With Papa Emeritus III ejected from the throne, the younger Cardinal Copia steps into the limelight as Swedish band Ghost's new front man to guide one of modern Metals brightest bands into a new era. The albums fist pumping lead single Rats raised my expectations from a band already held in the highest regard, their sound firmly intact yet showing exciting new influences and a will to move forward. With the Cardinal showing off his flamboyant dance moves in the music video and driving home an infectious chorus, Rats was set to solidify its place among their finest tunes to date. Its been almost three years in the works since the sublime Meliora and somehow Prequelle has managed to soar to those heights again.
Ghost's aesthetic and approach to songwriting has been revered for its revivalism and re-imagining of principles mostly found in the seventies from the likes of Black Sabbath and many of the groups they have covered with b-sides. With Prequelle their stylistic pallet expands again, prominent echoes from the eighties decade in all Metal, Rock and Pop with tangents of Progressive Rock thrown in the mix too. It all has a notable influence on the song writing which has grown stronger again, brighter hooks and more exciting structures that let the music glow in its moment. With this charming step forward, Ghost continue to do what they had shown promise of since their debut, the ability to look beyond the scope of Metal itself and escape the restraints of a genre plagued by the recycling and rearranging of the same ideas
Unfortunately as an album it does have its blemishes, almost exclusively with its pacing and placement of two instrumental songs. After a fiery, explosive start, See The Light gives us a moment to catch breath, but then lulls us into an instrumental. Now don't get me wrong, both instrumentals are utterly fantastic, some of their finest compositions with the restraints of verse chorus structures lifted. The problem is they are directly competing with the Cardinal, who has set an ungodly apatite for his sublime singing and infectious hooks. "I am all eyes, I am all ears, I am the wall and I'm watching you fall", you can't help but sing along.
Aside from Dance Macabre the album shifts gears from its Pop numbers and catchy openers with a string of songs that have utterly brilliant and expansive themes that really stretch the sound far from its metallic roots. Its a real treat of brilliant compositions that gleam and soar in a wake of beautiful sound emerging from the facade of evil and darkness. From different musicians these songs could be about more serious topics but its trivial and playful dance with satanism makes the real themes find their way through the lyrics with your own relation to them. Its brilliant, and so we have probably the years best record and a modern classic that's perhaps guilty of pulling in so many directions its path is a little wonky as the opening mania transcends into a different tempo yet blissful state.
Favorite Songs: Rats, Faith, Miasma, Witch Image, Helvetesfonster, Life Eternal