Say what you will about Ghost, but they are certainly one of the most identifiable acts in metal today. The band is unique to say the least and brings a flair and over the top level of showmanship that metal was has been known to showcase in the past. Ghost is back and to keep with the bands longstanding tradition, there is a new frontman: “Cardinal Copia”. For those of you who are casual fans, no need to fear. Tobias Forge, the man behind the mask for Papa Emeritus I-III is still the vocalist behind Ghost. Cardinal Copia is just his new character for the new album, Prequelle.
Prequelle certainly shows off the artistic side of Ghost, as well as the versatility of the band. The theme of the album is set in medieval times. Musically, the album plays off the story of the band Ghost — it uses the religious themes visible in the characters, specifically the frontman, who has been a Pope-esque character for each of the bands’ four albums. The album highlights organ music and hymn-like singing on the track “See the Light”. “Life Eternal” features a hymnal feel with a prevalent organ and a choir singing backup.
Ghost also blends in sounds that they are known for, with an updated Glam Metal sound in 2018. The instrumental track, “Miasma”, feels as though it could be a guitar solo or breakdown lifted from the live show of Rush, or even bands like Styx or Boston, as it features melodic guitar solos and a lead synthesizer line reminiscent of the 70s and 80s. The other instrumental track on the album, “Helvetefonster”, has a really cool medieval feel with an acoustic, feudal ending that sounds like it could be the end credits for Game of Thrones.
The whole sound of the record is entrenched in a throwback feel. “Pro Memoria” has all of the makings of an 80s hair/glam metal ballad. Along the same lines, my favorite track on the album is “Witch Image” that picks up with an almost poppy chorus line with punchy held chords in the background, which is a technique that was heavily used in classic metal. The heaviest song on the album is the lead single, “Rats”, which is the only song on the album that has an upbeat, heavy sound in line with today’s iteration of metal.
Prequelle is not an album for everyone. It is unique and artistic. Ghost is a really talented band that is doing things differently than the rest of the metal industry. Their albums all tell a story, and all have a unique theme behind them. Their version of metal is more theatrical than heavy and certainly appeals to a smaller segment. But in their differences lie a tremendous crossover appeal. This is not a heavy, in your face album by any means, but if you are into artistry and a unique record to break up your day in an industry where it is easy to blend in, check out Prequelle!
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