by Alex Zelensky
Meliora is the third studio album from Swedish doom metal group, Ghost. If you’ve never heard of them, Ghost is currently composed of the main vocalist Papa Emeritus III and five nameless Ghouls. The identities of all the band members have remained anonymous throughout the band’s years of activity. Papa Emeritus has supposedly been replaced twice already, even though it always seems to always be the same person. The main subject for this band has always been one thing: Satan. Their songs speak of praising the fallen angel, Lucifer, but their lyrics speak of issues such as the place of religion within the twenty-first century and the secularization of most Western nations. The band acts as a satirical religious group, taking the place of a greater power trying to guide the swarms of people.
On their most recent release, the band explores the desire of a better tomorrow that many people experience in their lives as summed up by the title Meliora, Latin for “the pursuit of something better”. The album also demonstrates a change in tone for the band, with the guitars being given a much crisper and darker tone than their previous album, Infestissumam. The band maintains a heavy use of choirs, which adds to the religious aspect of most of their songs. In following with the album’s theme of a better future, the electronic-sounding keyboards are used to give a futuristic feel to the songs, as opposed to the organs on previous albums.
“From the Pinnacle to the Pit” is an astounding track with a high tempo that seems to be one of the most “metal “ songs on the album. The song describes the fall of Lucifer from Heaven (“You are cast out from the Heavens to ground/Blackened feathers falling down.”) The lyrical concept is extrapolated to the music: the very low bass gives the feeling of the pit, and during the solos, the guitar is played with a lot of echo and at a very high tone, bringing to mind a summit.
One of the most notable tracks is “He is”, which sings the praise of Satan as a being which gives meaning to your life (“He’s the force that made me be.”). It begins as an acoustic ballad, which slowly evolves by adding drums and piano, ending with an excellent solo.
The closing track “Deus in Absentia”, which translates to “God’s absence”, is a perfect end to this album. It employs a large chorus and has a strong feeling of grandeur. It explores what could be done in a world without a god and the union of two people within this world (“The world is on fire/ And you are here to stay and burn with me”).
Ghost performed on September 30th at the Metropolis as part of their “Black to the Future” Tour. Ghost began their set with “Spirit” and continued with tracks off of Meliora. Highlights include nuns distributing sacramental bread amongst the crowd during an acoustic rendition of “He is” and “Monstrance Clock” to close out the show.