Album Review:
June 2018

Ghost is back with their fourth album, Prequelle, released last week. In keeping with tradition, Ghost has replaced their previous singer, Papa Emeritus III, with a new singer, Cardinal Copia.

Fallings out with former members of the band over the last two years have provided a more public look behind the robes, revealing what many knew about the multiple singers. All four singers across the four albums have been Tobias Forge, the mastermind behind Ghost. There have been lineup changes within the band since the last album, but there’s no spotlight to bring attention to that, the purpose of the masks is to let the idea of Ghost represent the music, rather than the individual members. Forge oversees everything involved in the production of the albums, to bring his vision to life.

Ghost circa 2018, featuring Cardinal Copia.

The Ghost albums have each had a unique of their own, and Prequelle likewise does not sound like any of the prior albums. After a brief intro track, it kicks into “Rats,” the first single that was released from the album. A strong, catchy track, it provides a good setup for the album. Things keep building, as the following track, “Faith,” is one of the heaviest on the album.

While still a heavy album, it’s much less heavy than any of Ghost’s prior albums. It’s hard to place a finger on exactly what’s different, the songs don’t necessarily sound like they were written to be any more radio-friendly than anything they’ve previously written, but regardless, it’s a rocking album.

One of the highlights on the album for me is “Miasma” which is an instrumental track. Ghost has written several cool instrumentals over the years. This one includes some retro sounding synth solos, a few guitar licks that remind me of Eddie Van Halen’s parts on “Beat It,” but imagine my surprise when a saxophone comes roaring in for a solo towards the end!

It seems fitting that after a song with no vocals, the next track is the most sing-a-long worthy track of the album. It’s impossible to not sing along to the chorus of “Dance Macabre.”

While the album comes out swinging strong, it doesn’t finish as powerfully. “Witch Image” is the highlight of the last half, but “Helvetesfonster” feels like one instrumental too many for the album. The combination of “Helvetesfonster” and the final track, “Life Eternal,” kind of ends the album with a whimper. It’s a lackluster ending to an otherwise strong album.

A deluxe edition is also available, which includes covers of “It’s a Sin” by the Pet Shop Boys, and “Avalanche” by Leonard Cohen. The copy I reviewed was the standard version, but Ghost has done great covers with all the previous album cycles, I’m sure these will be enjoyable as well.

Prequelle likely won’t go down in history as my favorite Ghost album, it’s still got some really great songs on it. Ghost just finished their Rats on the Road tour of the US, and have a few European festival appearances booked over the next couple months. They will be back in the US in the fall, and while the dates haven’t been announced yet, they have announced that two of the shows on the tour will be arena dates! They are headlining arenas in LA and NYC, bringing what they say will be their biggest show to date. I can’t wait to check out one of these shows!

Ghost – Prequelle
1. Ashes
2. Rats
3. Faith
4. See the Light
5. Miasma
6. Dance Macabre
7. Pro Memoria
8. Witch Image
9. Helvetesfonster
10. Life Eternal

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