At the end of 2010 Ghost burst onto the scene with their incredibly well received debut album ‘Opus Eponymous’ with a sound that is very reminiscent of a satanic Pink Floyd if anything. Papa Emeritus and the Nameless Ghouls built up quite a reputation for themselves and have become known as one of the better live bands about at the minute. Their theatrical performances and of course, their music, has made them a band that can’t be ignored.
The title track ‘Infestissumam’ is a beautiful, yet also rather haunting introduction to the album that blends the instruments played by the Nameless Ghouls and the voices of a quite frankly hair-raising (don’t worry, it’s a good hair-raising) choir brilliantly. The song mixes into the follow up track ‘Per Aspera ad Inferi’ perfectly, which also has an undeniably catchy chorus that will linger in the back of your mind for weeks.
Whilst this album does have a recurring sound throughout, there are two songs that stray from the ‘Ghost’ sound, one more so than the other. The seven minute long ‘Ghuleh/Zombie Queen’ is the ballad of the album and is a perfect example of the diversity Ghost can put onto an album when they really want to. The song is also a brilliant showcase of what Papa Emeritus can really do with his voice. The other song that doesn’t really have that ‘samey’ feel to it is ‘Secular Haze’. Secular Haze is an odd one. It’s a brilliant song with a lot going on, but it feels a bit out of place. Throughout the album you’ll find choirs and Satanic chants, in Secular Haze you’ll find Ghost lost in a circus. The song does have an unfathomably creepy feel to it though, so it’s fitting with the rest of the album in that sense, and it’s a tremendously infectious song in its own right.
Infestissumam was some gems on this album, but unfortunately with the great, comes the “Good, but not quite as good as the great”. A few songs on this album feel like they’re there to fill space more than anything. ‘Body and Blood’ is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, though it isn’t a bad song, it just doesn’t do much and isn’t anywhere as infectious as some other songs. ‘Depth of Satan’s Eyes’ is another one that’s just ‘okay’, but it has a bloody brilliant chorus that really does help the song redeem itself.
In addition to the recurring ‘Ghost’ sound on the album mentioned earlier, there is also a very ‘creepy’ theme throughout the album. This is what Ghost do best. This is normally done quite effectively with either some sort of choir singing or some sort of Satanic chant, both of which will echo throughout the song in the background, and it’s not subtle either. You’ll find this done to perfection on ‘Year Zero’ which is quite possibly the best song on the album that really does stand out the most. The album ends with the equally creepy ‘Monstrance Clock’ which will leave you wanting more. The catchy chorus and the beautiful blend of the choir and the keyboards is a genuinely fantastic end to the album.
Overall a great album with some undeniably brilliant songs, however, it’s held back by a few songs that are just ‘alright’. There are more great songs than not though, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t give this album a listen. 7/10