Ghost Get Medieval
Before I heard their music back in 2010, I did what anyone else looking from the outside would automatically do. “What’s that?”, I hear you say. I automatically put Ghost into the Death Metal category of my brain, based on the fact they are from Sweden, the land of Black Metal, and the image they had at the time.
I obviously jumped the gate there, as I figured out when I heard the first album the band released that year Opus Eponymous. Papa Emeritus, who at that time was the first incarnation of the band’s front man, shocked me with his very melodic vocals. There was not a cookie monster growl or banshee like scream in sight. I had imagined a cross between King Diamond and Deicide frontman Glenn Benton. What we got was a Jeff Lynne of ELO fame type vocal over a very pop orientated rock song.
Fast forward to 2018. Papa Emiritus has evolved into Cardinal Copia, with a look that resembles a medieval monk. This is a big departure from the holy pope robes we usually see him adorning and a new album Prequelle has been released to the masses. The theme of the album is centred on death and doom, so let’s take a step inside the madness and see what Ghost have in store for the congregation this time around.
Ghost – Prequelle
It all begins with the intro song “Ashes” and the sound of children singing “ring a ring ‘o roses“. This a well known children’s song that we know is associated with the Black Death or the Plague.
From there, we kick straight into “Rats“, which is fitting considering they were the reason the Plague spread. The drums just pound on the opening of this one and the riff that accompanies it just rocks. Organ weirdness and the sweetly sung vocals was a mind bender for me, but what a great track. The chorus is crazy. It reminds me of a 70’s rock opera, as there is just so much going on here from Ghost and that solo is WOW!
“Faith” emerges with a widdly little guitar part over a Rammstein type riff. I love how the vocals are reminiscent of the communion in a church. This so well done. I’m just eating this up and coming back for seconds.
A piano and the vocals of an angel open the doors to “See The Light.” This is about as commercial as it gets. I’m surprised this band aren’t topping the charts the world over. It’s hard to pin down a genre for this one, I think it has a bit of them all and that chorus is mesmerising.
“Miasma” is very weird when it begins, as it sounds like the opening of a bad 80’s movie. When the drums kick in and what I think are synths enter over the bass, it just sounds so much unlike anything else I have heard up to now. However, it’s five minutes that could have been spent on something more than a cheesy 80’s movie soundtrack.
“Dance Macabre” is sounding a little upbeat with its hand-clap rhythm and crunching guitar. When the chorus starts, I’m not even sure who i’m listening to anymore. I was starting to think it had skipped onto an old Journey album.
Synths are to the fore on “Pro Memoria” and it’s starting to sound like the soundtrack to Dances With Wolves. It’s very weird, but has a cool and thick sound as the drums kick in. The track builds and builds, as the lyrics get more and more insane.
We’re back with a more straight ahead rock sound on “Witch Image.” At first we are, however, then it all goes a bit mad but comes back around for the chorus. If these guys aren’t downing copious amounts of mind-bending drugs, then I want to know what the hell they are taking and where can I get some!
“Helvetesfonster” has got to be the strangest track name I’ve heard in a while and also the strangest track I’ve heard in a long while. It’s almost a Heavy Metal version of well known English folk song “Greensleeves“. Unfortunately, it is another one of those five minute instrumentals, of which there are far too many.
The album ends with a ballad called “Life Eternal“. This is another full on pop tune, which you could just see floating around in the charts. As it continues on though, it is a good track. There are some nice guitar parts among other things on there. You can see crowds of thousands singing along to this at the next gig.
Final Thoughts On Prequelle
Well, I don’t know where to begin. I liked it and I was confused by it all at the same time. There were parts of the album where it was refreshing and full of things I hadn’t heard before (or hadn’t heard in a long time). There were classic songs with great structures and arrangements. However, the one thing that really brought this album down a few notches for me were the overly long instrumentals. There’s only ten tracks on this album, one is an intro and there are two five minute instrumentals. They are not bad pieces of music, but that’s not the point. The songs could have been so much more and the only reason this album loses points for me.
Decibel Rating 8/10