Ghost – Infestissumam
Et Lo Spiritus Malum
Il Filio De Sathanas
If this haunting, Latin based chant is the first thing you hear upon pressing the play button on your media player of choice, then you’ve begun your journey into the densely ritualistic and heavily Satanic world that is Ghost (or Ghost B.C., depending on which pseudonym you’d rather refer them). Welcome, and Hail Satan.
For those with very little knowledge of the band you are about to experience, it might be best to understand a bit of their “back story”. Ghost are a Swedish metal band who always prove to be an interesting group to describe, as most people who decide to weasel a conversation out of you on the bus while you clearly have headphones stuffed in your ears will think you are bat shit nutty to be listening to a band who’s primary vision is to take the stage playing the part of “Devil Worshipper”.
But that’s just it exactly, Ghost play a part and they do it well. Whether it is through writing music heavily drenched in Satanic and evil forces or by taking the stage dressed as the “Anti-Pope”, this band goes all out, and they haven’t looked back once.
So, with the introduction out of the way let’s get to the real meat of all of this. Infestissumam. Is it good? Did it live up to the hype that Ghost’s debut effort, Opus Eponymous, left us with? Well, before I go any further I just want to be blunt to the potential naysayers who already have a pre-disposition to dislike Ghost. If Opus Eponymous didn’t have you giving off a stupid grin on your face from the ridiculous amount of Satanic imagery or if the Mercyful Fate meets Blue Oyster Cult sound didn’t work for you, it’s probably safe to say that Infestissumam is not going to be for you. But for the rest, you are in for a damn good time that warrants many repeated listens and will probably have you jamming out in the shower shouting “Hail Satan!” during Year Zero (source: I take showers).
This sophomore release from the ever growing Swedish doom outfit only shows that Ghost is back once again and they have no intention of disappearing into the ether any time soon. Infestissumam is good. Really fucking god damn good.
It’s impressive to see a band who have already taken enough risks as it is, to continue this trend and not come off as stale or burnt out. You’d think that after one full album based around calling forth the dark forces of hell that only nightmares can comprehend, that many might ask for something new and fresh. Thankfully for Ghost, it is clear there was a conscious thought to do both. What they deliver to the listeners is probably one of the most promising concept albums of 2013.
The albums primary theme is the coming of the “Anti-Christ” and welcoming in the evil soon to be bestowed upon humanity. A musical theme off-putting to many, but natural to just about any metalhead who’s been through their fair share of Deicide records and mosh pits. However, musically, it’s best to not expect anything even remotely as intense and destructive as Deicide’s musical output.
The most popular description of Ghost’s sound has always been “Take Mercyful Fate, get rid of the high-pitched vocals and mash it together with some Blue Oyster Cult. Let sit for 2-3 minutes for the contents might still be hot”. At least, that’s how I would describe Opus Eponymous. Infestissumam, while stylistically similar to the debut, manages to be its own album while maintaining that sound and atmosphere. Like I said, this album takes risks musically. From the Black Sabbath-esque riffs that viciously attack the listener during Per Aspera Ad Inferi, to the sounds of circus music heard on Secular Haze, to the piano ballad like section of Ghulel/Zombie Queen, there is a wide selection of music to dissect and keep your ear open for on this album. This sense of freshness is what really keeps this album going for its 47 minute runtime. There’s enough variety to help drive the album’s continual theme of heavily Satanic lyrical content.
Ghost are proving to be a very unique piece of the metal community. With two extremely strong records under their belt, and what I consider one of the best live shows money can buy, this band’s ever growing popularity is encouraging. It’s refreshing to see a group of musicians pursue their artistic vision, regardless of how taboo and bizarre. Infestissumam is the perfect indication of how Ghost are going about their journey as musicians and artists. I say more power to them as long as we keep getting output as strong as this.
Highlight tracks – Per Aspera Ad Inferi, Year Zero, Jigolo Har Megiddo
Hail Satan, everyone.