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His majesty at Metropolis. - 95%

DSOfan97, August 23rd, 2015

Four years after Opus Eponymous, Ghost are back with another full-length, their third effort entitled Meliora. Contrary to their past albums, Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam, which were quite naive and flawed at times, Meliora while not being flawless offers a unique occult feeling, summing everything that made the 60's and the 70's great and combining elements from progressive and occult rock to early heavy metal, film soundtracks and rock operas. Of course the band would not just evolve their music, so they went on to realise their brand new looks. New costumes, new masks and last but not least, their new frontman, Papa Emeritus III who happens to be Papa Emeritus II's three month younger brother (what?). All in all the band played their game perfectly and then, all we had to wait for, was the album itself.

Beginning with quite an eerie melody, Meliora grasps the listener's attention right from the beginning. With every song that passes the music acquires an even darker feeling. The occult atmosphere is not interrupted until the album's end, which features a smooth choral part. That's basically great because after all those amazing riffs, fillers and instrumental breakdowns, a nice soft chant is what you need to let the tension die down. There are songs in here that I adore and songs that I see as very good. There is not a single song I dislike, because the flow of music is so carefully balanced that you keep being both enthusiastic and curious for as long as the album plays. The guitars and bass are heavy, crushing, dark and melodic, while the drums provide a strong backbone, a robust basis for the whole thing. However they are not overproduced or compressed. The same applies for the keyboards as well. Ranging from pianos to prog synth patches, they don't feel out of place. The album seems to have that old, breathing production a la 70's classic rock which I love. This is one of Meliora's strongest points as well, its amazing production. Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam, while having similar qualities, didn't quite live up to the expectations that people had from such a band. Meliora, on the other side is Ghost's actual triumph. The success they've been striving to achieve since their early days.

And such a success could not be achieved without their most hailed member. The one that became a legend for the lovers of this classic/occult heavy metal revival. Papa Emeritus III gives one hell of a performance, while his vocal style is not monotonous as in Infestissumam, but it is constantly shifting. Not only his typical clean vocals are the best that he has done until now, but his shrieked passages (in Mummy Dust) sound amazing too. The lyrics are more mature in Meliora than in its two predecessors and the rhymes which might seem a bit odd at first fit perfectly in the musical motifs. Speaking of motifs, there is a lot of repetition in each track concerning the lyrics. That isn't a bad thing either. Ghost aren't a band that I would like to see going fully intellectual in its lyrics, with long philosophical paragraphs of nothing more than incessant drivel. This style, the one they employ right now, fits them best and I hope they carry on with it.

Meliora reminds me of many great albums that I had the pleasure to listen to (Pink Floyd's concept masterpieces come to mind) and that's why I like it. However there are moments when the music doesn't remind of anything else but Ghost. And that's why I love it. The material is much more than gig friendly. It's clearly supposed to be played live and loud. That's one more of Ghost's strong points; presenting their stuff on stage. And with such songs, their lives should be phenomenal from now on. Now, concerning the title that I gave to this review... It is known that Ghost uses renditions of cult classic film posters for their album covers. I can't remember the one for Opus Eponumous and Infestissumam but If You Have Ghost used the poster from Nosferatu and Cirice (Meliora's lead single) had the renditions of Silence of the Lambs poster. For Meliora, it's Metropolis, Fritz Lang's cult film that basically gave birth to the epic futuristic film genre and has become an inspiration for many metal bands like Cult Of Luna (their album, Vertikal, is based on it).

In the end, if you like occult, classic or progressive rock and old heavy metal, you are going to like this as well. If you liked Ghost's previous works, you are going to love this. Meliora is the triumph that Ghost has been trying for since their debut. And I'm pretty sure that one of their next works is going to be a 10/10. For now , lets enjoy the dark soundscapes that Ghost crafted and even if their next album is not a masterpiece there will always be Meliora.

Favorite tracks: "Spirit", "Cirice", "He Is", "Deus in Absentia".