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Corny-Copia - 63%

autothrall, January 7th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, 7" vinyl, Loma Vista Recordings (Limited edition)

Ghost has proven to be such an ever-evolving species of band drawing upon multiple eras of heavy metal, hard rock, prog rock and psychedelia that you can never quite predict where Tobias Forge is headed next. Once I saw the gaudily bright colors that would provide the cover for Seven Inches of Satanic Panic, a limited edition, wait for it...7" record, I kind of figured he'd be taking us back on a tour of the 60s, or rather the 60s as filtered through Cardinal Copia's imagination. True enough, that seems the primary influence to these tracks, though he's definitely trying to keep them consistent with some of the other Ghost material off the latest two full-length albums, so the differences are superficial at best.

"Kiss the Go-Goat" is a slab of 1968 hard rock circa Iron Butterfly or Steppenwolf, with a stock, predictable, main riff drizzling acidic little leads and organs. Forge's vocals tether it directly to the Ghost canon, but there are a few differences like the mildly fuzzier rhythm guitar tone and so forth that I wouldn't mind hearing an entire album based around. The chorus and bridge definitely feel like other songs you've heard by the Swedes, and overall I was left slightly wanting for some catchier nuances here...for all its experimentation at dialing back yet another decade, this one doesn't have a lot to stand on. "Mary on a Cross" is more somber and atmospheric, and strangely enough captures the nostalgia of the intended era more successfully, even though it's driven by a standard hard rock undercurrent like a "Dance Macabre", which is similar. But it's the vocal harmonies and the way the organs are implemented that sell it, and I like the little break where the beat disappears after 2:30 where it makes you feel like Tobias is crooning at a high school dance 50 years ago, before the rest picks right back up.

The production is pretty good, that's never really an issue on Ghost studio recordings, but I think the two tunes here are among the least impactful of their career the last few years. I don't mind them, but it's easy to understand why they'd be better placed on a novelty item like this EP rather than on a full length where the stakes are higher. Who knows, though, perhaps Forge was thinking of heading even further back in time, channeling earlier chronological influences, and wanted to send this thing out as a crowd test to gauge the reaction. To that extent, at least to me, I would consider it a success, as I think an entire album of better written tunes in this style might be fun...like a Strawberry Alarm Clock meets Ghost effort. But as far as its inherent value, I don't think I'd be including either of these on a playlist of my Forge favorites...most of the material on Meliora and Prequelle sticks with me more than either of these, although they were innocuous enough ear candy for a couple spins.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

What a fucking joke. - 0%

TheMeh, October 30th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Loma Vista Recordings

I think, at one point, there was a part of me that really respected Ghost. Not just for their sound, but... what they were doing. I mean, they had a really good gimmick four to six years back. 'Meliora' and 'Infestissumam' are maybe still what I would quantify as Ghost at the top of their game - it sounded like a band that knew what they were fucking doing. It was honestly funny, because I really - truly - believed that Ghost had found a sound they liked, that they could persist with. But I guess good things really can't last when a band stops taking their gimmicks and sound so seriously and cash in on their cheese instead - because, at the end of the day, this "EP" exemplifies why Ghost, in their current state, fails in each and every avenue of their sound. Part of me doesn't even know who to blame.

Their popularity? Well, that kind of became a given. The hounds of popular media will bite into anything they find to be hip and cool, and Ghost hit a hard niche for people - enough to get on Stephen Colbert, which is commendable for what that performance was. 'Prequelle'? As bad an album as it was, and as bad as events that led up to its release were, it was probably their logical step forward - even if that album's sound ended up creating an unsavory aftertaste in the mouths of the fans who cherished Ghost's sanctity in their olden sounds. No, at the end of the day, I think the only real thing I can even blame for this product existing at all is the idea that, at the end of the day, the past Ghost is dead - replaced by a corporate shell, a faceless mongoloid who literally asked why he didn't win two Grammy's in a fucking music video (check the video for "Kiss The Go-Goat" - it happened and it's cringe as fuck). It's almost kind of insulting - why did they find it necessary to descend towards this kind of attitude with their music?

What do we have to show for that product, as well, eh? Seven minutes of boredom - but I guess seven's enough to make a sly dick joke in your title. I'm sorry, but we of the Metal Archives already have metal about penises that dwarfs any kind of bullshit you're endorsing. Please crawl back into your cesspit. Regardless - if the droll style of 'Prequelle' didn't kill you already, this will. Fuck, now that I think about it, are these songs even different? Like, they have the same fucking melody, speed, and groove to them. It's like two replicant songs. What a fucking joke!

This isn't an EP - it's two singles and a bullshit excuse for musical evolution if I've ever seen it. Just don't buy into this shit and move on. Ghost really doesn't deserve praise for this. More power to you if you like it, of course, but... personally, I truly cannot be bothered anymore by this band. They've finally devolved into boredom and what I could literally only describe as your poster excuse for being "lame". But, that's kind of what it is. Take it or leave it. I'll gladly get the fuck out of this circus act.