April 29, 2022 Ghost – Impera (Album Review)
Over the last decade Sweden’s Ghost has climbing to stadium and festival headlining status on their way to Rock genre dominance. Fronted by Tobias Forge, aka Papa Emeritus IV, and accompanied by A Group of Nameless Ghouls, the given name for the members of the band, Ghost has amassed a hardcore worldwide following. Achieving one platinum album after another, and nearly impossible to ignore, they are back in 2022 Impera, out March 11th via Loma Vista Recordings.
A follow up to 2018’s Prequelle, Impera is the band’s fifth studio album, features 12 new songs, and finds them calling on Producer Klas Åhlund once again. Preceded by three singles – “Hunter’s Moon,” “Call Me Sunshine,” and “Twenties – the new album clearly benefits from good marketed that built a swell of anticipation amongst fans. In fact, “Hunter’s Moon” had a spot in the popular 2021 Horror flick Halloween Kills, a perfect fit and great opportunity for Ghost to gain even more exposure.
All these factors in mind, it all begins with the beautiful and sincere “Imperium.” Something that would be perfect for opening a concert, it is a dramatic piece that is uplifting and inspiring while leaning towards the familiar Ghost sound. Then “Kaisarion” strikes an ’80s Stadium Rock chord that adds a whole new dimension to the Ghost repertoire. Additionally, it features some Punk influences in the bass tone, as well as the guitar riffs, providing a shock to the system that is still quite fitting.
Moving forward, “Spillways” has a similar vibe to the prior songs, but still remains a separate entity thanks to interesting a capella performed lyrics “You keep a casket deep within. You try to mask it, but fall back in sin.” Then there is the aforementioned single “Call Me Sunshine” which begins with a clean version of the main riff that progresses to a powerful verse. Also including a crowd-pleasing chorus that features the lyrics, “You will never walk alone. You can always reach me,” it is bound to take over auditoriums worldwide with unison chants. This is before “Hunter’s Moon” arrives with a very strong chorus. A righteous selection as the album’s lead single, some might argue it lacks in the verse, but nonetheless has been met with positive feedback from both fans and the industry alike. And it is not to say “Hunter’s Moon” lacks quality, it is just a slight come down from previous tracks on Impera which all retain a huge overall sound.
Speaking of that a larger than life sound, other standout moments include “Darkness At The Heart Of My Love,” “Bite Of Passage,” and “Respite On The Spitalfields.” All displaying a new musical progression for Ghost…could this all lead to the potential rebirth of the ’80s Heavy Metal sound? One can only hope!
Overall Impera is killer album a that ushers in a whole new era for Ghost. The only real gripe with Impera is that the songs could benefit with being slightly shorter since they are catchy enough, but tend to drag at times. All in all a strong effort that merits its popularity and recognition, Cryptic Rock gives Impera 4 out of 5 stars.