AOTW: Ghost – Infestissumam (2013)

ghost-bc-infestissumam

Ghost is certainly a one of a kind band, especially in the modern Metal scene. They are both an acquired taste and the band that everyone loves, they are modern, yet also true to Heavy Metal traditions.

I’ve stumbled upon Ghost serendipitously when YouTube suggested their 2015 Grammy award video to me. The band members had a pretty unusual look, but they also presented a good sense of humour and they could definitely laugh at themselves. I also watched an interview with one of the Nameless Ghouls where he said something along the lines of ‘Hey, we like Black Metal as much as the next person, but we convey a similar message in a different wrapping’. Indeed, if I recall correctly he referred to Ghost’s music as a Satanic ritual with a good vibe (as opposed to Black Metal’s dark and depressive approach).

They do have a point, you know: just because the music doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the depths of hell, it doesn’t mean it can’t convey an anti-Christian message. After all, if the music is accessible to the masses, then the doctrine can be delivered more effectively. Note that Ghost uses the Satanic imagery and lyrics as symbols only, in fact this is the case with most bands that have anti-Christian lyrics. It wouldn’t make any sense to reject one deity as a false authority only to accept another one, from the same mythological framework too!

The accessibility of the music was a majour turn off for me in the beginning. It wasn’t as heavy as the stuff I was listening to at the time and it just sounded plainly odd. I had to put the band on hold for a bit until I was ready to indulge in its light-heartedness. The funny thing about Ghost’s music is it gets stuck in your head, you might dislike it at first, but you keep going back to it. That was my experience, at any rate. I also found it worked best if I listened to the entire album rather than shuffling the songs – it does seem like the band put careful thought into arranging their songs.

Infestissumam, is the album that I initially liked the most out of the 3 full-length efforts. I still find Opus Eponymous and Meliora to be a bit inconsistent, but more on that later. The record starts with a brief intro that shares the name with the album, followed by Per Aspera Ad Inferi, which is one of the best songs on the album.

Oh Satan
Devour us all
Hear our desperate call

Next comes Secular Haze, the heaviest piece on the album. This song that did not strike a chord with me right away, but that changed after seeing it performed live.

Jigolo Har Megiddo and Ghuleh / Zombie Queen are two slower songs, allowing the listener to catch a breath. Year Zero erupts, a true Satanic anthem and another high point of the album, where the band showcases a darker approach to lyrics.

Since dawn of time the fate of man is that of lice
Equal as parasites and moving without eyes
A day of reckoning when penance is to burn
Count down together now and say the words that you will learn

Body and Blood is a staple live performance song, where the ‘sisters of sin’ make an appearance. Idolatrine is another great upbeat song with witty lyrics.

Profaner of the vices, a simple charlatan
Inflaming puerile minds with the guilt of sin
Imaginations fed to children, it has served me well
That the bowels of the earth hides the pits of hell

Depth of Satan’s Eyes is a song that would struggle to stand on its own, but fits in rather well at the end of the album. Finally, Monstrance Clock comes in and fills the listener with an eerie feeling. This is another staple live song, typically performed at the end of the show.

Come together, together as a one
Come together for Lucifer’s son

Amen to that.

Infestissumam is a great piece of Heavy Metal. The only complaint one could have is strange production: that bass is way too over driven and the drums are a bit too high in the mix. However, whatever the albums lacks in production, it more than makes up for in song writing and musicianship. The vocal performance by Papa Emeritus, the keyboards and the choir work are, without doubt, praise worthy.

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