Meliora (album)

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Meliora
Meliora.JPG
Studio album by Ghost
Released August 21, 2015 (2015-08-21)
Recorded January 2015
Studio EastWest Studios, Hollywood, California
Riksmixningsverket, Stockholm, Sweden
The Village Studios, Los Angeles, California
Ameraycan Studios, Hollywood, California
Genre
Length 41:35
Label Loma Vista
Producer Klas Åhlund
Ghost chronology
If You Have Ghost
(2013)If You Have Ghost2013
Meliora
(2015)
Popestar
(2016)Popestar2016
Singles from Meliora
  1. "Cirice"
    Released: May 30, 2015
  2. "From the Pinnacle to the Pit"
    Released: July 17, 2015
  3. "Majesty"
    Released: August 7, 2015

Meliora (Latin for "the pursuit of something better") is the third studio album by Swedish rock band Ghost. The album was produced by Klas Åhlund and released on August 21, 2015.[1] The album was generally well received, placing on several music publications' lists of the best heavy metal albums of the year and winning Best Hard Rock/Metal Album at the 2015 Grammis Awards. Lead single "Cirice" won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. In September 2016, the band released a special edition of the album, called Meliora Redux.

Background and recording[edit]

Ghost began crafting their third studio album, the follow-up to 2013's Infestissumam, at the end of 2014.[2] The impetus for its "futuristic" theme came to a Nameless Ghoul a month or so prior to starting the Infestissumam tour. While trying out a new guitar rig during a rehearsal, the Ghoul created a "spacey echoed" effect that made a guitar riff sound "futuristic [and] sci-fi". At this point, he had the idea for their next album.[3]

A Nameless Ghoul said that, because guitar took a backseat on Infestissumam, the band focused on guitar riffs from the beginning of the new album. He explained that part of this was achieved by having four different guitars, each played through three different amps, making four performances going through 12 amplifiers. They used two Gibson SGs, one from the early 1980s and the other from the 1960s; a 1962 Gibson Les Paul; and a Fender Telecaster.[4]

Discussing the selection of Klas Åhlund as producer, the Ghoul said that despite his reputation for working with pop singers and having never produced a heavy metal band before, Åhlund had many of the same musical interests as Ghost.[4] A band member also said, "I definitely think that we got a lot of ideas and a lot of new angles that we wouldn't have had, had we worked with a more established rock producer".[5]

A member of the band said that the pre-production, writing and arranging of Meliora took a long time, not allowing for the luxury of recording any non-album songs with the exception of "Zenith", which was left off the main album but added as an extra track to a limited edition.[6]

Tobias Forge later explained that he and Åhlund spent three months on pre-production before going to Los Angeles where they recorded the drums with a session drummer. Upon returning to Stockholm they had a "very, very lavish, stupid sort of procedure" in a large studio with multiple people coming in and going or just hanging around, of which he said "On one hand, you think it's good for morale to do that, but no, it wasn't, evidently, in the end."[7]

Themes[edit]

Feeling that guitar took a back seat on their previous album, the band focused on the instrument for Meliora.[4]

Following their debut album Opus Eponymous, which is about the coming of the Antichrist, and Infestissumam, which is about the presence of the Antichrist, Meliora's main theme is "the absence of god". A Nameless Ghoul said, "The lyrics deal with the void that happens when there is no god, when there is no one there to help you. But even then, there will always be some fucker there to give you guidance. And the band is basically portrayed as the religious party that comes in there with a guiding hand. We offer the one place in the world that is spiritual".[4] A member of the band also said that it was "more about the modern man and woman in their pursuit of purpose in life. It's hard to live in a society if you're not willing to buy that you are in a collective, yet usually in the Western world, there is a big disregard for individual responsibility".[8] The album's title, Meliora (Latin for "the pursuit of something better"), matches the theme of the lyrical content and "the backdrop that we wanted to paint in front of which we're playing these songs, basically, which was supposed to be, or is supposed to be, a super-urban, metropolitan, pre-apocalyptic, dystopic futuristic thing".[9]

Although Ghost used choirs on their previous album, they had a lot of issues doing so. This time, the band decided to go the extra mile and spend the necessary money. A Nameless Ghoul said, "There are a lot of mellotron choirs on there because we wanted it to feel [a] little bit synthetic and simulated. The choir symbolizes the gothic element that comes in all of a sudden".[10]

Opening track "Spirit" utilized the "futuristic [and] sci-fi" guitar riff that gave a Nameless Ghoul the idea for the Meliora album.[3]

A Nameless Ghoul called "From the Pinnacle to the Pit" a "truly stomping riff-based song, Led Zeppelin-style" and "something that would sound great coming out of a car stereo in an American high school parking lot".[11]

"Cirice" was originally conceived together with "Devil Church", which was its opening, as a very dark and doomy nine-minute instrumental without a chorus. After working on it further at the urging of Åhlund, a chorus materialized and the two parts were split.[12]

The song "He Is" was written in 2007. The band tried recording it for Infestissumam, but after attempting to get it to "sound like Ghost" and adding and subtracting aspects, ultimately put it on the shelf. Upon starting pre-production for Meliora, they added "He Is" to the list, and after praise from Åhlund, recorded it as it was.[12] A Nameless Ghoul told Loudwire that the lyrics to the song were influenced by the suicide of Selim Lemouchi, guitarist of The Devil's Blood, who was friends with members of Ghost.[13]

Discussing "Majesty", a Ghoul said, "Lyrically, it's on one hand a hymn about the dark lord of the underworld. On the other hand it paints a picture of a swarm of people, whom in a world of complete disaster, idolizes an authority that is clearly looking down upon them. How to love something that hates you back."[14]

Promotion[edit]

On May 29, 2015, Meliora's artwork and track listing were revealed to the public.[15] The song "Cirice" was released as a free download from the band's official site on May 31. A music video for the song, directed by Roboshobo, premiered on June 8. The song "Absolution" was released for streaming on July 31.[16] A music video for "From the Pinnacle to the Pit", directed by Zev Deans, was released on September 14.[17] During the Black to the Future tour, the band recruited local female fans to dress up as nuns and play "Sisters of Sin" while serving alcoholic beverages during each show. During a concert on October 6 in St. Louis, Lzzy Hale of Halestorm served as a Sister of Sin.[18] Ghost performed "Cirice" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on October 30, during a Halloween-themed episode, marking the band's first television appearance in the United States.[19] A lyric video for "He Is" was uploaded on November 9, 2015.[20] In September 2016, Ghost released a special edition of the album, called Meliora Redux, which included "Zenith" and the Popestar EP.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic78/100[21]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[22]
AntiHero Magazine9/10 stars[23]
The Guardian4/5 stars[24]
Metal Forces7/10[25]
Pitchfork6.2/10[26]
PopMatters8/10 stars[27]
Sputnikmusic4.3/5[28]
Stereoboard.com4/5 stars[29]
Western Herald9.5/10[30]

Meliora received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 78, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 12 reviews.[21] Thomas Woroniak of AntiHero Magazine said, "Ghost come out on top offering a compelling addition to the overarching message of self-determined freedom with a well-crafted album that rocks harder than ever". He also added that the album "delivers more of a modern edge with sharper teeth when compared to its predecessor, while maintaining continuity with the overall evolution of the band’s characteristic sound".[31] Montreal Rampage described the album's sound as "a peculiar hybrid of Sabbath-like metal, and progressive rock".[32]

Meliora won Best Hard Rock/Metal Album at the 2015 Grammis Awards, marking Ghost's second win in the category.[33] It was named one of the best metal albums of 2015 by several publications, including Rolling Stone,[34] AXS TV[35] and LA Weekly.[36] Metal Hammer named it No. 13 on their list of 2015's best albums in any genre.[37] Readers voted it the Best Metal Album of the year at the fifth annual Loudwire Music Awards,[38] while Loudwire themselves listed it second.[39] Revolver also named it the second best album of the year in hard rock and heavy metal.[40] The song "Cirice" won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.[41] Loudwire ranked the same song as the second Best Metal Song of 2015.[42]

Meliora was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in November 2016, for sales of 40,000.[43] The album debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart, with an estimated 29,000 copies sold in its first week.[44]

Track listing[edit]

All writing credited to "A Ghoul Writer" in the booklet. Actual writing credits adapted from ASCAP.1[45][46]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Spirit"Tobias Forge, Martin Persner5:15
2."From the Pinnacle to the Pit"Forge, Klas Åhlund, Persner4:02
3."Cirice"Forge, Åhlund6:02
4."Spöksonat" (Ghost Sonata)Forge, Åhlund0:56
5."He Is"Forge, Åhlund, Persner4:13
6."Mummy Dust"Forge, Åhlund, Persner, Gustaf Lindström4:07
7."Majesty"Forge, Persner5:24
8."Devil Church"Forge1:06
9."Absolution"Forge, Åhlund, Persner4:50
10."Deus in Absentia"Forge, Åhlund, Johan Ingvar Lindström5:37
Total length:41:35

1Band members also used aliases for their actual writing credits: Forge is credited as "A Ghoul Writer", and Persner as "Indio Marcato".

Personnel[edit]

Ghost[edit]

Nameless Ghouls:

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Ludvig Kennberg – drums

Technical personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2015) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[48] 20
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[49] 41
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[50] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[51] 23
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[52] 9
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[53] 6
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[54] 1
French Albums (SNEP)[55] 28
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[56] 19
Irish Albums (IRMA)[57] 65
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[58] 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[59] 1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[60] 14
UK Albums (OCC)[61] 23
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC)[62] 2
US Billboard 200[63] 8
US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard)[64] 2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[65] 2

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Sweden (GLF)[66] Platinum 40,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "GHOST: 'Meliora' Cover Artwork, Track Listing Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. May 29, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Ghost B.C. To Release Third Studio Album in 2015". Loudwire. 2014-12-30. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  3. ^ a b "A Nameless Ghoul From Ghost Talks 'Meliora,' Touring + More". Loudwire. 2015-08-24. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Nameless Ghoul Talks Ghost's New Album, 'Meliora,' and Staying Anonymous". Guitar World. 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  5. ^ "GHOST's Nameless Ghoul Says Religion Remains 'A Big Problem' In Today's Society". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  6. ^ "GHOST Is Contemplating Recording New EP, Says Nameless Ghoul". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-11-21. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  7. ^ "GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE Reflects On Recording 'Meliora': 'It Was Very Lavish And Stupid'". Blabbermouth.net. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2018-06-14. 
  8. ^ "GHOST: 'The Whole Concept Of Happiness Is F**king Skewed'". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-08-30. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  9. ^ "GHOST's Nameless Ghoul Explains 'Meliora' Album Title". Blabbermouth.net. July 3, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ "A Nameless Ghoul From Ghost on 'Meliora,' Capturing Religiosity + Possible Classical Album". Loudwire. 2015-08-12. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  11. ^ "Ghost Unveil New Song, From The Pinnacle To The Pit". Kerrang!. 2015-07-20. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  12. ^ a b "Ghost's Nameless Ghoul talks picking Papas, playing Gibson RD guitars and new album Meliora". MusicRadar. 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  13. ^ "A Nameless Ghoul From Ghost on Themes Within 'Meliora' + How a Friend's Suicide Inspired 'He Is'". Loudwire. 2015-11-11. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  14. ^ "Ghost Stream New Song, Majesty". Kerrang!. 2015-08-09. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  15. ^ "Ghost unveil artwork for new album Meliora". Metal Hammer. 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  16. ^ "GHOST: New Song 'Absolution' Available For Streaming". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-07-31. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  17. ^ "Ghost Release Music Video for 'From the Pinnacle to the Pit'". Revolver. 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
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  20. ^ "Ghost Release Lyric Video for 'He Is'". Loudwire. 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  21. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for Meliora". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  22. ^ "Ghost - Meliora". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  23. ^ Thomas Woroniak. "Album Review: GHOST - Meliora". antiheromagazine.com. AntiHero Magazine. Retrieved 2015-07-25. 
  24. ^ "Ghost: Meliora review – rocking the papal". The Guardian. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  25. ^ Arnold, Neil. "GHOST - Meliora (2015)". Metal Forces. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  26. ^ O'Connor, Andy (2015-08-21). "Review: Ghost - Meliora". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  27. ^ "Ghost - Meliora". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  28. ^ "Review: Ghost (SWE) - Meliora". Sputnikmusic. 2015-08-15. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  29. ^ "Ghost - Meliora". stereoboard.com. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  30. ^ ""Meliora" by Ghost". Western Herald. 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  31. ^ Woroniak, Thomas (July 25, 2015). "Album Review: GHOST - Meliora". antiheromagazine.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Ghost's Meliora is Sabbath Metal Meets Prog Rock". Montreal Rampage. Jean Vachon. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  33. ^ "Ghost Win Swedish Grammis Award For 'Meliora,' Perform 'He Is' At Ceremony". Loudwire. 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-03-01. 
  34. ^ "20 Best Metal Albums of 2015". Rolling Stone. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  35. ^ "Top metal albums of 2015". AXS TV. 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  36. ^ "The 10 Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2015". LA Weekly. 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  37. ^ "50 Best Albums Of 2015 #19-12". Metal Hammer. 2015-11-27. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  38. ^ "Ghost Win Best Metal Album + Best Bassist in the 5th Annual Loudwire Music Awards". Loudwire. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  39. ^ "20 Best Metal Albums of 2015". Loudwire. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  40. ^ "Revolver's Top 20 Albums of 2015". Revolver. December 21, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2016. 
  41. ^ "Ghost Win 2016 Best Metal Performance Grammy for 'Cirice'". Loudwire. February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016. 
  42. ^ "20 Best Metal Songs of 2015". Loudwire. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  43. ^ "GHOST - Meliora Certified Gold In Sweden". Bravewords.com. 2015-11-16. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  44. ^ "GHOST Performs On French National TV; Video, Photos Available". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  45. ^ https://www.ascap.com/repertory#ace/performer/GHOST
  46. ^ [1]
  47. ^ "Magic Garden Mastering records". Magic Garden Mastering records. 
  48. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Ghost – Meliora". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  49. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Ghost – Meliora" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  50. ^ "Ultratop.be – Ghost – Meliora" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  51. ^ "Ultratop.be – Ghost – Meliora" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  52. ^ "Ghost Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  53. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Ghost – Meliora" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  54. ^ "Ghost: Meliora" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  55. ^ "Lescharts.com – Ghost – Meliora". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  56. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  57. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 35, 2015". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  58. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Ghost – Meliora". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  59. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Ghost – Meliora". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  60. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Ghost – Meliora". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  61. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  62. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
  63. ^ "Ghost Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  64. ^ "Ghost Chart History (Top Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  65. ^ "Ghost Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  66. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat" (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.  Type Ghost in the top right search bar. Click on "Sok" and select Meliora and see certification.