Ghost - Meliora review



Reviewer:
8.5

487 users:
8.33
Band: Ghost
Album: Meliora
Release date: August 2015


01. Spirit
02. From The Pinnacle To The Pit
03. Cirice
04. Spöksonat
05. He Is
06. Mummy Dust
07. Majesty
08. Devil Church
09. Absolution
10. Deus In Absentia


Ghost sprang almost immediately from obscurity to a much more lucrative obscurity, now playfully shirking attention while glorying in the praises of the metal media. Well, by now we're onto them; we know their influences, we know their imagery, we know what they're all about, and maybe we aren't so hornswoggled by the spectacle anymore. How have they managed to build on their success?

Ghost promised the metal community that Meliora would be much more heavy metal than previous releases. Far be it from me to call the Pope (or Anti-Pope, or Godfather, or whatever he's supposed to be) a liar, but we'll say that this is half-true. While Meliora is indeed somewhat heavier than the first two albums, the difference is not so extraordinary as to convince non-believers that Ghost is fully a heavy metal band. They retain their thick, distorted psych-blues guitar tones and somewhat indirect manner of cutting to the songs' cores, which still suggests heavy psych and hazy hard rock - but several of the songs are more obviously structured like heavy metal.

One of Ghost's great strengths lies in Papa's voice - for despite the obvious extravagance and theatricality, despite the stony-faced camp, the vocals mist in and out with a kind of mystery and simplicity that belies the semi-parodic pretension of the Ghost experience. It is quite likely that Ghost's mission could not be accomplished without this perverse pontiff at the helm, for he seems to be in constant symbiosis with the eerie cloud of instruments that floats around him.

Whatever criticism may be thrown at this cult of a band, they have masterfully captured the atmosphere of ageless psychedelia. Their satanic mysticism is not a blistering assault, but a waltz, a tango - a very cunningly-orchestrated opera that allows them to push very melodic material without losing an edge of dark conspiracy. I happen to be in the minority that prefers Infestissumam to other Ghost releases (at least, until Meliora eclipses it), but regardless of the strength of songwriting on their sophomore release, this latest effort contains much more interesting and complex instrumentation and presentation. Often the little things can make or break an album, lifting it up from a curiosity to a marvel, and whether it's the livelier choirs, the occasional Bach-from-hell keys, or that unmistakable Hammond organ sound on "Majesty," Meliora displays a much more concerted effort to build up atmosphere and make each song just a tad more interesting than its bare function.

On top of that, it seems to take itself somewhat more seriously - not that any Ghost release could ever exist without some farcical aspect, but this one least risks crossing the line to pure juvenilia. Perhaps this is more Tales from the Crypt to Opus Eponymous's Scooby-Doo.

Perhaps the one criticism I might level at Ghost is the frequent danger of sounding sterile, even lifeless. A muted sense of terror mixed with fantastical pleasure is one thing that Ghost strives for, usually successfully, but the struggle to pull in several different aesthetic and thematic directions at once (all without betraying their sense of cool command) can sometimes stiffen them overmuch. Especially with the production, Meliora sounds very clean, and it seems like it takes such insurmountable songwriting to merely escape the potential for mediocrity. Yet such insurmountable songwriting it is, and partnered with the devilish elegance that makes Ghost what they are, it makes Meliora a strong realization of all the potential that lurks within the mask of this mysterious band. As the name suggest, Meliora truly is "better."


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 7


 



Written on 31.08.2015 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 24   Visited by: 487 users
31.08.2015 - 21:06
Enemy of Reality
I too prefer Infestissumam to their debut. They expanded their sound from being merely a copycat of Blue Osyter Cult and Mercyful Fate to other territories creating a diverse record, yet i also think that overall there was something missing in Infestissumum i cant quite describe. Maybe it was the mystery displayed in the first record that didnt show or the more sophisticated imagery shown. Musically speaking, though, i prefer the diversity of Infestissumam.
Meliora sounds like a mix between the Opus and Infestissumam. There's still diversity ("He Is" is monstrous) and even some proggish moments ("From the Pinnacle to the Pit", for example) but the more song oriented approach of the first record is back. Shorter and more straight to the point songs like "Majesty" and "Cirice" are worthy sucessors of "Elizabeth" and "Ritual".
But i can't find here an absolute genious moment like my fav song (and here of course i know it's subjective) "Ghuleh/ Zombie Queen" or even like "Monstrance Clock". So, for me it stands in between Opus and Infestiss in my preference.

Another issue that annoys me here. And i take the risk of sounding a bit petty. Recurring to a darker and heavier approach (both musically and aesthetically) when the previous album is not entirely well received by the press and fans.
"Meliora" displays this cliché too. The mix is more guitar oriented and sometimes the heavier tunes are a bit off like in "Mummy Dust".

Don't get me wrong. All in all for me it was an enjoyable record that i've been listening on a daily basis since it first came out.
But not to the point that i consider it far better than any of it's predecessors.
I think their masterpiece is still yet to see the light of day. And that's a good thing.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 15:42
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
Each to their own. I really love the vocals. Don't find them gutless at all, but perfectly suited to the music.
----
The sun shines over The Fool...
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 15:49
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Yeah the vocals are good. Very easy to sing along to. A tad weak live though, but the theatrics compensates a little.

As for their popularity, there's no doubt they're probably the most overrated band operating in the sphere of metal right now (even though they've never been metal) but they're still a fine band, as this album proves. I like their image too. I find it more "aww" than "ahh!" so not shocking to me, or anyone outside the Catholic church I suspect. It's just amusing.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 17:27
Malignar
Good review.

I didn't enjoy Infestissumam at all other than two songs (Year Zero and Satan's Eyes). I don't get the appeal of Zombie Queen and Monstrance Clock sooo boring. The complete lack of guitars and riffs, on that album, killed it for me. They went almost too cutesy sweet ...definitely had me concerned for their future. This is a great return to form and right there with Opus. I went back and listened to Opus and found it to have stronger songwriting and energy than I thought. All the songs are very distinguishable and they have good riffs in every song. It does take a hit on production though.


Overall, I think this is a great album and has surpassed my expectations by quite a bit.


Sidenote: I almost wish they would start a side project that went heavier like a mix of Mummy Dust and Papa's band Repugnant.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 18:37
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by deadone on 01.09.2015 at 16:32

This bit blew me out when I first heard them. I was expecting retro-doom given descriptions in media but it wasn't. And it just isn't rocking enough for me.

I think a lot people are like that. I often notice many people are not comfortable with their level of heavy. Sort of a cognitive dissonance: they look like they should be heavy but aren't. I've always quite liked their pseudo-metaldom though. They're very easy on the ears.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 19:36
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by Guest on 01.09.2015 at 18:37

Written by deadone on 01.09.2015 at 16:32

This bit blew me out when I first heard them. I was expecting retro-doom given descriptions in media but it wasn't. And it just isn't rocking enough for me.

I think a lot people are like that. I often notice many people are not comfortable with their level of heavy. Sort of a cognitive dissonance: they look like they should be heavy but aren't. I've always quite liked their pseudo-metaldom though. They're very easy on the ears.



I guess it can be related to those times you lift an empty box/bag/suitcase and you get really impressed for your strength... Only to be terribly sad to notice that no. You are still a weak fuck.
----
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 19:38
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.09.2015 at 19:36

I guess it can be related to those times you lift an empty box/bag/suitcase and you get really impressed for your strength... Only to be terribly sad to notice that no. You are still a weak fuck.

I've gotta be honest, that's never happened to me =P sometimes I'll go to lift up a cup thinking it's full of liquid, to find my hand go flying into the air because the cup was empty,
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 19:40
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by Guest on 01.09.2015 at 19:38

Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.09.2015 at 19:36

I guess it can be related to those times you lift an empty box/bag/suitcase and you get really impressed for your strength... Only to be terribly sad to notice that no. You are still a weak fuck.

I've gotta be honest, that's never happened to me =P sometimes I'll go to lift up a cup thinking it's full of liquid, to find my hand go flying into the air because the cup was empty,

Thats the same fucking thing I said only with a cup instead of a suitcase or whatever.
----
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 19:41
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.09.2015 at 19:40

Thats the same fucking thing I said only with a cup instead of a suitcase or whatever.

Except that when that happens I don't think that I'm superman for a second, just a bit stupid =P
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 19:51
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by Guest on 01.09.2015 at 19:41

Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.09.2015 at 19:40

Thats the same fucking thing I said only with a cup instead of a suitcase or whatever.

Except that when that happens I don't think that I'm superman for a second, just a bit stupid =P


Anyway, I can see the "awww" feeling you were talking about. To me it was always like that because these guys look more or less like the villains that would play music with the members of Mistery Inc. in some episodes of Scooby Doo. So I can't take it remotely seriously... It's almost party music to me.
----
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 20:04
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.09.2015 at 19:51

Anyway, I can see the "awww" feeling you were talking about. To me it was always like that because these guys look more or less like the villains that would play music with the members of Mistery Inc. in some episodes of Scooby Doo. So I can't take it remotely seriously... It's almost party music to me.

Yeah it's all very over the top and silly, Just a bit of a laugh really.
Loading...
01.09.2015 - 23:26
Lit.
Account deleted
Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.09.2015 at 19:51

Mistery Inc.

Nice.
Loading...
02.09.2015 - 03:15
Malignar
Written by Guest on 01.09.2015 at 18:37

Written by deadone on 01.09.2015 at 16:32

This bit blew me out when I first heard them. I was expecting retro-doom given descriptions in media but it wasn't. And it just isn't rocking enough for me.

I think a lot people are like that. I often notice many people are not comfortable with their level of heavy. Sort of a cognitive dissonance: they look like they should be heavy but aren't. I've always quite liked their pseudo-metaldom though. They're very easy on the ears.



I think much of the point was to rope in pop rock guy and then hit him over the head with a much more extreme (at least to mr pop rock) message than the music would suggest. I always had a dream to create a band that plays really wimpy stuff but sneak in some extreme details to the masses. Appeal to people that would never listen to music with this kind of message or image. Sometimes I don't even think they really like the music they play (especially on the 2nd album) just to rope in more suckers and confuse people. I think they have a great idea.
Loading...
02.09.2015 - 07:54
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by deadone on 02.09.2015 at 01:11
Not party enough if you ask me. I'd much rather something like Turbonegro or Guns N Roses or Monster Magnet or Rob Zombie.

Ghost sit in that nebulous area where you're not really certain what you're meant to feel about the music. Its not heavy or energetic or depressive or groovy or melancholic or angry or happy or even psychedelic. It's kinda nothing music - in that way it reminds me of a lot of mindless indie rock.

Live is a completely different story, believe me.
----
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
02.09.2015 - 10:33
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Malignar on 02.09.2015 at 03:15

Sometimes I don't even think they really like the music they play (especially on the 2nd album) just to rope in more suckers and confuse people.


Have you ever heard Subvision? The pop ock band Mary Goore was in?
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

Loading...
02.09.2015 - 10:44
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Malignar on 02.09.2015 at 03:15


I think much of the point was to rope in pop rock guy and then hit him over the head with a much more extreme (at least to mr pop rock) message than the music would suggest. I always had a dream to create a band that plays really wimpy stuff but sneak in some extreme details to the masses. Appeal to people that would never listen to music with this kind of message or image. Sometimes I don't even think they really like the music they play (especially on the 2nd album) just to rope in more suckers and confuse people. I think they have a great idea.

I don't really get what this message is supposed to be. They're having a laugh at the expense of the Catholic church, but who isn't these day? And wear silly make up. Unless the whole band is just a front in order to facilitate the sales of Pope-shaped dildos I think they're just making music they enjoy and not trying to peddle a philosophy or ideology. No doubt they aren't stupid though, and know that the image is what draws the biggest crowds and sales, but I don't think it's a conspiracy. Hell, Slayer sound like bigger conspiracists at the moment going by the ostensibly ultra-low quality standard of their new songs. I reckon they know it's shit but don't care because they know it'll sell regardless. That's more insidious to me. All my instincts tell me Ghost tried to make a good album with this one.
Loading...
02.09.2015 - 23:52
Constantine
Account deleted
Written by Guest on 02.09.2015 at 10:44

Written by Malignar on 02.09.2015 at 03:15


I think much of the point was to rope in pop rock guy and then hit him over the head with a much more extreme (at least to mr pop rock) message than the music would suggest. I always had a dream to create a band that plays really wimpy stuff but sneak in some extreme details to the masses. Appeal to people that would never listen to music with this kind of message or image. Sometimes I don't even think they really like the music they play (especially on the 2nd album) just to rope in more suckers and confuse people. I think they have a great idea.

I don't really get what this message is supposed to be. They're having a laugh at the expense of the Catholic church, but who isn't these day? And wear silly make up. Unless the whole band is just a front in order to facilitate the sales of Pope-shaped dildos I think they're just making music they enjoy and not trying to peddle a philosophy or ideology. No doubt they aren't stupid though, and know that the image is what draws the biggest crowds and sales, but I don't think it's a conspiracy. Hell, Slayer sound like bigger conspiracists at the moment going by the ostensibly ultra-low quality standard of their new songs. I reckon they know it's shit but don't care because they know it'll sell regardless. That's more insidious to me. All my instincts tell me Ghost tried to make a good album with this one.


This, I immediately respected Ghost after their first album. They seem to be having fun with their theatrics, go watch a couple of interviews of A Nameless Ghoul, the dude is amazing (he is almost always the same one who does most of the interviews).
Loading...
03.09.2015 - 00:03
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Guest on 02.09.2015 at 23:52

This, I immediately respected Ghost after their first album. They seem to be having fun with their theatrics, go watch a couple of interviews of A Nameless Ghoul, the dude is amazing (he is almost always the same one who does most of the interviews).

I don't usually watch interviews with band members but I might make an exception on Ghost's case then.
Loading...
03.09.2015 - 02:28
deswesher
I prefer this one to debut and infest* this one much better! , awesome album. Maybe album of the year?
----

Loading...
03.09.2015 - 21:46
koob
I wasn't sure after the first listens but yeah, this might be their best album even tho Opus set the bar quite high.
Loading...
08.09.2015 - 02:15
Guib
Thrash Talker
I Fuckin' Love it. Great review by the way Screaming, them writing skills... it's a delicious flow of words.
----
- I love my technical, melodic, my thrash, agressive and fast paced, my sludge, well thought, my heavy, heavier and my metal, ever-growing -
Loading...
08.09.2015 - 03:08
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Guib on 08.09.2015 at 02:15

I Fuckin' Love it. Great review by the way Screaming, them writing skills... it's a delicious flow of words.

Well, thank you kindly, Guib. I hadn't written anything in a while, so I guess I had a lot of pent-up vocabulary to get rid of.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
Loading...
11.09.2015 - 21:03
Migtanteot
I loved Meliora. But that lyrics really sucks. The contrast between the catchy riffs music and the evil lyrics were a point of ghost that I liked more on previous albums. Fuck that abstraction.
Loading...
22.02.2016 - 18:36
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
Damn. Extremely well written review.

I decided to check these guys out after they won the Grammy's. I WANTED to hate them... the masks, the fact that they were only borderline metal, etc... but you know what, after listening to this album, I actually think I kinda like them.
----
I lift weights and listen to metal
Loading...

Hits total: 8866 | This month: 24