Swedish Metal act Ghost should need no introduction but the reality is they are a new, fresh and growing band who have revitalized an old metallic style with a devilish undertone beneath their lush aesthetic. "Popestar" is a five track EP, its name a play on pop-star and the anti-pope image of front man Papa Emiritus. Riding of the back of a Grammy for "Circle" its a good tie over to there next album which could potentially be a big one as they continually expand their reach across the Metal audience. Consisting of one b-side and four covers it may sound like a scraping of content but actually its a fantastic little mini record.
I can't remember when I last enjoyed a collection of covers as much as this, the gorgeous aesthetic of the record paves the path of possibility for harmonica solos, spacial ethereal synths and some of the bands most melodic and "light" songs to date. At most times the Metal element feels far removed and we are left with colorful, bright music, free for melody and harmony to reign supreme through acoustics and Papa Emeritus's glorious voice.
"Square Hammer" Is a typical Ghost track of devil worship between grooving Hard Rock riffs and the oozing thick smoke of the purple organ, It could of fit right into the Meloria record. The covers equally depart from the tone of Ghost and in this moment showcase the versatility of their sound, the final three tracks have an infectious singalong spirit coming from a different musical center. The lyrics have a very pro christian tone and I think the choice to keep them the same rather than swapping names for Beelzebub let the music shroud it in a subversive tone of evil. On "Bible" its even further removed without a heavy guitar chord and thick evil organs slugging away to heavy the tone like on "Missionary Man". It retains the uplifting biblical tone and with one strike of rumbling guitar in the chorus, hides just enough darkness to satisfy.
Its a fantastic mini record, four great songs and one I'm not as fond of. Its another welcome dose of Ghost but makes me excited for the versatility of their sound, I hope the exercise of cover records like this is to test the waters with fans and find more regions to which they can evolve their sound. I'm once again very keen for more from the excellent band, one of Metal's best this decade.
Favorite Songs: Square Hammer, I Believe, Missionary Man, Bible