Ghost – Meliora (Spinefarm)

Genre: Metal/Hard Rock/Psych Rock

Given that two of Download’s headliners chose to keep their faces covered this year it should come as no surprise that masks remain a popular prop in the world of rock and metal.

There may be little mystery about the identity of the various members of Slipknot and Kiss but their costumes are a key part of the brand – as well as the band.

Ghost get this. So they got masks. But from the get-go they added anonymity, amazing music and astute marketing to the mix: Meliora is the next natural step for an en vogue collective on course to conquer the world.

Production-wise it’s a giant leap forward from 2013’s dazzling Infestissumam and yet Papa Emeritus III and his nameless ghouls don’t rely on a shiny new sound to get them though.

Scarily talented songwriters, this group of faceless fiends comfortably fuse metal, doom, prog, pop and AOR to create a sound quite unlike anything else out there right now.

Perhaps Ghost are proud of their success. Perhaps they’re simply puzzled. Who can tell? What is clear is that Cirice, Absolution and the magical Majesty are three of the best rock tunes of 2016: with or without masks the music is what makes this bizarre band so very special.

Should Ghost convince the critics that their image is no lazy gimmick then they have a chance. An opportunity to become one of the most talked about rock bands on the planet. And a tilt at taking on the big guns during the next decade. Simon Rushworth

RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Meliawesome