Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Song A Day: Ghost - "He Is"

I don't know about you, but I seem to go through massive shifts in what I listen to every now and then. I'm not sure whether it is that as I age, my ear hears differently, or whether I am just in a different place and more ready to accept things, or whether bands themselves are changing. Probably a bit of everything. In the last year I have started listening to bands and artists that I have previously dismissed or overlooked.

Ghost were one such band. They released their third album last year, Meliora, to great critical acclaim. I don't remember why I started listening to them, but after just a few listens to "From the Pinnacle to the Pit" and I was hooked. Then I discovered by chance that they had been on the bill at Nova Rock 2 years ago when we went, and I didn't pick up on them then, despite doing my usual 'listen to at least one song by every band on beforehand' thing.

The sound is hard to describe. It's kind of proggy, but also heavy, but also not. It's a little bit Queen 1+2, it's a little bit something else. However you put it, it's good.
The arrangements are packed with so many rich details, I sometimes wonder if they are channelling the spirit of Freddie Mercury. I love music, and I love a lot of bands, but Ghost evoke something in me that only a few have managed (Queen mainly).

I saw them live in November last year, one week after the Paris attacks. It was an interesting atmosphere, because that time the previous week the Eagles of Death Metal had been taking to the stage and then the unthinkable happened. Although tensions never seemed palpably high in Vienna, you could tell people were a little worried. Ghost didn't make a huge thing about it, but there was a definite air of defiance running through their set, and as I commented at the end, there is no bigger fuck you to those intent on causing terror than a mass sing along to a song about Satanic fucking.

This is not that song.

"He Is" is the latest release from Meliora. One of the things that really caught my ear the other day was the instrumental bridge towards the end - it sounded a little bit familiar, then I realised it has echoes of one of the refrains from Queen's "Fairy King". Another reason to love it!

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