Spinefarm [Release date 21.08.15]
Ghost have always been a bit of a Marmite band, people tend to love or hate them. I first encountered the band a few years ago supporting Trivium and having seen the pictures and the image, the music the band produced was not at all what I expected. Since then I have seen the band on several occasions and each time I have found the Ghost experience highly entertaining.
This is the band’s third album and they are joined this time by Papa Emeritus III, the third frontman to assume the papal identity. I have heard the band described in the past as sounding like a heavier version of 80’s popsters a-Ha which was actually quite a fair assessment, but this album takes things onto a different level.
‘Spirit’ opens proceedings with excellent melodies and big prog overtones, the keyboards are very reminiscent of early Marillion. The prog rock theme is one that runs throughout the album and the music sounds all the better for it. ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’ follows with a leading bassline and a great vocal from Papa, the transition from Papa II to III is barely noticeable.
All the Ghost trademark sounds are present, big sweeping riffs, strong melodies and hymn like harmonies all combine to give that ethereal feel. ‘He Is’ is probably the best example of this, an epic acoustic driven track which is uplifting and sinister in equal measure, a description which sums up the band well.
‘Mummy Dust’ has a riff that sounds not unlike ‘Am I Evil’ and features yet more excellent keyboard work. ‘Majesty’ then starts out as standard Ghost fare but morphs into a full on prog workout in the latter half which was a pleasant surprise.
The album is then rounded off with the Metallica like ‘Absolution’ and ‘Deus In Absentia’ which contains a riff so close to ‘House Of Fun’ by Madness that I am sure Suggs and co could sue, a fun note on which to end an impressive album.
Ghost may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I think with this album the band have developed in a new and exciting direction, whether it will entice in a new audience is yet to be seen. For the existing disciples of Papa Emeritus III and his merry band, this album should prove to be their best effort yet, praise be! ****
Review by David Wilson
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