Best Albums of 2018 #17 Ghost – Prequelle

There is a popular school of thought that Heavy Metal and all its madcap subgenres and imprints belongs in the past; the vast majority of flagship acts took shape in the bowels of the late 20th century, with many of them now having wheezed to an end or appearing to be – Metallica aside – descended into self parody.

Ghost however are a comparatively modern phenomenon. Essentially a solo project masterminded by front man Tobias Forge – aka Cardinal Copia, also formerly aka Papa Emeritus – and a rolling cast of little helpers known collectively as the Nameless Ghouls, thankfully their cod-Satanist bark is far worse than their hugely enjoyable bite. A well constructed hybrid steeped in the machinations of Judas Priest, The Sword and fellow Scandanavians Mercyful Fate, on Prequelle Forge is astute enough to avoid the pitfalls of taking his corpse paint too seriously.

In keeping with the movement’s appealing grand traditions there are plenty of sideways looks to the absurdity of extremes – the grandiose prog opera of Helvetesfonster, crypto-balladary of Witch Image or the epic sounding thrash of opener Rats – but for all the showing off, Prequelle is at it’s best when proving that rumours of metal’s imminent demise are probably just the mischievous work of Old Nick himself.