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Come Together As One - 87%

Evil_Carrot, May 28th, 2014

My initial feelings on this album were a little mixed. I didn’t dislike it, but I felt that it was a slight disappointment. However, since then, I’ve allowed this album to grow on me to the point where I may actually enjoy it better than the debut in some respects. And while I criticized Ghost for not taking many risks on the debut and staying too consistent, the band has decided to try some new ideas on this album.

Of course, the classic rock/early metal throwback style isn’t gone at all, in fact Infestissumam/Per Aspera Ad Inferi are a great offering in that style to start the album, and Year Zero is a fun, catchy song that works as far as a single, but the album definitely puts in some new ideas and twists, while keeping the core of the music the throwback style that made their first album so catchy.

Secular Haze merges the throwback style with a carnival sounding synth riff, because everyone is terrified of carnivals somewhere deep inside right? And Ghuleh/Zombie Queen starts off as a beautiful piano piece, which goes into an almost surf-rock song about halfway through. It’s a strange sounding idea, but in my opinion, a major highlight of the album. And Monstrance Clock is a dark, somewhat brooding, baldly song, full of great sing-along chants and church organs. It’s one of the bands coolest ideas yet.

Unfortunately, not every experiment is a success. Jigalo Har Megiddo is a little too poppy in my opinion. Idolatrine is similarly poppy, but does it about a hundred times better.

Another thing that might be against the album’s favor is its running time. The shortest version is almost an hour, and I have 3 bonus tracks after that. The debut was an easily digestible half an hour, whereas an hour of throwback music, new ideas or not, might be a bit too much for one sitting. The longer the album, the more obvious the stale ideas are, and the more highlighted the good bits are. Maybe a few songs would have better been saved for the third album.

Before wrapping up, I want to touch on the overall production of the album. Usually, I avoid this unless the production is notably bad, because I’m just not one to harp on production. Either it works or it doesn’t for me, but in this case I feel like the production is a decent step up from their debut. Papa Emeritus’ voice seems better displayed, whereas on the debut the higher notes felt too light and airy. I still feel like he has more power in it live, but this sounds like a step up. The overall sound seems more powerful. It still doesn’t compromise its throwback sound, but it doesn’t sound as caught up in the past as the debut.

To be absolutely honest, I can understand why this album overall didn’t seem quite as well received as the debut. It wasn’t quite as catchy or memorable. But I definitely respect the fact they tried a few new ideas here. A few songs seem to imply Ghost is burnt out of simple, catchy poppy ideas, but when they try something new, like Ghuleh/Zombie Queen and Monstrance Clock they more than make up for it.

If you have the bonus tracks, I gotta say that I’m a Marionette and Waiting for the Night are both very cool covers, but La Mantra Mori is total bonus track material. Fun to have, but you aren’t missing anything essential at all.