Music Reviews

Ghost B.C. Infestissumam

(Loma Vista) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

Ghost B.C. are probably the most ridiculous heavy metal band in recent memory, living up to every sludgy, sacrilegious stereotype associated with the genre and then some. Every single aspect of the band -- from aesthetic to sound design -- seems directly intended to reawaken every metal-head's early-adolescent fever dreams of Satanic horsemen riding atop black storm clouds, bursting through the gates of Valhalla whilst pillaging the innocent and laying waste to the weak. Indeed, this mysterious group of ghoulish, marauding Swedes have caused quite a stir in the metal community, but is there content behind their costumes, masques, and malefic disposition? YES! Ghost B.C. have reemerged from the depths of eternal damnation with a sophomore effort that just ekes past the rank of satanic ‘slump’ -- a tremendously difficult task considering the crushing, critical weight of their impressive debut, Opus Eponymous

Infestissumam is so baroquely lavish that it very nearly resembles the tinsel on some sort of antichrist Christmas tree. Secular Haze lies just underneath the bristles of evergreen, encased in an oversized, blood-red box full of stuffed, cannibalistic clowns -- fresh off the unemployment line as their psycho-circus didn’t quite do so well this year. Haze successfully waltzes its way through a well curated cast of dizzying pump organs, razor-sharp riffs, and assorted bombast to bring you what is probably the ghouls’ best track to date. Year Zero is packaged in a similarly gaudy receptacle -- brightly metallic and über-satanic. "Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub! Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer!”, it chants like a twisted seasonal selection from gospel radio -- the feint pulse of disco drums ringing out in the distance. However, while the glimmer and glow of Hades’ favorite pine and all of the gifts that lie beneath it are incredibly alluring, I can’t help but be distracted by the skeletal, brittle branches it superficially covers up. 

For all of its tight production, soaring vocals, and provocative lyricism, Infestissumam feels particularly thin in songwriting. While I felt my inner demon rise upon hearing the pizzicato strings that open Body And Blood, I was quickly put at bay when the song fell into a bland, repetitious “slow-jam”. Perhaps the most cringe-worthy moments of the entire album are served up by the incredibly lackluster Idolatrine. Despite its monstrous chorus, the song feels loosely held together by Elmer’s glue with a few dabs of “blood-of-the-innocent” mixed in for good measure. It almost seems as if they took all of the left-over, reject riffs cut from previous songs, haphazardly mashed them together, polished it up with some cursory editing and compression, and abandoned it in the most forgettable slot on the album. Seriously, even the fierce, fiery will of Beelzebub himself couldn’t save this malformed bastard.

In the grand pantheon of worthwhile metal artists, very few have made it past their first album with any degree of success, even with the malign intervention of Lucifer himself. While Ghost B.C. could certainly use a little added variety, both musically and lyrically (maybe Satan could sit out as lyricist for like five songs on their next record), there’s plenty here to admire. I mean Jesus, they wear corpse-paint and black robes and sing about topics that would most definitely upset your mother -- what’s more appealing than that?