Review Summary: A collection of pop songs, done in vein of Beelzebub.
Following their mix-reviewed album Infestissumam
, Ghost released a strange EP in 2013. They did something that hardly any band does, especially this early in their career. They released a covers album of pop songs. Pop music, the genre that metalheads typically despise. So much could have gone wrong. They didn’t have a fanbase that had been building for years or anything, and one false move could have sent people running. But of course this being Ghost, that wasn’t the case. A special band such as Ghost could only make a collection of metal-sounding pop tunes be this hard-hitting and this damn catchy at the same time.
The clear standout arrives at the start of the E.P. in the form of the title track. A cover of Roky Erickson’s revered song, Ghost put their own spin on this cover by incorporating keys to the background that add defining moments. Papa’s voice is mesmerizing yet again, as has become a trademark for him. Rightfully becoming a staple in their live shows, this track has all the makings of a pop song with enough edge behind it to fall into their metal sound. Elsewhere, the take on Abba’s I’m A Marionette
is unique and adds more charm to the record. Ghost smartly don’t blatantly copy the original songs on this EP; rather they provide their own distinct visions for the tracks. Each song on If You Have Ghosts
features crunching guitar work and pounding drums, combining the styles and sounds of what Ghost have learned and mastered from their two releases thus far and making them well-known here.
The live version of Secular Haze
is aggressive and sounds more passionate than its’ studio counterpart; in fact, it may even top the original. The raw tones and energy that the band displays in this show are extremely enjoyable, and they display how Ghost can better their craft in a live environment with fans hanging on to each note played. While they don’t necessarily change up the song in concert or fall into an extensive jam session, they play it smart and crank up the intensity instead. This track shows Ghost playing to their strong suits, by using vitality over wankery, quality over quantity. It ends this solid E.P. on a high note, leaving us craving a live album from the band in the (hopefully) near future.
With two strong albums and an EP under their belt by 2013, Ghost kept climbing to prominence in the metal scene. They had something for almost everyone by this point: satanic AOR-sounding metal from the debut, experimentation into other styles and genres on the follow-up, and now covers of fairly known artists on an exciting EP. All while keeping their signature demented and horror-movie sound. In short, If You Have Ghosts
was a dangerous step forward for the band, but one that worked out and showed they could practically do no wrong at this point.
If You Have Ghosts
I’m A Marionette
Secular Haze (Live)