Sometimes, it’s hard not to write: Damn great album. For the love of the devil, just do yourself a favour and listen to the damn thing. That’s how I feel about Ghost‘s 5th studio album IMPERA.
I found writing this Track by Track hard as I did not want to do the album or the band any injustice. In my opinion, it’s their best album out of their five releases and of the 12 tracks there is not one skippable song. NOT ONE. Do you know how hard it is to keep the attention of people in what has become a 30 second video world? Damn near impossible I tell you.
At the end of the Prequelle reign, Cardinal Copia was kicked up to Papa Emeritus IV status and well, he hasn’t looked back. For those that have no idea, Copia and Papa IV are the alter egos of frontman Tobias Forge.
I won’t deep dive into the inspiration, but Tobias has said in interviews that the concept of Impera came to him after reading the book The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, and Why They Always Fall by Timothy Parsons.
Without further ado, let’s do this Track by Track so I can get back to performing my own one woman show into my Sharpie.
Imperium – instrumental opening of the album. Which is a wonderful lead into the first song.
Kaisarion – Tobias kicks things off with most hair metal wail I have heard in ages and well gang, I’m hooked. I don’t even need the slick guitar hook to reel me in. The wail has me. I’m done. The song is a wall of guitars and bass. It’s fast, electric, and brings me back to old school metal days of guitar speed. I get Rush vibes, Def Leppard ‘Hysteria‘ era vibes, and throw in a little Dimebag Darrell speed on guitar feeling. The song is just a goddamn banger.
Spillways – The song opens with keyboards that gives me an 80s pop vibe, but don’t be fooled. The song is epic. If Kaisarion is a wall of guitars and bass, Spillways is a wall of stunning vocals and harmonies. The song is going to be a fan favourite live. It’s an anthem. You can sing along to and play the air instrument of your choice too.
Call Me Little Sunshine – I did a 🔥Track of this song, and I still stand by my original statement, that this is vocally one of Tobias’ best songs. It’s got grit and grime and it’s dark and loving at the same time. His voice still gives me chills on this track. Musically as I have previously stated, the bass and drum bring me sheer happiness. I can see demons rising from hell and I’m here to watch their battle. With the combination of Tobias’ voice and the music in the chorus, it is nothing short of finding religion. It melts together in perfect harmony.
Hunter’s Moon – this song is a smash. It’s got a driving bass drum, a great bass line, epic guitars, crescendoing guitars, and great clean vocals. Not only can you sing along to this song, you can rock out and dance to it at the same time. It’s something I feel that only Ghost can do. Well, other bands can do it, but Ghost does it greatly. This song is up there with the infectious “Dance Macabre” and “Rats”. Rock out and dance out and sing your heart out.
Watcher in the Sky – hello bass drum, I love you. There’s something about this song that I can’t quite put my finger on. At times, I feel it’s part Metallica vibes but also Iron Maiden “Run to the Hills” vibe. It’s heavy in drum and bass and apocalyptic in sound and then the guitar solo kicks in and well, I just want to bang my head. I highly recommend listening to this track on a solid pair of headphones to pick up all the nuances of this song. It’s fucking epic.
Dominion – the second instrumental of the album and to be honest, much needed after the epic tune before it. It gives the listener a chance to catch their breath before being shoved back into the deep end of the pool.
Twenties – this song is fun. I get big top circus vibes as it opens and then as Ghost does, it punches you in the face while still making sure you’re having fun. It’s full of cocky swagger, crunchy guitars, and drums for days. I fucking love it.
Darkness at the Heart of My Love – I suppose if you called “Cirice” a ballad, then you’d call this song a ballad, the difference between the two is that this is a ballad and goddamn it’s a great fucking song. Wow. I was blown away by the softness and delicateness of this song.
Griftwood – hell yes to the guitar intro. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. I am instantly taken back to the prime of 80’s and early 90’s metal. Infectious, contagious, and damn near perfect. It stays through the entire song which I love. Then when you think, how could this song get any better, Papa and the Ghouls give you one of Ghost’s most infectious pre-chorus and chorus (I’m not a songwriter, feels like a pre and chorus to me) I have ever had the pleasure of singing into my Sharpie. This song became an instant favourite once I heard them. I love love love this song.
Bite of Passage – the third and final instrumental of the album. It’s a great lead into the final track of the album.
Respite on the Spitalfields – after slaying us for 11 tracks, Ghost brings this perfect album to a close, but don’t be fooled by the down tempo of the opening. This song swirls slowly and builds intensity. The guitar solo is magically beautiful and haunting and if I am going to compare this song to anything, after the guitar solo I get Whitesnake “Still of the Night” vibes and let me tell you, I am here for it kids. And then, just like that, the song ends, much like its inspiration, Jack the Ripper, did.
FAVOURITE TRACK: Griftwood
MUST LISTEN TRACK: The WHOLE album in its entirety from start to finish, uninterrupted.
RATING OUT OF 5 ROCK HANDS: 11 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Listen to Impera on Spotify
Photo credit: Ghost website