When bands start they dream of having a large catalog of music. The problem usually comes with what type of catalog their fans eventually want. Some crave continuity of a sound that the band created in its early days while others like seeing bands evolve their sound over time. Few want both and even fewer bands can provide both while keeping fans happy. Ghost however is managing to evolve while still keeping remnants of its earliest form alive with Prequelle being proof.
When Ghost dropped “Rats” as the lead single many fans instantly grabbed the idea while others were scratching their heads in wonder. What this song does is set the tone for the album as the lead single and first full track on the album. A strong song without question that is a bit lighter on the rock sound than their last big single “Square Hammer”, especially with the use of keyboards more prominent in it. Plus a dancing Cardinal Copia in the video only lends to the confusion some have of the new music from Ghost.
There’s no confusion as you continue through Prequelle that the band, like music itself, is continuing to evolve but because this is Ghost’s 4th full length album it’s an abrupt realization rather than gradual. “Faith” is the closest your going to get on this album to darker and heavier Ghost like that of their early albums. But the harmonies and prominent guitar riffs throughout keep you in their current state of being.
The big surprise on this album was not one but two all instrumental tracks. In this day and age instrumental tracks are usually short interludes to fill gaps between songs or just the remains of a song that just didn’t have a finish. Both are completely different and unique to themselves. “Miasma” being the first of the two really drives home the evolution idea of Ghost. I’ve often said early Ghost is reminiscent of the 1970s rock and metal scene thus making Prequelle the early 1980s sound. The combination of synthesized music, keyboards, and guitars is an instant throwback to those early 80s albums. A track that you can headbang to but also dance to was very common and exactly what “Miasma” is. Then when the saxaphone hits you realize there’s more here than anyone thinks.
The other instrumental is a bit mellower. “Helvetesfonster” has a medieval vibe to it but still retaining enough of an edge that it doesn’t seem out of place on what is a rock album. This could quite easily become the song played to open Ghost shows moving forward or as the song they use to transition from the older songs to the newer songs as the band continues on.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this is just the next step in the long career of Ghost. Some will love this album, others will hate it, some will be confused, and the last group will hear what I hear. Prequelle is Ghost reminding the world that music and bands evolve over time making the title fitting as it’s the beginning of their next phase.