Ghost – “Prequelle”

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I SUMMON THINE EYE-EARS, MY SWEET PAPILLION PUPPETS!
It’s been a long time.
A lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time, to quote the Led.
But GHOST is back with a stained-glass mosaic masterpiece that flies from Kenny G saxophone all the way across the world to Scorpions. I watched it, WITH MY SEE-ER’S, convert two people to Ghostianity. It’s like when you go down on a massive bag of candy and the first flavour you taste isn’t exactly the most captivating so you just bail. Now, imagine every other flavour in that bag is just AMAZINGLY complimentary to that one thing you didn’t love at first. I watched the complex variety of compositions win over my co-worker track after track, even more so the second time through. To quote this new album minusculely, “Break me. Beat me. Let me see the light”, ’cause that is to a tee what this one did to him, and to myself as well all over again. Even though it took the PET SHOP BOYS cover at the end to convince a mutual friend of ours, you could see how much more accepting he became of all era’s of GHOST as Youtube scrambled away through tracks. Any shway, let’s dig into it, because PREQUELLE is my new favourite musical pizza and I eat out a lot.

TRACK I: ASHES

A short but subtlely appropriate little poem which I think we’ve all had accidentally memorized at some point or another. Fun fact, this is actually sung by Minou Forge, Lead singer Tobias’ daughter. Siiiiick.

TRACK II: RATS
The first single released before the full, accompanied by a very hypnotizing video. The chorus riffs reminiscent of Dio, but situated between verses of classic GHOST reverie. To be taken on a non-literal level or not, lyrically it touches the classic subject of letting rats into your lives and the proliferating effects of such and cherried by (straight-up the only way I can describe it) a thoughtful solo. It’s almost a tear jerker it’s so sweet, not a sour buzz, blip, click, or pop. If you’re watching the video for this track as well, you’ll be greeted by some spectacular dancing for its final synth-harpsichord outro.

TRACK III: FAITH

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Guys, between this track and the next one, are you ever in for some monsters. FAITH is somewhat more aggressive, with guitar triples ripping from side to side, highs during the chorus that I am still having trouble distinguishing from more synth it is so WELL SUNG. If (again) someone was to dig into this with any literalism, it stands anthemically out as the unseen dichotomy between accepted religion and what we may have lost along the way, or those barely practiced anymore because of the crushing hatred from “big” religions trying to stamp out anything that wasn’t puritanical. It didn’t kill them though, and that thrive is complicity of things like witches and magic in movies and television. It wasn’t that all long ago that we still tied girls to chairs and drowned them because either they would free themselves if they WERE a witch, or die, as acceptable loses of the hunt. Either way, FAITH is not only powerful, but it feels faithful (not a joke) to what GHOST is in essence, a church choir on meth. Some beaut bassy, gutteral-y, raspy-ness in this one too, but something that will be missed and is INSANELY IMPORTANT on this one, is at the very end of the song they foreshadow/reprise the theme which is also the core of the final song, LIFE ETERNAL.

TRACK IV: SEE THE LIGHT
“Many a sin I have witnessed, and in my indeed I have been. Many a rat I’ve befriended and so many a thorn stood between. But of all of the demons I’ve known, none could compare to you.”
 
THAT IS LINE, GIRLS, AND NOT-GIRLS!
The total opposite framing of every aspect of commonplace gospel music is actually crafted in this one. As I child I grew up in the church-circuit, and I reeeeally learned how gospel songs were written, I knew that they weren’t technically “hard” by any means, most of them being comprised of four chord harmonies and slow major descensions out of segments. It parallels the chorus construction of most Christian hymns through how it vamps and ascends and it MAKES the song. Where most ditties on the devote grass involve “filling me with your blessings”, “may I be always forgiven”, “may I receive all your gifts, like winning the lottery”, SEE THE LIGHT shows that perhaps a little self-introspection on our sins is a little more. . . Practical. There are much worse things out there to fuel us in our wars, be them on the religious, political, emotional, or “Steve from Accounting” fronts, perhaps these small lashes are what toughen us for whatever we’re meant for eternally. Beautiful grand piano tones throughout set this track aside from a heavy synth-centric album. It’s also nice that ANY band put the bass in the front of a recording for once.

TRACK V: MIASMA

You ever just want a combination of Vince Dicola’s 1990’s Transformers Soundtrack, Kenny G Saxophones, dual guitar harmonies, and just old fashion dance time with no expectations? Well here is the instrumental track for just that. I don’t what more to say about it, it shakes my butt.

TRACK VI: DANCE MACABRE
Is this a love song? You’d almost think so if you move past the fun alliteration that they use in the chorus between “Wanna BE WITH you”, and “Wanna BEWITCH you”. Ah? See what they did there? Clever, but very close to the line of tacky. Good thing I also love tacky. This is a perfect follow up to a song that already had you swingin’ and groovin’ because it’s almost a swing song. I wish I had the verbal proficiency to describe how GHOST manages to touch on aspects and tones of music they are NOT in the genre of. It’s like trying to describe exactly where the divide is between the colours of a rainbow, which is pretty ironic for a song about The Black Death.

TRACK VII: PRO MEMORIA

Perhaps a less soft way of saying “Momento Mori” (Remember you will die), PRO MEMORIA crawls in like like a snake from behind you. A constant reminder to check your heels for your actions, spoken or unspoken. This track reminds me of getting my first handjob, because if when it’s over you just say “cool”, you could probably live without it. I’m sure it will be somebodies favourite track off the whole thing, but if I had to pick the weakest track, this would honestly have to be it. It doesn’t show off or break any standard, it just exists as a complete entity that doesn’t do much, like a Walmart Greeter. THIS NEXT ONE THOUGH,

TRACK VIII: WITCH IMAGE

I missed the Halloween stalker synth sound that pops up in the background the first 2-3 times I listened to this track. Sung from the point of, well, Lucifer, he sings to a child, a young girl born of a witch-mother. He understands that she wants nothing to do with him, but what she does with her powers she can’t take back, the same thing that happened to her parents. When you make a contract things sure can get ruined by fine details, huh? And once pictured as a heathen, it’s quite a trial to remove that image from someone’s mind. Musically, this tambourine-slinging rock and roll beast is just sooo powerful. Tastes of Blue Oyster Cult run rampant, with minor chords in all the right places.

TRACK IIX: HELVETESFÖNSTER
Whatever dark cave wrought forth this Bach-esque secondary reprise of the main theme, and blended it with Tales from The Crypt and Simon and Garfunkel, I WANT DIRECTIONS TO. I just all the flavours of the GHOST sundae all at once, sans Cardinal Copia, which is fine, give the guy a breather once in a while.

(Bell fades into next song)

TRACK IX: LIFE ETERNAL

Alright, Michael Bolton, calm down. . . to my house. Man, has Tobias ever got some innocently pure pipes on his person. Everyone hates songs about saying goodbye, so why not have one that begs to ask the question “What if”? Would you actually let that person know your soul LITERALLY forever? Are they worth every second? What if the day you day ISN’T your last day, and it isn’t subject to an omnipotent, singular creator? What if it’s just an eternity of what you have surrounded yourself with and how you’ve treated people? Could be more fun than waiting in a purgatory line right? This one is the strangest combinations of somber and hopeful I’ve ever come across, and that in itself is a benchmark for another unnameable standard.

Overall, this album will bring new fans rushing back to the ritual and cause new listeners to drop what they’re doing and join in the circle.

I’ve seen it myself.

Rating: 8.9 BELA LUGOSI MASKS / 10

SEE YOU WITH A PLAYLIST NEXT WEEK, INTERNET PHANTOMS.

-BEAR
host2

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