. The record flaunts a more diverse and honest body of work than anything the artist has released thus far. This improvement does not stipulate any lack of bold or flashy stylization. The album cover features a mutilated arm, with fingers loosely gripping a saw, the album title inked in blood across it. Its clean vocals and sensitive lyrics do not detract from the record’s shock value or spook-factor– an exciting feat just in time for Halloween!