My fascination with Ghost has been astronomical since discovering them a few months back. It began by falling back in love with metal while testing the waters with new artists. Along the way I stumbled upon a familiar, yet refreshing sound of guitars with a dark presence; thus beginning my infatuation with Ghost. For any first time listener, it can be a little jarring once the vocals begin, as one would think to expect a much harsher voice instead of the soother sound we get with the lead (Papa Emeritus I-III); however it fits so well within the heavy metal genre.
“Prequelle” marks the fourth album and leader swap for the band. With Cardinal Copia taking the reigns, the album is said to be themed after medieval times. We get various themes of dismay and questioning of faith and mortality, which can be taken as a reflection to what is happening with the turmoil of today. From the surface the songs can be a lists of ballads and catchy tunes, but so much more becomes revealed upon repeat plays and divulging into the lyrics.
The tradition of poetic storytelling continues with the hint of a tragedy similar to a plague, evident though the track “Ashes”. A children’s chorus eerily sings a rendition of “Ring a Ring o Rosie” before the instrumentals kick in for a smooth transition to the album’s second track “Rats”, which seems to declare the infestation of the plague through vermine. Some may take this as a metaphor for the spread of darkness in society, whether it be political or within the social spectrum. “Rats” definitely has a radio hit quality to it with an opening guitar riff that crescendos uphill to the vocals and swifting harmonies that accompany the main chorus. The “woah!” portion of the chorus slightly mirrors to that of hairband-esque trademark of the 1980’s without the glamour. There’s no denying that “Rats” is the centerpiece of “Prequelle”.
While no vocals are present in “Miasma” the instrumental is one of the best new tracks. The polished sound allows every ghoul to show off their skills,including face melting solos from the keyboards and a saxophone, without sounding over manufactured. Shortly said, “Miasma” is a perfectly showcases the Ghost is more than just its lead singer.
The previously mentioned songs, as well as ballads like “Pro Memoria” and “Life Eternal” leave an impact on the listener with its diversity from song to song. “Prequelle” manages to please the thirst of metal with poetic undertones stitched through the backbone tracklist. It’s no surprise that Ghost would deliver another great album, but the fact that “Prequelle” has touched upon several different elements of rock makes it not just palatable but enjoyable for uneducated ears or those unfamiliar with the band.