Album Review: Ghost B.C.’s ‘If You Have Ghost’

Celeste Welshhons

Swedish heavy metal band Ghost B.C. released their first extended play Nov. 19 entitled “If You Have Ghost.” Likely the most interesting fact about anything having to do with this EP, it was produced by Dave Grohl, lead singer of the Foo Fighters and ex-drummer of Nirvana. This is the band’s second release this year with their second full album, “Infestissumam,” which came out in April.

The EP has only two truly new songs, “If You Have Ghosts” and “Crucified.” “I’m a Marionette” was previously released as a bonus track on the deluxe and Japanese editions of the band’s second album, “Infestissumam,” and “Waiting for the Night” was on the Japanese edition as well.

The opening and title track, “If You have Ghosts,” was originally done by a psychedelic rocker named Roky Erickson in 1981. His version is a very straightforward 1970s sounding rock track. The actual sound of the two different recordings could not differ more. Ghost B.C.’s version sounds cleaner. The music flows very smoothly in an almost trance like state which is the sound they are known for.

Another big difference is the ending. Erickson continues to repeat the chorus almost until the very end and then lets it fade. Ghost B.C. simply plays the outro and ends the song .

The next track is “I’m a Marionette,” originally recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA in 1977. Again, the two versions have very little in common aside from both being recorded by Swedish groups. The song was part of a mini musical when ABBA released it.

The sound of the original is obviously pop-ish, but also almost foreign. The vocalist is female and has an accent that is very easy to catch, but she does let her voice carry in the same way that Papa Emeritus II (lead singer for Ghost B.C.) does.

If Ghost B.C.’s version were to be featured in a similar musical, the audience would likely run. It sounds nothing like the original other than the aforementioned vocal technique. It is dark and there is what sounds like satanic chanting going on in the intro. There is really nothing else that can even be compared between the two, they are different songs with the same lyrics.

Army of Lovers’ biggest hit, “Crucified,” is the next cover on the EP. They are yet another Swedish band; however, this time the genre is Eurodance. This song is the closest to something I could picture Ghost B.C. covering. Army of Lovers were also known for their outlandishness, and the music video for this song can only be described as strange.

The actual song is the first on the EP that originally had a semi-creepy sound to begin with. It combines the old sounds of a time when masquerade balls and enormous powdered wigs were popular with a beat that is quite easy to dance to. It was actually even featured in the video game “Just Dance 4.”

Yet again, Ghost B.C.’s is much different. It starts very softly with an acoustic guitar and delicate vocals which then transition directly into a growl. Everything is sinister from that point on. The snarled spoken versus are a huge highlight of the EP as a whole.

The last cover of the EP, “Waiting for the Night,” is also easier to picture Ghost B.C. reinventing than the first two tracks. It is calm all the way through in both the original by English alternative band Depeche Mode and Ghost B.C.’s version.

Depeche Mode’s original is much softer overall, however this is Ghost B.C.’s idea of soft. Of all four covers, “Waiting for the Night” seems to be the closest to the original in the overall progression and sound.

It is slow in both cases, but when it’s Papa Emeritus II singing, it sounds more like a lullaby that Gomez Addams would be singing to Pugsley or Wednesday.

The fifth and final track is a live recording of the lead single, “Secular Haze,” from their most recent album. It’s simply a really good sounding live track that would likely be the most well known to Ghost B.C.’s new cult of followers.

“If You Have Ghost” is great. Ghost B.C. has a characteristic sound that is almost immediately identifiable especially if the guitar or keyboard comes in first. Papa Emeritus II and the Nameless Ghouls turned every one of the songs that they covered into something that sounds like they wrote it in the first place.