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  GHOST
'Meliora'
(Spinefarm)
Release Date: 21st August 2015


Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland



ghost

Sweden's Ghost have done a good job of getting themselves noticed in a world full of Metal bands looking for attention.

With their on stage garb of musicians dressed in monk style cloaks and hoods and wearing masks and a singer dressed as a demonic anti-pope they certainly cover the theatrical side of things off. In addition they have chosen to remain anonymous with all the band listed as Nameless Ghouls on the albums except for vocalist Papa Emeritus who they claim has already been replaced twice so the current one is Papa Emeritus III. Even the songs are listed as written by 'A Ghoul Writer'. I have to say I do admire the attention to detail.

Looking at the band's image, obvious love of horror films and the faux satanic content of much of their lyrics you would think that they would be a black or death Metal band musically. The surprising thing is that if you haven't heard them before they are amazingly melodic.

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They can certainly rock and there is some terrific riffing Metal on this, their third full length album in the likes of 'Cirice' with it's pounding beat and atmospheric build up. However it is more of a traditional Heavy Metal sound with a groove and melodic vocals and harmonies, not what you might expect at all.

Elsewhere 'From The Pinnacle To The Pit' has a really nice distorted bass riff at it's heart but again manages to do a heavy rock groove thing while 'Majesty' slows things down with a classic guitar/hammond organ like keyboards riff and some nice lead guitar hooklines.

Trying to come up with a comparison musically, the band they remind me most of is Blue Oyster Cult. They have the same love of melody and song writing as the veteran American heavy rockers paired along with a similar love of adding a dark edge and some weird vibes to traditional rock and Metal styles.

This comparison is most evident on the weird and wonderful folk tinged mystery of 'He Is'. It shouldn't work with the melody and catchy harmonised chorus used to deliver lyrics about "Two starcrossed lovers reaching out to the beast with many names" but it does. There is definitely a seventies psychedelic vibe to it but this is undoubtedly a modern sounding song too. Superb stuff.

I don't think the other songs on here quite hit the imaginative heights of 'He Is' but they are all pretty strong right up to closing track 'Deus In Absentia' with its' ticking clock intro, catchy chorus and a choir section showing that they can do the expected as well as the opposite.

I really like this album, it's a terrific melodic Metal album with imagination, good songs and a real verve for adding modern twists and almost subversive undertones to a sound which in places harks back to seventies rock. Whatever you think of the image this is definitely music worth checking out.

Line Up:
Papa Emeritus III – vocals
Nameless Ghouls – all instrumentalists


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