Ghost — IMPERA — Album Review

Metal

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Ghost (formerly known as Ghost B.C.) was a band that I had known about for quite some time, thanks to their incredibly unique gothic aesthetic, with the just the right amount of campiness thrown in for good measure. However, it took me perhaps longer than it needed to, before taking their music seriously.

This moment finally came in 2018, upon the arrival of the Swedish metal band’s fourth studio album Prequelle. I feel that for many, this very record was the one where Ghost really stood out as a band that was really in a league of their own, as they finally finished off polishing the finer details of their beloved musical aesthetic. With that said, it had no trouble at all proving itself as one of the most popular Ghost albums to date.

But with the year of 2022 still relatively young, Ghost have finally released their fifth and newest album, titled IMPERA. But how does this album stack up against its predecessor.

As I discovered that this album was going to be released shortly before it actually did, I spent a little time to catch up on the teaser tracks that led up to the arrival of IMPERA. They included “Call Me Little Sunshine”, and “Twenties”. While the former exuded enough of that familiar Ghost aesthetic to have me on-board, the latter did set up a worry within me, due to how unnatural the track sounded stylistically, in comparison to the remainder of the band’s discography.

I was hoping that “Twenties” would ultimately stand as nothing more than a tiny nick in an otherwise great album. But unfortunately, my worries were not only met, but built upon. After revelling in the gothic glory of Prequelle, and built my expectations upon that record, IMPERA somehow loses a massive chunk of the band’s greatest quality.

Honestly, IMPERA barely sounds like a Ghost album at all. The majority of it, while at least sticking to a traditional style of metal, deviates greatly from the band’s championed gloomy mood. In many cases, the songs on IMPERA could be linked more closely to a band like Kansas (in the case of tracks like “Kaisarion”) or Metallica (in the case of the aforementioned “Twenties”).

The good majority of this thing just sounds so odd with the expectations I set myself up with in the lead up to a brand new Ghost album, which resulted in my immersion breaking immediately. It’s such a jarring listen, with its lack of character mainly to blame.

In the album’s slight defense, however, there are a few saving graces on the project, in the form of some pretty good tracks, such as the very catchy (but still gothic) “Hunters Moon”, and a pretty awesome closer in the form of “Respite On The Spitalfields”. But when I say some tracks, I really do mean some. In total, there were about four tracks (out of 12) that at least do Ghost justice. The rest were either interludes, or tracks that would sit more comfortably with your more typical “dad metal” band.

And that’s just really the crux of this whole project. Ghost, and the “dad metal” aesthetic go together more horribly than white chocolate and pepperoni. The after effects of this, would be my deep disappointment.

Favourite Tracks: Hunters Moon | Respite On The Spitalfields

Least Favourite Track: Twenties

Loma Vista | Concord

Final Score: 43%

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.