Ghost’s “Phantomime” review; a competent cover EP


   I have little remorse for music if I don’t immediately like something. It has to interest me INSTANTLY or I don’t give it the time of day. Ghost always had kind of an effect of needing to repeatedly listen to their new things to like them. However, with the release of their new cover EP Phantomime, I’m happy to report that they not only delivered a memorable experience, but also a quite enjoyable one. 

   We started this announcement of a new EP out with a bang with the new song, “Jesus He Knows Me,” dropping right on Easter. It’s a cover of a song by Genesis, and was certainly a new look for the band. Ghost is no stranger to cheesy lyrics, but this was certainly copious amounts of steps forward through the cheese, with some lyrics leaving a weird and skeptical taste in the mouth, like, “Do you believe in God? ‘Cause that is what I’m selling, and if you wanna go to heaven, well, I’ll see you right”. On top of that, it seemed like a complete left turn from their usual satanic masquerade, but I honestly welcome it. It was a pleasant surprise and sounded very well produced and upbeat. Not to mention that it’s nice to see that the band is clearly just having fun with this. 

   Speaking of them having fun, the track following “Jesus He Knows Me,” “See No Evil” is a flat out fun time. Ghost re-introduced the original song by Television into the modern world with cutting-edge guitar riffs and angelic vocals delivered by frontman Tobias Forge. It was such a nice step back from their original sets of semi-depressing lyrics, and goes to show that a song doesn’t have to have a super-intuitive meaning to be good. I would go as far to say that this is one of my favorite songs by them. I definitely recommend this song more than the others, just because it’s easy to get into and is a really nice listen.

   Cooling down from the fun is “Hanging Around,” originally by ABBA. Ghost is no stranger to covering ABBA, as they have been covering their things all the way back in 2013. Adding another song to the catalog of Ghost covered ABBA songs, this one doesn’t necessarily deliver as well as the other tracks. Most of the time when I’d been listening to the song, I couldn’t help but want more. It was then that I realized that Ghost needs to cool it with the ABBA covers, because they do not mix at ALL. All of the covers they’ve done of ABBA’s songs have fallen flat on their face and scraped the hell out of their face in the process. For reasons unbeknownst to me, though, they keep on getting up and trying again. Admittedly, “Hanging Around” is still pretty fun to listen to. It is no doubt given the same well-produced treatment as the other tracks, but it just seems kind of empty and boring. Still alright in terms of instrumentation and lyrics, though!

   Next up is my personal favorite from this EP, the Goliath of a song that is “Phantom of the Opera”, originally by Iron Maiden. I had no idea how they would pull off replicating Iron Maiden’s sound in a reasonably good way, but they more than delivered. The almost 8 minute song is start to finish audible bliss, with the vocals being pulled off so well and matching the new tone of instrumentation Ghost put on the table. I have nothing else to say about it besides the fact that I love it so much. Definitely my favorite cover by them to date.

   Wrapping up the EP is “We Don’t Need Another Hero”, originally by Tina Turner, who sadly passed away this year. What an homage though, because this powerfully delivered cover is a perfect way for Ghost to pay respects to Turner. The song is beautifully written and Ghost rightfully gives this track their own spin. It made me tear up to hear this song by someone who was recently deceased be taken into the care of a competent band.

   Overall, Phantomime was a very welcome change in pace from their original content. A lot of issues that bands have when covering a song is that they don’t change much about the original, thus serving no purpose in being covered. Ghost is very good at putting their own spin on covers, so an exclusively cover-based EP was as exciting as an original album release.