Ghost have always been the black sheep of the metal family. A Swedish heavy metal band of Nameless Ghouls with a skeletal Pope at the helm – the personification of a punchline of a bad joke. Backed by anonymous members that appear to change with the wind, frontman Papa Emeritus is currently on his third regeneration, and quite possibly the worst. Proffering a dated vocal performance, the band has lost its backbone to the tune of an embarrassing dad at the karaoke machine.
‘Meliora’ opens with the synth-heavy psalm ‘Spirit’ that wouldn’t sound out of place in a 70s budget sci fi movie. ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’ follows with a dark energy reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne, although Papa’s vocal range is far too light to add enough menace to its satanic whispers.
“I can feel the thunder that’s breaking in your heart, I can see through the scars inside you,” chants ‘Cirice’ bursting forth from a misleading acoustic opening. Despite the repetitive lyrics stretched over an extremely tiresome 6 minutes, an expert Queen-esque guitar solo makes for light relief.
‘Majesty’ emerges as an atmospheric treadmill – it’s trying hard to go somewhere but gets absolutely nowhere. Salvaged by an intricate guitar solo, however, it’s preceded by the laughable ‘Mummy Dust’ and followed by the utterly pointless organ interlude ‘Devil Church’.
“Ever since you were born, you’ve been dying, every day a little more you’ve been dying, dying to reach the setting sun,” reminds the catchy sermon ‘Absolution’, before fizzling out on the overly-melodic ‘Deus In Absentia’.
Ghost’s talent for commercialising ecclesiastical, borderline satanic metal has faded significantly. Fronted by a vocalist that would sound more at home in an ABBA tribute, the novelty has been stretched beyond its means. Perhaps it’s time to end the sermon before the parishioners flee.
’Meliora’ by Ghost is released on 21st August on Spinefarm Records/Loma Vista Recordings.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)