Ghost may be a little hard to explain to an outsider looking in.
Led by the infamous Papa Emeritus character (portrayed by singer Tobias Forge) alongside a backing band called ‘The Nameless Ghouls’, you get the Swedish heavy metal giants who continue to reinvent and reimpress the rock world as each day goes by. Moving swiftly on from their 2018 album Prequelle, which heavily centered around a theme of the 14th century Black Plague pandemic, their 5th album Impera focuses on “the rise and fall of empires”, taking place hundreds of years ahead of its predecessor.
Stylistically marrying both the dark and gloomy heavy metal sound of today with the signature glam/arena style of the 1980s, the album sounds like something that would’ve fit in perfectly among the likes of Def Leppard and Iron Maiden, as well as next to Rammstein and Tool.
Watcher in the Sky has a riff that would get anybody into the mosh pit, doused with a big splash of Djent goodness, thanks to Opeth guitarist Fredrik Åkesson. It gets menacingly dark on Hunter’s Moon, which was written for the 2021 slasher film Halloween Kills, as Forge sings lines like “Under a headstone, sister / I’m dying to see you, my friend”. And you may think you’ve accidentally turned on an ABBA song when the intro to Spillways begins, but it quickly morphs into a heavy, anthemic fists-in-the-air song.
Impera is an album that every kind of metal fan will find something they love in, and is definitely one of Ghost’s most strongest efforts to date.
Listen to: Twenties, Watcher in the Sky, Respite on the Spitalfields
For fans of: Rammstein, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard