Ghost - Infestissumam

Ghost - Infestissumam

(CD/LP, Loma Vista Recordings, 2013)

I had a hard time to decide if I'd write a presentation of GHOST’s sophomore album, “Infestissumam” and the reason was that this band’s music cannot be easily characterized as pure Metal (well, do not expect to reveal my thoughts right away – you have to read more). Sure, I understand the whole buzz around GHOST fueled by the anonymity of the members of this ghoul-ish collective and the spooky-incognito onstage dress-code (if you haven’t already check some live photos to get my point). Plus, I have to acknowledge the fact that the entire hip around Papa Emeritus II and his clergy has grown bigger the last three years since the “Opus Eponymous” release, even if it is true this was backed up by the media and the fans’ simple curiosity. Anyhow, GHOST have just released their second album, keeping the audience highly interested (this is a huge score if you consider the number of bands and albums coming out every day), and all we have to do is see if they’ll continue spreading enthusiasm and delirium in every concert, but mostly, if “Infestissumam” (meaning ‘most hostile’ in Latin) is heir-worthy of its predecessor.

The first thing you’ll notice during the first spins of “Infestissumam” is that GHOST have left the MERCYFUL FATE / King Diamond influences (‘copy/paste’ for the spiteful minds) aside (or just handed them over to Germany’s ATTIC) to dive into more medieval sounding chanting-like pop forms, with elements from their compatriots ABBA. Yup, this is not a typo; after the “Il padre, Il figlio, et lo spiritus malum, omnis caelestis delenda est” chanting opening the album, you’ll realize that GHOST have enhanced beautifully their sound with tons of lightly distorted guitars, and extremely happy-sounding, radio-friendly layers that also showcase their songwriting skills. “Per Aspera Ad Inferi” and the GOBLIN-esque “Secular Haze” simply confirm my saying, since they are both catchy songs and a must-have-on-setlist tracks, while “Jigolo Har Megiddo” is full of the aforementioned catchy pop elements (metalheads, do not feel guilty, since the guitar work shines throughout the song).

The clean vocals move on the same direction, making GHOST’s music more spooky while adding the unique id that “Opus Eponymous” did not have (take for example “Year Zero” or “Idolatrine” and imagine yourselves begging for Papa’s Eucharist from His glove-covered hand). But the Holy secret for the success of “Infestissumam” is in tracks like “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen” and “Depth Of Satan’s Eyes”; the first may be a synth-scarred balladry track, but breaths real spookiness and mysticism (similar to 90s Black Metal bands who had to wear a ton of makeup to look evil and bad) carried out in the beautiful colorful melodies and the constant mention of Satan, of course. “Depth Of Satan’s Eyes” (yup, that sir, again) will stick in your player for days due to the happy-sounding keys and the catchy riff that I must admit reminds me something from the band’s early days (if a band with two albums has the right to have early days). The album closer “Monstrance Clock” is an in-between song, combining the ‘happy’ with the spooky delivering many hair-rising vocalisms while the chorus can be easily characterized as the catchiest of the decade (listen to this, and if you can resist and not to push the ‘repeat’ button for more than 15 times in a row, lemme know).

I really do not know what you should characterize as ‘Metal’. Listening to this album, I realize that ‘Metal’ is the ability to not be afraid of tasting different things, to not be afraid of expanding your sound, but most of all, to be able to support the music you produce with confidence, even if behind it are hiding cathedral ceilings, anonymous clergy and ecclesiastic orgies (!). Living in an era that many bands turn back in time to revive the 80s ‘old school’, ‘real’, or ‘true’ thing (oh, how much I hate all these labels!), GHOST release a record with personal id, even if many metalheads do not want to admit that they’ll buy it even if it’s not ‘Metal’. Well, I have news for you: being ‘Metal’ does not mean vomiting on the microphone – you still can be ‘Metal’, even if you’re covering ABBA songs.

8/10 


Links:

www.Ghost-Official.Com
www.FaceBook.Com/TheBandGhost
www.Twitter.Com/TheBandGhost


Tracklist:

01. Infestissumam
02. Per Aspera Ad Inferi
03. Secular Haze
04. Jigolo Har Megiddo
05. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
06. Year Zero
07. Body And Blood
08. Idolatrine
09. Depth Of Satan’s Eyes
10. Monstrance Clock


Lineup:

Papa Emeritus II - Vocals
Nameless Ghoul 1 - Bass
Nameless Ghoul 2 - Drums
Nameless Ghoul 3 - Guitars
Nameless Ghoul 4 - Guitars
Nameless Ghoul 5 - Keyboards