As part of an ongoing New Year’s Resolution to expand the breadth of musical knowledge, I am listening to a discography of a band each month.
This post is going up a little late, but I did actually complete the listening and notes in September – it’s only now that I’ve gotte naround to posting them.
Last month, I posted my thoughts on Amplifier. For September, I have chosen to go with Swedish occult themed rockers Ghost.
Background: When they first came on the scene, I definitely checked out their debut Opus Eponymous in preparation for seeing them at Download festival. I’ve also seen them live a few times since then, though not for a few years now. I didn’t listen to their 2nd and 3rd albums much besides the singles that got airplay.
– Opus Eponymous
Deus Culpa is an intro track comprised mostly of organ-like keyboards. They set the mood well before Con Clavi Con Dio kicks in. The keyboard style remains, and is joined by the haunting vocals of Papa Emeritus. The main riff is quite catchy, driving the song along. Ritual is the song that got me into the band. A great track, with some nice mid-paced punchy guitars. The next couple of tracks are pretty good too, if not quite on the same excellent level. The back half (or B side) of the album is less interesting, though Prime Mover isn’t bad at all and Genesis is a darn good closing instrumental.
Thoughts: Ritual aside, there’s no actual killer tunes, but the first half of the album is pretty darn good. Quality drops off toward the end, though I really like Genesis.
Best tracks: Ritual, Genesis
The title track is really an intro into Per Aspera ad Inferi. Oddly, the latter comes across like an extended intro to the album as a whole. I’m not sure why, but it just does. Secular Haze very memorable (thanks, in part, to the creepy fairrground ride theme) – only a shade or two behind their absolute best tracks. After a decent album track (Jigolo Har Megiddo), we then get to the cracking Ghuleh/Zombie Queen. The former section is piano driven, while the latter is a more traditional sounding Ghost track. By the end of the track, the two choruses have merged to form a sort of super chorus. Great stuff. Year Zero is another great track, and exceptionally catchy – you can see why it was chosen to the be the second single. The last four tracks range from decent filler (Depth of Satan’s Eyes) through to pretty darn good (Monstrance Clock, Idolatrine).
Thoughts: One the whole, a stronger album than the debut. The weakest tracks are better than the weakest tracks from Opus Eponymous, an the best tracks here come close to that which came before.
Best tracks: Secular Haze, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, Year Zero.
The third album opens up a little different, as there is no ‘intro track’ in sight. Spirit is not bad, and the vibe/sound of the guitars invokes the feel of their debut album. Almost jarringly, From the Pinnacle to the Pit is next. This is much more sinister in sound, with crunchier guitars. It’s a little repetative, but catchy. After the Meliora’s second single, we get it’s first (and far superior) in Cirice. It’s catchy, moodym sinister and pretty special. After the pleasant, short instrumental (Spöksonat (Ghost Sonata)), we get He Is. Interestingly, this is more like a mid-paced psuedo-ballad. This is the first of this kind of track that we’ve come across so far. It’s a really good tune and one of their best to date. There’s a little lull after this, with Mummy Dust being fine (though it does have a kick ass solo) and Majesty being a little of a move away from their traditional sound (in parts sounding quite Deep Purple-esque, like at the mini-solo 2 minutes in). Devil Church is just another short instrumental, and probably should have been packaged with the track after as a medley like Ghuleh and Zombie Queen were on thr previous album. Absolution is a nother track that resides closer in sound and tone to Opus Epyonous, though with a bit more bite. Good intrumental work throughout. Deus in Absentia picks things back up to close us out – it’s big, theatrical and sounds something out of a Halloween-inspired musical or something. It has a really catchy chorus and is a great closing track.
Thoughts: Almost as good as Infestissumam. This sounds like the band are really finding their niche now, while branching out a little at the same time. The 80s style proggy elements are a welcome addition, as is the addition of the psuedo-ballad and the acoustic guitars. If you merge this with their 2nd alnum, you’d probably get the perfect host album.
Best tracks: He Is, Deus in Absentia.