Author: Jan Jakobsen
Label: Loma Vista Recordings
It is remarkable how Ghost have gone from being an underground sensation to being a massive rock phenomenon in less than five years. Back in 2010, Ghost were featured in Fenriz’s Band of the Week segment and three years later, they had the honor of finishing Hellfest 2013 and delivered quite possibly my favorite concert of all time. Fast forward two years and they are playing in stadiums together with Foo Fighters. Some might say that Ghost became big only because of their gimmick and not their music, but I would say that it is a mix of the two. When Opus Eponymous first came out it became an instant occult rock classic. Ghost managed to seamlessly blend Blue Öyster Cult and Mercyful Fate into one catchy package. The added gimmick of being anonymous certainly helped in catapulting their fame, but there were no denying that Opus Eponymous was a special album.
Five years later, Ghost are now releasing their third album, Meliora, which is a Latin adjective for “better”. Taken out of context, the album name does not mean much, but in the context of Ghost’s discography, it certainly makes sense. Infestissumam was deemed as a rather mediocre output and I think even the band itself realized that. Infestissumam had some incredibly catchy tunes on it, but there were also quite a lot of filler songs, which hampered the overall quality but Year Zero, Secular Haze and Monstrance Clock were brilliant additions to their live performance with their sing-along qualities.
Meliora starts with Spirit, which has many of the qualities that Opus Eponymous had. A driving riff, keyboards that enhance the guitar sound and a simple, but catchy chorus. From the Pinnacle to the Pit opens up with a sexy bassline that works as the groundwork for the entire song. As most of the album, the song will work excellent in a live setting with its easy chorus and catchy melodies.
The hype surrounding this album has been massive, especially after the release of the first single, Cirice. Cirice sounds like something that Metallica could have written for The Black Album with its heavy riffing. There is almost a Sad but True vibe going on. He Is, my word, what a song that is. The late 60’s psychedelic influence is very strong on this one. If anything, it comes off as almost as a Christian rock song, only its lyrical themes are the complete opposite. “We’re standing here by the abyss and the world is in flames. Two starcrossed lovers reaching out to the beast with many names”. It’s fairly simple to see what Ghost is insinuating with those lyrics.
Absolution has many of the same qualities as Spirit. It is much more riff-driven than anything off Infestissumam and the keyboard works much better when in the background as opposed to being in the front of the music, it also features my favorite guitar solo off the album. A type of guitar solo that has a true classic rock sound, something that could easily could have been from Boston’s debut album.
Deus in Absentia finishes the album in style. Ending the album with an apocalyptic sounding track with lyrics that seems like a continuation from the ones on He Is. Ending the album with chanting from a satanic choir also a very fitting end to the album.
With Meliora, Ghost has successfully managed to not only create their most consistent album yet, but it’s a really fun listen. There are so many great hooks throughout the entire record, so many small brilliant moments. I didn’t see it coming really, I thought they had hit their creative peak with their debut album already, but Meliora is a brilliant album from start to finish and a strong album of the year contender for me personally.
- Jan Jakobsen