Posted on August 29th, 2015 (11:00 am) by Addison Herron-Wheeler

When Ghost B.C. first came on the scene, I was legitimately confused. Metal's entire fandom was losing their minds over this new group whose lead singer painted his face like an evil Anit-Pope, the instrumentalists all looked like monks and didn't have names, and made strange, atmospheric black metal with a heavy opera tinge. Even odder, it wasn't even really metal; their style is better classified as classic prog rock. Don’t get me wrong - I love black metal, even the hokey stuff, and I have no qualms about listening to bands who use face paint. But something about this group just seemed so goofy and contrived, yet I couldn’t find a single metalhead who wasn’t buying in to it. It was awkward.

But over 5 years and 2 albums and an EP, Ghost B.C. (sometimes just Ghost) have won even me over with their grandiose style, and interesting blend of heaviness and theatricality. One initially has to wonder how much of their shtick is just shtick, because they do a pretty complete job with this whole dark evangelism thing. Are they holding up a mirror to Catholicism? Does it matter?

Their latest record, Meliora, is currently available for streaming as well as purchase online, a sign that Ghost cares more about letting fans hear their music than purely profiting from it. Sound-wise, there's little change from previous recordings – it echoes, it is epic, and it has atmospheric qualities that draw on operatic vocals and sound. “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” is especially catchy – it sounds more like Alice In Chains than anything else, and has a fun refrain that makes you want to sing along. “He Is,” a dirge-like acoustic track, provides a nice interlude in the middle of the album, and the main vocal riff of “Devil Church” carries the track into almost melodic death metal territory.

Meliora is not a perfect record, nor does it totally deliver on its promises - even if they're not a joke band, Ghost will always be heavy on the satire. There are moments that feel a bit cheesy, and the way the vocals fit in with the music is a bit awkward and faltering. And once again, this is not really metal, but instead strong and introspective prog rock. That should be obvious, given all the '70s prog trappings - the face paint and giant stage show, and the odd opera shtick. Yet their core audience is primarily metalheads. But I have to hand it to these guys - they make good music.

I would recommend Meliora to anyone interested in seeing what Ghost B.C. has to offer. Bare curiosity at the very least should motivate you to have a listen if you have even the smallest metal leanings. There is a reason so many people are buzzing about their music. If you are already one of Ghost’s loyal followers, this new and layered release certainly will not disappoint.

Track List:

  1. Spirit
  2. From the Pinnacle to the Pit
  3. Circle
  4. Spöksonat
  5. He Is
  6. Mummy Dust
  7. Majesty
  8. Devil Church
  9. Absolution
  10. Deus In Absentia
Ghost B.C. - Meliora
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

65 / 100
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