It has been over 3 years since the release of their last album, Meliora and the phenomenon that is Ghost has just been gathering in strength. The ever-evolving band, now fronted by Cardinal Copia instead of the next Papa, are looking to take themselves out of the smaller venues and into arenas with the release of Prequelle.
Do they manage it? Yes, even if there are a few mis-steps here.
Ghost are a band that divide opinion. No more so then here on Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life. You can read our reviews of their second album Infestissumam here, Meliora here, the Popestar EP here, the EP He Is here and the live album, Ceremony and Devotion here.
The very first thing you’ll notice when listening to Prequelle is that the occult rock sound of Ghost is mostly gone. It’s been replaced with a shiny and glistening style of sinister arena rock. It shows the ambition that Ghost have and draws parallels with 80’s style, radio friendly rock anthems.
We’re talking sing-along choruses, catchy riffing and infused synth.
An eerie start, Ashes ominous intro sees a group of young girls singing ‘Ring A Ring O’Roses’. It leads straight into lead single Rats. An incredibly catchy tune that has all the Ghost elements but also shows their plan for the future.
It’s followed by Faith which is an early contender for the best track of the album capturing the darker tone of the older albums, See the Light with its chorus worming its way into the brain and the instrumental Misasma which combines killer riffing with impressive synth.
The second single, Dance Macabre is Ghost’s version of a power ballad effectively and the one that will have massive crossover appeal. Unfortunately, it’s after this that the mis-steps begin.
Pro Memoria is catchy enough even if it leads more towards the cheese side of things. Forge’s vocals are on absolute fire here and the keyboard melody is good but it’s going to be quickly forgotten about when held up against the rest of the album.
After including Misasma, a second instrumental track seems unnecessary and Helvetesfonster does very little to convince otherwise. Then there is Witch Image, probably the most disappointing track on the album. Chorus aside it just doesn’t get going.
Thankfully Ghost end on a high. Life Eternal is a powerful and affirming track that captures the dramatic efforts the album has tried to capture. The gothic tone is in full force here and it will put a smile on faces.
While it doesn’t always get it right, Prequelle has way more good on it then bad. When getting it right (Rats, Faith, Misasma, Life Eternal) Ghost truly are an exceptional band and their path forward is becoming more and more clear. Will this be the album that pushes them towards global domination? It seems so and who can deny they haven’t earned it?
Ghost – Prequelle Full Track Listing:
4. See the Light
5. Miasma (Instrumental)
6. Dance Macabre
7. Pro Memoria
8. Witch Image
9. Helvetesfönster (Instrumental)
10. Life Eternal
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Ghost - Prequelle (Loma Vista Recordings)