Ghost – Impera

5/10

The first spin of the new Ghost album ”Impera” actually leaves me a bit befuddled. Although I am the first to admit that I’m nowhere near being a Ghost fan boy, I’ve always found their earlier records, even if not top notch all of the time, at least quite interesting with some heights and always with a pretty high lowest level. “Impera” however left me totally unimpressed and the only actual feeling after the premier listening was “Is this it?”

Luckily, already on the next spin I’m able to find a little gleam of hope, as the opening track (the short intro “Imperium” not accounted for) “Kaisarion” manages to change from a bland triviality to a quite catchy thing and with a bit more positive attitude towards the album some of the other songs also manage to grow on me.

“Spillways” tend to be a rather enjoyable tune and “Hunter’s Moon” actually gives a small, although maybe tiny, hint of that lurking sinister feeling Ghost, even in their most POP-esque moments of yore, used to be able to present.

Sound-wise I’m still a bit annoyed though. Everything is really polished with layers upon layers, building a quite impressive soundscape but to me it sounds a bit too overproduced, and some things, like the extremely prominent toms, really annoys me after a while and makes me suffer every drum fill.

Even if the first half of the album manage to transform into something quite decent, the second half doesn’t manage to make the same lift. Although it’s a bit fun to make it a game, finding comparisons to other artist, I guess “Griftwood” must be a homage to Hysteria-era Def Leppard, the song material just doesn’t manage to catch my interest, with tunes like the repetitive and bland “Darkness At the Heart Of My Love” and the straight on boring end number “Respite on the Spitalfields”.

My foremost objection with “Impera” though, is that it’s way to POP-orientated and even if that’s been a part of Ghost’s sound from the very beginning, almost all traces of that edge-creating “evilness” has disappeared in favour for a grandiose, almost “Schlager music”-sound with melodies, that although appealing, often sounds a bit too familiar.

In conclusion, “Impera” starts of pretty OK, but doesn’t manage to keep my interest for more than a couple of songs. A bit to pompous, a bit to poppy and a bit to insipid… And don’t even get me started on that abomination called “Twenties”. Christ…

https://open.spotify.com/album/2cLBWJAz6MCH4t3P3FShBA?si=gPzpCkoESC-OfUY5kkjuWA

Artist: Ghost
Title: Impera
Rating: 5/10
Label: Loma Vista recordings
Playing time: 46:21
Date of release: 2022-03-11
Place of origin: Sweden
Standout track: Kaisarion

Ghost – Impera

March 15, 2022

Luckily, already on the next spin I’m able to find a little gleam of hope, as the opening track (the short intro “Imperium” not counted for) “Kaisarion” manages to change from a bland triviality to a quite catchy thing

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