Friday 8 December 2017

Album Review: GHOST - Ceremony And Devotion

Ghost - Ceremony and Devotion

01. Square Hammer
02. From The Pinnacle To The Pit
03. Con Clavi Con Dio
04. Per Aspera Ad Inferi
05. Body And Blood
06. Devil Church
07. Cirice
08. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
09. Year Zero
10. Spoksonat
11. He Is
12. Mummy Dust
13. Absolution
14. Ritual
15. Monstrance Clock

Wow! This was a pleasant surprise! Ghost have digitally released their first ever live album, Ceremony and Devotion, with no advance warning of a release date whatsoever. It was made available on MP3 and via streaming platforms today, and a physical version will be released on 19th January 2018. 

Being a massive Ghost fan, I was expecting a live album or DVD before Christmas because I remember reading about their shows in America being filmed last year. I had assumed that the widely reported legal issues surrounding the band and involving former members had shelved or delayed the release. 

Since the release of their last studio album, Meliora, I've been fortunate enough to see them three times, and the band has been absolutely brilliant on every occasion. The set-list changed a little on the second leg of the tour, with the hugely popular Roky Erikson cover If You Have Ghosts being omitted. The strength of the other songs, in addition to the inclusion of the ludicrously catchy single Square Hammer, prevents the exclusion of any covers from detracting from the overall awesomeness of the show.

The track-list is packed with bangers such as Cirice, Year Zero, Absolution and the melodic masterpiece they played at the Grammys, He Is. It would have been nice to have had Stand By Him from the debut album included in the set, but that's just a minor gripe in what is otherwise a very solid set of songs.

Ceremony and Devotion, sounds fantastic, and the clear, polished production lends itself well to the music, whilst retaining the raw live quality and energy needed to make a record like this really special. The stage show became noticeably bigger and better after the first leg of the tour, indicating that the Metal scene's thirst for Ghost is only getting stronger and the band are using this increase in popularity to give us back the best shows possible. There is so much attention to detail in a Ghost gig, and the love and 'devotion' that's poured into their art really shines through, making them one of the best acts in the world.

This live album is a wonderful souvenir of a hugely significant part of Ghost's legacy, where we've witnessed them go from being a popular Metal band to attaining legendary status. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of Papa Zero and the next chapter of Ghost!

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