Album Review: Ghost – Impera

Album Review: Ghost - Impera
Reviewed by Tim Finch

An acoustic guitar breaks the silence, a riff slowly idles, growing in stature as a second more powerful guitar joins it. The atmosphere is building and hairs stand on the back of your neck as ‘Imperium’ reaches its crescendo, introducing you to Ghost’s fifth studio album, 'Impera'.

Following on from 2018’s ‘Prequelle’ Cardinal Copia was elevated in post to become Papa Emeritus IV, and ‘Imperia’ has the new Papa’s stamp all over it. The instrumental introduction leads the listener through to ‘Kaisarion’ in which Papa and his Ghouls channel their inner Rush in a magical progressive rock number. Five minutes of ebbing and flowing majesty that leads into ‘Spillways’ which has a hint of influence from Foreigners keyboard tones amongst its twists and turns.

In this day and age music has become all too easy to throw away, the spotify generation will listen to a single track from an album and onto the next, not stopping to admire an album for what it is, an often exquisite artwork in musical form. ‘Impera’ is a work that must be listened to from start to finish, on repeat and the listener must open their mind to what will flow forth. As a full album ‘Impera’ is moving, heart warming and fully absorbing. It triggers emotions in the listener, it makes the full work all that more meaningful. If you simply dip in and out with a song here or there the listener can never fully appreciate what Papa Emeritus IV has created here.

Album Review: Ghost – Impera

‘Call Me Little Sunshine’ has received plenty of airplay over the past few weeks, being a staple of the rotation on radio stations like Planet Rock. Stand alone it’s a solid rock anthem, but as part of the bigger picture it blends with the songs that have come before and into those that follow to create something very special. ‘Hunters Moon’ gave us a little insight into the next generational work from the band when it was release five months ago, now it’s fits perfectly in the story where this album takes it’s darker turn, allowing more sinister thoughts to flow.

‘Watcher In The Sky’ has a repeating earworm of a riff, it’s a heavy, throbbing vessel with which the band hook you in; your head banging and fist pumping as you listen along at home. Latest single ‘Twenties’ is where the band really stretch their experimental legs. If an “outsider”, someone not familiar with the works of Ghost, was to listen to this as a stand alone track it would raise an eyebrow or two… “what the hell is this?”. But for Papa’s devoted following this is quite simply his eccentric perfection.

Ghost have their detractors, they always have had them, it is seen as the "cool thing" to dislike the band. It’s quite a strange phenomenon for people to write off a band without giving them time, purely off hearsay. And no doubt those detractors will be out in force with this album, without even bothering to listen to it. But for the many devotees, and for those willing to open their ears, their minds and their hearts ‘Impera’ has it all. Emotional highs and lows, aggression, sweeping musical soundscapes that move the listener more than one could think is possible. With album number five, Ghost have outdone themselves, producing a masterpiece that will stand the test of time and will not be outdone this year. Not only album of the year material, this will be the album of the decade!

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