Published May 30, 2018The hype surrounding Ghost since the release of their debut, Opus Eponymous, has grown exponentially with each new record, but the quality of the music hasn't kept up with their publicity. The band's sophomore release, Infestissumam, felt like a major letdown next to its younger counterpart, and while their third record, Meliora, was an improvement, their debut remained the clear winner.
The shock rock project's fourth full-length, Prequelle, is a dynamic record with loads of interesting parts to discover, but it leaves something to be desired. Where Opus Eponymous is perfectly paced without a single dull moment, Prequelle expertly builds momentum, only to be bogged down by uninspiring tracks.
Lead single "Rats" kicks off the album with a series of hard-hitting riffs drowned in a heavy medieval vibe, followed quickly by catchy retro-metal tones and captivating guitar work on "Faith." By the mid-point of the album, the band have completely sucked you into their weird atmosphere, just to bore and drone listeners with instrumental track "Miasma," which, outside of a cool saxophone solo, feels like an afterthought to draw the record out longer.
Coming back in from that instrumental rambling, Ghost launch into "Dance Macabre," a strangely catchy pop-oriented disco track that may be one of the band's best songs. The track draws on some serious ABBA vibes, with massive power chords and a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. Following "Dance Macabre," the band get into a dark and eerie piano-driven ballad on "Pro Memoria," featuring an oddly uplifting chorus about embracing death.
Sadly, the band drop back into needless filler material on "Helvetesfönster," which feels like a far-too-long continuation of "Miasma." Closing song "Life Eternal" wraps up the album in appropriate fashion, drawing the album to a close with a slow but powerful atmosphere that sums up what the entire record is about: accepting death.
Although Ghost still haven't captured the magic of their debut record, Prequelle is a great release that captures some of the eerie heaviness of their early material while keeping close to their classic rock meets '70s pop sound. With a bit better pacing and fewer drawn-out moments between songs, the record could have been the best of their career, but still stands as a fine addition to their discography. (Loma Vista)