If You Have Ghost
Review score: 87%
Review Date: January 2014
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
Happy 2014! And what’s this I see peeking out of the shadows beneath my desk? It’s no good hiding down there little fella... Aah, afraid of the light are you? It’s almost as though the beast wants to hide its identity...
No... wait a minute...come ‘ere you little... ha, gotcha! OK, let’s see what we have here... it’s a review copy of Ghost’s latest five track EP squirming in my grip like a gremlin caught in sunlight.
Unlike the rest of Ghost who protect their identities KISS-style to add to the mystique, Dave Grohl has put his name to this one as producer, I see. Slipping off his Nameless Ghoul mask, if you like. Could that be him I hear on the drums from time to time perchance?
“If you have Ghost” – cool name for the EP, taken from the title track of course. The EP is mostly a collection of covers, and mostly with a Swedish theme, paying homage to Ghost’s homeland.
If You Have Ghosts
Ghost take a Rory Erikson classic and give it the Nameless Ghoul treatment. Remaining true to the psychedelic rocker’s lyrics, Ghost treats us to a more menacing version than the beautiful original by he of the 13th Floor Elevators fame. The Ghost rendition features that eery melodic sound we have come to associate with them. About as far as it is possible to get from doom metal, but a soft, honey coated 70s sound a la Blue Oyster Cult.
I’m a Marionette
I’m a Marionette is one of the ABBA’s less well known numbers, the closer from ABBA’s fifth studio album, called simply ‘The Album’. Ghost honour their fellow Swedes by taking this retro song and ramping up the menace to eleven. Ghost manage to walk that fine line between respecting the original and pouring on their own special magic.
Another surprise. This time Ghost chose to cover 80s Swedish dance outfit Army of Lovers and their hit single – from 1991 I my age addled brain still serves – Crucified. Where the original was a cheery, silly, poptastic entertainer, the Ghost version takes a different path.
They start out with an Eagles style guitar intro and gentle first chorus, follow it with a brief moment of guitar riffery reminiscent of 80s Ozzy, then complete the track by interspersing the familiar Ghost sound of the chorus with Papa Emeritus II menacing, threatening, spoken delivery of the traditional Army of Lovers lyrics. Papa E reminds me of King Diamond in his more melodic moments. Very sinister sounding – nice.
Waiting for the Night
Took a moment to recognise this Depeche Mode cover. The 90s original was a gentle spooky slice of melancholy electronica. Replace the electronica with heavy rock guitars and drums whilst maintaining the haunting quality of the vocals and you have Ghost’s cover. Somehow, Ghost’s rendition is deeper and more satisfying.
Secular Haze (live)
The EP closes with a live version of one of their own tracks from their second album Infestissumam. The evil ‘fluence shines through Papa Emeritus II’s vocals and the too-sweet fairground rock sound. Secular Haze reminds me a bit of Creature Feature. Don’t tell Tali I said so, but I reckon Ghost do it better. Less comical, more sinister. Ghost certainly do the dark evil menace very well indeed.
If you love old melodic rock bands such as Blue Oyster Cult then get into Ghost! (Or if you are in the States, you have to call them ‘Ghost BC’), This is a fantastic EP, five wonderful honey coated rock tracks to entertain you. Get on it!
Track List (may vary)
- If You Have Ghosts
- I'm a Marionette
- Waiting for the Night
- Secular Haze (live)