Ghost B.C., ‘Infestissumam’ – Album Review
Ghost B.C. (Ghost) do not allow potential fans to become casual bystanders. The Satanic doom / heavy metal act strive to convert you through a unique brand of deceptively beautiful music, leaving listeners convulsing and speaking in tongues, much like those inside the most fundamental Evangelical or Pentecostal church.
Ghost released one of metal's most affective debut albums in recent history with the haunting and low-fi 'Opus Eponymous,' conjuring massive buzz throughout the world. Despite the creative success of 'Opus,' there still remained a great deal of ground to cover regarding Ghost's concept: masked ghouls and their spiritual leader performing a metal-infused Satanic mass to welcome Satan himself into the realm of man. 'Infestissumam' is the sound of Ghost embracing their concept with far greater precision, creating vivid sonic visuals of both Satan's birth and its preceding rituals.
The title track of 'Infestissumam' immediately transports the listener into a black mass, as Ghost, along with a breathtaking choir, begin the Satanic rite with an unnerving beauty. 'Infestissumam' connects perfectly into the album's next track, 'Per Aspera Ad Inferi,' which lures in the listener with an undeniably catchy verse, followed by a hypnotic chorus; a theme repeated often throughout the 'Infestissumam' album, perhaps most notably in the phenomenally creepy 'Secular Haze.'
Another theme found throughout 'Infestissumam' is the practice of vocal progressions which refuse to resolve, creating an uneasy feel within tracks such as 'Jigolo Har Megiddo,' 'Body and Blood' and the demon-chanting 'Year Zero,' which arguably serves as the album's standout track.
The songwriting prowess offered within Ghost's music has increased by leaps and bounds in terms of complexity within 'Infestissumam.' The seven-and-a-half minute 'Ghuleh / Zombie Queen' is a perfect example of Ghost's supernatural growth, mixing their ever-present synth keyboards with a gorgeous piano lead for the track's beginning sequence. Vocalist and spiritual leader Papa Emeritus II takes over the remainder of 'Ghuleh / Zombie Queen' with one of his most impressive vocal performances to date, with the warmth of his alluring voice rising up into falsetto territory in several quick bursts.
'Infestissumam' closes with 'Monstrance Clock,' which serves as yet another compositional benchmark for Ghost. While the drums subtly mimic the "haunting sound of the monstrance clock," Ghost converge into one entity for the song's chorus, re-introducing the choir during the conclusion of 'Monstrance Clock' as the evil mass concludes with the birth of Lucifer's son.
Ghost's sophomore effort is not a technically perfect album, but 'Infestissumam' is a conceptual masterpiece and an absolutely essential listen. In the genre of metal, where creative plagiarism has been not only rampant, but increasingly popular, Ghost have proven yet again that true, virtuosic originality still exists. 'Infestissumam' is what we've been praying for … and Satan has answered the call.