Ghost - Prequelle review



Reviewer:
6.8

280 users:
7.54
Band: Ghost
Album: Prequelle
Release date: June 2018


01. Ashes
02. Rats
03. Faith
04. See The Light
05. Miasma
06. Dance Macabre
07. Pro Memoria
08. Witch Image
09. Helvetesfönster
10. Life Eternal
11. It's A Sin [Pet Shop Boys cover] [Deluxe Edition bonus]
12. Avalanche [Leonard Cohen cover] [Deluxe Edition bonus]


You all know the stories behind Ghost's unmasking, the subsequent lawsuits and Cardinal Copia replacing Papa Emeritus III, so let's cut to the chase.

Ghost's popularity has been growing exponentially and this is not a bad thing because we want more people to be introduced to metal; or hard rock, whatever. The official video of "Rats", the first single off Prequelle, currently has more than 8 million views on YouTube. The band has proved that they can deliver excellent radio-friendly anthems; "Squarehammer", off the Popestar EP, is the perfect case in point. In this album, the KISS-esque "Dance Macabre" plays this role. Too bad that after "Dance Macabre" Prequelle just kind of peters out, revealing more of its missteps and radio-friendliness isn't one of them.

The record kicks off with a skippable, cliché intro with a children's choir singing "Ring a ring of roses" before "Rats" takes over with its great opening taken from the riff-closet of 1980's Accept. "Faith" is one of the heaviest tracks Ghost have ever composed and even though it is not as memorable and infectious as "Rats", it does its job well. The real problems start with "See The Light", a watered-down and uninspired ballad that just interferes right when the listener gets warmed up. It also makes it even clearer that they are aiming for a 1980's stadium-filling sound. The keyboards in this song are echoing Judas Priest's Turbo and the same happens during the proggy instrumental "Miasma", which also features some Khemmis-sounding guitar melody and a very sexy sax solo. It is a delicious composition but its position in the album makes the impatience for actual songs grow stronger. This is the first half of Prequelle that summarises my general feeling of it; it can be very catchy at times but also contains filler stuff that prevents me from going back to it and when I do, I press the "skip" button way more often than I'd want to in a Ghost album. On the other hand there are some superb guitar and piano melodies embedded throughout that make the album sound more uneven since you ask yourself "why did Ghost not include more of them?".

Prequelle would work well as a rock opera about the bubonic plague, which is its general theme and concept. This actually makes a lot of sense since Ghost is a very theatrical live band. However, as a strictly aural experience it feels disjointed and seems to lack direction being pretty much all over the place. The songs' sequence in particular is just wrong. The penultimate track is a second instrumental (Tobias, please explain why you need two of those if you are seeking commercial success) which could have served as the closer but the band chose to wrap up the album with yet another - the third in total - cheesy and forgettable ballad.

Ghost have been stirring controversy since their inception and Prequelle is bound to fuel the debate a lot more. The ones who worship the ground Tobias Forge walks on will certainly love it, while those who despise them for not being "metal enough" will hate it. I'm standing somewhere in the middle; the talent is undoubtedly there but unfortunately in this album Ghost don't make full use of it.

Am I disappointed? Well yes, because what we have here is a genius musician that set the bar very high with his band's previous releases but, alas, Prequelle does not live up to the great expectations. Next time, when he has enough worthy material for an EP he should not attempt to make a LP out of it.

"I feel the closer we get, to the last bow
I don't wanna end like this"


 



Written on 12.06.2018 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 19   Visited by: 354 users
12.06.2018 - 13:04
Deviant
I personally love Prequelle although I will admit it's not as metal as I'd like it to be after hearing what the newest version of the band is capable of with tracks like "Faith", "Rats", and "Miasma". My favorite Ghost album is still Opus Eponymous with songs like "Con Clavi Con Dio", "Ritual", and "Elizabeth". They have definitely taken a more pop rock direction with this one. Admittedly, I think if I wasn't such a child of the 80's and had not started my love of music with 80's new wave and pop rock first, moving into metal from there, I wouldn't appreciate this album as much as I do.
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12.06.2018 - 13:21
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Deviant on 12.06.2018 at 13:04

Admittedly, I think if I wasn't such a child of the 80's and had not started my love of music with 80's new wave and pop rock first, moving into metal from there, I wouldn't appreciate this album as much as I do.

I am a child of the 80s too. I have vinyls by Madonna, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Wham sitting next to Reign In Blood, Powerslave and Sad Wings of Destiny in my collection. Prequelle's problem is not the fact that it's more poppy, at least for me
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12.06.2018 - 14:44
Deviant
LOL, me too man. I'd switch from Mercyful Fate and Priest straight over to Genesis and The Police in one sitting.

But I understand what you're saying. You expect more from Ghost and just don't think they are making the most of their talents, and although I do really like the album, I actually agree. Ghost can and has done better, but I still have a strong feeling that one of these days they are going to make their Painkiller album and it's going make people's heads explode. If they survive that is...who knows what the future holds.

What I would say to others who will see this comment, likes Ghost, but is disappointed by this album, don't give up them just yet.
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13.06.2018 - 11:14
boo-boo
This is a tough one. Half the album is super enjoyable, the other half I can't even remember...

I totally dig Witch Image btw.
----
World won't end today - it's already tomorrow in Australia.
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13.06.2018 - 17:58
Malignar
I think you nailed it when you say they have a very good EP worth of material and have somehow made a full LP out of it. The instrumentals are not needed and not very good. My complete disappointment/dismay at first listen is now less...as I ignore 60% of the album and only listen to the real songs.
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14.06.2018 - 09:58
qnick90
I liked them better in the 80s, when there was Dan Swano in the band...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liZNKpPpZzs
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14.06.2018 - 12:30
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by qnick90 on 14.06.2018 at 09:58

I liked them better in the 80s, when there was Dan Swano in the band...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liZNKpPpZzs



----
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

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14.06.2018 - 12:48
AndreMarcos
The album is really forgettable and most of the songs just sound like filler. I completely agree that the songs sequence is terrible and it destroys all the little momentum that the album manages to get with some of their few not filler songs.

That being sad, calling Tobias a genius musician just because he wrote some catchy songs in the past (and let's be honest most of it is "borrowed" from other bands) is one of craziest statements i have ever read.
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14.06.2018 - 23:17
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by AndreMarcos on 14.06.2018 at 12:48

That being sad, calling Tobias a genius musician just because he wrote some catchy songs in the past (and let's be honest most of it is "borrowed" from other bands) is one of craziest statements i have ever read.

It's 2018. Most of the music that comes out is borrowed one way or another.
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15.06.2018 - 04:22
Lokasenna
Ashes - Sure, intro, whatever
Rats - Good, though a little less interesting now that I've heard it a few times
See The Light - Decent radio single, needs a better chorus, or better phrasing, or someone other than Tobias singing it
Faith - Lackluster, but scratches the Sad But True itch pretty nicely
Miasma - More. MORE. I NEED MORE OF THIS.
Danse Macabre - Best song they've released. Reminds me of The Night Flight Orchestra's second album.
Pro Memoria - I hate this song so, so much. "Never forget about dying, never forget about your friend Death, never forget that you'll die"... what? No. Stop. This could be good with a different chorus, or even with, again, a better singer than Tobias.
Witch Image - I'll allow it.
Helvetesfonster - Not bad, but it should be the last song. It has that vibe, like the end credits are rolling, or you're driving home the morning after a party.
Life Eternal - Good, and also has the last song vibe. Albums should only have one last song.

- Prequelle sounds, to me, like Ghost can't decide what kind of band they want to be. I'm all for having varied influences, but it's too haphazard and feels more like a collection of covers than material actually meant for one band.

- Have I mentioned that they need a better singer? With a few exceptions, like the chorus of Danse where he pushes it a little more, Tobias sounds like Hetfield singing Sanitarium in his Nothing Else Matters voice.

- Chuck out See The Light and Pro Memoria, maybe put Life Eternal after Faith to close out the first half of the album, and you've got yourself an amazing disc.
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15.06.2018 - 13:35
AndreMarcos
Written by nikarg on 14.06.2018 at 23:17

Written by AndreMarcos on 14.06.2018 at 12:48

That being sad, calling Tobias a genius musician just because he wrote some catchy songs in the past (and let's be honest most of it is "borrowed" from other bands) is one of craziest statements i have ever read.

It's 2018. Most of the music that comes out is borrowed one way or another.


Even if what you are saying is true, I think as musician borrowing most of your stuff disqualifies you for being a genius, even in 2018.
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15.06.2018 - 17:46
wil
They should change their image , become a vintage horror themed band and rename to Ghost Brain . Oh , and make their music metal enough as well .
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17.06.2018 - 03:21
Metashadow8
Just listen to King Diamond instead.
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18.06.2018 - 09:09
Polaria
Written by AndreMarcos on 15.06.2018 at 13:35

Written by nikarg on 14.06.2018 at 23:17

Written by AndreMarcos on 14.06.2018 at 12:48

That being sad, calling Tobias a genius musician just because he wrote some catchy songs in the past (and let's be honest most of it is "borrowed" from other bands) is one of craziest statements i have ever read.

It's 2018. Most of the music that comes out is borrowed one way or another.

Even if what you are saying is true, I think as musician borrowing most of your stuff disqualifies you for being a genius, even in 2018.


I think Forge is somehow a genius, but not because of the music. Making this Ghost concept so irresistible to the masses in 2018 is no small feat.
----
Life is all the pain we endeavour.
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18.06.2018 - 15:47
AndreMarcos
Written by Polaria on 18.06.2018 at 09:09

Written by AndreMarcos on 15.06.2018 at 13:35

Written by nikarg on 14.06.2018 at 23:17

Written by AndreMarcos on 14.06.2018 at 12:48

That being sad, calling Tobias a genius musician just because he wrote some catchy songs in the past (and let's be honest most of it is "borrowed" from other bands) is one of craziest statements i have ever read.

It's 2018. Most of the music that comes out is borrowed one way or another.

Even if what you are saying is true, I think as musician borrowing most of your stuff disqualifies you for being a genius, even in 2018.


I think Forge is somehow a genius, but not because of the music. Making this Ghost concept so irresistible to the masses in 2018 is no small feat.


I hadn't considered it from the point of view. It certainly seems that he achieved quite a lot in terms of marketing the band and building a sort of mysticism surrounding them, even with the previous member leaving the band fiasco (which he as managed quite well), so maybe you are right.
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19.06.2018 - 10:53
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Polaria on 18.06.2018 at 09:09

I think Forge is somehow a genius, but not because of the music. Making this Ghost concept so irresistible to the masses in 2018 is no small feat.

When I used the word "genius" I had this in mind too but maybe I didn't make it clear in that sentence. I also read an interview that he gave for Revolver magazine recently and made me think "this guy is clever".
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23.06.2018 - 12:35
Enemy of Reality
My two cents on this:

I think its a great album, full of great songs that would easily fit in any other Ghost album.
However after a few spins i realized that the songs are kind of more rock guitar oriented, when in the past the riffs were more chunkier, and vocals / keyboards had far more protagonism. So, the album sounds imo way more flat and dry than before. Maybe the production is to blame here.
Theres also a certain lack of atmosphere. Being the album based on the plague and seemingly written as a rock metal opera (without the opera elements fortunately), its difficult to find immersion in the songs.
And finally, the lyrics. With Rats i already felt that lyrically this would be a dumb down album. And when you read things like Pro Memoria and See the Light, you cant help but to think that some other person is now writing the lyrics for Ghost; or worse, this was deliberate.
These are the aspects that i dislike in Prequelle and render it the least favorite Ghost album. However, as i said before, the songs remain top notch. Catchy and extremely well composed. Being my absolute favorite, Witch Image. This will certainly be in my top 10 of 2018 but i also expect much more from them.

P.s. cardinal copia character is terrible. Looks like a pedophile mob chief .
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23.06.2018 - 18:12
Mercurial
Written by Enemy of Reality on 23.06.2018 at 12:35

pedophile mob chief

Stop stealing my future band names.
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28.06.2018 - 11:52
.:Jux:.
This is my first encounter with the band. Love this album? It's absolute 10! Omg, what have they been doing before then? Very excited!
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