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Tran-substantiated Metal - 95%

Baragon94, May 14th, 2013

Talk about a band making splash waves and taking the metal world by storm! Indeed, there has been much attention surrounding the unnamed Swedish metallers following the release of their 2010 full length debut, Opus Eponymous,which blended satanic metal themes with psychedelic rock to incredibly positive results. Their means of concealing their identities by wearing cloaks and calling themselves “nameless ghouls” further added to their mystique, and the doomy eeriness found in their music. Ghost B.C.’s highly anticipated sophomore effort Infestissumam continues where the last album left off, and improves upon it, building on a very unique formula which results in some of the most fascinating and innovative metal of this day and age.

Just when you thought singing about Satan was as redundant as kicking a dead horse, Ghost comes out of nowhere and makes it sound more mysterious and fresh than ever before. Part of that, is no doubt, because of their extraordinary use of imagery. Their choice of concealing their identities is what gives magic to the music, and for this reason, I hope they never do reveal themselves. Secondly, Papa Emeritus II’ voice is absolutely mesmerizing. It fits the music with such perfection, to the point where you question if any other vocalist is more important to their band than Papa is to Ghost. It wouldn’t matter if Freddie Mercury was behind the microphone at a Ghost show; it just wouldn’t have the same effect. The vocals are entrancing and irreplaceable the way they are. Then there are the lyrics, which have a really profound impact if you know them. They’re arguably the scariest and chilling satanic lyrics written since Mercyful Fate. The best part about this is that you actually take them seriously because like Mercyful Fate, they aren’t blatant, stereotypical devil worshipping. With many death and black metal bands, you just laugh at the lyrics because they’re so outlandishly evil and ridiculous that you can’t process them as anything more than a joke. But with lyrics like “Perverted are your wishes and dreams, tanning in Lucifer’s beams,” you actually go, “woah… these guys are really singing about the devil!”

The music itself is incredibly unique. It sounds like nothing that has ever been done before, yet it’s maddeningly addicting. Before I dabbled into Ghost, most people would explain them to me as a mesh between Mercyful Fate and Blue Oyster Cult, with a trace of the doomy sound of early Black Sabbath. This is true to some extent, but the emphasis is much more on the Sabbath sound than Fate. In fact, aside from the heavily borrowed satanic influence, Ghost doesn’t really resemble Mercyful Fate music-wise. The guitars are extremely old school. They don’t have that heavily distorted crunch that developed in the 80s; rather, they closely mirror Tony Iommi’s riffing on the first Black Sabbath record. The music is incredibly well written and shows lots of experimentation. “Secular Haze” for example, incorporates an eerie circus vibe, which translates into a chilling piece of music. Then there’s the “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” that begins as a very slow ballad for about three minutes before breaking into a surf rock metal jam. These guys know how to write songs, they’re such fantastic musicians!

The only complaint I have is a slight gripe with the production. While the album is layered well, the guitars feel a bit weak overall. I mentioned already that they aren’t too heavily distorted, which is all well and good, but it seems like they’re kind of mudded out a bit. I didn’t really notice it until I watched some live videos of them and noticed that the guitars had a much more presiding effect. This made me question why it couldn’t have been the same on the album, but it’s only a minor point and by no means takes anything away from what a spectacular album Infestissumam is.

Ghost is without a doubt the most exciting and interesting metal band on the scene right now. Instead of making carbon-copy mimicry of their influences, they instead draw from them and evolve them to another platform. The aura of mystique shrouding this band only fuels the hype, and is the closest thing many of us will ever have to compare with the old-timers who grew up in the glory days of metal. So go out to see them on their North American tour, and experience their mesmerizing musical black mass firsthand. The nameless ghouls in the cloaks will blow your minds and leave you wondering if there are actual ghouls beneath the hoods. It’s not such a crazy thought.

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