Impera’s greatest achievement, however, is one so obvious you wonder why Ghost haven’t been mining it for much longer: namely power ballads. With its sublime chorus, Darkness At The Heart Of My Love is initially every inch the match of Dance Macabre, but throws in so many other elements – multiple guitar solos, a choir – that it inevitably graduates to a higher league. And then there's Respite On The Spitalfields. Inspired by the murderous exploits of Jack The Ripper and featuring the odd preposterous line (‘He sliced and diced our dreams to pieces’), it’s an extraordinary closer that’s equal parts The Mission, Sisters Of Mercy, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake and Guns N’ Roses.
Some will be surprised by Impera because the singles released from it don’t necessarily reflect the album’s central thrust. Hunter’s Moon, though vastly superior to the film it was part of the soundtrack for (Halloween Kills), feels more like old-school Ghost. As does Call Me Little Sunshine, the cousin of the classic track Cirice from 2015’s Meliora. Even the angrily incessant Twenties is the sole representative of a totally bonkers direction some may wish had been explored more fully.
The truth, of course, is that all of these elements – the epic, the retro, the riffy, the lyrically iffy – are key ingredients of Ghost, and their better albums are those that give sufficient time and space to them all. For that reason and more, Impera is among Ghost’s very best and sure to push them even closer to those heavenly heights.
For Fans Of: Iron Maiden, Volbeat, Blood Ceremony
Impera is released on March 11 via Spinefarm.