Ghost: Meliora review

The Swedish band Ghost has had an aura of mysticism and secrecy surrounding them since their inception, but unlike bands like Kiss or GWAR that have come before them, the members of Ghost are a complete mystery. The band, simply known as the Nameless Ghouls and their current lead singer Papa Emeritus III (a character that dresses like a satanic Pope and changes with each album) continue to remain totally anonymous, causing rampant speculation in the music community as to their true identities. Rumors continue to surround the newest Papa, with some saying it is really the same person, just with new makeup. While others are saying he is the three month younger brother of Papa Emeritus II. No matter what the truth is, you cannot deny the vocal similarities. There have even been rumors that Dave Grohl, who is a huge fan of the band and produced their If You Have Ghosts EP, has himself dressed up as a Nameless Ghoul and joined the band on stage. The band have just released their 3rd studio album Meliora on Loma Vista Records and much like their first two albums, it is a stunning genre defying crossover that is as bizarre as it is breathtaking. Meliora debuted at #1 in Sweden and Finland and at #8 in the United States. It was produced by Klas Ahlund, mixed by Andy Wallace and has a cover based on the movie poster for Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic Metropolis. The old school organ in the intro of opener “Spirit” flashes back to the glory days of 70’s horror movies before erupting into one of the band’s heaviest offerings to date, while “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” brilliantly mixes a rumbling bass line with the audio aesthetics vintage 60’s Rock N Roll. Elsewhere, the ethereal vocal harmonies and simple acoustic guitar in “He Is” brings to mind 60’s folk and psychedelic rockers such as, The Mama’s & The Papa’s, The Turtles or even ABBA, before “Mummy Dust” completely switches gears into King Diamond Territory. Killer cuts like “Absolution” and “Cirice” are hands down some of the very best riffs the Ghouls have conjured up to date, with the latter of the two being the obvious choice as lead single & video, while more progressive tracks such as, “Majesty” and closer “Deus In Absentia” contain elements of Prog legends King Crimson and subtle hints of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. Here’s the bottom line. While Meliora may not exactly be the Metal album it is classified as in the traditional sense, it is still utterly absorbing on so many levels. Rating: 8.5 out of 10 -Eric Hunker