Ghost’s latest album ‘Prequelle’ is a 43 minute journey centered around the death and suffering from the 14th century’s fight with the black plague. This album is all over the place sonically. One minute it’s dark, heavy and gloomy. Then things become lighter, emotional and erie. At one point you’re even transported to an evil disco-tech. This album’s flow is fantastic and Prequelle is one you’ll listen to over and over.
‘Prequelle’ opens with an intro track where we hear little girls eerily sing “Ring around the rosie.” The little girl’s voice is the daughter of Tobias Forge, the creator of Ghost. These girls warn us of the evil that has begun, the fight between man and death. “Rats” is a powerful well balanced beginning to that journey. It has to be as it’s not only the start of the album, it’s the lead radio single as well as the leadoff song to this round of Ghost’s live shows The song has a big anthem feel to it with it’s heavy riffs & catchy lyrics.
“Faith” is dark, gloomy and heavy with haunting vocals from Ghost’s new lead man Cardinal Copia. The rhythm guitar riff will hook you and the chorus is catchy. Satan is all eyes, all ears and is watching this world crumble. Faith is all His. We even hear from Satan himself in the middle of this song. Isn’t it funny how it was a big deal in the 80s that Ozzy had devil worshiping lyrics and now we get lyrics read from Satan himself on recordings? It’s rumored this will be the second single from ‘Prequelle’ and there’s no doubt it will be one eventually.
“See the Light” has a lighter sound with a big feel. The keyboard breakdown on this track is pure bliss. The entire song builds up to that breakdown. You hear a lot of keyboard and synth on this album. The following instrumental track “Miasma” is centered around that instrument. The build right before the climax of this instrumental sounds something out of a Michael Jackson song followed up by Papa Nil’s sax solo which brings the song to a close.
The middle of the ‘Prequelle’ features a departure from Ghost’s traditional sound with “Dance Macabre.” This song captures the odd and spunky character traits of Cardinal Copia. It feels like you’re riding a horse into a funky disco-tech. The track’s a lot of fun and combines a few genres to give you something truly unique.
The band then follows that oddity up w/ the rock ballad “Pro Memoria.” Cardinal Copia sings a song of remembering that you’re going to die and that Satan is your friend who won’t forget about you. “Witch Image” takes me back to the writing styles of Meliora and for some reason I just instantly hear former Ghost leader Papa Emeritus III singing it. Up until this song I felt a new character was channeled on ‘Prequelle.’ I can’t get the image of Papa III playfully yet evilly dancing around singing “Witch Image.” On the albums 2nd full length instrumental “Helvetesfönster,” you get the feeling that Ghost becomes a pied piper taking you through a medieval play, a haunted renaissance fair or providing the soundtrack to one of your favorite RPG video games. The sound is haunting and at the same time pulls you in and comforts you. Like wrapping yourself in a blanket of evil.
Ghost wraps up ‘Prequelle’ on a lighter song about letting go yet still longing for more with “Life Eternal.” The song puts a nice bow on Ghost’s 4th album and sends us away desiring more. There are two bonus covers included with this release, “It’s a Sin” from Pet Shop Boys and Leonard Cohen’s“”Avalanche.” I dig “It’s a Sin” as it really captures the sound from the 80s in a devilish way. The song strikes up a visual in my head of a Johnny 5 video montage from Short Circuit 2. I’d love to see Cardinal Copia perform this one live. “Avalanche” seems more fitting for the Papa III character and doesn’t really connect with me. More of a spoken word performance fit for a Ghost musical movie. There you have it, another masterpiece from the mind of Tobias Forge. Tobias writes pop music for metal kids and it’s glorious. He’s one of the few artists out there able to do things his way and refuses to conform to the standards set by music genres & record labels. ‘Prequelle’ will be one you listen to over and over as Ghost cast a spell on the world of metal with one of this years biggest albums. I give it a 10 out of 10 because that’s what Papa III would have wanted.
Photo Credits go to A Rantz