Ghost Albums – Ranked! (From Worst To Best)

Ghost are a Swedish rock/heavy metal band from Linköping, Sweden, formed in 2008 by Tobias Forge. In the last decade they have become one of the most prominent names in the industry, having released four studio albums, as well as performing arena tours with the likes of Metallica.

With the new leader appointed, Papa Emeritus IV, and a new record likely around the corner in 2021, there has never been a better time to review and rank one of music’s most creative forces, as we take a closer look into their discography, ranked! From worst to best.

#4 – Prequelle (2018)

Their most recent release, at time of writing, did a lot of things right. By attempting to go in a pitch-black lyrical direction and taking influence from pop and shock rock of the 1980s, Ghost struck a confident and catchy balance of hope and gloom contrasting throughout the record.

There are some truly incredible songs on this release, including the likes of: Rats, Faith, Dance Macabre and Witch Image, but overall the complete package left a little more to be desired. Just over 40 minutes in length but featuring three interluding instrumental tracks, I can’t help but listen to this and simply wonder, ‘where’s the rest of it?’

When this album is good, it’s incredible and boasts powerful performances from Forge and his newly assembled team of touring musicians, in a few ways it just lacks the magic of what came before.

#3 – Meliora

Without question, Meliora was a record published at the height of the band’s popularity and features some of their most well known works. Forge’s Papa Emeritus III persona remains the most well realised and well loved incarnation of the character, and everything about the younger, more sexualised, frontman fit the looser pop-oriented motif of this record perfectly.

This album is a little more guitar-driven that what was found on their previous record but, for the most part, favoured catchy melodies and pop hooks than delivering on the overt Satanic premise of what came before. Monolithic efforts in rock were created here including the almighty From The Pinnacle To The Pit, haunting Luciferian love song He Is and the Grammis award winning Cirice. If the album had a little more of songs like this and not some of the filler tracks like Spirit and Majesty, then no doubt it would rank higher. It’s a crime Zenith was left on the cutting room floor.

#2 – Opus Eponymous (2010)

Let’s preface my opinion here by saying that I believe Opus Eponymous to be one of the most important rock albums of the last decade. A winning combination of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple combined with a Satanic indoctrination theme melded beautifully together.

What originally began life as a song for previous rock band Magna Carta Cartel, Stand By Him, is one of the greatest classic metal songs in history, in no small part are the likes of Ritual, Elizabeth and Prime Mover far behind either.

Taking a stripped back approach to rock and roll and insidiously inserting ghastly messages into it worked to an insane degree, and Opus Eponymous benefits greatly from such a strong set of songs, immaculate production and nail-biting atmosphere.

#1 – Infestissumam (2013)

With an album name that translates directly to ‘the most hostile’ or ‘the biggest threat’, there should be no confusion over the intention of this album. Defiant to its very core in opposing the Christian religion, featuring not only the band’s darkest lyrics and imagery, but also their best songs ever written.

Ditching the classic rock elements of Opus Eponymous and instead switching out to full on old school doom metal, Ghost hit their stride with anthems like Year Zero, Monstrance Clock, Idolatrine and Secular Haze. There’s an aura of evil that permeates every second of this album, and the fact that it is this memorable and melodious in the face of that, is quite frankly astounding.

The most sinister version of the band and their leader complimented by their most sinister ethos and heaviest songs, It should be no doubt that Infestissumam takes top spot on the list.

The Best Metal Albums of 2019

Rounding out the end of the 2010s in style, 2019 was a monumental year for metal music of all genres and persusations. As such, here at Pit of Plagues, we’ve found that limiting ourselves to ten mere records this year was just too difficult. Without further delay, here’s our extended list totally our picks for the top fifteen metal albums of the year, list is ranked in no particular order. 

Hath – Of Rot and Ruin

An open that will no doubt be heavily featured in many other end of year lists, Of Rot and Ruin is a landmark victory in death metal music and the album stands head and shoulders above a lot of its competition for countless reasons. Taking the lyrics of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls and running with it in the darkest and most sincere fashion possible, Hath combined their love of the series with their unrivalled technical ability and truly a second is not wasted here on a fantastic atmospheric record that will stand the test of time for years to come. 

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Gaahl’s Wyrd – Gastir – Ghosts Invited 

Gaahl is a man that certainly needs no introduction if you’re at all familiar with the black metal scene in recent years. Gaahl’s Wyrd sees the ex-Gorgoroth singer and former Trelldom spearhead use his unique vocal range and creativity to utilise a more matured and slower dark metal album than what he has been traditionally known for in the past. The result is a very cold, moody and artistic expression of possession that gets in your head and refuses to let go. Getting to see many of the songs present on the album, including standout for me, ‘Carving the Voices’ was one of the most intense live performances I have ever seen, and a true testament to the band’s commitment to their pioneering craft.  

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Darkthrone – Old Star

Good old Darkthrone. Heavy, old school and unrelenting in their approach against modern conventions. The duo’s latest effort is a slightly faster and punchier 80s inspired effort consisting of six songs and heavily inspired by the likes of Motorhead, Venom and the like. It may be short but Old Star is certainly sweet, tracks like ‘I Muffle Your Inner Choir’ and ‘The Key is Inside the Wall’ will make any self respecting metalhead want to shred away on their axe to the catchy riffs, and bang their heads until they develop brain damage. In short, It’s Darkthrone. You know exactly what to expect from these guys, they don’t disappoint. 

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Green Lung – Woodland Rites

One of the freshest things to happen to the metal genre in a very long time, Green Lung’s debut record Woodland Rites set the world alight with their ritualistic 70s acid rock/doom metal hybrid that’s as infectiously catchy and addictive as the substances available at Woodstock in 1969. Out of everything on this list, Woodland Rites is one of the most listened to albums here. I personally just couldn’t get enough out of tracks like ‘Let the Devil In’ or ‘Templar Dawn’. It’s clear that these guys are inspired by all manor of acid rock and stoner music and the Londoners take full advantage of modern production with that proto metal flair to create something very special here. 

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Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave

Insomnium have been one of my favourite bands of all time for well over five years now. Heart Like a Grave is another solid jewel in the crown of melodic death metal and continues that steady stream of atmospheric, folkish and melancholic melodic death metal that the Finnish rockers are well established for. Heart Like a Grave borrows and adapts from the band’s lengthy back catalogue in the best ways, it’s easy to hear something on this album and get that nostalgic feeling from The Day it All Came Down or One For Sorrow. That’s not to say that plenty of new and exciting things aren’t brought to the table here, because they are. Namely, the addition of Jani Liimatainen (Cain’s Offering) who brings an aura of bright and youthful energy to the guitar work which really works in the band’s favour, most notable on songs such as ‘Valediction’ as well as ‘And Bells They Toll’. Without question, Heart Like a Grave is not only one of Insomnium’s best albums, but also one of melodic death metal’s finest hours also. 

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Mgla – Age of Excuse

The ultimate criticism of humanity, a depraved and misanthropic account that humanity is a plague that needs to be rid from the earth. True nihilism, true darkness. Age of Excuse is a black hole, a vortex that sinks forever never letting the listener catch a breath or see sunlight again. Powerful atmosphere and technical pounding drums permiate every facet of this modern black metal masterpiece from start to finish. Mgla very much are leading the charge in showcasing the best of atmospheric black metal with their own identity and polish to boot and Age of Excuse may be their best album of their career yet. 

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1349 – The Infernal Pathway

1349 are a band that I feel have never really got their day in the sun alongside their genre contempories. All that has changed with the release of the bleak and blackened The Infernal Pathway with strips back black metal to its raw essentials, relying only on old school blackened shredding and thrash technique and catchiness to spread their message. This record doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but what it does it take you back to the times of the first wave (Bathory especially) and remind us all why we fell in love with black metal in the first place. 

1349

Embrional – Evil Dead

Evil Dead wears its black and dried up heart on its sleeve and is unashamedly primal in execution. It’s a record that isn’t afraid to slow down and let a knuckle-dragging caveman riff or tremolo bridge ride on for a few minutes and let the listener soak in the heavy and overbearing punishing nature of the music before unleashing on songs such as ‘Day of Damnation’. In a year with so many phenomenal death metal records, Evil Dead is one that fans of the genre should not pass up on. 

evil dead

Pissgrave – Posthumous Humiliation

Pissgrave are a band that don’t give a fuck about anything! If that isn’t already self-evident by the album cover or the raw and eerie approach to their simplisitic song writing prowess then I’m not sure honestly how else to convince you. On Posthumous Humiliation, the band boil down death metal to the bone and deliver a wretched abortion of grinding guitars, putrid drums and demented vocals in such a fashion that only they themselves could pull off without it all going to shit. A lesser band with the same parameters would crumble under the circumstances but Pissgrave rise above their unique soundscape and put out one of 2019’s most punishing records without breaking a sweat. 

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Absentation – The Intellectual Darkness

One of the most surprising albums of the year for me, Syria’s very own Absentation floored me with their catchy, punchy songwriting and melodic guitar playing. What was especially impressive, I found, was that Absentation is the work of one man, and you would be damned if you knew that from your first few listens. Without a doubt, The Intellectual Darkness has been one of my most spun death metal albums of the year and it’s mostly because I just can’t get enough of the thrashy and in-your-face attitude or catchy death metal riffs that can be found on tracks like ‘Thoughtless Thoughts’ and ‘Endless Insanity’. The man behind the band has promised that 2020 will yield an even bigger and more technically impressive album in the near future so stay tuned to the page people, you never know, this might not be the last time we see Absentation on an end of year list. 

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Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race

I’ve used the term old school a lot in this list so far and no more is it fitting than when describing Blood Incantation’s latest effort, History of the Human Race. Bands like Immolation come to mind in the latter portions of the record and it’s inspiring to see a death metal band in the late 2010s have the guts to throw a near-20 minute epic of a song as a finale to an album. There’s little more that I can add that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll keep it brief. Fearlessly blending psychotic death metal with trippy space-like atmospherics, Hidden History of the Human Race sounds and feels like an album that could have been released thirty years ago, giving it a a timeless feature in the halls of metal history. It’s something brave and exciting that definitely should not be glossed over. 

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Negator – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia

Without question Negator have pumped what is the standout black metal record of the year. Combining the likes of modern Dark Funeral with the straight up and uncomprimising approach of bands like early Behemoth, Negator’s newest album is as fast and as dark as the best that Norway has to offer whilst grinding away at fearsome speeds at times. It might not be the most wholely original effort on the list but Vnitas Pvritas Existentia takes the best of black metal’s recent years and polishes it to a mirror shine.

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Deadspace – The Grand Disillusionment 

Is it any surprise to anyone that this record would show up here? I’ll keep this review short as I’ve already written a lengthy review on this very site, link below. However, The Grand Disillusionment is a groundbreaking, bold and modern depressive black metal album that encapsulates the human condition, self-loathing and hatred for all of mankind in a way never done before. Its brazen and unforgiving approach is uncomprimising and the way the album never really slows down in its intensity makes it especially scarring. 

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Батюшка – Панихида (Batushka – Panihida) 

Forget the controversies, forget the in-fighting and the meme of a million bands all using the Batushka name and let’s focus on the original and the best for a moment. Derph’s true follow-up to 2015’s Litourgia hits every note that the debut did and more with an album that is darker, edgier and more chaotic in every way. Panihida stands head and shoulders above anything done by Bart’s poor imitation, (If you can call the trainwreck that is Hospodi an imitation and not a complete fucking failure to music) and shows all unequvically that the true king is here to reign forever more. Everything is more developed and more concentrated here than on the debut, such as the chanting and clean vocal passages and the thick blackened tremolo audio assaults. It’s more of something you love.

pani

Inferi – The End of an Era | Rebirth 

It’s hard to exactly pinpoint just what makes Inferi so special on a record such as The End of an Era but any speculation going into the album are quickly washed away by some of the most captivating and spellbounding technical guitar playing to ever grace modern melodic death metal, or modern metal generally speaking. A very tightly focused and incredibly sharply executed release, End of an Era encapsulates the many amazing developments in the way we perceive metal music and how the genre can transcend the boundaries of our known understanding and evolve into something greater of almost indescribable energy and passion. It’s a true marvel to relish in and yet another example of just how talented this band are and how earned their rise through the ranks in recent years has been. 

inferi

Honourable Mentions:

‘I, The Mask’ – In Flames
‘The Heretics’ – Rotting Christ
‘Vale’ – Burden of Sight
‘Entity’ – Nucleas
‘I: Voice’ – Warforged
‘Sulphur English’ – Inter Arma
‘Violently Expunged’ – Disgruntled Anthropophagi
‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ – Fetid

 

In Flames Albums – Ranked! (From Worst to Best)

In Flames are a Swedish metal band from Gothenburg who, along with bands such as At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity, helped to pioneer what is now known as Melodic Death Metal, and more specifically, the Gothenburg scene. In Flames was initially formed by Jesper Stromblad in 1990, in hopes to combine the melodic elements heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden with the crushing brutality of death metal such as Entombed and Dismember.

Now almost three decades on, featuring a multitude of line-up changes, stylistic evolution and the departure of Stromblad in 2010, the band is a much different beast to what it was when first created.

To usher in the release of album thirteen I, The Mask in March and without any more delay or introduction, here are what I believe to be the best and worst of In Flames.

#13 – Battles (2016)

This is an album I am quite torn on as I do genuinely enjoy songs from the record, in particular the bonus tracks/ lesser known songs Greatest Greed and Us Against The World. Battles suffered from muted production, unfortunate overuse of a child choir (heard on songs The End and The Truth mainly whilst being peppered in as sampling on other songs) and was seemingly trying to appeal to a younger demographic as a result. That said, there are good riffs there, and when Anders does decide to growl his voice can still make even the most hardened man tremble and shudder. It is a shame that this was the record to make people almost want to entirely write off the band, it did not help that they made the mistake of touring alongside Five Finger Death Punch and Of Mice and Men during the album cycle. An album with standout moments as heard on Wallflower, The End, Through My Eyes and the previous songs mentioned, Battles was a learning experience which should be amended with I, The Mask coming out later this year. If the three singles are anything to go by, (This is Our) House withstanding, then Battles should be moved on from in stride in search of something stronger.

battles

#12 – Siren Charms (2014)

I genuinely have a large tattoo of the cover to this album on my shoulder, I do have a soft spot for it as an alternative metal/rock album but with that said, Siren Charms leaves a lot to be desired unless you know what you are in for. It took literal years for this release to grow on me as it has; the cold and slow approach to the brooding dark synth, interlaced melancholic guitar riffs and lead performances make this album a definite standout in the band’s storied discography. The biggest pill to swallow is that it’s a Sony produced disk, the only one of it’s kind to the band’s name and understandably dials back on the aggression and more heavy elements to their sound in favour of something a lot more accessible. It’s a rock album at heart that occasionally features the odd chug-a-long riffing pattern or growl here and there, but it beats to a different drum than anything else. An extremely divisive yet I believe underrated album in the field of rock, if it was any other band who made this and not In Flames then who knows? Maybe people would have given it a pass or even loved it.

Siren Charms

#11 – I, The Mask (2019)

I have written a lengthy review for this record on this very site, take a look at our reviews tab in the top bar menu for more, however I will quickly summarise the record’s place here on the list in some new and exciting words.

I, The Mask starts off incredibly strongly. The first five songs are absolutely incredible and gave off the vibe on first listen that this would be the album to bridge the gap between the lost 2000s melodeath/melodic metalcore sound and their contemporary sound. However, the record starts to lose momentum with the frankly awful track (This is Our) House. Whenever I listen to the album I just cannot bring myself to hear that song all the way, it is the only In Flames song out of their entire discography that I skip.

The last half of the album features a lot of clean vocals and songs that are more bright and pop orientated with the exception of Burn which almost gets things back on track. Again, if the whole album had the aggression and the fire of songs like:I Am Above, Voices, Call My Name and the title track then I would be singing a different tune. I am not disappointed or let down but I feel that it would have only taken that little bit more to make this album stand out as the best of the modern era. As it stands I, The Mask, whilst coming so close, misses that mark ever so slightly.

Ithe mask

#10 – Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011)

I also have a massive tattoo of the album cover, this time on my right forearm. Perhaps the most challenging of all albums for the band to create, Fading was the first release they released after the departure of creator, guitarist and spearhead Jesper Stromblad. His influence is definitely missed in places, however I think that all considered, they did an incredible job pulling everything around despite the jarring omission of Stromblad’s absence. Songs such as Dead Ships Dwell, Deliver Us, Darker Times, Fear is the Weakness and especially A New Dawn, helped to cement a new identity for a band without direction. Dark, melancholic, dreary and dripping in cold, damp atmosphere, whilst it may be a little cleaner and lighter in places, I believe the brevity only serves to highlight the darkness.

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#9 – Reroute to Remain (2002)

It was no easy feat following up 2000’s landmark album Clayman (more on that release later) however, In Flames decided to take a new route when it came to their sixth album. Remain features a much heavier use of synths, more modern guitar production as well as riffs that blend through different genres. Anders’ clean vocals never sounded better and his fried screams are still as powerful as ever, though overall, despite many solid songs, this album felt like a transitional one ultimately bridging the gap between what would eventually be known as the two major distinct eras for the band.

reroute

#8 – Come Clarity (2006)

This was my first exposure to the band like many people, with the pulse pounding track Take This Life. Let it be known that I love this album and believe that the highs found here; title track, Crawl Through Knives, Leeches and the duet Dead End, far bolster this album to a new level among their mid era releases. The production is razor sharp, it’s very catchy, very heavy and blends together their older melodic death metal sound with the modern metal / metalcore approach following Reroute to Remain. The reason it doesn’t rank higher on my list is despite many of the songs being incredible, there are a couple songs which whilst not bad, seem like filler.

Come

#7 – A Sense of Purpose (2008)

The last album to feature Jesper Stromblad spearheading guitar duties and its safe to say that he left the band out with a bang. Whilst this record can be seen as somewhat divided by fans and the metal community, I can’t help but love every single track to be found here. This was the first In Flames album that I truly well in love with and for great reason, namely huge sweeping catchy choruses and amazing guitar riffs. Even after hundreds of times of hearing songs like; Alias, Delights and Angers, Move Through Me and the emotional gut-punch of The Chosen Pessimist, they never grow old on me. There’s something about the whole motif of The Owl Boy, what the album itself represents and the melancholic story told throughout that takes hold and never lets go. It might not be as raw or angry as Come Clarity but as I listen to both back to back, this album stays more in my mind.

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#6 – Soundtrack To Your Escape (2004)

Without a doubt In Flames’ darkest album, Soundtrack can be overwhelming and draining at times but is what I believe to be the band’s most underrated album. The synths return from Reroute but with a much darker edge, the guitars once again blend in that chugging heavy style with a nu-metal/metalcore riff style. It’s a very modern album that plays to the strengths of the band being ushered through into the new millennium. Everything that made the band what they were is here in spades, the huge choruses, the aggressive vocal performances and the riffs that get stuck in your head. For one, It’s one of their best produced albums too, everything is balanced beautifully and the drums especially never sounded as good or since. I don’t believe this release to be for everyone, but if you can look passed nu-metal influences of the time, there’s something very special here.

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#5 – Lunar Strain (1993)

The first album released by a young band finding their footing in the scene, Lunar Strain is a monumental landmark in Swedish death metal. The story behind the album itself is very interesting, the band essentially made a demo then lied they had a full release out to get on a label, and this shows. For the album itself; there’s some of the most iconic songs of the time; Clad in Shadows, Upon an Oaken Throne, Starforsaken and especially Behind Space. For as much as I adore this album I feel like ranking it any higher just isn’t fair. This was a completely different lineup, instead of Anders on vocals we had Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne and Glenn Ljungström taking on dueling guitar duties alongside Jesper Stromblad.

lunar

#4 – Whoracle (1997)

Yet another album cover that I have tattooed on my arm, What felt like the perfect successor to 1995’s The Jester Race, Whoracle continues down the bold path and etches in more lines into the quintessential blueprint of melodic death metal. The riffs on offer here are just as catchy and heavy as the predecessor, and the guitar work is even more complex as it became the centerpiece and main focus on the album. Whoracle bleeds confidence where Jester Race felt like they had something to prove. This release shows a band pour everything they have into crafting music they love, whilst almost single-handedly writing the playbook on the genre themselves. It’s everything that you could want from melodic death metal and its executed masterfully, though once again like on Come Clarity, there are filler songs that knock the experience a little, namely; Morphing Into Primal and Worlds Within the Margin. A small setback like that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a near flawless record worthy of acclaim.

whoracle

#3 – The Jester Race (1995)

This album is perfect. From this point on the rankings genuinely become entirely up to a small preference in themes and approach. The Jester Race has some of the greatest riffs ever heard in heavy metal, featuring the incredible vocal debut of Anders Friden delivering some of the best growls of his career. Every song is phenomenal and there isn’t a moment wasted on what is a tightly focused and passionate release. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, The Jester Race is an outstanding display of the best riffs that Swedish death metal has to offer; Lord Hypnos, Dead Eternity, title track, Artifacts of the Black Rain, Moonshield etc. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said but hundreds if not thousands of people over the last twenty-five years. Listen to it.

jester

#2 – Clayman

Again let me reinstate that the last half of this list ranking are entirely equal in my mind and this album comes down to preference. Clayman once again shows off amazing riffs, incredible vocals and is something you could once again spin cover-to-cover endlessly. Where I think Clayman wins out ever so slightly is in the choruses, Clayman is just that little bit more catchy and features songs and moments that in my mind are a little more memorable. Everything from the opening seconds of Bullet Ride, perfectly setting the scene for the album to come, to the ending few chords of Another Day in Quicksand and everything in between. Not to mention the iconic Only For The Weak and title track or the earworm of Pinball Map. I could talk about this album for hours, you can’t beat this record, well almost.

clay

#1 – Colony

This is the gold standard not only for melodic death metal but metal music as a whole. Colony refines and then redefines what melodeath is and what can be expected from the genre. Every song is a powerhouse and it’s a testament to what can be achieved when building on the framework created by a band which invented its own sound. All that was good about The Jester Race, the developed guitar work and confidence of Whoracle too came to define the perfect album. In their own ways, they are all unstoppable titans of their field though. If Jester Race represents the end of an age then Colony is the resurrection.

colony

With Anders recently saying in a live show, ‘If you like Colony, you’ll love I, The Mask’ then hopes are high for what In Flames’ newest album has in store. Whilst not everything has been perfect, some albums being a lot better than others, It’s all a journey, and sometimes there are risks that need to be taken to find yourself again throughout the times. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, and for good reason. Let’s see what the band has to deliver for us in a few mere weeks.

Aleksha with In Flames

Ghost – Prequelle Album Review

The not-so Dark Ages, the Swedish metal outfit’s take on the black death.

It has been a difficult and troubling time for Ghost leader Tobias Forge in the last two years, following a very public lawsuit leading to his ghouls being fired and him taking up arms to helm an album entirely of his own vision with new talent onboard.

The resulting release is the 2018 album Prequelle which follows three years after the highly successful breakthrough album Meliora and is headed by Cardinal Copia (Forge) as the cult’s newest leader.

How does everything come together? Well in a word, polarising. There’s no doubt that what we are hearing is that of Ghost, there is the same focus on the old school sound and of course Forge’s operatic high vocals soaring across every track. However, It’s the song structures that have changed the most, as the sinister atmosphere and depth of prior records have been somewhat reduced and lost in translation in favour of more sweeping catchy choruses and conventional songwriting.

ghouls

Instrumentally, Prequelle boasts some of Ghost’s best work yet with a real influence on the technical and rhythmic side being brought to the forefront as the 1980s flare is worn on its sleeve. Ghost are no longer a band mimicking that of Mercyful Fate or Blue Oyster Cult, this is instead a whole new interpretation of the material and it is demonstrated as that of an experience, a singular flowing dark show of epic proportion.

Yet it is in that side of the presentation where some of the cracks begin to show on the record. Prequelle’s high points are some of the highest that the band have ever reached before, case and point; Rats, Dance Macabre and Life Eternal taking center stage as quintessential songs from the band that can stand on their own as flawless metal tracks in their own right.

With that said, the songwriting takes a severe hit in the lyrical department. Unfortunately, the backstage drama of the last two years has crept its way into the songs on this album too in a way that is difficult to look passed. See the Light is about Forge coping with people giving him abuse online and tarnishing his reputation following the accusations brought up against him and it is presented in quite an unpleasant way where Forge is almost adding insult to injury.

cardy c

This is a different Ghost and this is very much Forge’s vision now wholly, he stated in interviews that the album would tackle a lot of dark subject matter and would do it whilst being bright and optimistic at the same time; wearing its heart on its sleeve and with a tongue firmly planted in cheek.

What we have here is a fantastic album but it leaves me wanting a lot more and asking where the other third of the release really is. There are two main instrumentals and whilst both of them are wonderfully performed, they mainly serve as roadblocks to halt the steady flow of the album. As a result, there is never a consistent tone or speed to a lot of what we hear. The release starts really strongly and winds up at the very end with a beautiful and moving closer however that still leaves the middle portion lacking.

cardy a

Pro Memoria for instance starts strongly but goes on for way too long and the instrumental lead in is used several times to daisy chain the other songs to it as if its being led up to. Yet, the song itself does not really go anywhere special in its almost six minute long run time. It’s equally as confusing when considering that it is sandwiched between the great Dance Macabre and the haunting, classic sounding Witch Image.

To summarise, Prequelle is a valiant effort that has a lot of good ideas and isn’t afraid to step out of the comfort zone and try something new and daring. Not everything pays off and the execution and questionable choices leave room for speculation, but these small issues do little to tarnish what an intriguing and catchy album that this album truly is. Sometimes when taking a bold step forward you have to take risks and not everything will pay off and I admire Ghost for taking that step, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.