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Occult pop - 50%

kluseba, October 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Universal Republic Records

Offering an extended play to fill the gap between two regular studio record sounds like a good idea. However, in the case of Ghost's If You Have Ghost the execution is somewhat underwhelming. Two cover songs had already been included on the limited edition of the strong preceding studio record Infestissumam. The fifth track that sounds completely out of place is a quite tame live version of ''Secular Haze'' that doesn't represent the band's intense shows that I could already attend in person and which have later on been documented on the outstanding live record Ceremony and Devotion.

One has to admit that Ghost has managed to choose four unusual cover songs of different genres and adapted them to their very own style. If I had to categorize these cover versions, I would describe them as occult pop. The melodies are quite simple but there is a psychedelic undertone due to vintage organ and piano sounds and eerily saccharine vocals. The record represented the band's mellowest release to that point but this stylistic shift wasn't really rewarded because the original songs aren't particularly outstanding in the first place and Ghost's versions sound atmospheric on one side but quite toothless on the other. The guitar work is too fluffy and forgettable, the bass guitar only plods along and the drum work is missing dynamics.

If you like occult pop and rock music from the late sixties and early seventies, you can give If You Have Ghost a spin. If you find Ghost's own songs quite commercial already, the four cover songs included here will give your audial diabetes. The grimmest thing about this release is its stunning cover artwork referencing F.W. Murnau's creepy silent horror movie Nosferatu that you should watch once in your lifetime. Instead of picking up this extended play, pick up the movie and nourish your mind.

Completely Saccharine - 40%

dystopia4, December 19th, 2013

It's safe for everyone to stop pretending Ghost is a metal band, right? Although their debut was just as much about Mercyful Fate as it was Blue Oyster Cult, what they have done since is lightweight rock with a huge pop influence seeping in. A few occasional doses of moderate heaviness, sure, but nothing that could realistically be considered metal in any way, shape or form. Changing their sound from metal is silly to disown a band over in itself (although the relentless marketing to metal crowds is getting annoying) , but they are just so bad at being a poppy rock band. Much of their new music is fluff. While their last album still did muster the rare cool moment, a huge majority of it was filler. Unsurprisingly, the same is true for If You Have Ghost.

This EP is even more subdued and mainstream-friendly than Infestissumam,. I can't recall a single moment of heaviness or even vague aggression on this one. Again, it would be totally alright for them to go for a lighter sound if they were actually good at it. But no, this is nothing but incredibly lame. This EP is composed mostly of covers, which they swiftly infect with their nauseatingly sugary sound. There is only one cover here where I like the Ghost version more than the original - Army of Lovers "Crucified". It's not because the Ghost version is some genius reworking of the original; it's because I find the style Army of Lovers play to be really friggin' obnoxious.

The original for the title cover was a really cool swampy garage affair. For the cover Ghost transform it into a saccharine, lightweight pop-rock song. Although vaguely pleasant, it is instantly forgettable. The ABBA cover sucked on the Secular Haze single and it sucks here. With some incredibly nasally vocals, the chorus on the "Crucified" cover is even more obnoxious than it was on the original. The raspy whispers on the song are marginally interesting, if only because everything else here is so damn boring. Depeche Mode songs generally are easily adapted to many genres and they're a band that has been covered successfully a decent amount of times. One sound they don't adapt well to is Ghost's. Their cover of the band is the exact definition of monotony. As for the "Secular Haze" live version, it is just a lamer rendition of an already lame song. Those upbeat carnivesque organs are still exceedingly irritating.

Ghost can push all the butt plugs and dildos they want, they don't live up to the edgy image they are so desperately trying to portray. Their music is sugary, friendly and inoffensive to the core. After their last album I predicted that their work would become completely composed of filler. Here they move ever closer to fulfilling that prophecy. This is some of the most inoffensive fluff imaginable; while there isn't much actively awful about this, it is completely boring and disposable. I still can't figure out how they managed to make an ABBA song less heavy.

Ghost - If You Have Ghost (EP) - 50%

ThrashManiacAYD, December 16th, 2013

If there were any doubts to the plane Ghost now inhabit after their megalithic rise of recent years then this "If You Have Ghost" EP screams out the answers. So indicative of a label's attempt to keep the Ghost name (Ghost B.C. if you're Stateside) out there following this year's disappointing "Infestissumam" LP, at four varied covers and one live track it could only be the work of a band on the crest of a wave and with a reputation capable of combining a Satanic oeuvre with an ABBA cover.

To anyone who has seen this theatrical Swedish troupe live - which surely must be everyone by now - Ghost specialise in playing a revival style unlike anyone else out there at present. Like so much of the greatest metal from down the years, the sideline in comedy borne through their image and protestations is done totally straight-faced, with which they have taken on this variety of covers. Roky Erickson's "If You Have Ghost" has been transformed from a punk-tinged track to a moody, uplifting one courtesy of the opening violin strikes which segue into loungey keys backing their typically soft guitar delivery. ABBA's "I'm a Marionette" works better than could be originally imagined - until checking out the original I didn't realise the legendary Swedes (of the 70s Eurovision variety in this case) were capable of introverted tracks like this - as Ghost's slower version, devoid of the orchestral sounds of the original breaks with some interesting guitar leads. "Crucified" (by Army of Lovers) is the track that sounds most like a Ghost original, from the Zeppelin-esque acoustic guitar intro, the bass lead into the chorus and, of course, Papa Emeritus' variable vocal styles. His choral cleans lead the song but it is his King Diamond flecked delivery in the verse which is the highlight of the EP for me.

"Waiting for the Night" is again a slowly developing track, befitting Depeche Mode's creation, which would feel well-placed as an album closing track. I actually prefer this version to the original, though take this as a reflection on both bands concerned. Finally, a live cover of "Secular Haze" is the token gesture from the label to grab the attention of the more narrow-minded section of the fanbase not ready to understand reworkings of non-rock/metal tracks. "If You Have Ghost" could feasibly have been tacked on to the end of "Infestissumam" and will probably be attached with some other release in the future, but knowing the releasing label such tactics are standard for a band on the up like Ghost. Not bad but not great - an interesting sidenote to an interesting band.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net

I have Ghost, I have everything...almost - 84%

enshrinedtemple, November 25th, 2013

Ghost is back with an extended play cleverly titled If You Have Ghost. The mini album is comprised of four unique cover songs and a live track. Ghost fans will welcome this is an extra little treat at the end of the year despite hearing two of the songs released with the deluxe edition and Japanese edition of Infestissumam. Even if you have already heard I’m a Marionette and Waiting for the Night, purchase of the EP is justifiable.

Ghost is somewhat of a metal band and they can certainly be heavy at times. For those who didn’t buy the Japanese version of Infestissumam, Waiting for the Night is an ultra-heavy doom metal track. Only Ghost could turn a Depeche Mode song into something Trouble or Black Sabbath would be proud of. Ghost pop influences really shine on this release with the cover of Abba and Army of Lovers. By far the best song of the EP is the first song If You Have Ghosts. The bands psychedelic side shines through on this song with a cover of Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators fame. The point is, all of these songs show a side of Ghost and even though these are cover songs, they blow away the originals in my opinion.

I am usually not a huge fan of cover songs but this EP shatters the mold for me. There are only two major gripes I have with this album. I understand this is meant to be an extension of Infestissumam, but why the release of a live track? It sounds too much like the studio version (which was not very good in the first place) and it fails to have any impact on me. If you want to hear Ghost live, you have to see them and hear them. Just hearing the live track just makes me long for a live DVD or Blue Ray. The other gripe I have with this release is the lack of Here Comes the Sun. The aforementioned track was another great cover song that was originally released on the Japanese version of Opus Eponymous. I would love to hear and own that track without paying a ridiculous price to get the Japanese version. Ironically they are playing Here Comes the Sun live again. They could have re-recorded it for release on If You Have Ghost and left the pointless live track out.

Ever with the gripes and the re-release of tracks already heard on other releases, this is still worth the meager six dollar price tag. I would recommend it for the artwork alone! Ghost continues to deliver to their pristine studio catalog. If you could not get enough of Infestissumam, then this is a great place to go. You can find out about Ghost’s diverse influences and the originality of the band. Despite this being a covers EP, Ghost takes each song to new heights. Ghost deliver the goods yet again in 2013 in what would be a solid year for the band.