ALBUM REVIEW: Ghost – Impera
Photo Credit: Jimmy Hubbard
At this point, the release of a new Ghost album has become a full-fledged event in and of itself. As we leave Prequelle’s dark ages behind, Cardinal Copia becomes Papa Emeritus IV and gives us an extravagant welcome into the age of empires: new outfits for both Papa and his ghouls, new onstage decor and, most importantly, new songs. Enter, Impera.
While its predecessor was, overall, more of a melodic, piano and synth cantered release (save for Rats and Dance Macabre), Impera continues its ‘80s sound while also amping up its use of heavy guitars quite considerably. This isn’t the only difference, however, as new influences can be identified throughout the 12 song package, ranging from ABBA to Iron Maiden, ‘80s arena rock, and even some Latin inspired drumbeats. The result?
Impera is the most cohesive yet eclectic mix of songs that Ghost have put out to date. From big band brass elements and some self-proclaimed Latin-inspired drum beats on Twenties (which is easily the most divisive song on the record), or ABBA sounding pianos found in Spillways, to the highest vocal note in Ghost’s history yet in the Maiden-esque Kaisarion, there’s a lot to unpack and digest here, in the best way possible. Watcher in the Sky’s steady heaviness reminds of past heavy hitters Absolution or From the Pinnacle to the Pit, while Darkness at the Heart of My Love evokes the rock ballad sensibilities of He Is. With such a wide variety of sounds, you’ll be bound to like something on offer.
Another aspect that must be lauded is the leap in the recording and production quality. Every single facet of this album is as clear as can be, with all instruments sounding amazing, and the vocals sitting neatly in-between everything else. The guitars in particular are the best they’ve ever sounded, partly thanks to the talents of Opeth axeman Fredrik Åkesson, who contributed in the making of Impera. One thing is certain: this band have come a long way from the cramped stages and less than polished production from a decade ago, and their success is greatly deserved.
In the end, the almost four year wait has been, indeed, worth it. Impera is a highly polished collection of songs which further cements Ghost as one of the most popular rock bands in 2022. They fully deserve to be playing and selling out arenas night after night, and we can’t wait to see their stage show in full swing sometime this year.
Standout Tracks: Kaisarion, Spillways, Hunter’s Moon, Call Me Little Sunshine, Driftwood
For Fans Of: Ghost, Iron Maiden, Abba, Whitesnake, Blue Öyster Cult
Written by: Florin Petrut
Don’t miss Ghost‘s Impera release ritual Live From The Ministry tonight (10th March 2022) at 7pm GMT.