Ghost (Swedish band)
Ghost performing in Utrecht 2013.
|Also known as||A Group of Nameless Ghouls, Ghost B.C.|
|Genres||Heavy metal, doom metal|
|Labels||Iron Pegasus, Rise Above, Metal Blade, Trooper Ent., Seven Four Ent., Loma Vista|
|Members||Papa Emeritus II
The Nameless Ghouls (5 instrumentalists)
Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the United States) is a Swedish heavy metal band, formed in Linköping in 2008. In 2010 they released a 3-track demo, followed by a 7" vinyl titled "Elizabeth", and eventually their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and increased their popularity significantly. Their second album, and major label debut, Infestissumam was released in 2013 and debuted at number one in their home country.
Ghost are easily recognizable due to their eccentric on-stage presence: five of the group's six members wear hooded robes, while the vocalist appears in skull make-up, dressed as a Roman Catholic Cardinal. The nature of their identities is highly secretive and their names have not been publicly disclosed; the vocalist calls himself Papa Emeritus and the musicians are referred to only as Nameless Ghouls.
Formation and Opus Eponymous
A Nameless Ghoul explained that Ghost has its roots in 2006, when the members were in another band together and he played the riff that would become "Stand By Him" to them; "I said that this is probably the most heavy metal riff that has ever existed.", "When the chorus came to me, it haunted my dreams. Every time I picked up the guitar, I ended up playing that progression, and when I fit the words in, it seemed to cry out for a Satanically-oriented lyric." After coming up with the name Ghost, the band decided to build on the imagery, combining their love of horror films and "the traditions of Scandinavian metal." In another interview a Nameless Ghoul said "Everything started with a bunch of songs. We knew very early that to make this material work we needed to fulfill our dream of putting a horror show together with music.", "We knew it would take a while to get things assembled, get the imagery in order. It ended up being two years of planning before we made the announcement that the band was active. That led to a very fast signing with a record label and our first show."
In 2010, Ghost produced a three-track demo and the vinyl-only single "Elizabeth", before releasing their first studio album, Opus Eponymous, on October 18, 2010. The album was very well-received and was nominated for the 2011 Grammis Award (the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Award) for "Best Hard Rock" album.
Ghost supported gothic metal band Paradise Lost on their Draconian Times MMXI tour in April 2011. On May 29, Ghost made their United States debut as the final band to perform at the Maryland Deathfest. The band played at the annual Download Festival in the United Kingdom on the Pepsi Max Stage on June 11. Following their performance, Phil Anselmo, lead singer of the band Down, performed wearing a Ghost t-shirt and invited three of Ghost's members to join him on the main stage. Down closed their set with both guitars and drums being played by members of Ghost. Phil changed the song title "Bury Me in Smoke" to "Bury Me in Ghost", prior to Ghost taking the stage.
Ghost took part in the Defenders of The Faith III tour with Trivium, In Flames and Rise to Remain for a string of UK and Europe dates. The band then embarked on their first ever United States tour, 13 Dates of Doom, from January 18, 2012 in New York to February 2 in Los Angeles. Ghost joined Mastodon and Opeth as the opening act on the Heritage Hunter Tour throughout North America during April and May 2012. In an interview in early 2012, a Nameless Ghoul announced that the band had completed writing their second album.
On December 15, 2012, Ghost performed a special show in their hometown of Linköping. There they debuted the new song that was released online for free earlier that day, entitled "Secular Haze", as well as premiering their cover of ABBA's "I'm a Marionette". The same show introduced the successor to the band's frontman, Papa Emeritus, known as Papa Emeritus II; believed to be the same person simply playing a new character. On December 20, they announced their second album, Infestissumam, would be released in spring 2013. It was released in North America by the new record label Loma Vista Recordings in partnership with Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, marking Ghost's major label debut. On February 5, 2013, the band announced their name change to "Ghost B.C." in the United States due to legal reasons. Discussing the name change, a Nameless Ghoul said "B.C. is obviously a pun on ‘Before Christ’, but it’s just an amendment. In our world, we’re just gonna be called Ghost, and when we refer to our records, it’s gonna be the Scandinavian version, saying Ghost only, and we are never ever ever ever ever ever gonna call ourselves Ghost B.C. in any way.", concluding with "The B.C. is silent, and as soon as we can, it’s gonna be taken away forever."
On March 12, fans could access a new song online entitled "Year Zero" if they promoted the band on Facebook, by endorsing its frontman to be elected the next Pope of the Catholic Church. Infestissumam was originally scheduled to be released on April 9 in the US, however, the band could not find a manufacturer for the CD in the United States. They were turned down by four US CD manufacturers due to controversial artwork for the deluxe edition of the album, which was described as "basically a 16th century illustration of an orgy". Rather than delay the album longer, the band decided to use the artwork from the regular edition for the US pressings of the deluxe edition and announced the new date of April 16. All European copies and the US vinyl versions do include the controversial artwork as "Vinyl manufacturers don't have a problem with the artwork. Neither does Europe." Ghost began their Haze Over North America tour on April 12 at the Coachella Festival, and it took them to over twenty dates in the US and Canada until May 18.
In 2013, Ghost embarked on a massive world tour. Ghost since then has performed at several music festivals, including the 2013 Download Festival, and Sweden's Metaltown, in which Papa Emeritus adorned himself in the Swedish Flag as a cloak during their performance. On July 27, Ghost began headlining a six date tour, which was started by the band Skeletonwitch. This small six date tour had been dubbed the Still Hazing over North America Tour, signifying a continuance of their original Haze Over North America Tour and ended in Chicago, where the following day, Ghost attended the Lollapalooza festival also in Chicago. Immediately after, Ghost toured South America and Mexico with Slayer and Iron Maiden. On July 8, 2013, the band Alice in Chains announced a European tour with Ghost, to take place sometime in the late fall. On July 15, 2013, Ghost were officially announced as the opening act for a string of dates on a US tour in the fall with Avenged Sevenfold and Deftones.
On November 20, 2013, the band released the EP If You Have Ghost, composed almost entirely of cover songs and produced by Dave Grohl. In late 2013, Ghost will be returning to Sweden embarking on an early 2014 tour, during which they will return to Australia.
- Papa Emeritus – vocals (2008–2012)
- Papa Emeritus II – vocals (2012–present)
- Nameless Ghouls – all instrumentalists; lead guitarist , bassist , keyboardist , drummer , rhythm guitarist
Themes and appearance
The six members of Ghost mimic the Roman Catholic Church, but have reversed the image to worship Satan instead of the Holy Trinity; "We’re basically doing the Catholic Church, we just have drawn a little on the painting.", "The sort of Satanism, or devil-worship, that we want to portray in the confines of Ghost, is a very biblical version of goat worship.", "we're playing with the idea of divinity, and we're using the diabolical symbolisms to set a mindset." Their lyrics are blatantly Satanic, as one Ghoul put it "the first album is about the forthcoming arrival of the Devil, spoken very much in biblical terms, much like the church will say that doomsday is near. This new album [Infestissumam] is about the presence of the Devil and the presence of the Antichrist." However, the band has noted several times it is all to be taken as "tongue-in-cheek"; "as opposed to a lot of intellectual black metal bands, we have no militant agenda. We are an entertainment group. Our mission is to put on a show. We want people to go into the experience the same way that you would lose yourself in a horror movie for an hour or two. Most black metal bands have intellectual demands on their listeners. We don't demand that." But that is not to say they are not "saying anything"; aside from the presence of the Antichrist, Infestissumam also deals with "how people relate to a deity or God, themes like submission and superstition, the horrors of being religious." Additionally, a Nameless Ghoul explained the second album is subliminally about "how mankind-- predominantly men-- what they have deemed to be the presence of the Devil, throughout history and even nowadays. And that’s why the record is so fueled with sexual themes and females. That’s basically it, the Inquisition was basically men accusing women of being the Devil just because they had a hard-on for them." "Many people have this concept of Ghost as being like a complete inversion of the church, whereas what we've actually done is just taken the church and painted a moustache on it [laughs]. We're basically doing the same thing that they have been for aeons; we're saying the same thing, just without a filter – the basic content is more or less the same."
Five of the band's members, called "Nameless Ghouls", wear hooded monk-like robes, masks that cover their faces, and neck chains which adorn the band's insignia, the "Grucifix". The Nameless Ghouls represent the five elements; fire, water, wind, earth and ether, whose alchemical symbols currently adorn their robes, with each Ghoul's black robe highlighting a different one of the five symbols in white.
The group's vocalist portrays the band's mascot character, a Satanic priest known as Papa Emeritus. According to the band, Papa Emeritus is "supposed to be the star", described by a Nameless Ghoul as "It's sort of like Eddie for Iron Maiden, except we have our Eddie singing." There have been two versions of Papa Emeritus, the second having been portrayed as taking up the mantle of his predecessor, signifying a fundamentally different character altogether; although both versions are believed to be played by the same vocalist. Both versions of Papa Emeritus have only ever been seen once together on December 15, 2012 in their hometown of Linköping, which was the concert where the original retired and introduced Papa Emeritus II to usher in Ghost's sophomore album.
Papa Emeritus's appearance has changed over the course of their career. The original Papa Emeritus's costume was a vinyl mask of an older man with skull features painted on it, and white or black Cardinal chasuble and mitre. His eyes are also different colors, the right one being a dark brown, and the left one being a drastically lighter color. Upon Papa Emeritus's stage entry, he would swing a smoking thurible, a prop that was used to make his entrance to the stage known. The second version, referred to as Papa Emeritus II, has a noticeably different appearance than the first; with the vinyl mask for him being fitted more tightly than the first and a much sharper jawline and distinguishable brow ridge, giving him a younger and more vigorous appearance. Unlike the first Emeritus, Papa Emeritus II wears an exclusively black chasuble with emerald green lining, and a white mitre. During a performance in Mexico City, he was seen to be without his chasuble and mitre, and was wearing black linens with a black leather vest that adorned the Grucifix in each breast pocket. Papa Emeritus II has the same mismatched eye color as the first; a darker right eye and a lighter left eye. In addition to this, Papa Emeritus II is seen to use a scepter which adorns a metallic-looking Grucifix for his stage entry.
In a mini-series focusing on Papa Emeritus conducted by Vice magazine's Noisey.com, it was stated that the first Papa Emeritus had an authoritative streak for a little while, and that his successor was a member of the ministry who was chosen to take up the mantle of the first because of his leadership skills. Papa Emeritus II in this interview wore a suit with tie, a fedora, and the mask worn did not have the makeup on it, but instead a small mustache. This "out-of-costume" appearance of him was first seen in the music video for the band's single "Year Zero", in which he charms a group of women, seducing them to join his followers. In this interview, Papa Emeritus II spoke in Italian, and described himself as "refined wine and a ladies man," while the Nameless Ghoul described the character as "a miserable, wounded, and bitter old man," who comes from the same bloodline as Leonard Cohen, Don Corleone, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and the characters of Vincent Price. "He's felt the rain of the world on him, but now he's just too old to care." This interview also stated that the current Papa Emeritus would not be the last, and that another Papa Emeritus (III) would follow at some point in the future.
Anonymity is a major characteristic of Ghost; the members have not publicly revealed their names and the group's five instrumentalists are only referred to as "Nameless Ghouls". During signings, The Nameless Ghouls sign the merchandise by stamping their individual symbol, while Papa Emeritus will either sign with his stage name, or simply the letters "PE". One Ghoul stated "I think one of the most common misconceptions is that we have chosen to be anonymous to gain attraction," "The idea was always to take away personality or individuality in the modern form of being a celebrity in order to have people focusing on the artwork itself.", but that "Ghost wouldn’t exist without the other", arguing "Had not the music been rocking, I don’t think that people would have gone gaga just about our looks."
Speaking of their anonymity in 2011, a Nameless Ghoul said "We're often mistaken for roadies, which is helpful. We've almost been thrown out of venues we've played. Forgetting our backstage pass is a big problem." By early 2012, a Ghoul explained "On a day-to-day basis when we are home, it can be slightly irritating at times when you have to justify what you are doing. Some of us in the band have experienced people telling us we have to quit our jobs. It's hard to justify quitting your job because you're pursuing a musical career, but nobody knows what band you're in [laughs]." But added "On the positive side, you can be released of a lot of the negative aspect of being semi-famous or recognized", "I prefer being my own individual and doing things with my friends. Fortunately, I'm doing this with a lot of my friends and whenever we choose to step outside of the bubble, we can easily do so." However, in May 2013 one member admitted "More and more we tend to just say it, because it causes way more trouble not saying it. Like locally, at home, that is. We live in a quite small city, under 40,000 people, and people know, and if you start lying to them in the face, it just gets worse. So it's our little secret together with everyone at home -- for house peace."
The Swedish Performing Rights Society is rumored to have Tobias Forge, vocalist of Swedish bands Subvision and Repugnant and former guitarist for Crashdïet (using the alias Mary Goore in the latter two), credited with songs as "A Ghoul Writer". All of the band's songs are credited to "A Ghoul Writer", causing people to suspect Forge is Papa Emeritus. Ghost has stated they will not comment on any rumors of their identities. However, in an interview, when Papa Emeritus was asked if he was the "Ghoul Writer", he said he was not. In an August 2013 interview with Jack Osbourne for Fuse News, a member of the band revealed that Dave Grohl has dressed up as a Nameless Ghoul and secretly performed with Ghost.
Musically Ghost has been categorized in many genres, however, they are most often described as heavy metal by critics. They have also commonly been called doom metal and hard rock, and to a lesser extent progressive rock and psychedelic rock. Adrien Begrand of PopMatters.com stated that Ghost recalls "the early sounds of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, and Judas Priest, as well as the progressive and psychedelic rock of the late '60s."
In an interview a Nameless Ghoul claimed they are influenced by "everything ranging from classic rock to the extreme underground metal bands of the ’80s to film scores to the grandeur of emotional harmonic music." A member of the band cited the Swedish and Scandinavian black metal movement of the early '90s as a major role in what Ghost is "in terms of imagery and accessibility," and admitted that each member has come from a metal background. However, the band has stated several times that they do not aim to be a metal band. For their second album, Ghost purposefully went for more diverse songwriting; "A lot of metal bands have a tendency to come up with a sound and they just mimic that 10 times on a record. [...] Which is fine, but we tried to deliberately have every song have its own signature." When writing songs, only a couple of the members actually take part, vocalist Papa Emeritus never being one of them. The acoustic skeleton of a song comes first before its "imbued with all the instruments underneath," in order to insure it sounds like a group, rather than being dominated by guitar. As far as their theatrics, a Ghoul admitted their obvious influences include Kiss, David Bowie and Alice Cooper, but claimed they are more influenced by Pink Floyd.
Ghost's Satanic theme has proven problematic for the group, specifically in the United States. While recording Infestissumam in Nashville, Tennessee, they were unable to find choir singers that would sing their lyrics, eventually forcing them to record the parts in Hollywood, and later were unable to find a record manufacturer in the US to press the album due to an illustration featuring nudity, which resulted in the album's release date being pushed back. When one interviewer suggested the band's music had gotten more "radio-friendly" and that they were being accepted into the US mainstream, a Nameless Ghoul replied that in the US they were banned from major chain stores, most late-night television shows won't have them on, and most commercial radio stations won't play their music, and sarcastically finished with "So, yes, mainstream America is absolutely welcoming us with open legs."
Chicago heavy metal-themed restaurant Kuma's Corner added a hamburger called "The Ghost" to its menu in tribute to Ghost. Including goat shoulder, red wine reduction, and a communion wafer, the burger has been called "tasteless" by local Catholic institutions, who demanded it be taken off the menu. The owner has refused, and stated that the new burger is quite popular and actually quite "tasty."
- Studio Albums
- Special releases
(includes If You Have Ghost EP)
|If You Have Ghost
- Demo 2010 (2010)
- Music Videos
- "Secular Haze"
- "Year Zero"
- "Monstrance Clock"
- "GHOST - Infestissumam Album Details Revealed". bravewords.com. 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "Swedish Metal Sensation Ghost on Anonymity, the Coming Apocalypse, and Sounding Like a Million Bucks in 1978". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Interview: Ghost B.C.". eMusic. 2013-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- "Ghost: The Hellbound Interview". hellbound.ca. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- "Ghoul Intentions: Ghost B.C. Talk New Album, 'Infestissumam,' and Living in the Past". Guitar World. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Ghost Unveil New Track 'Secular Haze' and Offer Free Download". Loudwire. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "WATAIN Wins Swedish GRAMMIS Award For 'Best Hard Rock' Album". Blabbermouth.net. 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "PARADISE LOST To Be Supported By GHOST On 'Draconian Times' Tour". blabbermouth.net. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "Ghost Confirmed for Maryland Deathfest". Revolver. 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "Hail Satan! GHOST January North American Tour Confirmed". metalinjection.net. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Mastodon, Opeth, Ghost "Hunter Heritage" tour announced". riotfest.org. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "MASTODON, OPETH, GHOST: North American Tour Dates Announced". blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "GHOST Working On 'Lavished And Divine' New Album". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Ghost Stream New Song, "Secular Haze"". Guitar World. 2012-12-17. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "GHOST On New Album: We Wanted It To Sound 'Like A Real Expensive Record Done In 1978'". Blabbermouth.net. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- "Swedish Metal Band Ghost Changes Name to Historically Inaccurate 'Ghost B.C.'". Spin. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
- "Ghost: ‘We Are Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Gonna Call Ourselves Ghost B.C.’". Loudwire. 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- "GHOST: New Song Available For Streaming". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- "Ghost B.C.'s Album Delayed After CD Manufacturers Refuse to Print Blasphemous Art". Spin. 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- "Ghost B.C. Unveil ‘Infestissumam’ Release Date + 2013 North American Tour With Ides of Gemini". Loudwire. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- "Ghost B.C. To Release ‘If You Have Ghost’ EP Produced by Dave Grohl". Loudwire. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "Show No Mercy: Ghost B.C.". Pitchfork Media. 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- "Masked Balls And Papal Bull: Ghost B.C. Interviewed". The Quietus. 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Members of Ghost B.C. Keep Their Identities Secret Through Bribes". Spin. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- "Swedish Heavy Metal Band Ghost "Gets Very Euro-Trashy" on the Tour Bus". Vice. 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "A Nameless Ghoul From Ghost B.C. Speaks About ‘Infestissumam,’ the Devil + More". Loudwire. 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Preview: Ghost B.C. to haunt an old church". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Ghost Frontman's Identity Revealed Tobias Forge". metalinsider.net. Retrieved 2012-03-08.[unreliable source]
- "Ghost B.C., ‘Infestissumam’ – Album Review". Fuse. 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "Dave Grohl drums on ABBA cover with doom metal band Ghost". NME. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
- "Ghost B.C., ‘Infestissumam’ – Album Review". Loudwire. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- Lawson, Dom (2013-04-11). "Ghost: Infestissumam – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- Arnold, Neil. "GHOST - Infestissumam". Metal Forces. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "Ghost: Opus Eponymous". popmatters.com. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Preview: Ghost B.C. to haunt an old church". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "Ghost Interview". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- "Swedish Heavy Metal Band Ghost "Gets Very Euro-Trashy" on the Tour Bus". Fuse. 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "An interview with Ghost B.C.". MSN. 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Q&A: Ghost BC on orgiastic art and ABBA’s infernal fate". Alarm. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Ghost B.C. Burger Makes the Body of Christ More Delicious Than Ever". Spin. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "After burger controversy, Kuma's donates to Catholic Charities". Chicago Tribune. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "Ghost Discography". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- "Chartifacts". ariacharts.com.au. MCM Media. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- "Ghost Discography". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- "Ghost Discography". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- "Michael Buble set for third chart topping album in a row". officialcharts.com. The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- "GHOST's 'Infestissumam' Cracks U.S. Top 30". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- "GHOST's 'If You Have Ghost' EP Cracks U.S. Top 100". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ghost.|