You enter a church with black walls. A blood red carpet is rolled out and extends from the entrance to the altar. Upside-down crosses with Gs in the centers are emblazoned on every surface of the chamber. The floor behind the altar opens, and five hooded individuals rise from out of the ground. A thundering organ sounds, and spotlights illuminate the altar, where one more individual has materialized, wearing a pope hat with the symbol, staring at you . . .
Adopting a fictional narrative has the potential to enhance the depth of a band’s music, and complimenting that with a visual element only solidifies the conceived elements. Kiss did it, GWAR did it, and this group does it, all with marvelous results. Meliora is the newest full-length from Swedish heavy metal band Ghost (previously Ghost B.C.), made up of five hooded, nameless instrumentalists, and multiple incarnations of a frontman.
That’s right. The band is fronted by the “reincarnating” Papa Emeritus, who “dies” and is “reborn” at the release of each new album (currently embodying Papa Emeritus III). He is backed by the Nameless Ghouls, five musicians donning black cloaks. The gimmick is ingenious, but the music, especially on this record, is still their most captivating asset. If blues-influenced, gospel-tinged hair metal sounds like your cup o’ tea, look no further.
This is one of the catchiest records of the year. Emeritus is a wonderfully charismatic frontman, and although the lyrical subject matter is dark, the songs themselves soar with golden guitar riffs and communal harmonies. Nestled within the gothic glam are lavish church organs, glistening harp, and classical strings. This is one exciting band, both aurally and visually. If you’re seeking gothic-tinged melodic metal, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)