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GHOST - Meliora cover
4.19 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2015

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Spirit
2. From the Pinnacle to the Pit
3. Cirice
4. Spöksonat
5. He Is
6. Mummy Dust
7. Majesty
8. Devil Church
9. Absolution
10. Deus in Absentia


- Papa Emeritus III / Vocals

About this release

Release date: August 21st, 2015
Label: Loma Vista Recordings

Thanks to diamondblack for the addition and 666sharon666 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Is this ABBA?

I know that my review titles tend to be goofy and rarely make much sense, but this time I'll sooner die than let this one be classified as such! Ghost is a Swedish metal band, their sound layered with catchy harmonies, somewhat symphonic in their sound and almost sickeningly melodic. And yet, while it could easily be tagged "pop metal", there's enough ambition, passion and skill poured into this music to make even an irredeemable snob like myself feel no shame in liking this band. Now, take a moment to cross off the word "metal" from the lines above and it could just as well be me talking about ABBA.

Jokes aside, though, what really makes Ghost stand out? After all, there are countless accessible metal bands out there that, while often popular, get little respect from the critics and other, well, people who just can't help spoiling everybody's fun. I believe the secret to Ghost's success lies in them striking a happy medium between being serious about their craft and yet very conscious of its context. Ghost manages to put up an amazing show fueled by their crazy, tongue-in-cheek, sacrilegious image and yet, charmingly unpretentious and cheesy as they are, there's a deeper purpose to all those fireworks. Regardless of whether you're willing to delve deeper into the concepts on display here or not, Meliora's overall sound benefits from this meta-approach. The sound is retro, polished but punchy, themes extremely catchy but often spiced up with some understated excursions into heavy, psych and symphonic prog territories. I, however, especially enjoyed the way Ghost shamelessly turns all the pomp up to eleven with theatrical arrangements reminiscent of The Scorpions, operatic choirs, flowery solos and... God, it's all just so freaking showy! But again, in a good way for the most part thanks to the underlying laid-back attitude the band has toward their art.

As far as mainstream heavy metal is concerned, it doesn't get much better than this. Meliora manages to strengthen all that made Ghost charming in the first place - stylistic diversity, vocal harmonies, pulp-gothic ambiance, solid, hook-based songwriting - and builds upon the concept of "Blue Öyster Cult meets Satan on a pride parade" with bricks made of bones and glitter. It's well-written, obscenely catchy and flows well from the beginning to the end. While it's not exactly my cup of tea, I can't help but enjoy the sound Ghost developed on this record. All in all, if you like old-school stuff in the vein of Kind Diamond or Mercyful Fate, give Meliora a go.
The first time I heard this group, I was mildly amused. But when I heard Meliora, I found it so catchy that I had to listen again...and again...and again. This one slowly rose in my 2015 list. I'd describe the style as spooky sounding retro metal - really sounds like a blast from the past! It's like Black Sabbath mixed with Scooby Doo and church music! There are some really catchy songs on here too. And it's gotten better with successive listens.

On the surface, one might criticize the group for being antagonistic towards religion - but when you delve into the lyrics and consider the metaphors, you find that there are deeper meanings. For example, "Mummy Dust" has been introduced by the band at live gigs as being about a deity that every audience member knows - the lyrics go:

I was carried on a wolf's back To corrupt humanity I will pummel it with opulence With corpulence and greed In God you trust My mummy dust

The deity in question is money - so this song functions as a critique of society's chasing after more more more as a way to hide from our own emptiness. This striving is "mummy dust" - another way of saying "snake's oil", or a fake remedy for our problems. The genius of the band is that their metaphorical satire is often seen only at a surface level and misunderstood - just as fundamentalists do with their own religions. Brilliant stuff.

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