If you haven’t heard of Ghost, then good, you’re lucky. But just for context before I begin my rant, they’re a hard rock and heavy metal band hailing from Sweden, and I will give it to them, their image is kind of unique. None of the band members’ names are known, as in public appearances and live shows they wear makeup, masks, and costumes to conceal their identity, and in their lyrics and image, they push a Satanic and occult theme forward, making their live shows seem like dark rituals. Sounds cool right? It’s not. It sucks.
It’s not the image that bothers me though. Truthfully, I see it as a bit of a gimmick, but at the end of the day, if your band wants to wear costumes and dress up, go for it bud I don’t give a shit. But when your music is this offensively bad? That’s when problems arise.
When we get down to the problems with this record, among them, everything, it becomes apparent that this kind of music is the exact antithesis of what I like. Mind you, hard rock and heavy metal, while still not my preferred genres, can be done well in my eyes. (Black Sabbath anyone?). But this is exactly the kind of music I hate. This soulless, gutless, overproduced, in-authentically spooky pussy rock with none of the threat and punch it thinks it has. Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with pussy music. You say Dashboard Confessional, I say pretty good. But clearly, given the image of this band, all of the Satanism, and the genres it attempts to replicate, this band isn’t going for that. They think they’re heavy, but when you show no passion and your snare sound is non existent in the horrible mixing, you come across about as hardcore as a white girl waiting in StarBucks for her latte and debating whether or not she should buy the Frozen soundtrack. Which brings me to the production. Rock producers, take notes when listening to this album, because this is exactly how not to produce a rock record. The guitars have that generic crunch you would find on a Nickelback record, and as I mentioned before, the drums sound horrible. The snare is offensively quiet and has the flattest tone I’ve heard on a record in a while and all of the toms sound dead and flat as well. The bass is missing in action, as it’s just swallowed up in the mix and overtaken by those “turn it up dude!” guitars. It’s a mess, and it sucks every ounce of heavyniess out of the record.
But it’s not like this record was tragically ruined by the horrible production or anything like that. It was ruined the second it came into fruition because Ghost are shitty songwriters and have questionable performing skills. Every riff, and I mean every single one, is ripped straight out of the hard rock handbook and is devoid of all originality and excitement. None of the songs go anywhere interesting, even when they try to get big and grandiose on songs like “Spirit”. It also doesn’t help when everything is played so stiffly and devoid of all passion. There’s nothing worse than when it sounds like a band it just going through their songs and showing no emotion or excitement. This is especially apparent in the singer, who maybe gives the flattest and most emotionless vocal performance of the year. In hard rock, especially hard rock about Satan, I want a badass vocalist with edge and darkness, not a fuccboi. That’s what he is. He’s a hard rock fuccboi. He’s fake, disingenuous, and doesn’t actually care about the trend or style that he’s emulating. Like your white friend who is quick to wear a backwards hat, say things like “low-key”, “fam”, and “lit”, and wear Supreme, but all the while you just laugh at him. But instead of that, this guy is quick to wear face-paint and sing about Satan, but with none of the conviction you would typically expect from an occult frontman.
There are few things I hate more than passionless music. And there are few things I hate more than overproduced rock music. And this album is all of those things, but amplified. This is soulless, emotionless music devoid of any passion or conviction that offers up no interesting or worthwhile art, and is essentially a slap in the face to anyone who likes their hard rock music with some real danger and aggressiveness. “Meliora” is one of the most offensive albums I’ve heard in a while, and not because of the image or Hellish themes, but because it sucks.
Standout Tracks: None