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New Ghost album Prequelle Is The Soundtrack For Apocalyptic Times

Ghost Prequelle Album Review

A lot has undoubtedly changed in the years following the release of Ghost’s last album Meliora; the death of Papa Emeritus III, the addition of some Ghoullettes, oh, and the reveal of their new leader Cardinal Copia. Now, three years later, on June 1st, Ghost will release their fourth and most daring offering yet: Prequelle, via Loma Vista Recordings.

The band’s mastermind Tobias Forge quite literally manages every detail of the band, from the recording to the costumes, mask design. and every visual aspect of the band. Forge, a storyteller with a vision for the grand scheme of what Ghost is destined to be, has now embarked on the band’s most adventurous record to date. With every Ghost release, the process is more like making a movie than an album, and Tobias has an uncanny ability for attention to detail, which is what continuously propels the project to new heights. Each of the group’s albums are like a soundtrack to a movie; Ghost’s albums elicit emotions including joy, fear, shock, hysteria, sadness, and even love.

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Previous albums have had broad themes like impending doom on 2010’s Opus Eponymous, stories of the antichrist and the Inquisition were told on 2013’s Infestissumam, humanism on the album Meliora in 2015. Now on Prequelle, the band tells stories of the plague, the apocalypse, and even the dark ages through a ten song journey that last about 40 minutes or so. The entire body of work is a glimpse into the world we live in currently on a daily basis, listening to Tobias’s abilities to tell the stories through these new songs make the album riveting, enlightening, and entertaining.

Every Ghost album becomes more, dare I say, mainstream. On Prequelle, Tobias chooses to lose a lot of the heavy elements that listeners know from the band’s early days, and instead takes a very catchy yet beautiful songwriting approach. Don’t get me wrong, there are very much familiar elements of Ghost, but the record is an evolutionary change for the sound of the band.  


The album begins with an intro titled “Ashes”, a darker spin on the children’s classic “Ring Around The Rosie”, which builds into an infectious jam which then leads to the album’s first single “Rats”.

“Rats” is a catchy, massive sounding anthem that you really can’t help but get stuck into your head. The song references the creatures, or rather, rodents, that began the plague, The song is the first example of the band’s ability to mix a rock tune with theatrical excellence and do it well. It has a bit of a 70’s Abba vibe, but very well done nonetheless.

Arguably the heaviest track on the album is “Faith”, which is full blown ground stomping rock that reminds me of the bands track “Mummy Dust” in terms of heaviness. Copia’s vocal melody will make your hips shake and there is an impressively cool guitar solo on the track. The song features the dark, catchy, heavy, and poppier side Ghost have become known for. It’s a track that will surely bring comfort to those looking for the past signature sound of the band.

The tune “See The Light” is a melodic, more poppy sounding song with a hard hitting cinematic chorus. The vocal style by the Cardinal on the song is much more unique than anything Ghost have done in the past. The dark lyrical content of the song mixed with the melody brings an unexpected but perfect contrast to the track.

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“Miasma” is quite intriguing given that it’s an instrumental piece and features a different yet very refreshing saxophone solo at the end, which lends an 80’s inspired feel, but it doesn’t really grab your attention like some of the other tracks with vocals. Although if it’s job is to break up the album into two parts that is something it does really well because the second half of the album becomes quite mellow. “Dance Macabre”, which was the album’s second released track, is probably the most different we’ve ever heard Ghost, and even Tobias takes a new vocal approach on the track. The song is really catchy and offers huge power chords and a definitive 70’s undertone.

“Pro Memoria” carries a beautifully constructed intro and very atmospheric feel, probably one of the most beautiful sounding songs on the album. Its most comparable to the song “He Is” from Ghost’s last album. The insanely dark subject matter of death makes its way to the forefront on the song and is filled in moments by piano. You may remember the song from its appearance in the video the band released revealing the death of the band’s previous leaders, the Papa’s. The song is evenly balanced between instrumental and vocals and in my opinion is one of the more captivating songs on the album.

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The eighth track on the album is titled “Witch Image”. The song’s beginning returns to a more rock driven feel and then gets a taste of more pop driven melodies. Copia’s sweet vocals on the song becomes kind of amusing when you realize the more upbeat vocal style is the anchor of lyrics about rotting flesh and suffering. The nearly six minute piano based “Helvetesfonster” is a very loosely but insanely beautifully written instrumental that’s unpredictable in every way. The instrumental floats graciously between melodic and bass driven at times, tempo changes and atmospheric and cinematic backgrounds make the song a complete stand out despite never hearing a word from Forge on the song. He manages to transcend the emotion without needing lyrics.

“Life Eternal”, clocking in as one of the shortest on the album at three and a half minutes, is the closing piece of the album. It’s yet another epic jam session that begins with piano and Copia singing his dark heart out. The song is a great way to close out the album filled with so much range and dynamics. The track remarkably captures a snapshot of what listeners just experienced throughout the whole album.

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Overall, Prequelle is something truly new and unique for Ghost. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, but it is done really well. I appreciate Tobias Forge’s guts to step completely out of the box the industry has put them in. The album feels more like a soundtrack than an album; the stories throughout are interesting and told brilliantly through the beautiful instrumentation work on the album. The production quality is top notch and their best yet. Forge and company showcase technical proficiency and stellar musicianship, and though I know the record will have its “haters”, I firmly believe the record will catapult Ghost to a new level. Will you be converted to the darkside and join the legions who follow Ghost? Or will Prequelle break the band’s spell over you? Personally, I will continue my journey with the band and see just how big this gets!

Prequelle will be available on Friday June 1st, 2018 via Loma Vista Recordings, you can pre-order a physical copy of the album right HERE! Digital pre-orders are also available via Itunes HERE which you will receive “Dance Macabre”  instantly.

TRACKLIST

  • Ashes
  • Rats
  • Faith
  • See The Light
  • Miasma
  • Dance Macabre
  • Pro Memoria
  • Witch Image
  • Helvetesfonster
  • Life Eternal

 

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