So try and help me out with this dear reader. Maybe it’s because i’m rapidly approaching my 30’s and therefore too old to give a hoot what the cool kids want, but I remember a time where metal music was flooded with ‘ex-girlfriend-core‘. You know what I mean, a bunch of twenty-somethings, yelping in the air about how cruel their ex’s were to them, but also about how they would still take them back in a heartbeat, whilst being simultaneously incredibly sexist and misogynistic. It’s a somewhat mixed message to say the least.
It’s little wonder why we’re a generation of confused, gibbering wrecks of flesh.
While that was, shall we say, an interesting mix, it was a mix where we all cried for a simpler time in metal. A time where all you needed were catchy hooks and songs about every circle of hell imaginable. Enter Ghost (or Ghost BC) if you’re from across the pond. On paper this band has everything going for them: Catchy hooks, a distinctive look, tales about the ghosts, ghouls, eskimos and other mythical creatures. Oh and impending lawsuits on the singer – yes kids we are that close to satire!
However despite having everything on paper to be the best metal band this side of Black Sabbath, I read comments on certain forums almost daily on how they are not metal in the slightest, rather a pale pop band disguising as a metal band – “datz not metulz!” I hear the towns people cry, “they’re a disgrace to the good name of metal!” the villagers moan.
“FINE! HAVE IT YOUR OWN F***ING WAY!”, I scream back at them.
While I will agree that Ghost do have some mainstream appeal to them and certainly know how to promote an album, like it or not, they are a bloody metal band! They’re arguably the most pure metal band in town and now we’ve got mass hysterical pion’s harking back to the days of the aforementioned ‘ex-girlfriend-core’, it’s beggars belief. In fact, the old saying of having ones cake and eating it springs to mind. However, now that I have had my soapbox rant on the indecisive metal community, let us turn and look into their new album ‘Prequelle‘. An album where I can’t help but think they really want to shove the ‘pop’ part of their metal music right down our throats.
The album kicks off with the instrumental ‘Ashes’ before kicking off into lead single ‘Rats’, which is jaunty fun affair to listen too. The kind of song that gets you ready for a night on the cobbles as it were, as you stick on your 15 year old Iron Maiden T-Shirt and bullet belt. Just these two songs alone set the tone of the album, previous Ghost albums always managed to juggle metal, ballads and old pop influences very well, however, ‘Prequelle’ is putting a little more emphasis on the ballads and pop. That’s not a bad thing, but I can imagine the ‘haterz’ are cracking their knuckles for furious keyboard warrior action on the ‘Proper Metal‘ forums in glee as we speak.
The only other heavy song to speak of is ‘Faith’, which will have many a Ghost fan bobbing their heads in the isles at a live concert. The rest of the album tails off into songs with themes of the hopelessness of love and self confession of the doubts of trust. It’s done to such a level it will make Ville Valo, frontman of now defunct outfit HIM, think, “Ok, steady on there, pet”. That doesn’t mean to say the album is negatively impacted. Quite the contrary, ‘See the Light’ is pure Kate Bush with a heavy metal backdrop, while ‘Dance Macabre’ is a pure stadium rock belter that has you close your eyes and wishing you were there singing that chorus out as obnoxiously as you can.
Compared to previous Ghost albums, everything on ‘Prequelle’ is meticulously planned and calculated, the lyrics are by far some of the best that has been put to their paper and the overall arrangements of the guitars and synthesisers while a little predictable, with exception to the saxophone (yes, you read that right, a God damn saxophone solo – what a time to be alive!) serves the album well.
If there is one reason I can tell outsiders to the genre why I like Ghost, it is because despite the goofy look that would scare the shit out of any middle American Christian family and Scooby Doo chase music, when you boil it all down they are fun. Nothing less, nothing more. A band that are guaranteed to beat the blues when things in life are looking a little bleak.
There I state my case to the ‘haterz’. Metal music is not always supposed to be serious and angry, we’re the same subculture that produced f***ing Gwar and Staind for crying out loud. if you can’t laugh at them, then go get a sense of humour transplant! It’s clear to hear that Ghost has certainly moved onto a more mainstream sound, but as our lord and saviour Lemmy (RIP) once pointed out “that’s the f***ing point!”.
If you don’t like Ghost for a constructive reason, that’s fair play, but leave us to our theories of the differences between Papa Emeritus I/II/III and Cardinal Copia and let us eat our cake in peace.
‘Prequelle’ may be a little weaker compared to previous albums with it’s over reliance of ballads and softer approach, it’s certainly got more in common to The Eagles than Black Sabbath, but it is still an amazing album from front to back and fans will certainly love this album for what it is and will look forward to the eventual tour.