Album Review: Ghost Impera and 80’s Metal Freshness

RENO, NEVADA - JANUARY 25: One of the band's Nameless Ghouls of Ghost performs at Reno Events Center on January 25, 2022 in Reno, Nevada. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
RENO, NEVADA - JANUARY 25: One of the band's Nameless Ghouls of Ghost performs at Reno Events Center on January 25, 2022 in Reno, Nevada. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images) /

After years of waiting patiently, Ghost’s new album Impera releases, and we go through it song by song to see how it compares to past albums.

After a triple tour circuit in 2018-19, Ghost took a break and at just the right time, as the pandemic began and we were all barricaded inside. There was nothing but crickets on the Ghost front as Tobias Forge and company quietly recorded their upcoming album. Given the fact that Prequelle was about the Black Plague and then suddenly a 21st century plague spread across the world, a lot of people were curious about the new album’s theme. Would Ghost go the way of The Simpsons and predict something else with this new release? Given that the theme to Impera, their newly released album, is about the fall of empires, perhaps we should be a bit nervous.

With each album since their very first, Ghost’s sound has changed and evolved over time. Prequelle received a lot of mixed feelings for feeling almost like disco-pop metal, something you can really dance to. Granted, most fans were unbothered, but many wanted the band to go back to their older sound circa Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam. Well, their wishes might have come tru,e but with a strange, 80’s twist. Check out what I mean. We will look song by song.



I always enjoy a good instrumental track on a Ghost album. Miasma remains one of my favorite songs from Prequelle, so beginning with an instrumental is a good palate cleanser for what is to come. The guitar in this track sounds like something you would hear on a Dynasty Warriors soundtrack and the tinny drums give it an old timey military frontlines feeling. It’s a simple start but lays the groundwork for the feeling of an empire theme.


The title of this song comes from the German word for emperor, Kaiser. With the theme to the entire album being about the fall of an empire, I would say that this is a great beginning. With a fun, 70’s rock feel and almost happy lyrics, this feels like the adulation that subjects would give an emperor. All of the empty praise and adoration that comes before the empire begins to crumble. Who knew the beginning of the end would have such a good beat?


If Toto and Bon Jovi had a wild night on tour, nine months later this song would be born. The intro feels so 70’s and 80’s rock that I wasn’t sure I was on the right song at first. This song is so distinctly Ghost and nothing we’ve ever heard from them at the same time. Impera is beginning to be difficult to describe, in all honesty. Even at a little over three minutes, the song feels strangely short but almost feels like a revolution or the feelings of unrest beginning to dig in. If you close your eyes you can feel the bodies of protest around. This is definitely one of the high points on Impera.

Call Me Little Sunshine

This song is the second single to be released from Impera and this feels like traditional Ghost. This track feels like one from Infestissumam or Meliora, more than any song released in years. It was the best choice for a single before that album’s release. Even though it is one of the harder tracks on the album, you will find the chorus “little sunshine, call me Mephistopheles” rolling around the inside of your head for hours after you stop listening. With harder drum beats and a more traditional Ghost sound, this is one of the darker tracks on Impera. I wish there were more songs on the album that feel this dark and heavy. Call Me Little Sunshine is extremely palatable and an easy track to digest.

Hunter’s Moon

This song was the first single released for Halloween Kills. While it sounds like a song from Meliora, there was just something about it that didn’t click…at first. That’s the thing with a lot of Ghost songs; the first time you hear it, it may not click with you but then something tugs at you and it becomes your new favorite song. Tracks on Impera are no different. Fans of the band were very proud of them for landing a song on the Halloween Kills OST. It isn’t the best song on Impera, but it’s really good. This is another track that takes a little bit to get under your skin but when it does, it stays. Not only that, this is another one that feels distinctly GHOST.

Watcher in the Sky

Tobias Forge once said of his songs like Rats that he writes certain songs with arenas in mind. Mummy Dust and Absolution are more songs that must be experienced with an entire concert hall around you. These songs are for big rooms, big crowds and Forge’s big voice. The track from Impera that fits this bill is Watcher in the Sky. You can easily close your eyes, turn the song up and imagine this in a filled arena, the whole crowd singing: “Searchlights, looking for the watcher in the sky,” with you. This is not a track to be listened to quietly.


Here we have another instrumental interlude. This one is the opposite of the hopeful beginning with Imperium. Dominion is heavy and dark with horns that make it almost feel like a funeral dirge. It feels like the calm before the storm. The track is short and there isn’t much too notable about this one except for the atmosphere it creates.


Holy hell, this one came out of left field. The intro ALONE sets the tone. This sounds like a track from a rock opera by Terrance Zdunich. I’m about to get a little political here and that’s because this song does too. This feels like the manic energy from a Trump rally: out of control and full of a god complex. Not to mention lyrics that mention grabbing people by the “hoohaa.” If this doesn’t scream poking at American wealth and politics, then there is no song in the world that does. It’s that manic energy of ruling the world and feeling like a god before the rug is pulled out from underneath them. This became an immediate favorite for many people. It’s crazy, with rock hard drums and a kicky beat. This is a personal favorite of mine from Impera.

Darkness at the Heart of my Love

Every album needs a big, swooping heartfelt ballad and Darkness at the Heart of my Love is just the ticket on Impera. It may not be as impactful as He Is or Life Eternal from past albums in terms of the musical arrangements themselves, but given the events of the past two years, the lyrics of this track are hitting people hard in their hearts. Don’t get me wrong, the music in this song is amazing and you can feel it in your gut. The guitar solos carry you off to other places. However, if Darkness at the Heart of my Love were to be directly compared to Life Eternal, the latter would win out. Regardless, this is a beautiful addition to the album.


THIS feels like Ghost if Ghost existed in the 80’s and we are HERE for it. Griftwood has the fun music that makes you want to dance but the lyrics are filled with dark devotion and sacrifice. It feels the most classically Ghost. The song feels like a religious pledge which is something commonly felt in their live “rituals.”

Bite of Passage

For some reason, this title makes me feel like it’s the title of a YA vampire romance novel. I can’t help but giggle every time I see it. This is another dark instrumental interlude. It’s only 30 seconds, so there isn’t much to it, but the atmosphere it creates in that short amount of time is heavy and impactful.

Respite on the Spitalfields

This is the song of revolution as the people realize their emperor, hollowly risen in the minds and hearts of the people, has fallen and is as empty as the promises made to them. While most of the songs feel like they are coming from the perspective of the empire, this song feels like it’s from the perspective of the people, finally awake and ready to walk away. It is the perfect song to end the album on and it’s beautiful and almost hopeful. It lets people know that even after things fall and the truth is seen, people can move on to something better.  Maybe it hits harder because of everything that is happening in the world right now, but this is the best ending that Ghost could have given Impera.

This album deserves standing ovations all around. If fans thought that Prequelle was something different and unexpected, they were completely mistaken. Impera is what happens when you let Tobias run wild and create. No one can deny that there is musical genius emanating from that man, and Impera is exhibit A. You can feel the evolution happening in real time while listening to the songs, and we are all just obsessed. Can we start a petition that Tobias Forge write an actual full rock opera, please? C’mon Tobias. It’s 2022…we need this.

Next. Which Papa Reigns Supreme?. dark

You can order Impera from the Ghost website now and I would highly recommend it. I got my own vinyl copy just waiting for me.

What’s your favorite song from Impera? Let us know in the comments!