Label: Spinefarm / Caroline Australia (Release Date – June 1st 2018)
Reviewed By: Curt Ubank
Back in 2010, GHOST Left their satanic tinged mark on the heavy metal scene with “Opus Eponymous”. Their live show, spooky masked image and haunting sound made them a one of a kind band on the modern metal circuit. Flash forward to 2018 and They’ve released another 2 studio albums, 2 EP’s, countless tours around the world and won a goddamn Grammy for their 2016 Single “Cirice”. At the end of their 2017 tour, Frontman Papa Emeritus III was dragged kicking off the stage, then, for months, Nothing.
Flash forward to earlier this year, and through a series of youtube videos, we were introduced to Papa III’s successor, Cardinal Copia, and shortly after that, a flood of new pictures, A new single and music video, “Rats” and best of all, the announcement of a brand new album, “Prequelle”. Fans like me lost our minds over the 80’s style and thriller-esque moves of the “Rats” video and song, so obviously, hope for “Prequelle” are sky-high.
We kick into the album with instrumental intro “Ashes”, with a creepy rendition of “Ring-a-Rosy” playing on the album’s well discussed plague themes, before a jolting power chord leading into a familiar melody. Most will recognise it as the outro of “Rats”, but keen eared fans will recognise it as the interlude “Spöksonat” from 2016’s “Meliora”. As we build to the end of the track, we plow straight into “Rats”. Fans are already really familiar with the track, and its a sure fire crowd pleaser, with a huge guitar riff and Ghost’s signature haunting vocals. Its a brilliant way to open the album and sets the tone for the ride to come. Next up is “Faith”, with some of the heaviest sounds we’ve heard from the band. Stomping guitars and an almost System of a Down vocal delivery, its a taste of how different the band can be, while still being true to the sound. “See the light” starts off with a total shift of sound, with almost spoken verses and maracas a plenty, still building to a huge chorus, and a delightfully classic synth solo, its the first signs of how different this album aims to be.
photo credit: Mikael Eriksson
We hit the first of two instrumental tracks on the record with “Miasma”. This tune has been played on the current “Rats on the Road” tour, showcasing how talented our current Nameless Ghouls are, and its a joy to hear this as a studio version. Full of synth and harmonised guitars, its extravagant and epic, and wouldn’t feel out of place on a 1980’s Mike Oldfield album. The second single released off the album is “Dance Macabre” and it closely follows the previous instrumental. Kicking off with a guitar riff that The Scorpions would be jealous of, and a punchy disco beat, its a total party track, and the infectious chorus will have you chanting along in no time. Its tracks like this that show just how fun the whole band really is.
“Pro Memoria” is a piece we’ve already been treated to in the Chapter 3 youtube video, and of course, they’ve held off with the full version. Its brilliant to hear how far the track truly goes, and by the end of it, its akin to a full blown rock opera. “Witch Image” follows on, and its a classic track, It wouldn’t feel out of place on “Opus Eponymous” or “Infestissuman”, Another slick guitar riff, and a great 70’s feel, its a brilliant, almost stripped down change from the previous track, and the contrast is brilliant, especially when we slide into our last instrumental “Helvetesfonster”. Starting with a very “Stranger Things” feel, its like an eerie walk through the woods, and evolves in unexpected and unique ways over its 6 minutes as it transitions into the final track “Life Eternal”. This song deals with the prospect of living forever, and goddamn, its an experience. The album evolves over the course of its runtime, and this track shows how talented the songwriters truly are, Its a sonic epic of a piece, and its a beautiful way to finish a fantastic album. Gloriousness.
Ghost have created an album that shows every aspect of their sound in the best of ways. For a band who’ve always stated they’ve had every move planned out years ahead, its releases like this that show its definitely the case. Its Sprawling and Epic, Cinematic and Retro, Heavy and Orchestral all at once. Its pure Ghost and its absolutely brilliant. Do yourself a favour and go pick it up, because as they say, “If you have Ghost, You have everything”.