MELIORA by Ghost
Genre: Heavy Metal
Favorite Tracks: N/A
Ghost (formerly known as Ghost B.C.) is the reason why people get squeamish when it comes to admitting that they listen to metal. Do I love Slayer, Pantera, Tool, Electric Wizard, Sunn O))), and Earth? Absolutely. Will you ever catch me wearing a t-shirt advertising any of these bands? Absolutely not, because there is a decent chance I will be approached by a greasy haired metal dweeb wearing a Ghost shirt expecting to engage me in conversation. I have to imagine that Ghost’s core fans are the type of metal heads I like the least (aside from people who insist on calling Poison, KISS, and Def Leppard “metal). Ghost’s target demographic seems to be the type of kids who think they’ve outgrown DragonForce and want more “dark and edgy” music for their tormented souls, but are only willing to venture to “that side” of Hot Topic to find it. This is the music of the vampire kids from South Park, it is the music of guys who think chain wallets are hardcore, it is the music of people who get into fistfights over D&D games. They’re a Swedish band that likes to dress up, but not in a fun GWAR kind of way, but in a “the lead singer dresses up like a skeleton pope and seems to genuinely believe this is a clever commentary” kind of way.
Presented without comment
With MELIORA, Ghost serves up a torrent of neutered, unoriginal riffs complimented by vocals and lyrics so tame your mom probably wouldn’t really object to listening to them with you on the way home from school. All this is underscored by nauseating piano and keyboard riffs, which undercut any traditional metal atmospherics before they have a chance to surface. All the songs are trying so desperately to orchestrate a sense of “sweeping epic” instrumentals, but so entirely fail, that you can actually feel your ear drums cringe as you endure track after track. Really, the only way to describe this type of music is “soft metal” or “easy listening metal”; it is so mild and tepid that you could easily listen to it while doing accounting work. This could almost be labeled more prog than metal, if the lyrics weren’t trying so desperately to invoke images of Satan, blackness and… ravens, probably, it’s hard to say; eventually the lyrics have to be tuned out entirely to suffer through this album.
For a sense of how horribly sentimental and lame MELIORA is, look no further than “He Is”. I could put this song on for my evangelical extended family members and tell them it was a new Christian rock band and they would have no trouble accepting and enjoying the music. The song is supposed to be about Satan, but with lyrics like “we’re hiding here inside of thee and all our doubts are now destroyed, the guidance of the morning stare will lead the way” sung in a sweet, sincere, tone, it’s really hard to process the subject material as being about something other than Jesus. This is how much this album fails at summoning images of darkness and evil; listening to it will make you feel like you’re in church. Whoever thought hailing the Dark Lord could feel so much like youth group.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend