Ghost's 2010 debut, the divisive Opus Eponymous, presented the heavy metal community with a conundrum.
On the one hand, the willfully anonymous Swedish rockers were well versed in the dark pageantry of the genre, but while their fondness for the occult was indeed extreme, the music lacked the viscera of its unholy convictions.
Released in 2013, Infestissumam, which translated from Latin means hostile, is just as apocalyptic and musically adventurous as its predecessor, offering up ten new Beelzebub-approved singalongs that reside somewhere between Gothenburg and Broadway.
If anything, the album finds the band moving even further away from the genre, adopting a weirdly effective, psych-pop/progressive rock approach that alternates between winking and sinister, sounding almost like a parody of the longstanding Swedish black metal scene.
Even if that's the case, Infestissumam can be a hell of a lot of fun, especially when it applies its gonzo Satanism with a hefty amount of opulence, as is the case on album highlights like "Per Aspera Ad Inferi" (the most inherently metal track), the vintage Deep Purple-esque "Idolatrine," and the magnificent, over the top "Year Zero," the latter of which sounds like the song most likely to replace "We Will Rock You" as the sports anthem of choice, in the event that the End Times occur and the sporting world is usurped by the undead.
Whatever Ghost's intentions, they've definitely managed to carve out a niche within the increasingly fragmented world of heavy metal, and while purists may revile them for their insolence, it's their insubordination that ultimately earns them a place in the genre.