If you frequent any sort of music outlet, you have likely heard of or seen the Swedish band Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the United States) in passing. The band gained a lot of attention with their first LP, entitled Opus Eponymous; many reviewers making note of their sound reminiscent of 70’s metal a la Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath. Aside from that, another thing that brought the band so much attention was their anonymous and mystical stage presence. The instrumentalists in the band wear a hooded robe and are known as “Nameless Ghouls” while the vocalist, Papa Emeritus II, wears a cardinals outfit and hat with a skull mask. Naturally, expectations were high for their sophomore LP, Infestissumam. So did the band meet the hype? For the most part.
The album begins with the title track, “Infestissumam”, with a gradually louder chorus of voices chanting something about father, son, and the Anti-Christ in latin. Having no prior knowledge of what this band sounded like or was about, a friend of mine explained to me that Ghost was indeed a Satanic band, and with that, the next song, “Per Aspera Ad Inferi”, began. The song sets a promising tone for the rest of the album with it’s driving drum and guitar verse and powerful chorus. The next song, “Secular Haze”, the single for the album, begins with a circus-y piano driven verse. Seriously, this song sounds like it should be playing in a Ringling Brothers circus tent, which makes it one of my favorite tracks on the album.
From the beginning, I was instantly drawn in by what sets Ghost apart from other Satanic metal bands: the light, warm, almost endearing vocals. There is nothing harsh about Papa Emeritus II’s vocals, never once on the album (or Opus Eponymous) is there any screaming or anything. It’s almost as if Papa Emeritus II is drawing you in with the voice of Satan himself.
I’ve never heard a band chant “Hail Satan” as proudly as it is chanted in the album’s peak, “Year Zero”. The song opens with a choir chanting something in latin, like the opener, and the band immediately settles into a guitar, bass, and drum groove that leads into a chorus worthy of Satan’s attention.
But like many albums with strong points, this album definitely has its ill parts. My main criticism here is with the album’s longest track, “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen”. Coming in at eight minutes, it begins with a boring, drawn out, key-driven spooky ballad, which is a shame for an album going so strong up until that point. It’s very anti-climatic. The song eventually picks up and moves into one of the most memorable moments of the album: “Zombie queen, zombie queen! Black light guides you, ghuleh ghuleh!” I just wish it got to the point a little sooner.
With that being said, I have had the chorus of the upbeat half of this song stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. That’s one of the best things about this album: the choruses will stick with you whether you like it or not. From the chorus of “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen”, to the chorus of “Idolatrine”, you may be shocked to find yourself humming things like “Suffer little children,” in “Idolatrine”, “Into the source of wisdom, beyond the Bible lies. Into the endless depth of Satan’s eyes,” in “Depth of Satan’s Eyes”.
While this may not be on many end of the year “Best Of” lists like it’s predecessor, Infestissumam is definitely worth a little bit of your time.
Purchase Infestissumam here