It’s been five years since we got to hear “Opus Eponymous”, Ghost’s first full-length. Since then Papa Emeritus and his Nameless Ghouls have played shows all over the world, picked up new fans in the form of Metallica and Dave Grohl, released a second album that was a little more experimental as well as an EP filled with covers. Basically, they haven’t looked back since. Not too shabby for a band out to spoon-feed the world the teachings of Satan.
Ghost don’t need to resort to beheadings in order to get their point across. Instead they slowly try to alter our beliefs by writing songs that reek of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and old Vincent Price movies while making good use of melodic hooks and choruses, kickass riffs and more make-up than Cher.
On “Meliora”, Ghost don’t switch things up too much. About thirty seconds into opening track “Spirit”, an organ, choir, theremin and glockenspiel make room for a solid riff and Papa Emeritus III’s eerie and familiar voice while the whole is backed up by layers of keyboards. Oh yeah, forgot to tell you… they have a new singer in the form of Papa Emeritus III, supposedly the previous singer’s younger brother. By three months.
Next up are two songs you might have already heard leading up to the album’s release date, the heavy “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” and “Cirice”. Definitely two of the album’s highlights, especially the latter which comes with Ghost’s best chorus to date and an intro that reminded me of Black Album-era Metallica.
“Spöksonat” is a 50-second interlude that breaks things up a little and sees the band using a lead theme from another song that they haven’t released yet. Or so they say. It segues nicely into “He Is”, a power ballad that flirts with cheesiness and well, to be perfectly honest… wouldn’t look out of place on next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. “Mummy Dust” picks up the pace again with some more spooky synths sprinkled over the guitars, while “Majesty” sounds like Iron Maiden on downers. “Devil Church” is another short interlude that leads up to the dark anthem that is “Absolution” and the more theatrical “Deus In Absentia”, which gets to ring out the album.
Like I said, there are no big surprises to be found on “Meliora”. But it’s nice to see that Ghost found a middle ground between the vintage metal of their debut and Infestissumam’s more adventurous sounds. And well, we have a new batch of badass songs to geek out over while scouring the internet for clues about the band members’ identities.