Ghost / Popestar EP


Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2008. 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 Grammis-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 Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora, in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, “Cirice“, earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Ghost is easily recognizable because of its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is the vocalist, who wears a prosthetic face with skull face paint, appearing as what can be described as a “demonic anti-Pope”. Each album cycle has brought about a change in the band’s appearance. The vocalist is always portrayed as the same archetype character, but has slight appearance changes and even personality traits are altered from former versions. The band members’ true identities are kept anonymous, as their actual names have not been publicly disclosed. The vocalist calls himself Papa Emeritus, and the musicians are referred to only as Nameless Ghouls.

The Analysis—-

Square Hammer—-This is the sole original recording offered on this EP release. With each release from Ghost I am more and more surprised with the musical twists and turns. I find this difficult to categorize as Heavy Metal…..this is more like Pop on steroids. Even the content of the lyrics are a bit saccharin…. not to say this is a bad thing….I rather think this is brilliant. The band that always keeps you guessing.

Nocturnal Me—-A brilliant cover version of a standout track from the Echo & The Bunnymen  breakout release Ocean Rain. I prefer this version…there is more beef to the vocal and the super smooth vocal of the original is replaced by a bit more demonic sound. The drums are outstanding…..a fantastic version.

I Believe—-Ghost covers Simian Mobile Disco???? Yes indeed they do…..and the outcome is pretty damn brilliant.With a sullen, mysterious intro,  the guitar enters with a Spanish style flourish and seems to remind us how close we are to Halloween. The vocal is double tracked…giving the track a full body feel despite the lack of huge instrumentation. This is fantastic…..leaving you feel a bit empty yet stuffed full.

Missionary Man—-This Eurythmics cover is my least favorite offering on this release. I was never to crazy about the original and this version seems to try a bit too hard. This is more KMFDM than Ghost. I consider this filler…..I could think of a few other covers that would have worked better.

Bible—-By far my favorite track on this release…..this version is spot on to the original by obscure band Imperiet. I am so happy just to discover this song….the chorus is so damn addictive…the vocal so smooth….albeit the content a bit odd for this band. I have had this song in my head from the very moment I first heard it…..I will find the original vocal track and post it at the end of this entry. This song…..despite whomever preforms it… BRILLIANT! Its empty and barren….but the chorus is so huge and emotive……a masterpiece.

***** out of 5




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