Swedish band Ghost has grown into a band of headliner level in a relatively short time. Tobias Forge and his nameless ghouls have managed to do that through their decoration, anonymity of the band members and of course their catchy songs with dark lyrics. Ghost’s last studio album dates back to 2018, “Prequelle”. After that, the band already indicated to take some rest. So now there is a new record that bears the name “Impera”.
Ghost was founded in 2006 and released their debut album “Opus Eponymous” four years later. That album was immediately nominated for best hard rock album. They won that prize with their second and third albums “Infestissumam” and “Meliora”, but didn’t work with their previous album.
The theme of this album: the rise and fall of empires. This album describes the time hundreds of years later than the 14th century that was sung on “Prequelle”. ‘So, basically, I wanted to make a record about the rise and ultimately the unescapable fails and falls of empires. And an idea like that can take — at least me — quite far. So once you get that idea of, like, Oh, now I know what the pile is gonna look like. I know now what not to put in there,’ Forge said.
This new “Impera” is again full of tasty riffs, catchy choruses, nice solos and everything else that makes Ghost reach the masses. Take “Spillways” for example. Opening with piano chords giving a light ABBA vibe. This song is all earwig. The single “Hunter’s Moon” is also a classic example of this. The riff of “Griftwood” resembles a Def Leppard riff.
With another single “Twenties” the band shows their heavier side. The riff is heavy and the overall feel is dark. Partly because of the background choirs in the chorus. Ghost is also not averse to the short intermezzos. “Impera” also has three more. One at the beginning of each side of the LP and one before the last track.
Overall, this new Impera is stronger than its predecessor. Where “Prequelle” mainly had to rely on a few very strong songs, the power of Ghost is now nicely spread over the entire album. Ghost is back and the band celebrates that with a very strong record. (9/10) (Loma Vista Recordings)