Growing up with music such as Van Halen, Ratt, Kiss and the multitude of heavy metal artist who would constantly fill stadiums with their thunderous brand of rock and roll, it was a time when you could appreciate all that anthem like metal as you pumped your fist in the air and sang along with whichever performer was in front of you or coming out of your speakers. It is a brand of music that fueled the rebel inside of us all and this band from Norway has come up with a sound that brings back all those feelings which empowers the listener with it's message and attitude. It is a dose of cock rock with a bit of a twist that makes it just a little bit different.
That difference is lead singer Kim Sandvik. Born in Seoul, Korea he brings a unique style to his vocals. Usually any kind of accent is a downside but with Kim's singing it adds a certain charm to this bands sound. Never prevalent or even noticeable often, the way that he phrases some of the English lyrics is unmistakeably due to his native tongue. I always listen to an album a few times before checking out the lyrics. Sometimes you get quite a surprise when you finally do read them. One of my favorite songs on here is "Taking lives". All the time I listened before reading the lyrics I thought he was singing the line "I want a job in the HMC". I thought it must be something in Norway like a government division or department. Imagine my chagrin when I found out he was singing agency instead of HMC. He wanted to be a spy!
From the opening title track "The Engraving" to the final glam/hair metal throwback "Here I Am", Ghost does not try to hide the fact that their sound is as deeply rooted in the past as it is in today. They produce a disc that rocks throughout and one that will have you looking for reasons to take a cruise so that you can toss this in the player, hit the gas and get lost in rock and roll as the miles drift by.
The duel guitar attack of Andre Berger and Oystein Wiik are another major part in the appeal of Ghost. Both Oystein's lead work and Andre's pounding rhythms are enough to make you think of all the 80's guitar slingers who created the soundtrack of an era. Fans who like the melodic six string crunch of that time period will absolutely love these guys.
OK...So they may not be the most original band in the world but they play a style that is like an old friend that you haven't seen in awhile and when you finally catch up with them they are almost the same but are now a little older and a little wiser. They still are a lot of fun but tempered with that fun is a maturity that looks back on a golden age of heavy metal with an awe that can only come from a fan of the genre. That is what makes this one a keeper and a great tribute to this style of music.
1. The Engraving
4. Agent Down
7. Taking lives
8. One last favor
9. Independence Day
10. Here I Am