Meliora Album Review
Loma Vista Recordings
Released August 21, 2015
Genre: Heavy Metal, Doom Metal
The Swedish metal band Ghost are nothing short of an enigma. They don occultist attire, their identities still remain a mystery, and they pay tribute to the heyday of doom/heavy metal of the 70s. While their thematic and theatrical presence is admirable, it can’t help come off as a bit silly and cheesy. The band’s debut LP Opus Eponymous proved that the band knew their roots while providing stellar tracks such as “Genesis”. The band then came into their own, offering more theatrical tunes on Infestissumam – a polarizing record that divided fans. Some felt it to be uninspired and a tad boring, others found its scope and thematic overtones redeeming. Personally, I loved this record as it perfectly balanced the heaviness, memorability, and some satanic overtones that, taken seriously or not, are as enjoyable. (Listen to the opener “Infestissumam”). However, on Meliora (Latin for “better”) the band becomes just that, better. Here, they improve their instrumentation, melodies, songwriting, and overall feel of what a band like Ghost has to offer.
There’s no doubt that Ghost’s discography is the torch for the commercial wave of metal music, but there’s also no denying the style they offer. The opening six tracks is one of the most cohesive moments of any album I have heard this year. The aptly titled “Spirit” is an uplifting ode with sticky melodies contrasting the heavy riffage and choral accompaniments. “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” features one of the best choruses and melodies I’ve heard this year and a powerfull drive that demands and grabs your attention right off the bat; “He Is” and “Mummy Dust” are admirable tracks to. While the latter is a bit cheesy, the occultist overtones work this time around and perfectly accentuate the band’s persona and presence. It’s always said that art is an extension of one’s self, and this is a perfect example of this statement. The album highlight, in my opinion, belongs to “Deus In Absentia” which feels like it was taken straight from the late 70s doom metal scene. No lie, I felt pretty empowered when I first heard this song and I don’t feel guilty about it one bit. The harmonies, guitar leads, and the piano flourishes work perfectly and the song is a wise choice to close the album with.
Meliora is Ghost fully realizing their potential. Each song is powerful, straight to the point, and offers much more with each repeated listen. IT seem that they’ve improved practically everything they could. Papa Emeritus III (The Third)’s vocals are a much better imrpovement from Papa Emeritus II’s as he can reach a higher range and a more powerful tenor voice that is as commanding as it is spooky. Sinister melodies, choral accompaniments, and killer riffs are scattered all over this album, making it an enjoyable listen, no matter how many times you repeat it.
Although the question everyone is asking is: what is Ghost trying to be? A more gentrified King Diamond? A Blue Oyster Cult tribute band? Provide a commercial presence in metal today? Either of these question, and then some, could be the right answer, and who knows? Perhaps Ghost has another agenda on their minds. For now, Ghost aren’t a commanding force in metal music. They are however a noteworthy group, and with Meliora, it seems that they’re taking their music and artistic perspectives in the right direction. Agenda or not, that’s incredible for a band these days. Meliora is a fun, fresh, devilish, poetic, and enjoyable listen that everyone should give a try. It feels like they have fully realized who they are; and for a band like Ghost, self discovery is key to delivering great record after great record.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: Spirit, From The Pinnacle To The Pit, Cirice, He Is, Mummy Dust, Deus In Absentia
LEAST FAV TRACK: Majesty