Born a Ghost
Stairway to an Empty Room

Label: Independent
Three similar bands: Behemoth/Cult of Luna/Neurosis

Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. 43
2. Halls of Disrepair
3. Stairway To An Empty Room
4. When The Last Light Fades

Howard Taylor Jolin - vocals, guitars, programming, drums
Talmadge Craig Hathaway - guitars, programming, drums
Sergio Vazquez Luna - bass

The Beginning To An Ending (2021)


Recorded at Milktoast Productions
Art Direction by Born A Ghost

Released 2023-01-02
Reviewed 2023-01-06


Stairway to an Empty Room is an EP that follows the band’s debut release The Beginning to an Ending that was released in 2021, and it is the first release of 2023 that Hallowed writes about. So, what about the first, does it set a good tone for the year? Well, I read about mental illness that is the theme of the album, it is about a guy and his battles, he eventually ends it and then is punished by having to relive it until he finds the guidance from Lucifer and all is well. Something like that, I haven’t really listened to be honest, but I read it on the interweb so it must be true as it seems to be quoted from the band.

They are for fans of the three similar bands, at least according to the press mail that gave me the album. The four tracks show a slight progression, but the album isn’t very much varied. The style is doom, sludge, drone, something in that style. Slow, heavy, croaky vocals, nothing really surprising, other than it is nowhere near as exciting creatively as the artwork. The artwork says one thing, and the album another thing, like that I think I see this one. It is short, and that is good as this style is quite repetitive. There are some really strong atmospheres, but otherwise there isn’t much to grab my attention withing this four-track release.

I think that mental illness, and that sort of thing is an important subject, but it is also fast becoming a subject matter that is used by almost anyone. It is understandable as many people battle with all kinds of mental problems or know people that do, but that doesn’t really change the fact that more and more music and other types of expressions revolve around that subject, and it doesn’t convey much free thinking. I would have liked to hear fresher ideas, or the story told in a way that feels fresh. But can you do it within the slow, sludgy style that this band employs? I am not so sure, and I once again get to that creativity thing, where is it? Where are the fresh ideas? A new album should give a sense of novelty, excitement of hearing something new and fresh from the opening tone, this never happens with Stairway to an Empty Room - it is mostly just an empty room, dark and damp.

There are better choices of music out there, some that are creatively free flowing and exciting – this one is nothing of the sort. This is just tired, and not very interesting – it is not the best of starts to 2023.