Ghost – Impera

You are currently viewing Ghost – Impera

Year: 2021
Total Time: 46:25
Label: Loma Vista Recordings

2022 was finally destined to be the year that GHOST would release their fifth album and successor to the very successful “Prequelle”.

The musical genius of Tobias Forge returns this time as Papa Emeritus IV to lead his obedient ghouls and reinvent the musical direction of the band that this time stares fervently towards the 80s and a little bit in the early 90s.

The broader concept of “Impera” has to do with the rise and fall of empires while individual tracks deal with the science deniers, Jack the Ripper while others make references to former Vice President of America Mike Pence as well as Donald Trump! All of course with the familiar caustic humour that we are used to by the band.

Musically, Tobias collaborated with various distinguished musicians and songwriters. Amongst them, we’ll find OPETH’s Fredrik Akesson who played all the solos on the album as Tobias’ guitar playing skills have become a little bit rusty. The result is more than exquisite.

GHOST created an amalgam of sounds that takes us back to the glorious days of arena rock and the excesses of the 80s, which also fit thematically to the main concept of the album.

Much heavier than “Prequelle” and much more guitar oriented – according to Akesson some tracks had up to 16 guitar channels – “Impera” is a small tribute to the most commercial moments of Rock music. The album opens with a small introduction with an ala METALLICA melody and immediately gets the things going with “Kaisarion”, the most up tempo track that GHOST has ever written with its dark lyrics creating a nice contrast. An incredible composition with awesome lead guitars and a solo homage to “Tom Sawyer” of the gods RUSH! “Spillaways” that follows brilliantly adopts a melody on the piano that can remind you from BON JOVI and TOTO to FOREIGNER and JOURNEY! Melodic and catchy with an excellent guitar solo, it invites you to dance with it. “Call Me Little Sunshine” briefly drops the speed with its dark atmosphere. Combined with its video clip, the song looks like a brainchild of the 90s METALLICA, OZZY, ALICE IN CHAINS and even QUEENSRYCHE. “Hunter’s Moon” seems to have been written at a different time from the rest of the songs, and that is because Tobias wrote it for the soundtrack of the film Halloween Kills which was released in 2021. Another up-tempo song with beautiful guitars and several heavy parts.

“Watcher In The Sky” is one of the album’s best moments, bringing to mind the time when Ozzy collaborated with Zakk Wylde. Heavy rhythmic riffing, catchy refrain and a captivating solo by the master Akesson are sure to satisfy fans who like the more metal side of the Swedes. A small and gloomy instrumental with wind instruments will lead to the most special composition that Tobias has written, “Twenties”. An experimental mix of metal riffs with orchestral parts, reggaeton/hip hop rhythms and a Papa Emeritus in completely musical mode. That’s how FAITH NO MORE would sound if they decided to cover GHOST! I imagine this track live will be a proper show!

“Darkness at the Heart of my Soul” continues the tradition of the excellent ballads that the band has become accustomed to. A melodic composition that has a little bit of the magic of “Might as well be on Mars” by the great ALICE COOPER. Acoustic guitars alternate ideally with electric ones while an almost children’s choir in the second half of the song makes the atmosphere even more magical. Just before the end, “Griftwood” is inspired a bit by a classic VAN HALEN riff and with Akesson shining on the guitar, Ghost presents us with their most arena rock side. The album will close with “Respite on the Spitafields”, a wonderful power ballad that gradually culminates in constant changes before ending up with the same wonderful melody that we heard in the opening “Imperium”.

With Klas Alund in production, GHOST achieve a heavy and at the same time crystal clear sound, something that was a bit missing from “Prequelle. Tobias Forge shows his love for the music with which he grew up and thus gives us a glimpse into another era; A time when bands possessed the art of songwriting and filled stadiums with their hits. “Impera” comes to establish the Swedes as one of the most successful bands in the rock and metal scene of the last decade, attracting even more fans of all ages and making us wonder how much higher it can go!

Rating: 9/10
Editor: Dimitris Benetatos
Related Link: GHOST – Official Page

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