OK ok so it's been a long while since my last post. 7 months to be exact. This isn't exactly brand new music news, but I have been listening to this Album since the day it came out. On August 21, 2015 Ghost's third studio album Meliora, the follow up to Infestissumam, was released. I had heard a few songs from this band in the past but never really paid much attention because I thought while it sounded good, based on their costumes and stage names the would be just another flash in the pan. Boy was I wrong!! Anonymity is a major characteristic of Ghost.
A Brief history of Ghost...
Ghost (formerly known as Ghost B.C. in the United States) is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2006. In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7" vinyl titled "Elizabeth," and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammy-nominated album was widely praised and increased their popularity significantly. Their second album and major label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden, and won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album.
Ghost are easily recognizable because of their awe inspiring on-stage presence. Five of the group's six members known as the "Nameless Ghouls", wear silver masks with horns and the vocalist wears a skull mask/face paint and is dressed as a "demonic anti-Pope" known as Papa Emeritus III. There have been three different characters taking the name Papa Emeritus, each younger than the last. (Part of Ghost's gimmick is that each Papa Emeritus "dies" and is succeeded by a different Papa Emeritus with every album, even though it is, in fact, the same vocalist.) The second welcomed his younger brother as the new Papa Emeritus on June 3, 2015 in Linköping after being "fired" due to not performing his duty in overthrowing governments and churches. For more on the bands formation check out this interview from Artisan News Service. GHOST BC ORIGINS - HOW THE GROUP WAS BUILT.
Ok now lets get back to the review...
If you're not a heavy metal head don't be afraid to give these guys a chance. There's something for everyone. Even though they are classified as a Doom Metal band their music hearkens back to the age of traditional heavy metal. I head influences of Blue Oyster Cult's, Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll, Judas Priest's Fever, Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers as well as the progressive and psychedelic rock of the late '60s. In an interview one Nameless Ghoul said they are influenced by "everything ranging from classic rock to the extreme underground metal bands of the ’80s to film scores to the grandeur of emotional harmonic music and described Ghost's music as a mix between pop music and death metal.
You can definitely hear all of those influences all throughout the new album. Some of my favorite tracks on the album include a mixture of heavy riffs, melodic vocal and organ melodies that help to create deep rich atmosphere that serve as the backdrop for the occult references and satanic imagery of Ghost.
"Circe" was a wise choice for a first single. As seen in the debut video above the contrast of acoustic guitars and foreboding strings it's just the launching pad for the song's main riff. Ghost really stepped up their game with more aggressive yet easily accessible rhythms. There is even a small nod to Slayer in the opening riffs.Whether that is true or not, I can almost hear Tom Araya's voice speaking the opening lines of Seasons in the Abyss.
"Razors edge outlines the dead, incisions in my head.
Anticipation, the stimulation
To kill the exhilaration.."
This is shown off in songs like "From The Pinnicale To The Pit" . The choral breaks and aggressive organ sounds like something from the days of Deep Purple, Mercyful Fate and even Blue Öyster Cult. In "Pinnacle", Papa E. III even brings a little snarl to his delivery, which I really enjoy and would have nice if they applied more throughout the record.
The Song "Majesty" could have been taken right from a Deep Purple record with is deep heavy blues riffs that are quickly doubled by a Hammond B3-sounding organ. The crunching "chug, chiccca, chug" type rhythm is something you might hear played faster in bands like Iron Maiden, though in this context the sluggish stride of the cadence works it's devilish magic to charm you into their fullest realization of "seductive Satanism" so far.
I could go on and on about how great this album is and how the silky smooth, vocals keep you hooked, and bout how the unique sound from this Swedish Metal gleefully borrow from the vaults of their metal ancestors for inspiration. I bought the album having only heard a snippet of "Circe" and had no idea what to expect. I really like the little bit I heard and thought to myself, I need some new music, why not take a risk and just dive head first into the deep end. That is exactly what I did and I was a risk worth taking. I am sorry I didn't give them a chance before and thought they would be a flash in the pan gimmick. You'll be sorry if you don't go out and by this album. Listen to Ahnold!
Any suggestions on Albums, Artists or songs you would like me to review, leave a comment below or send me a message in Twitter or my comments page. If you enjoyed what you read or found it helpful give this post a like below and share it with your friends.
UPDATE - Feb. 15, 2016 - Ghost won the 2016 Grammy for Best Metal Performance. You can watch an short video by clicking this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvJLmOcJu5U
Research and quotes were taken from several sources from around the internet including but not limited to Wikipedia, Blabbermouth and iTunes.