As the alleged “greatest country on the earth,” the United States and the people in power sure do a shit job making its people feel safe and secure. Well, unless you’re white and straight and Christian. You’re fine, and I know you’ve been pining for some persecution status, but that’s ridiculous. Gay and trans people have been victimized for real, and the hatred that’s brewing feels like it’s not decreasing.
It’s an ideal time for a record such as “I Am Awake and My Body Is on Fire,” the new record from Ocean of Ghosts, a project long helmed by sole member FC (also of Bury Them and Keep Quiet). On this five-track firestorm of emotion, FC addresses and delves deeply into the anger and frustration of presenting and living life as a transgender person in America, a hellscape that has a major political party trying to write legislation to silence and end these people. FC sees her existence in a country that doesn’t want her to exist and feels the pain and frustration, but she’s taking this moment to live who she truly is and fully embrace her identity. The title of this piece hammers that point home, and the music is an absolute force, something that hopefully can be cathartic and a battle axe for other people living with same experience. Also, a portion of all sales will be donated to TransHealth, an independent and comprehensive healthcare center that supports and empowers trans and gender-diverse individuals and families. You can find their site here: https://transhealth.org/
“Dysphoria/Revenge” is the 12:39-long opener, and it’s an adventure, beginning with murky, foggy transmissions, feeling through the darkness and burning with somber energy. The mystery builds and beckons, then FC’s shrieks rage across worlds, crushing as the playing slowly pulls you into the void, adding soot and anger that you practically can taste. The clouds and torment collect as gut-wrenching darkness implodes, taking you with it, the guitars drone and add layers of cement-thick doom, and the final strains spiral into the enshrouded beyond. “Glorious Wrath” opens with desperate calls and a doomy pall, the guitars cutting through along with FC’s monstrous howls. The pace swells as melodic cries lurk in the background behind the gristle, off-kilter leads make the room spin, and heavy hypnosis has its way with your psyche pushing toward a burly finish.
“Trauma” brings mauling riffs and crushing shrieks, the power flattening the ground it treads, clean calls swishing behind it all. Throaty howls send jolts through the system as the riffs get hotter and encircle, spacious playing offers an infusion or air, and muddy trudging trails out into the cosmos. “Nothing” starts with warbling, disorienting voices, then vicious howls land blows, the riffs warping as a sinister groove is achieved. A gust of strangeness makes any sense of comfort short lived, the guitars rip into flesh, and strange singing haunts and leaves your body cold. Closer “Disgust” heaves static and moves deliberately, the playing getting increasingly heavier, the doomy power gutting. Growls scrape as the playing lurches along, making you pay the price, and then things slip into mysterious terrain that tears into your brain. The guitars engulf, the fires are further agitated, and noises hover overhead, ending everything on an uncomfortable note.
I cannot imagine the torment and hatred that face people like FC who are just trying to live as their genuine selves and still find anger and lack of compassion from so many people in modern society. “I Am Awake and My Body Is on Fire” is a title that tells you a lot from first glance, and then delving deeper into this latest Ocean of Ghosts release reveals the true fury and longing built into these songs. It’s fucking ridiculous people such as FC have to live based on other people’s hate, but until that time comes when this isn’t the case, these types of records and projects will be here to live in defiance and lash back against oppressors.
For more on the band, go here: https://oceanofghosts.bandcamp.com/
To buy the album, go here: https://fiadh.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-awake-and-my-body-is-on-fire
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fiadhproductions
And here: https://vitadetestabilis.com/
And here: https://www.facebook.com/realmandritual/