Out Now: Ghost Returns with ‘Impera’: A Captivating, Victorian-Era Glam/Metal Musical Adventure

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

There simply isn’t a band out there doing what Ghost is doing.

The Swedish hard-rock/metal/glam/pop group returned with a new album, Impera, on March 11, and the abundant slashes in the beginning of this sentence should give you an idea what’s in store from the Grammy-nominated band. Set in the Victorian era (a change from the time of the Black Plague that set the tone for 2018’s Prequelle), this one tackles empires, fake messiahs and more, all delivered with the band’s signature bombast.

Ghost’s brand of music is a singular experience, a mash-up of styles pulling from all corners of the “rock” universe, coalescing into something cohesive and singularly Ghost. The group is led by vocalist/songwriter Tobias Forge, who’s presented himself over the years as “Papa Emeritus,” “Cardinal Copia” and, most recently, “Papa Emeritus IV,” always a figure shrouded in mystery and wearing heavy cloaks.

Ghost's Tobias Forge (Photo: Mikael Eriksson)

Ghost’s Tobias Forge (Photo: Mikael Eriksson)

It’s a stylistic element that is as key to the Ghost aesthetic as the music itself, and Forge is back at his very best throughout Impera. Take the song “Spillways,” a particularly engaging track on the new record that Forge explained is “an elegy for the darkness that most people have inside.”

Mash together enthusiastic power metal of the Andrew W.K. variety, fist-pumping 1980s vibes, a Toto “Hold the Line”-esque piano lead and soaring vocals from Forge and you get an absolutely killer track:

“Call Me Little Sunshine” was a pre-release track that exemplifies what Impera is all about:

As does “Hunter’s Moon,” which originally appeared in the horror film Halloween Kills:

Click here to pick up Impera on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Impera on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

Things get weird on “Twenties,” another pre-release track featuring Forge delivering lyrics like these, set to a churning riff:

Listen up, you motherfuckers
Those Ivy League dopes, they wanna mock us
Tell ’em all this is war
And not fighting a war is for suckers (Kiss my)
Assassinate (Assassinate)
Gather the tools to disintegrate (Feed)
Hate (Hate)
Reaping the seeds as a reprobate

By the time the album-capping “Respite on the Spitalfields” comes to a close, you’ll want to start the whole thing over — and when you do, you’ll likely pick up on elements you missed the first time around, because there’s a lot going on throughout Impera!

Five albums in, Ghost is as confident in its sound as ever, and Impera is another excellent addition to the band’s catalog. The experience may be surprising, but you’re encouraged to dive in. The rewards are abundant.

Ghost will perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, March 16, so definitely make sure to watch that.

Stream Impera below.

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