According to Billboard, GHOST's fifth album, "Impera", sold 70,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marks the third top 10 album — and fifth top 40-charting set — for the Swedish occult rock act.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album.
Of "Impera"'s 70,000 units earned for the week, album sales comprise 62,500, SEA units comprise 7,000 (equaling 9.11 million on-demand official streams of the set's songs) and TEA units comprise 500.
"Impera"'s first-week album sales surpass that of any other album in the 2022 tracking year so far. It also has the largest sales week for a rock or hard rock album since the debut of FOO FIGHTERS' "Medicine At Midnight" in February 2021 (64,000).
As previously reported, "Impera" landed at position No. 1 in Germany and Sweden, No. 2 in the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, No. 3 in Australia, No. 5 in France and Ireland, and No. 20 in Italy.
"Impera" was released on March 11. The 12-song effort was produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace.
In a recent interview with El Paso Inc., GHOST mastermind Tobias Forge spoke his decision to record "Impera" with Åhlund, who also sat behind the desk for 2015's acclaimed "Meliora" effort. Asked why he chose to end his streak of working with a different producer on each new GHOST LP, Tobias said: "The thing is you need to keep moving so that you don't get stuck in friendly comfortable mode. 'Meliora', the record I made with Klas, was really good, but the recording and the production itself left a few things to be improved. When time came to record 'Impera', the writing and demoing had been done in 2020. But in early 2021, the American producer who was supposed to make the record couldn't come because of the travel restrictions, and I couldn't go to America. And because Klas is also a very scheduled person, he had a project lined up that fell through. All of a sudden, he had a few months off, and I was, like, 'That is well-timed, because I don't have a producer. Would you like to produce the record?'"
Forge worked on the follow-up to 2018's "Prequelle" with Åhlund and Swedish co-writers Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare, whose credits include Madonna and Lady Gaga.
Regarding his collaboration with Åhlund, Al Fakir and Pontare, as well as OPETH's Fredrik Åkesson who was brought in to sharpen the album's guitar attack, Forge recently told St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "I found that I can work really well with someone I respect, who is always pushing for the best. They make me want to write better, to get my game up a little."
GHOST's co-headlining tour with VOLBEAT kicked off on January 25 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada and concluded on March 3 in Anaheim, California.
In March 2020, at final show of GHOST's "Prequelle" tour in Mexico City, Mexico, the band officially introduced Papa Emeritus IV, the new character who is fronting the act for its "Impera" album phase.
Forge performed as a "new" Papa Emeritus on each of the band's first three LPs, with each version of Papa replacing the one that came before it. Papa Emeritus III was retired in favor of Cardinal Copia before the release of "Prequelle".
Photo credit: Mikael Eriksson