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ALBUM REVIEW: Ghost (BC) – Infestissumam

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Cheerfully satanic Swedish metallers Ghost (BC) return fresh from headlining the Jagermeister Tour with Infestissumam, the long awaited follow up 2010’s Opus Eponymous. Resplendent with as many cardinal robes, choirs and disturbing lyrics as you can shake your crucifix at, we’re as creeped out as we are excited.

If you’re not already familiar with Papa Emeritus II and his rag tag band of Nameless Ghouls, it’d be understandable if you didn’t take Ghost seriously on mere appearances alone. But don’t be fooled, beneath the silly makeup and costume (well it’s not silly really, it’s awesome) lies a band who’s incredible songwriting saw their debut album Opus Eponymous not only nominated for a Grammis Award (the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy’s) but quickly secure a huge, devoted fanbase; but does Infestissumam command the same authority?

As you’d expect, opener and title track Infestissumam slowly eases itself in with a divine choir song, but not your average copy and paste GCSE music bollocks a lot of bands seem to employ, Ghost are the real deal. The creepy but expertly written Gregorian harmonies are soon interrupted with powerful drums and guitars-now we’re in business.

Secular Haze, the first single off the album sees Ghost experimenting with bizarre, almost polka-style organs that the sleazy riffery compliments perfectly. Emeritus II’s voice croons elegantly over the top, and grinds the track to a halt as he exhales Secular Haze at the apex of the chorus. At this point in the record, it’s already difficult to deny just how clever this band are, and just how damn catchy this song is.

Ghost recently followed up single Secular Haze with an equally grotesque and ludicrous video for Year Zero, and this song is as wondrously silly as it is a perfectly crafted work of art; poppy but heavy as fuck, and as catchy as it is spine-chilling. The most Ritual of Infestisummam, the song opens with a choral refrain that serves as the perfect précis of everything Ghost are about…Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub. Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer. Gloriously dramatic-one listen through and you’ll be hard pushed to hear anything else knocking around your brain for the next month. Year Zero also heralds an absolutely huge chorus that cements this song as a Ghost classic, if not the only song you need to hear on this album.

At the risk of sounding sycophantic and vaguely smarmy, Infestissumam could easily be one of the best albums released in 2013. Listening through, it’s easy to hear influences from Black Sabbath to Blue Oyster Cult and The Church; Ghost somehow seem to combine luscious vocals, and earthshaking riffs into one wonderfully melodramatic package that steals theatrical metal from the 80’s, and brings it back to present day. Ghost are bringing occult-rock back for good.

10/10

Stand-Out Tracks: Secular Haze, Year Zero, Monstrance Clock

For Fans Of: Witchcraft, Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath

Written by: Djamila Yasmin Azzouz

 

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