It has been a while since we heard a new Ghost album. I implore you to not fret for the new Ghost record ‘Impera’ is here. As the trend with every Ghost album goes, this one is a treat too. This is a Ghost record, what can we expect? Something new and fresh or something akin to the sounds of the past that we adore? I would say that the ‘Impera’ threads on a swell Goldilocks zone – a fine balance between the familiar nuances that had is swaying for Ghost along with new and crisp sounds. The first time I heard Ghost was probably in 2013. To see the band move from a cliché haunting vibe that still enchants to something that sounds new yet familiar is extraordinary.
‘Impera’ opens with the brief “Imperium” before making its way to “Kaisarion”. “Kaisarion” has this brilliant hook that well, gets you hooked from the get-go. The chunky riffs come falling in with the singling that commands attention into obsession and we know that we are in familiar Ghost territory. The chunky riffs and the typical Ghost arrangement come into play with “Call Me Little Sunshine”, “Hunter’s Moon” & “Watcher In The Sky”. The music is gripping and clenching. The riffs get heavier, the hooks tighter, and the sense of the familiar more strong. The syncopation with every beat on the floor is full of oomph.
“Twenties” takes a drumbeat (albeit of a deeper cultural relevance) so familiar and probably stupidly overused in recent years in the pop world. We get a new take on it. At this point, Ghost makes us dance to speedy riffs with “Twenties” while we let a fair amount of existential doom get to us. “Darkness At The Heart Of My Love” adequately sums up the feeling of the entire record so far in one song. The opening of this song that comes towering with an aura of the gospel with the whiff of the 1980s is simply stunning. The chorus is honey. Enough said. “Griftwood” is straight-up an experience in the last four decades in music. This is enjoyable and typical Ghost. For some of you, the influences here will be pretty obvious. I cannot leave spoilers. This thrilling ride of an album comes to an end with “Respite On The Spitalfields”. Lay back and watch the ‘Impera’ draw the curtains of the show with a massive soundscape that is unmistakably lovable. The singing, the guitar work, the thundering drums and bass, and of course, the guitar solo makes this a thorough song aptly fitting the growing possibilities of Ghost.
‘Impera’ by Ghost is remarkably smashing. Every record by the band has been a massive step up from the last. The consistency comes in two ways- each record has been consistently enjoyable and artful. ‘Impera’ is no less. This seemed the way to go. At times this record feels like a rarity- to be at the right time and at the right place. Everything sits brilliantly well. I think what makes Ghost and especially their newest offering ‘Impera’ noteworthy is that the music does not beg for attention. At best, we run short of doing justice in thoroughly enjoying the music. The production on this record is excellent and boy, I enjoy a great bass sound. This record has it all.
With all the familiar elements of music that evoke the last four or five decades of music, would I argue that Ghost is an experience in hauntology? Metaphorically at least, with much of the music with the band dramatizing a darker future while sonically bringing back the past, this seems the case. As far as how the music feels, it does seem implied that Ghost uses the past to appropriate the ideas of the future. Maybe this is almost prophetic. ‘Impera’ by Ghost marvels at music and the extraordinary.