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By the time I wrote a review for Opus Eponymous, I couldn't stop listening to it. With time, it became just another flawless album to enter my "favourite" folder. Now, after I listened to this awesome release and saw them perform live in their great gig in Rock in Rio, I feel almost forced to write about how good Infestissumam came out.
Just like Opus Eponymous, the album starts with a good intro, which is "Infestissumam". This time, the harmony of this serene Latin choir is broken abruptly by their instruments, in the end, breaking into their first song, "Per Aspera ad Inferi". From this darkly ethereal song, we can already realise how the following songs will sound like.
In Infestissumam, Ghost didn't open hand from their groovy and well articulated rock like we saw in their debut. However, we can clearly see some new style there. They focus more on the riffs, building a livelier sound for themselves, relying less on atmosphere. It's closer to hard rock than their old psychedelic rhythm we had listened to. Also, the remarkable use of choirs and the softer keys make the band sound somehow more "erudite" than they did before. This combination of nostalgic pop/rock, erudition and heaviness made this album pretty unique, and, as a result on gigs, the difference between new and old songs was pretty clear. However, some songs were still very entrancing in their own ways, such as "Secular Haze" and "Ghuleh / Zombie Queen".
Their guitars are still pretty good, with all these good riffs and alternations they kept, however, with less soloing. The keyboards are very important to the song structure overall, making a good base, which is probably the reason why we may miss their bass doodles sometimes. This may relate to these new vibes from the eighties they're going into. About Pope Emeritus II, it's clear that he is way more lyrical than the previous alter-ego of the vocalist, Pope Emeritus, was. His voice is smooth and technical, going pretty well, despite the lack of change on it.
I think the only contra for this album is this lack of change I've mentioned about the vocals, but applied overall. Their psychedelic grooves sound great, and their songs are all awesome and great listens themselves, but the piece, overall, doesn't show much difference between tracks, which are, individually, flawless. It doesn't come to the point of being boring, but this could have been more touchy.
As for the lyrics, they all sound strong and carry dramatic style. Even though they're pure theatre, the band does know how to write about darkness, anti-Christianity and occultism, so, there's nothing bad to say. On this particular album, the theme was "the reign of the Antichrist", while Opus Eponymous was about him "coming and rising". I actually pointed out, on a previous review, there might be some kind of suggestion on the melody and name of their outro "Genesis". This album has no outro, but well, should we expect something off the last song "Monstrance Clock", which pictures people going to a Black Mass in favour of the Antichrist? I can't guess, but it would be pretty interesting to continue this line they've been tracing.
Despite their overall changes, it's clear that Ghost have kept what made them get their highlights: theatrality, nostalgic rock and a very bright sound.