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Premiere: The Dark Beauty of Skeleton Beach’s ‘Blood Moon’

One great thing about Lakeshore Records is that you can rely on the label to release compelling original fare, in addition to storied soundtracks and scores for the likes of Drive, Mandy, Stranger Things, Mr. Robot, and Annihilation. The latest example of this is Skeleton Beach’s Ritual, which releases on Friday. Today, Vehlinggo gives you a preview of the album in the form of the stirring “Blood Moon” music video.

The Knoxville, Tennessee-based Skeleton Beach is a synth-driven project from Gene Priest, who derives a wealth of influence from the likes of horror scores by John Carpenter and kosmische maestros like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. There is indeed a Brian Eno genuflection strewn about his music, too. Overall, Priest’s talent and creativity make him a natural addition to a roster of Lakeshore originals that includes College, Deadly Avenger, Daniel Davies, Dreddd, and Mega Drive.

The cinematic Ritual finds a fastidious Priest going full-bore into a sea of deftly conjured analogue and modular synth parts and rhythmic expressions, crafting compositions with an emotional depth and nuance that make the record flow like the score to a film not yet made. The tracks are rich and engaging even at their most minimal, no doubt owing to Priest’s developed sense of musicality.

Skeleton Beach Ritual Beach
Gene Priest of Skeleton Beach and his synths. Photo provided.

Ritual blurs the lines between destruction and creation in an immersive and entrancing experience from start to finish,” Priest said in a release.

On the above cut, “Blood Moon,” Priest gives us an experience built on a haunting crescendo of synths, fortified by a host of battle-torn specters. Some synths pulsate and fuzz, while others push the cut along with motivated arpeggiations. Even more howl with excitement. Glassy, ambient synths fill in the empty spaces, acting like moonlight with subtle power and questionable grace. The drum machine marches along with industrial consistency, ebbing and flowing to meet the needs of whatever goes bump in the night.

Ritual releases Friday via digital, courtesy of Lakeshore Records, and vinyl, courtesy of Priest’s own Grief Thief Records. You can pre-order either version right now.

The music video is directed by Derek Jones, who also took the promo photos.

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