Ghost – Meliora

8.2 Overall Score
Originality: 8/10
Production: 8/10
Sound: 10/10

Very well produced. I Thought put into the lyrics.

A bit goth-y for my tastes in metal. I Not necessarily a bad thing for many people.

Ghost
Meliora
Universal Music AB
2015

Ghost is a classic, NWOBHM type of metal band, although they hail from Linkoping, Sweden and were formed in 2006, 35 years or so after the NWOBHM bands landed on U.S. shores. Their latest release is Meliora. The word Meliora is Latin for “better,” if these types of things interest you. They interest me, I believe it is always a good thing to learn something new. Sometimes you learn things that you end up wishing you did not though. Fortunately that is not the case here. This album is, well, different. Another good thing in my book. I cannot say that this is my favorite type of music, but I certainly do not dislike it. Why, then, is it not my favorite type of music but I still like it? Good question. Well, first of all it is a bit too goth-y for my tastes. Secondly, it is produced too well! That is a bad thing, you ask? Hey, I’m a Venom fan. Especially their first two albums. So cut me a little slack. I like my metal raw. But that is ok. Once you listen to this album for a while and figure out where they are coming from, you will also figure out that they did a pretty good job of it. They do not seem to be aping any band that I know of. How best to describe them then? OK. It is the year 1300. You are in a cathedral, listening to the monks chanting. Suddenly they whip out electric guitars and drums and the whole lot and start tearing it up. There you go. That is Ghost; at least on Meliora. If that sounds like something that would appeal to you then this is the album to buy. You will get what I described, I can assure you of that. I personally am a history buff, especially when it comes to medieval European history, but you do not need to be an educated addict of history to recognize the medieval-type influences in this album. One thing I am not sure of  though – there is definitely a religious bent to this album, not preachy or anything like that, but it is there and I am not sure what side they are on. If any. I get the feeling that they are questioning religion. Lyrics can be found on the Internet. They also quote Edgar Allen Poe, which is cool. Here is a sample lyric from the second song on the album, From The Pinnacle To The Pit.

“You have the power
You wear the crown
From the pinnacle to the pit
It is a long way down
You wield the scepter
You wear the gown
From the pinnacle to the pit
It is a long way down”

To me, that says that you have choices to make and, having said that, there can be no denying that we all must face choices in our lives. Do you want to go up or do you want to go down? Or perhaps you want to forge your own path (I did, and I can tell you that it is HARD, especially to maintain it for 51 years. Yes, I am old). That seems to be the underlying message of the album. Figure it out. What your life (and possibly afterlife) will be is up to you. You decide, you make your life what you want it to be. That is my take on the lyrics and message. The lyrics are written intelligently and precisely and I am sure that if you enjoy the album that you will enjoy reading the lyrics and deciding for yourself what they are about. You may be right, you may be wrong – but most likely there is no right or wrong. The message is what you make of it. There is no preaching here.

I would not purchase this album simply because it is not quite my cup of tea. But make no mistake – this is a good record. Well produced, not overly compressed, the English language is clearly emoted and you get to imagine medieval monks with electric guitars. What more could you possibly want?

 

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Jeff Strichart
Author: Jeff Strichart View all posts by
Jeff Strichart has been a frustrated musician for almost forty years. He is also a producer and has mixed and/or mastered many local Colorado bands. Aside from his music and production he enjoys his dogs, motorcycles, collecting vintage BMX bicycles, reading and his new found love of sound design using hardware synthesizers and has licensed material to the BBC for use in their television programs.

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