It took me a while to get on the Ghost train. I stupidly dismissed them as a novelty band but their headlining set at Bloodstock Festival in 2017 got me on track and the journey is now even more full steam ahead with the release of their fourth studio album Prequelle.
Available now via Spinefarm Records it sees frontman Tobias Forge change his Papa Emeritus stage persona to Cardinal Copia with his five nameless ghouls Fire, Earth, Water, Wind and Ether providing the music. Lyrically it tackles the topic of death over a myriad of musical styles as the album opens with ‘Ashes’, a chilling brief spoken word piece by Tobias’ daughter Minou. A verse of ring o’ roses is followed by a second verse of “Ashes on the water, ashes in the sea, ashes on the riverside, one two three”. Their heavier side pounds in with ‘Rats’ as Godzilla stomp riffs back an almost crooned vocal adding a sense of mystique to the subject matter of the bubonic plague.
Industrial like riffing during ‘Faith’ keeps the headbanging ante raised higher that gives way to grandiose choruses. ‘See The Light’ sees a shift in pace as heartbeat like bass guitar lines and piano in the verses are crushed by the guitars in the choruses. ‘Miasma’ ,the first of two instrumentals has an ethereal intro that transforms into keyboard heavy progressive rock passages battled out with the guitars as oddly enough, a saxophone takes on the main riff for the outro. ‘Dance Macabre’ tackles the grisly black death outbreak with a strangely uplifting vocal that adds colour to the cheesy, poppy verses and riff heavy choruses.
Lusciously sweeping strings announce ‘Pro Memoria’ as a lone piano takes over to back a morose vocal in the verses but once again the choruses heavy up as the vocals become more maniacal. The ghoulish (pardon the pun) lyrics come from the perspective of the grim reaper taking the lives of Medieval people during ‘Witch Image’. ‘Helvetesfenster’, the second instrumental begins with Victorian fairground like music giving it a quirky vibe as the pace picks up with moog pieces that vie with piano ones as it fades out to a tolling bell.
Final track and my highlight is ‘Life Eternal’, a spine tingling piano lead ballad that ticks every box. A beautiful way to end an album of a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The limited edItion deluxe version of Prequelle comes with two genius cover versions of ‘Avalanche’ by Leonard Cohen and ‘It’s A Sin’ by the Pet Shop Boys.
Prequelle album track listing :-
See The Light.
Avalanche (Leonard Cohen cover).
It’s A Sin (Pet Shop Boys cover).