Some time ago, Kiss' Gene Simmons daringly proclaimed that rock music was dead. The declaration, understandably, resulted in plenty of backlash from musicians and fans alike, but now, thoughts on the matter aside, we actually have hard numbers to silence the squabble once and for all.
That's right, Simmons, rock music is alive and kicking, and we have none other than occult party-rockers Ghost to thank. Their new album Impera, which was released earlier this month, has shot up the charts, and is now officially the fastest-selling album of the year so far in the US in terms of physical copies purchased.
In fact, in terms of vinyl and CDs sold, Impera had 2022's biggest first week sales week for any album, with 62,5000 copies sold in the US to date. And we mean any album, of any genre – it even surpassed The Weekend's lauded Dawn FM, which sold 37,000 copies, after its CD release in February.
Moreover, Impera logs the biggest first sales week for a hard rock album on vinyl since 1994, when Pearl Jam's Vitalogy sold 33,500 copies in its opening week of December 10, 1994. Vitalogy was exclusively available on vinyl in its first two weeks of release, before it became available on CD.
Last week, Ghost even found their way onto US chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live, where they performed Impera single Call Me Little Sunshine.
Speaking exclusively to Metal Hammer for our current cover feature, Ghost clergy leader Tobias Forge unravelled several semi-conceptual themes belonging to the record.
“I think people need to understand that my albums are never conceptual in the way that King Diamond’s are,” he says. “It’s never a story that starts in the beginning and finishes at the end of the story. It’s not a rock opera. To compare it to other artists, it’s more like Iron Maiden’s concept albums – like a record that loosely dabbles with the concept of pharaohs or time.
"On Powerslave, there are other songs that aren’t technically about pharaohs. Or like on Somewhere In Time, the songs have a chronological element in them. Impera is similar, where the songs are shining a light on various things within an empire. I guess you could say they show the cracks inside of it.”
Impera is out now via Loma Vista. Metal Hammer's exclusive Ghost cover feature is in stores across the UK, however is sold out online.