Perhaps the best way to describe this album would be as traditional heavy metal crafted with a death metal approach. Monotone vocals accompany a changing tapestry of guitar riffs that relocate melody to the guitar and force the use of a compelling rhythm to unite each song, giving them an anthemic but unstable quality, creating an air of mystery to the album.
Although it is odd for a band to improve as it ages, Deceased seems to have done that. Ghostly White applies melodies which have matured over earlier efforts, which resemble fragments more than completed ideas, and make use of unique patterns formed of positions in the scale to increase harmonic tension. This makes songs distinctive outside of their rhythms, which proves important because the vocal rhythms are similar across the album.
Heavy metal riff forms straight from the traditional canon find new interpretation here only in part because of the application of death metal and black metal technique; much of this is simply idiosyncratic, or unique to this band and its worldview, and this makes it more relevant than any sense of universally perfected riffing could be. Like the best of heavy metal, these songs are geared around emotional confrontation like a horror movie or decision point in history.
The real question of any review is, “Would I listen to this repeatedly enough to justify buying it if my resources were limited?” Aesthetically, this album is too similar in rhythm, technique, and vocals to be a strong standout like Judas Priest Painkiller, the release for heavy/speed/death hybrids to beat. Musically, it provides enough internal variation that this can be overlooked and the album enjoyed for repeated listens, but one must look “under the surface.”
A great deal of creativity went into this record as well as a lot of gut instinct, which shows up in the unconventional takes on familiar riff patterns and the pairings of riffs which seem driven by atmosphere more than form. Add to that a highly flexible musicality and enjoyment of what makes a good classic heavy metal song, and Ghostly White earns a place on the record rack.