|Format||LP Marble Orange|
Having exceeded the wildest expectations, Sweden's most celebrated merchants of modern occult rock found themselves three albums in and on the cusp of a minor mainstream breakthrough.
Opinion on their previous album, Infestissumam, was cleanly divided between those who adored its enhanced theatrical ambitions and those who missed the succinct thud of 2010's Opus Eponymous. Led by the eerily detached proclamations of third vocal incumbent Papa Emeritus III, Meliora strikes a shrewd balance between its two predecessors, snappier song structures moderating the intrusive impact of the band's most unhinged ideas. The malevolent swagger that drives the likes of 'Spirit' and 'From the Pinnacle to the Pit' ensures that underground metal fans will still feel the scorch of hellish flames, but these often startlingly catchy songs deserve to reach a much bigger audience.
Ghost's meticulous policing of their own warped facade and cherished anonymity mean that, somewhat against the odds, their otherworldly shtick still works brilliantly.