Review by Brian on September 1, 2015.
Sometimes a band is unfairly judged in the metal community because they have achieved some sort of commercial success. This makes them "sell outs" or "posers". In fact a lot of times this judgement is being passed without even actually listening to the band. This is the case with Ghost. Shortly after the release of their debut Opus Eponymous, the band began to get noticed. By their second release Infestissumam, their popularity was through the roof. Maybe it was the gimmick, which you have to admit is pretty cool, or their uncanny ability to play live with almost any band or festival around. Maybe it could be that these guys write some pretty damn good songs. There's a difference in opinion within my circle, let's face it Ghost is a love 'em or hate 'em band.
After two great albums and as is with a band like Ghost, I was concerned if they could stay fresh and new. How were they going to push this sound further? I went in admittedly with low expectations. Opening track "Spirit" smacked me in the mouth with a how dare you doubt me look on it's face. This track is exactly what Ghost does to continue to make some of the best metal out there today. It uses a familiar formula but with enough to make it different from their previous works. It's more guitar driven and at the same time it has even more pop elements than ever before. This is the theme throughout Meliora's 10 tracks.
Ghost has always had this Mercyful Fate meets Blue Öyster Cult element within their sound. Far more of the latter. Both of these influences can still be heard, but it's less pronounced. On Meliora, they have solidified their own sound. The songs are more mature both musically and lyrically. The use of choruses throughout the album are the strongest to date. There is this catchy sing-a-long component with this dark beauty that pulls these songs together and makes them extremely memorable. "Cirice" is the best of the 10 tracks on the album. It's guitar riff chugs along and gives way to a soft haunting melody that is made perfect with Papa III excelling vocally.
Whether it's the hard hitting, guitar driven songs like "From the Pinnacle to the Pit" and 'Mummy Dust" or the softer more melodic moments like "He Is" and "Majesty", Ghost succeeds on every level. Meliora keeps the band moving forward. It may be the best in their short but impressive career.
Rating: 8 out of 10