Review Summary: Everything you love about classic metal, with a new twist.
Perhaps one thing that is keeping this album from reaching the power it could have achieved is that it was released too late. Release this in the 1990s or the 2000s, and you'd have people horrified, shocked, disgusted and offended, organizing church meetings to try and ban Ghost from the city (let alone the country) and record burnings, calling them holy disgusting satans and what have you. But even still, Ghost know how to get people talking. Earlier in the decade, a few festival appearances showcased a band wearing costumes, and singing 1970s style hard rock anthems about how wonderful it is to worship Satan. And since they got very popular early this year, with their sophomore album Infestissumam
selling Satan knows how many records and opening for bands like Alice and Chains, Avenged Sevenfold and what have you, I'd say its very well deserved.
is the sound of a band having found their footing in the metal genre, knowing what they want to do and setting out to do it. It's very clear that Papa Emeritus II and his band of ghouls are very ambitious, and such ambition can be heard in the eponymous opening track, with choirs singing in Latin and an excellent intro to the album with a very catchy guitar hook. The album can be described as Black Sabbath meets ABBA, with some Iron Maiden and Elton John thrown in there for good measure. A lot of the songs are very psychedelic and at times, downright fun.
Perhaps what makes this album so great is how much talent there is on display. This isn't exactly the most technical or progressive music there is, it tht somehow makes the music a lot more admirable. Whether it be the circusy "Secular Haze" or " extremely, irresistibly catchy "Year Zero" or the Foo Fightersish "Body and Blood", it's very clear that Ghost are a band that refuses to take themself seriously. With lyrical topics that would horrify your mother such as, well, as mentioned above, blasphemy, sex, necrophilia and what not, there's a certain level of class they add to it too. It's hard to not love, because the singer that hides behind a skull mask and the moniker of Papa Emeritus II has an easy-on-the-ears singing voice and sings with total conviction.
If any single songs are standouts, well, I'd argue all of the songs are excellent, but perhaps the best song is "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen". The two-songs-in-one track begins softly and has some excellent of synths that add an air of profundity. When the song kicks into "Zombie Queen", it becomes an upbeat rocker that Elton John would have been jealous of back in the 1970s, and an absolutely amazing chorus of "Zombie queen! Zombie queen!/Black light guides you, ghuleh, ghuleh!
" is ear-shattering every time it rings out. It's an easy contender with Arcade Fire's "Afterlife" for song of the year. "Year Zero" is the most blasephemous/tongue-in-cheek song that is ironically, the most poppy on the album and hell, at times it makes you wanna dance. The lyrics display their great sense of humour and Emeritus' vocal deliveries are certainly unique. "Per Aspera Ad Inferi", along with "Infestissumam" help begin the album in a greatly no-nonsense fashion, and the closing track "Monstrance Clock" is a mid-tempo anthem that is seriously beautiful sounding and, having seen them live twice while on vacation in Europe this year, is the big audience participation song. The catchy chorus that goes "Come together/Together as one/Come together/For Lucifer's son
" will remain in your head long after the album is done.
If anything brings the album down, It's Nick Rasz...whateverhisnameis' production. It's known that he's quite a Scrappy in the production field and managed to make Rush's album Clockwork Angels
sound worse than Vapor Trails
, which is a shame as the music on that album is great, and his annoying penchant for "wall of sound" is alive and well here. It's a shame, because the music is simply stunning and gorgeous. But it doesn't matter, because when all is said and done, Ghost's Infestissumam
is a masterful achievement in heavy metal excellence and proof that their hopes to make it big in metal may come true. Well, let's hope it does. Because while it's great to have the masters like Iron Maiden and Rush still around, it's refreshing to hear a new band that has the same mindset as the legends still around when most new bands are stuck in the metalcore ghetto and will sound dated in some years' time.