Ghost has become one of the most popular bands in recent years. They have exploded in the rock and heavy metal scene, especially with their 2015 album Meliora. The satanic rock group from Sweden has now released their fourth album Prequelle.
Prequelle is the band’s most diverse and darkest album to date. From dark disco music to your typical songs to expect from the group. The album has a theme of death and overcoming struggles to survive. The topics tackle historical events that overwhelmed humanity with death such as the black plague. The album ties together with current issues while not being overly political. The number of flavors within the record is vast while still maintaining what fans always loved about Ghost.
The starting instrumental track Ashes gives a haunting start to provide the tone of the album. Children can be heard singing and the instruments go to provide a melodic and disturbing start. This leads into the song Rats which goes with the same theme of Ashes. The song follows how much Europe was devastated by the black death. Rats has lyrics such as, “Them filthy rodents are still coming for your souls.” The song is more of a typical Ghost song that can ease their longtime fans into the album. After that, many of the songs get more experimental. From the dark disco track Dance Macabre to the synth and saxophone heavy instrumental song Miasma. As innovative as the album gets with the synthesizers, saxophones, and orchestras, everything works perfectly. I never got the feeling that anything was out of place. It can be scary when a band goes off the wall, but Ghost nails it in every way.
The album is full of heavy and beautifully melodic instrumentation. Rats and Faith are the closest to being the heaviest songs off of the record. With heavy riffs, fast solos, and a bounding bass and drums to give that heavy metal sound. While most of the album has a heavy focus on being more melodic and softer. The beautiful See the Light transitions to the rest of the album that takes a turn in an experimental direction. A highlight of that direction is Dance Macabre. The track has a dark spin on disco music. With lyrics such as “I wanna bewitch you all night,” along with the groove from the disco style should be a fan favorite.
Tobias has spoken about the lyrical content of the album with Blabbermouth in which he says, “What happens without going too political is the populations of all these countries become the children when the parents are fighting. It obviously affects everything — it affects the stock market, it affects the general well-being — so there’s this sort of pre-apocalyptic aura in our thinking. I think in the midst all these threats — either in the deeds of potential terrorists, to actual nations sending bombs overseas — you feel like you’re being attacked, or potentially could become attacked by anyone. If it’s not a warfare situation, it’s someone hijacking your identity,” He continues by saying, “If you bumped into someone in Berlin in March 1945, he’d probably think that we’re done. It’s over. Same thing if you go to Aleppo, [Syria], you’d probably feel [that] that sort of Armageddon is happening right here. I think that especially if you think about the plague, the Black Death. When it hit Europe in the mid-1300s, it wiped out half of the population. That’s not every other person — it wiped out complete villages, and maybe that one peasant who was a bit too far off or a little bit too secluded, that was the only person that survived. Then you had other villages that miraculously lived, but that created a lot of shifts. After the plague faded out, it also led to a resurgence, and a lot of bloom, basically.” The themes touched on makes sense since the lawsuit filed against Tobias by several of his former bandmates. The survival of the band can be shown here. In the song See the Light the lyric, “Everyday that you feed me with hate, I grow stronger,” rings true to the band’s survival. Everything from the past troubles that the group has faced is behind them with this experimental and powerful record.
An added bonus to the album is the artwork. The style of the art looks similar to a medieval painting. A giant horrific monster is shown demolishing buildings. A man sits upon his throne on top of the beast. The use of color is beautifully done with mostly grey and red being the most prominent throughout the picture. Having an excellent album art does not impact the music, but it is an extra treat to people who already love the record.
Ghost has released their darkest and most unique album. The band has proved that their creativity is still pumping. I felt curious and a little worried when I heard there was a disco track or that I would listen to a saxophone. Knowing Ghost from their past work, I was skeptical. However, all of the changes work while maintaining their identity. This is a classic Ghost album with some changes to show the band has evolved. Ghost fans should come in with an open mind, but I feel confident you will love the album. I will say it here, this is arguably their best album right next to their 2015 record Meliora. Prequelle is album of the year material.
Buy the album here:
Image via Ghost/Loma Vista Recordings