Earlier this year, Ghost released Prequelle, a near-perfect arena rock record dripping with the band’s classic satanic doom-metal aesthetic and dashes of really fun pop glimmer. Every song on the album fits ingeniously and further establishes the band’s repertoire of new rock classics. Even the two instrumental pieces continue the energy of the other songs seamlessly, creating a beautifully cohesive album. Some tracks have lush orchestral intros and outros which act as gorgeous reprises or previews of other melodies on the album and enhance the overall flow. Somehow, amidst our current music climate of the widespread reappropriation of the sounds and textures of the 1980s, the clear 80s influence on Prequelle still feels fresh and exciting, balanced perfectly against 70s hard rock and 21st century dance sensibilities. Thematically, the album perfectly intertwines deliciously cheesy imagery of the Black Death with entertaining and incisive disses on some of the former members of the band who levied a lawsuit against the frontman. At a fairly concise 41 minutes long, Prequelle doesn’t squander a second; every moment on the album feels important. It’s a strong top 5 contender for my AOTY, and so I had very high hopes for the tour.