Ghost’s 4th full length album Prequelle debuted June 1, 2018 shortly after the reveal of Cardinal Copia, the band’s newest front man. Prequelle, up for a Grammy for Best Rock Album, is themed around the bubonic plague and the gradual rise of the Anti-Christ. If you want a fresh taste of a great concept metal album featuring a prog-rock sound infused with classic heavy metal, you are in for a treat! From the heavier "Rats" and "Faith", to the more upbeat "Dance Macabre" and "Witch Image", to the mellow, solemn end with "Helvestesfönster" and "Life Eternal", Ghost proves it has something for everyone to enjoy, with a hell of a story of survival to go along with it.
“Ashes” sets the tone with a talented little girl, Minou Forge, singing the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” before plunging us into a classic "Hellion" style intro for their Grammy-nominated [for Best Rock Song] “Rats”. Think of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Def Leppard, and Queensrÿche writing a metal song together. The rats have been released throughout Europe and everyone in sight is slowly being affected. “Faith” slams us with intense guitar harmonies and pounding drums that leads into a song Metallica would be proud of. I also hear some old school Def Leppard-style soloing in “Faith’s” guitar solo for a little NWOBHM vibe. In the story it’s clear the courts are trying to hold someone responsible for the outbreak. “See the Light” is one that gets lost between the songs, but it’s beautifully written and it’s a clear sign of closure from what The Director was experiencing in his personal life.
“Miasma” has been absolutely euphoric to listen to since the album was released. This is the first instrumental song to be in my top 5 favorite songs of a band. There are so many prog elements similar to Rush in this song and so many diverse instruments playing different melodies at once. The tempo gradually picks up beautifully and adding new melodies and showcasing all the instruments in their own solos. Not limited to Papa Zero’s epic saxophone solo you can even see at a live show. “Dance Macabre” is a retro-disco rock song guaranteed to have you dancing along with melodic bass lines, rhythm guitar power chords, and an enchanting storyline about dying lovers dancing for the last time. Showcasing his love for Alice Cooper, “Pro Memoria” is a proper ballad reminding us of the impending death of the people affected by the plague. I love the theatrical/orchestral elements it incorporates near the end like in “Faith,” which is true to Ghost.
“Witch Image” is the silent hit, and arguably my favorite song on this whole album along with “Rats”. If this doesn’t end up becoming a hit song, it’ll be the most under-rated song on Prequelle. It showcases a modernized 80’s style glam-metal vibe with the dual guitar solos, and the melody from every instrument flows seamlessly through each section of the song, and on different chord progressions and scales. “Helvestesfönster” features the second instrumental on the album and it speaks a story in itself, left to the listener’s interpretation. Assuming it’s the life and death of a person affected by the plague, the songs ends with them nearing the end of their life when it grows quieter. There are church bells chiming in the distance, on a cold, windy night. “Life Eternal” begins early A capella with piano and the words “Can you hear me say your name forever? Can you see me longing for you forever?,” before leading us into a beautiful, tragic end to a wonderful concept album.
Ghost is this generation’s Alice Cooper and KISS. Ghost incorporates an old sound people love with a fresh perspective and a true fan of the 70’s and 80’s music should at the very least appreciate them. They prove rock and metal is not dead, that they still have a place in arenas, and a that new rock/metal band can still make it big in this tougher than ever market. I’m very eager to hear the new E.P. The Director has hinted at recording later on in 2019.
Prequelle is now available from all major music retailers.