Swedish Metal Band Ghost Enthrall and Innovate With ‘Impera’


“Impera” (Courtesy Zbigniew M. Bielak via Instagram)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Swedish metal band Ghost released their fifth album on March 11, 2022. This is the band’s most experimental and arguably one of their most entertaining albums to date. The album’s release comes after the band began their 2022 co-headlining tour with rock band “Volbeat” and special guest satanic, doo-wop duo “Twin Temple.”


Ghost’s latest offering creates a new and innovative experience for fans of the band’s previous works. The Swedish rockers’ occult lyrical influences are still ever-present on this album, masterfully crafted alongside experimental choruses and strangely comical verses. 

Spillways” is a notable departure from previous sounds for the band. It strikes me as something reminiscent of ABBA, whose song “I’m A Marionette” was covered on the deluxe edition of Ghost’s sophomore album “Infestissumam.” Ghost enjoyed particular success and acclaim for “Hunter’s Moon” when the song was featured in the credits of 2021’s “Halloween Kills.”

While something of a departure from the cinematic transitions between tracks and glamorously grim thematic elements featured on their record “Prequelle” released in 2018, the band steps into a sound with new fire and brimstone that is as enthralling as any bit of their discography on a first listen with “Impera.”


The vibrant instrumental track “Imperium” opens the album. It is full of the incredibly complex and resounding guitar riffs that make Ghost such a joy to listen to and it sets the turbulent, sparingly soft and strange tone for the rest of the album perfectly. “Kaisarion” is an equally energetic follow-up whose lyrics bring the band’s usual religious imagery to the forefront and keep the listener transfixed with its tempo and engaging delivery.

One of the album’s singles, “Twenties,” had a controversial release. It is arguably the most experimental song on the album and its lyrics oscillate between showcasing the band’s first use of curse words and strangely comical phrases in a way that somehow blends with the band’s newly coveted experimental sound.

Darkness At The Heart Of My Love” marks a return to softer vocals similar to those found in “Life Eternal,” but this track is a notable departure from any sound the band has created before. It is slow and melodic, a beautifully resonant ballad that brings the band to heel with some of their more aggressive riffs and biting lyrics. The track’s unique blend of soft, strange and lyrical sounds makes it one of my favorites. Griftwood” is a close second with its catchy lyrics and masterful inflections of voice amid engaging riffs and drum beats. Its inclusion of religious imagery is reminiscent of earlier albums and is a beautiful addition to the album. 

The Verdict

Ghost has proven their versatility with “Impera.” The new sound is made rewarding by the familiar crisp instrumentals and catchy bites of sound overlaid with strangely captivating and experimental lyrics. Their typically occult and otherwise religious subject matter may be off-putting for some listeners at first — it certainly was for me — but beneath that lies an intricate sound that makes wonderful use of a unique vocalist and outstanding instrumentation. 


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