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From humble beginnings as an anonymous occult doom act, Ghost crawled up from the depths to become metal's biggest breakout band of the 2010s. Now in their third decade of existence, the Swedish act has expanded into a nine-piece juggernaut headlining arenas around the globe, getting there through the profound imagination and spiritual canon set forth by frontman Tobias Forge.
No two Ghost albums are even remotely similar. Each step from 2010's Opus Eponymous to 2022's Impera has been meticulously plotted out, both in storyline and sound. Yet, whether it's pure Seventies occult proto-metal or Eighties power ballads and rock opera flair, Ghost has always sounded like Ghost while recruiting new legions of fans with each stylistic switch-up.
We've painstakingly ranked all five Ghost studio albums below — from the worst to the very best.
Let's make one thing clear — there are no bad Ghost albums. Every record has proved to be important and inspired, continuously propelling the band further up the ladder of fame and popularity. To that end, Ghost's most recent full-length, Impera, boasts brooding bangers like "Call Me Little Sunshine" and "Hunter's Moon," along with Eighties-inspired anthems such as "Watcher in the Sky" and "Grift Wood."
That said, though it's a solid album, Impera can be described as self-indulgent, overly decadent and somewhat corny, especially when it comes to tracks like "Twenties." It's a little too Ghost-goes-Broadway, but there are plenty of great tracks that make Impera a worthy listen.
Some of Ghost's most underrated tracks dwell within their fourth record, Prequelle. Of course "Rats" and "Dance Macabre" are massive, feel-good singles, but how about giving "Witch Image" its flowers? Ghost even flexed their prog muscles with the epics "Miasma" and "Helvetesfonster" — though 11 minutes of instrumental-only tracks can make Prequelle feel a tad empty during its later stages.
Prequelle marked a pivotal and polarizing shift in Ghost's sound, simultaneously luring legions of new fans into the cult while losing the interest of Opus Eponymous true believers. Ultimately, Ghost's fourth album was a massive creative and commercial success, turning the Swedish act into an arena attraction.
With Infestissumam, the metal world began to see what Ghost was capable of. The band's stripped-down, occult-doom sound had suddenly turned lush and grandiose, expanding their underground rituals into a worldwide phenomenon. Infestissumam boasts wildly inspired megaliths like "Year Zero" and "Monstrance Clock" and continues to blow minds with the seven-minute epic "Ghuleh / Zombie Queen."
Though perhaps not as consistant as Opus Eponymous, Infestissumam reached the highest peaks of Ghost's career at the time, perfecting a style that turned Papa and the Ghouls into the most buzz-worthy band of the early 2010s.
Opus Eponymous stands as one of the most impactful debut albums in metal history. It wasn't part of a genre wave, it wasn't initially released by a major label, and it didn't have a hit single. Opus is simply a brilliant, no-skips collection of near-perfect occult-rock songwriting. Tracks like "Elizabeth" and "Ritual" are dark and mysterious, yet possess infectious melodies and an unmistakable proto-metal charm.
Opus offers a complete immersion into a Satanic temple of faceless druids, timeless in its power and undeniable with its craft. At the time, no one could have guessed the heights to which the band would climb; in hindsight, it all seems inevitable.
After setting the stage with Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam, Ghost struck the perfect balance of dynamics and styles with Meliora.
Songs like "Cirice" are doomy, progressive and melodically rich, but also deeply spiritual and personal — listening feels like receiving some sort of Satanic communion. "He Is" serves as a perfect power ballad/worship song filled with divine power. "From the Pinnacle to the Pit" is a straight-up banger, and "Deus in Absentia" ranks as Ghost's most powerful closing track to date.
To this day, Meliora possesses a transcendent scope that no other Ghost album has quite matched, delivering insidious megachurch vibes and promises of unholy salvation. Hail.