Whether we call Reborn a promoted track or a buried treasure depends on where GHOST9 and their agency takes it. But whatever it ends up being, its quality and the impressive nature of its “performance video” warrants attention. GHOST9 have landed on my radar in a big way, delivering the same energy and potential I felt during ATEEZ’s debut two years ago. In fact, their first EP embraces some of the touchstones I expected ATEEZ to tackle during 2020. Their music sounds cinematic and sci-fi, matching an image and concept teased in their mega-cool mini movie.
Reborn may be the best example of this appeal. On the surface, this is yet another aggressive, clamoring boy group track. We’ve heard most of its tricks time and time again, but this song somehow feels grittier. Its instrumental is an abrasive beast, bounding forward on heavily distorted synths and clobbering percussion. It has a tense atmosphere, especially as it briefly hangs in the air during the spooky pre-chorus.
But, Reborn’s sneering chorus is its strongest element. I love the vocal approach here, pairing a deep tone with added distortion to create an otherworldly performance. This sinister, droning hook manages to be at once threatening and rhythmic, embracing a sticky groove despite its overwhelming arrangement. Coupled with the heavy instrumental, the chorus hits with a grimy texture. In fact, the entire song is pure texture – almost tactile in its delivery. Higher-toned vocals offer needed contrast during the verses and bridge, but Reborn is not a “light” pop song. And in this case, that’s an asset.