To quote the early 21st century classic film “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” the enigmatic Swedish metal band, Ghost B.C.’s mystery is only exceeded by their power. To give a sense of what they’re about, on March 12th, they offered their fans a free new song online – on the condition that they endorse their frontman to be the next pope of the Catholic Church. To give an idea of what the band’s about musically, the songs contain a solid mix of tongue in cheek hymnal passages, ironic church organs, 70’s metal guitar riffs, and melodic vocals. The group’s live presentation is truly what sets them apart from most other bands in existence. For their performances, their lead singer who goes by the name of “Papa Emeritus II” dons a skull mask and along with his similarly nameless bandmates (who call themselves “Nameless Ghouls”) rather stoically deliver their brand of metal. This band, formerly plainly named “Ghost,” recently released their highly anticipated sophomore album “Infestissumam,” named after the latin word for “hostile.”
Infestissumam’s opener and title track begins with polyphonic chant sung in Latin that quickly escalades into a full choir that supplements heavy power chords and a simple, driving drum pattern. To me the album’s standout track is the album’s third song, Secular Haze. The track essentially functions as a heavy metal waltz, and contains a chilling organ line, beautiful vocal melody, and powerful hook. Ghost brings back the polyphonic chant in a more catchy and less artsy fashion for the track Year Zero, where this line serves as the main vocal hook. Another standout is the track Body and Blood, which is a melodic ballad about the irony of digestion of the eucharist. The guitars on this track, and the album in general, are very simply done, but are very crisply executed so the ideas flow very smoothly. The bass playing is also very effective.
This being said, this album doesn’t exactly have the overall luster of their debut release “Opus Eponymous.” It doesn’t seem to contain the rawness and passion as the first album. “Infestissumam” is a much more polished endeavor than their previous release and it sacrifices a sense of ingenuity and honesty as a result. The band be respected by their sheer audacity to create an atmosphere that is so far out of the cookie cutter hard rock ballpark. While their sophomore release may not turn any heads, the release is a very solid album to both exercise and/or do religious soul-searching to.