Kindred spirits: Blue Oyster Cult,
Show: With Ides of Gemini on Monday at
the 9:30 Club. Show starts at 7 p.m. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. $20.
It’s hard to know whether to take Ghost B.C. seriously. The Swedish metal act formerly known as Ghost performs cloaked in anonymity, fronted by papal parody Papa Emeritus II, who chants satanic lyrics in a voice reminiscent of King Diamond. The theatrical shtick was campy on the group’s riff-filled debut, “Opus Eponymous,” but continuing it on a second album seems ill-advised at best.
But surprisingly, the album, “Infestissumam,” doesn’t break under the weight of the joke. Both “Jigolo Har Megiddo” and single “Year Zero” are simultaneously as catchy and evil-sounding as anything on the group’s debut. Other songs, however, aren’t quite as flashy. “Depth of Satan’s Eyes” is a more smoldering singalong, while the trancelike chanting on “Monstrance Clock” sounds like a creepy lullaby.
The backing band, the so-called Nameless Ghouls, relies more on keyboard and organ melodies than on the heavy guitar riffs of the first album, which makes “Infestissumam” feel even more like an anti-church ritual. That sound gets a little tedious at times; the first half of “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” is a soft-rock ballad that feels out of place. “Secular Haze” almost dips too far into cheesy territory with an organ riff that sounds like a “Phantom of the Opera” outtake, but the song is redeemed by Papa Emeritus II’s unnervingly sinister whisper.