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Mostly great, ruined by brickwall mastering
on 17 April 2013
Having liked the band since Opus came out I was looking forward to this release with mixed emotions. Would the major label and 'buzz band' status ruin it all? Mostly the answer is no although I don't think this release is as good as, or will have the longevity of Opus it has an immediate and very self aware commercial sound drenched in keyboards with a lot more pop sensibility than I would have expected. There are some very strong tracks here with some really nice retro touches and a nod towards the lush sounds and songwriting of many classic rock (and pop) bands. Opus was a lean, clean, simple rock album with absolutely no filler which certainly can't be said of Infestissumam. There is a major dip in the latter half (especially Body and Blood / Idolatrine) and some songs outstay their welcome just a little too long and are little too repetitive. On the whole it's a great listen but one which I can't see myself returning to as much as I did with Opus.
And now to my main gripe and the reason I've decided to write this review - the mastering. I've only heard the CD version which I own (UK version) and I have to say that on decent headphones this thing is practically unlistenable. It would seem that Ghost are another victim of the ridiculous loudness war which sees many modern releases destroyed by being pushed too far at the mastering stage. This one isn't as bad as the notorious Death Magnetic with much less clipping audible but the lower frequencies are pushed to the point of almost booming distortion at points. I won't listen to this on headphones again and as that's how I listen to most of my music it's a shame (I couldn't even get though the whole album with phones). This CD will now live in the glovebox of my car where the horrible mastering won't be as evident. A real shame because I think Ghost probably recorded a great sounding record before it was committed to CD - hopefully a remaster will appear down the line...