I’ve always been a bit hesistant in terms of excitement when bands feel an urge to dress up and hide behind masks. Do they really need to dress up to get attention? Is their music not strong enough in itself? In the case of e.g. Gwar, that hasn’t always been the case (although their show is hilarious). KISS is also a good example of a band who for the most part sounded terrible, but got there because of their image. With the dark minstrel of Ghost, it is different. They’re really onto something.
When I saw Ghost support Metallica last year, I enjoyed the gig, but wasn’t sure about the music. It could be because I hadn’t had the chance to listen to any of it before the concert, or simply because they weren’t that fantastic at the time. Whatever hesistation I had back then, it’s gone now.
‘Meliora’ is an amazing album. Fair and square.
First and foremost, the production and mix of ‘Meliora’ are perfect – Klas Åhlund and Andy Wallace have done their job excellently. The album has a warm and rounded sound, both the pop tunes and the more hard hitting ones. Everything stands out clearly and conveys a kind of soft bombast, if that makes sense.
‘Meliora’ fuses 70s hardrock with organs, choirs and that particular Swedish penchant for writing hit pop songs. And somehow, I sense that it is the latter that makes the difference between Ghost and the armies of retro bands who try to make a buck these days. Ghost not only have a concept, they have the songs and the sound.
Over the past three weeks, this album has become one of my favourite audio backdrops at work. You can use it as easy listening, which doesn’t disturb you whilst focusing on your work, and yet, once you turn your attention to it, there are so many great details and elements to dive into. And there are the heavily rocking tunes like From the Pinnacle to the Pit and Mummy Dust with those catchy riffs and superb choruses. Also, I love when you little by little discover details you hadn’t noticed before. Like the lyric that is sung in an actually very nice and pleasant way in the 70s prog rock pastiche Majesty: ‘Pathetic humans in despair’, ‘…rotting carcasses clog the deep’ etc.
Ghost are seemingly just another retro band among many, but in my view, they have much more on offer than the majority of the retro bands. If you haven’t already, allow yourself into the congregation for a while and join the ceremony. Despite my initial hesitation, I haven’t regretted doing it.
2 From the Pinnacle to the Pit
5 He Is
6 Mummy Dust
8 Devil Church
10 Deus In Absentia
Playing time: 41:33
Release date: 21st of August, 2015