Final Rating : 9/10
Just a little over a year after the release of their Grammy spawning album, Meliora, Papa Emeritus III and his Nameless Ghouls have unleashed a brand new EP titled Popestar; which consists of one original track and 4 cover songs. It’s no lie when people say Ghost is one of the hardest working bands out there right now. They tend to tour their albums for 2 years with very few breaks in between them, on top of releasing EPs between album cycles to hold the fans over until the next. It kind of makes you wonder where do they even find the time to write, record and release new material.
The band has been a very hit or miss artist for a lot of people, and if you are someone who is reading this review in the hopes to find out if they have finally gone back to their Opus Eponymous roots, unfortunately you’re going to have to keep looking. Popestar opens up with the band’s only original song on the EP, Square Hammer. The song starts off with this cheesy organ tune that makes you feel as if it belonged in an old horror film, but as soon as the guitar riffs and catchy chorus kicks in, you know you’re in trouble as the song will get stuck in your head for days on end.
Ghost’s spin on Echo and the Bunnymen’s Nocturnal Me contains a heavier vibe than the original song. The vampy keys and heavy riff really helps to create an eerie atmosphere, making it tie in perfectly with the band’s evil shtick.
Tossed into the mix of covers is Simian Mobile Disco’s I Believe, which is a bit of a curve ball. It’s a heavily synth based song and the band slows it down quite a bit leaving it with a much more haunted feeling.
Missionary Man (originally by The Eurythmics) is a weird one for me to listen to. The instrumentals for this song are really on point between the subtle organ and chord progressions. But for some reason I get a bit of a classic rock meets country vibe from Papa III’s vocals which throws me off. The parts that I appreciated the most about this track are the additional vocals provided by Fia Kempe, and the harmonica. Both components really help the track stand out.
Ironically, Bible, closes out the whole EP; which was originally done by the Swedish rock band Imperiet. I find this cover to be a perfect way close out the album as it feels like a church hymn, especially when Papa III’s voice reaches some new heights in the chorus. It really brings in a grand feeling to the song, and I can definitely see people getting confused and loving this cover; unaware of the “Satanic” tongue and cheek lyrics the band normally dishes out.
Whether you like the band or not, you have to give them credit for always stepping outside their comfort zone. It was interesting to hear their take on these songs as it was unlike anything we’ve heard from them before, yet it still had a distinctive Ghost feeling to it. The most impressive part of this EP was being able to see the versatility of Papa III’s voice. If you were to compare some of the covers to what we normally get from the band, you might not have guessed that the same artist was responsible for them.
Songs to check out : Square Hammer, Nocturnal Me
Lead Single off of the EP :