Ghost (SWE)
Prequelle


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (246 Reviews)
June 1st, 2018 | 602 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All the pomp and devastation.

With the band’s anonymity falling to the wayside, Tobias Forge has not only pulled together a release that Ghost needed, but also capitalised on the inevitable gimmick that this Swedish based proto-doom group has been clinging to since their inception. Praised (and infamously regarded) for their soundscape of archaic darkness and elaborate cheese filled Satanic contextual motifs, Ghost has steadily moved from the shadows of obscure retro-rock to quickly becoming that easy essential listening for the everyday modern “end of the world” listener. Somehow, the combination of over the top lyrical antics, an obscured stage presence and the crystal clear production layered over a sound so suited to the early 80s has launched Ghost into realms known only to the forerunners of mainstream rock. With mastermind Tobias Forge finally forgoing the masked, ceremonial montage that walks the stage during any live show, Ghost can move past a wall of misdirection and make honest, down to earth proto-apocalyptic rock.

Four albums and eight years later comes Prequelle, hinting at a steady evolution in sound that came with each consecutive release before ducking into the safe shades of Meliora and the debut, Opus Eponymous. Fairly, Ghost’s sound never really needed to outgrow on the rather gimmicky display sounding a happy arrival to the days of men, but a natural progression on the formula would most definitely be welcomed with open arms.

Opening the new record is a tome of “Ring Around The Rosie” under the title of “Ashes”. Spooky childish chants fill the void between the speakers creating a now typical Ghost-esque atmosphere. The eerily subtle build centralises an idea of tension, like an early central plot to any child related horror movie. It’s undeniably creepy, giving way to the album’s more typical song structures. “Rats” eagerly presents a bombastic 80s rock fest, showcasing the typical Ghost formula. Forge’s vocal prowess doesn’t stretch too far away from the usual crooning swagger found within the other records. The track itself is charismatic, charged and forward thinking while keeping its roots planted completely in the past. It’s Ghost’s trademark approach, summarised into a four and a half minute festival of fun rock sin.

The fun doesn’t simply stop in Prequelle’s opening sections. With highlights peppering the album’s forty-two minute run time it doesn’t take long to find a few favourites. While “Faith” builds on a veritable Mercyful Fate styled instrumental section and “Dance Macabre” escalates on the fantastically catchy even vocal lines of Forge, without dipping into terrible amounts of cliched gimmick. Despite the obvious 70s and 80s crossover rock that bleeds a misguided Sabbath worship and uplifting lyrical styling that contrasts completely with the topics on hand there’s an air of filler that placates the otherwise darker themes present. The piano led ballad “See The Light” doesn’t really build on the arrangements placed before it, instead floats along aimlessly within the confines of Ghost’s typical and somewhat predictable soundscapes. The addition of a saxophone on the first of the record’s two instrumental tracks does give an out of the box inclusion to a type of music so often pigeon-holed into mundane synth-led sameness, but “Miasma” is built from a foundation rooted deeply in the principles Ghost would do well to avoid.

Prequelle’s closing moments are of particular note. Melancholy mixes with sheer emotive lyricism, tiring the listener into a lulled, yet uplifting spiritual climb. It’s easy to find yourself simply overlooking the album’s final track but “Life Eternal” creates a circular, fruitful atmosphere that completely details the the minimalist introduction and the fact Prequelle is at an end. At times, Prequelle seems almost gravitational to writing infectious elegies and clearly it’s not a formula that is going to work for everyone. With those finding a natural dislike for the compositions found within the debut, there’s little here that will sway you to suddenly like Ghost’s diabolical rock swing. Intuitively, fans of the group’s releases over the course of the last eight years will find sheer enjoyment in most of what Prequelle is and while the band’s new hymns may not fall too far from the tree, the snake incites a sneaky change here and there.



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user ratings (383)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Manu TC (4.5)
A new, friendly Ghost in the eyes of the faithful....

PsychicChris (4)
Prequelle isn’t the ten variations of “Dance Macabre” album that I was hoping for, but its som...

DropTune (4)
Preaching to the choir....



Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2018


8768 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Would 3.7 it if I could : ]

Toondude10
June 1st 2018


12986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Got to see these guys open for Iron Maiden last year. They were pretty good and got me interested to check them out but eeeehhhhh, I thought they were more of a live band than in studio.



Though I'm not gonna lie, I really digging this so far.

Digging: ERRA - Neon

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2018


8768 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They definitely get the whole “stage presence” thing going on. Saw them while they were touring the debut. Haven’t seen a modern live show for them though.

Dewinged
June 1st 2018


10855 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well thought and deep analysis that I couldn't bring up myself. Good shit Rob, all fair points. I gotta admit I'm way over objectivity myself and just gave in to the album's wicked charm.

Digging: Tomberlin - At Weddings

BlackLlama
June 1st 2018


2176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3.7/3.8 is where this falls for me. I agree with a lot of your points here also. If you have not seen a Ghost Ritual live - do yourself a favor and get out there. My first show with them was around 400 people in the Bowery in NYC, my next will be at the Barclay's center. I feel for those that missed seeing them in smaller venues.

Egarran
June 1st 2018


6773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Confirmed. 2011 Ghost was about the best concert I've seen.



But some of the bigger shows I've seen on youtube were great too.

TundraL5Z
June 1st 2018


1641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think 3.5 is the correct rating

Digging: Lights - Scorpion 2018 - Lights Covers Side B

Sabrutin
June 1st 2018


5568 Comments


Another Ghost album, another time I find it cute but that's it. >:[

Will keep trying though, at least it's catchy

Loverjeanman
June 1st 2018


5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album was great in general and I do not want to go through a single thing without wanting to go through a lot of songs on the album 80's souls quite a lot, especially in a lot of songs I do not know that the effects of iron maiden, scorpions, Simon v Gurfinkel, Mody Blues came to me so much yada

BlackLlama
June 1st 2018


2176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Confirmed. 2011 Ghost was about the best concert I've seen. But some of the bigger shows I've seen on youtube were great too."



Will not deny that either. I was at the Port Chester show and it was fantastic seeing them put on 20ish songs.

PistolPete
June 1st 2018


4751 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is fucking fantastic on the first couple listens. So smooth and fun as hell.

Digging: Denzel Curry - TA13OO

Mythodea
June 1st 2018


4251 Comments


Fun as hell [2]

Maybe the first Ghost output I enjoy so much after their sophomore album. The Michael Jackson guitar riff on Miasma and the riffing from the saxophone is one of the best things that happened to music in 2018.

Digging: Diorama - A Different Life

DarkNoctus
June 1st 2018


10390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why do i love this so much

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2018


11149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

It is honestly great. Never thought I'd admit that for a Ghost album.

Digging: Carriage - Visions

Wildcardbitchesss
June 1st 2018


1190 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Meliora>Opus>Prequelle>Infest

Really good review, agreed with most points, but I loved Miasma. Really tight instrumental.

Digging: Birds in Row - We Already Lost The World

DarkNoctus
June 1st 2018


10390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this faaar surpasses meliora for me.

jemaiseyeti
June 1st 2018


83 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Anyone hearing the similarities between Spöksonat (Meliora) and Ashes/ending of Rats on Prequelle?

TheNotrap
June 1st 2018


9017 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyable reading.



The album is packed with catchy moments, as expected, but at this stage his music could be slightly more unpredictable, in my opinion.

The intro and Rats are my favorite moments.

Digging: Michael Romeo - War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1

Darius
June 1st 2018


17104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pro Memoria is fucking awesome

ZombieToyDuck
June 1st 2018


5092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rats grew so hard and works sooooo much better in context



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