The Best Tracks of 2015, #8

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8. Ghost, “He Is”

I mentioned it plenty of times, but what Ghost do better than another band today is combine seductive beauty with heavy blasphemy. Metal fans who bellyache about how “insincere”, how “calculated”, how “cartoonish” it all is are missing the entire point. There is devilish pleasure in singing devout, overtly Satanic lyrics in a lavish, melodic rock song, and from the very start Ghost have perfected the idea. “He Is”, however, is their greatest achievement thus far, a ballad that builds up to the graceful power of Welcome to My Nightmare-era Alice Cooper and especially Blue Öyster Cult. When it hits that bridge, the guitar harmonies echo Dick Wagner, while the cascading piano is so what Alan Lanier used to do. And the band throw in a delicious little touch, making their deity an androgynous figure, first naming it “Nostro Dispater” (“our father of riches”) then “Nostr’Alma Mater” (“our nurturing mother”). Ghost are one of the smartest bands around, and they reached a new height with this song. (Spotify) (YouTube)

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