Album Review: Prequelle - Ghost
Release Date: 1 June 2018
Review by Nicole Roberts
Ghost have always been a bit of a divisive band in the metal community. Have a mosey through the conversations on most articles relating to the band, or in the cesspool/funhouse that is the comments section of Ghost videos on The Youtube (as my mum calls it), and you’ll find two very vocal camps – those that love the band and think that the combination of their theatrics and musical talent brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the band, and those that think they shouldn’t be called metal, and that their music is mainstream bullshit. I, for the record, am firmly in the former camp, and have been ever since my fiancé first made me listen to ‘Cirice’.
After listening to their upcoming album, Prequelle, I really can’t see Ghost shaking their reputation as such a divisive band anytime soon. As seems to be the trend with the blasphemy-loving group, the album is the latest step towards a sound that’s more palatable for a wider audience. Just take one of the singles (and personal highlight of mine), ‘Dance Macabre’ as an example. The song is catchy as hell and has an incredibly fun hook, with a vibe that wouldn’t be out of place on a Kiss or Europe album (alongside a confusing pronunciation of ‘with you’ as ‘witchu’, but I digress). Will it appeal to those that hate their lighter sound? No. Is it a great song? Hell yes it is.
That’s not to say that the heaviness is all gone. If you loved the heavier sound Ghost brought to the table in their early days, I’d certainly recommend having a listen to ‘Faith’. It packs much more of that classic metal punch that their earlier work did, and is a genuinely enjoyable listen.
With Ghost, the sheer drama they bring to their tracks has long been a highlight for their music, and they definitely still bring it on Prequelle. Straight from the start with first track ‘Ashes’, a delightfully morbid and haunting song featuring children singing ‘Ring Around The Rosie’, through to the death obsessed ‘Pro Memoria, Prequelle is a lesson in how to make music with a dramatic, over-the-top flair, and I’m definitely here for it.
One of the highlights has to be lead single ‘Rats’. I’ll readily admit that it was slightly disappointing when I first heard it, but after a few tries, I was able to fully appreciate just how much the track (as the kids say) is a banger. Now, I listen to the song a couple of times a day, and I’m still not sick of it. It’s madness. Such a great song.
Another highlight would easily be the instrumental, 'Mesmia'. Instrumental tracks I find are very hit and miss, with many not knowing when to end before losing the listeners attention, and others being just the same riff again…and again….and again. Mesmia is an interesting, enjoyable listen, holding itself up as a veritable pleasure to listen to, as opposed to acting as padding for the album, as many instrumentals do.
That’s not to say that the entire album is a hit. I did find myself zoning out a little bit over the final few tracks, quickly losing steam as it came to an end. Considering how strong and enthralling I found the first half of the album, the ok ending was a little bit of a letdown, especially with how anticlimactic the final moments of the albums last track feel. That being said, it’s certainly not enough to taint the overall positive impression Prequelle makes.
I strongly encourage giving the album a couple of listens before fully making up your mind. Just like lead track ‘Rats’, the album is a bit of a grower not a shower and can take a couple of listens to really get under your skin. Once you’re there, though, it’s a genuinely great album and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.
7.5 out of 10.
Prequelle will be out June 1st via Spinefarm Records/Caroline Australia.