Ghost / Prequelle

Prequelle

Ghost is a Swedish rock band that was formed in LinköpingSweden 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 Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and significantly increased their popularity. 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. The band released their fourth studio album, Prequelle, in 2018.

Ghost is easily recognizable owing greatly to its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members, its ‘Nameless Ghouls’,  wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. Prior to a 2017 lawsuit filed by former members of the band, lead singer Tobias Forge obscured his identity behind the character “Papa Emeritus”. The character, which consists of Forge in a prosthetic mask and makeup can be best described as a ‘demonic anti-pope’.  The Papa Emeritus Character has gone through four incarnations – I, II, III, and Nihil. As of the 2018 album Prequelle and subsequent world tour, Forge portrays a character known as “Cardinal Copia”, who is described as being unrelated to any of the Papa Emeritus characters and whose costume consists of either Cardinal vestments or a black tuxedo alongside a prosthetic mask with black eyemakeup and the multi-colored eyes which had been present in each Papa characte.

Prequelle is the fourth studio album by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was released on June 1, 2018 and produced by Tom Dalgety. The album’s first single, “Rats“, was released ahead of the album on April 13, and as of June, had peaked at number four on the BillboardMainstream Rock Songs chart. The album marked the band’s strongest selling debut to date, landing at number 3 on the Billboard 200, selling 66,000 copies in its first week, with 61,000 of those being “traditional” album sales.

The album’s theme focuses on Medieval times and the Black Death along with more modern themes.

The Analysis—-

Ashes—-Eerie from the onset, this is typical Ghost….turning a harmless nursery rhyme into something twisted and then morphing magically into…..

Rats—-This track…..full of contradictions…lyrically dark and eerie…but the sound is so accessible and listenable. Full of huge harmonies, powerful guitars and an unforgettable melody line, this will lay in tour head for days. The double tracked vocals really wrap the song into the most accessible track they have ever produced. This is phenomenal.

Faith—-A nice powerful soaring guitar intro, the chug chug of the bass line shows up right after the intro. Tobias enters with his accessible vocal….you can catch every word from this band and let it sink into your brain. This is again, full of perfect harmonies and a melody line that is contagious as hell. The middle break of the song is nice….keeping the ‘metal’ cred in tact. This is fantastic…the band has outdone itself with this release.

See The Light—-Such a gentle intro, you just sit back and question how you can possibly categorize this band in any genre. This just does not fit in perfectly anywhere!! There are perfect pop moments hear…as well as pure symphonic metal moments as well. Combine all of this with a pitch perfect vocal and you just sit back and shake your head in amazement. This is just about as perfect as it can get.

Miasma—-Dank, dark and full of an underlying eerie-ness, the intro to this is fantastic. The song kicks into a nice gear shortly after and has many of the metal elements I require from this band. The guitars produce a soaring melody that is infectious and electric. This is pure perfection. A great song placement as well…it ‘breaks’ up the album really well.

Dance Macabre—-Remarkable right from the onset, the track is heavily dipped in the sound of the 80’s while still managing to sound fresh and brand new. The lyrics….the singing….the melody and harmony is so damn addictive and accessible…..for me, one of the best things the band has ever done…this is a magical moment on this release.

Pro Memoria—-Swells of a slight symphonic movement opens the song….dense and layered with musical emotion…you feel like you stepped into a soundtrack. Then Tobias enters and utters Lucifer and you realize the slight hilarity of all the contradictions from this band. This is not a happy-go-lucky song….but the delivery is so damn pleasant you can’t help but to fall in love with the damn thing. Just incredible.

Witch Image—-Returning to a more predictable and familiar sound, the intro begins and falls away to allow for the vocal. the song leans on pop-rock elements at every turn. The harmonies and melody are exquisite…..sounding like an updated Pink Floyd. The magic is the voice and the contradiction of the lyrics….this is so dark….but so damn pleasant. I’m in a whirlwind.

Helevetesfonster—-Exquisite flutes open the track…in the back ground a slight deep rumble lies around. The melody line from the instrument is so damn magical…it lulls you into an almost trance like state. The drums enter…but never enter the beauty of the instrumentation. This is huge….masterful and delivered with an incredible finesse’. There are so many ‘prog’ like movements in this instrumental…..it’s like the glory days of the 70’s Prog movement.

Life Eternal—-Stripped down to almost bare bones, the only instrument at the onset is the gentle keyboard joined with the vocal. The track opens up a bit…but still remains a rather melancholic love song to princes or princesses of darkness. This is superb. I hate to see this all end so soon. A remarkable release.

**** out of 5

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