Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Ghost challenges preconceived notions of Heavy Metal

By Alejandro Rodriguez

KRHC Station Manager

When Swedish band Ghost first hit the scene no one knew what to label them as. Their look captures the dark and frightening essence of Heavy Metal, but beyond that they don’t really encompass what most people would associate with the typical sound of contemporary Heavy Metal bands. Their riffs are heavy, but they don’t sound like any other modern Metal act out there. It would probably be easiest to relate Ghost with a band like Mercyful Fate upon an initial listen because of the clean vocals and the spooky attire, but it still wouldn’t give Ghost the right amount of justice.

With the release of Opus Eponymous in 2010, Ghost has been turning the heads of both headbangers and curious music fans everywhere. Certain Metalheads may have an issue with Ghost’s more melodic style of music, the harsh and guttural vocals that tend to define some recent Metal acts are nowhere to be seen. Instead you may find yourself singing along to songs like “Per Aspera Ad Inferni” or “Year Zero”. (Even if the lyrics are a bit macabre.) Furthermore, with their recent performance at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival they’re beginning to spread their word.

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While Infestissumam may not be as easily accessible for new listeners as Opus Eponymous was, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad album. Quite the contrary, Infestissumam is just as strong as Ghost’s previous record. The songs are longer, but never does it feel like they are being dragged out to waste time.

The record opens up with the instrumental self-titled track, which sets the dark mood of the album. It goes right into “Per Aspera Ad Inferni” which has some of the best riffs on the album and some of the most fun lyrics, “Perverted/Are your wishes and dreams/Tanning in Lucifer’s beams.” This is followed by “Secular Haze”, a song that may confuse some Metalheads upon their initial listen. It sounds like the music that would be playing in the background of some sick twisted circus. It’s rare to see heavy use of keyboards in Heavy Metal, as it is somewhat distracting from the usual over the top machismo that Heavy Metal seems to encompass, but Ghost does a great job of using it in the song. Still, the way the keyboards are being played on “Secular Haze” seem to be more in common with something that Ray Manzarek of The Doors would play. (That’s not exactly a bad thing, but it just doesn’t have that same edge that you may expect from a metal band.)

The next three songs are some of the strongest on the album, “Jigolo Har Megiddo” is reminiscent of the golden age of 70s Hard Rock. Fans of Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, or Thin Lizzy are sure to enjoy the throwback sound of this song. There’s even a wicked solo that plays midway through the song that will make you think that Brian May or Tony Iommi is playing. The next song, “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen”, is a seven minute epic that’s kind of… beautiful. Ghost shows off exactly how melodic they are with this song, it’s something that fans of Hard Rock can find themselves singing to. It’s a song that switches between Pink Floyd and Surf Rock, and somehow it works. “Year Zero” is a catchy song that will have you headbanging in joy. The lyrics are absurd, but fun to sing along with, “Since dawn of time the fate of man is that of lice/Equal as parasites and moving without eyes/A day of reckoning when Venice is to burn/Countdown together now and say the words that you heard”. If you can’t find the fun in these lyrics then Ghost is not interested in having you as a fan.

The rest of the record continues with the 70s Hard Rock vibe, both “Body and Blood” and “Idolatrine” proceed to give you all the heavy riffs you could want. “Depth Of Satan’s Eyes” is the only song on the album that seems to lack a certain charm that the rest of the songs on Infestissumam have. It’s just not as strong as it could have been. While “Monstrance Clock” isn’t as heavy or catchy as the other songs on the record, it is a great ending song for Infestissumam.

While some will still argue whether Ghost is a Metal band or not due to being influenced by more 70s Hard Rock bands, there’s no denying that they’re bringing something different to the world of Heavy Metal. Papa Emeritus II and the Nameless Ghouls of Ghost have once again released an album that’s easy to rock out to and will probably scare children. (And in this day and age, Rock needs to start scaring children again.)

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