Since I don’t follow much metal, I wasn’t very interested in Swedish band Ghost (also known as Ghost B.C. in the U.S.) when I first heard of them. However, I’m glad that I finally listened to a handful of their songs online and got hooked on their interesting style, which, despite their menacingly Satanic image, sounds inspired by classic and accessible bands such as Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult. With the entire band cloaked in secrecy, lead vocalist Papa Emeritus II is an anti-pope with a skull-painted face and an impressively versatile voice. The rest of the band is simply masked and cloaked “Nameless Ghouls” playing traditional rock instrumentation, and it all comes together excellently.
The first songs that I found happened to be from their sophomore album Infestissumam, released by Loma Vista on April 10. “Secular Haze,” for example, utilizes a creepy circus-type organ hook with the other instruments ferociously marching in step. “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” is truly a powerful centerpiece for the album, going from soothing piano and synth to an intense rocker. Overall, this album proved to be very enjoyable and memorable, with a solid, heavy rock sound that appeals to a wide audience without sounding watered-down. It makes me wish that I'd gone to see their Hartford show several weeks ago: I'll definitely keep them in mind for the future.