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Forge in his Papa Emeritus III persona, 2016.
|Birth name||Tobias Jens Forge|
|Also known as||
3 March 1981|
Tobias Forge (born 3 March 1981) is a Swedish singer, musician and songwriter. He is the leader of the masked heavy metal band Ghost, performing live as their vocalist under the stage names Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia. His identity as the Ghost frontman was only confirmed in 2017, following a lawsuit by former members of the band. Prior to finding success in Ghost, Forge was in several other bands including Repugnant and Crashdïet under the name Mary Goore.
Repugnant and Crashdïet
Forge was a member of the band Superior under the stage name Leviathan in 1996. Forge has fronted the Stockholm-based death metal band Repugnant since 1998, under the stage name Mary Goore. They recorded their only studio album Epitome of Darkness in 2002, but it was left unreleased when the band broke up in 2004, only being published in 2006. Between 2000 and 2002, Forge was also a guitarist for glam metal band Crashdïet under the Mary Goore name. At some point he also played guitar for the punk rock band Onkel Kånkel. Repugnant reunited for the Hell's Pleasure festival in 2010.
Subvision and Magna Carta Cartel
From 2002 to 2008, Forge was vocalist and guitarist of the pop rock band Subvision. The group also included future Ghost members Martin Persner and Gustaf Lindström on guitar and bass respectively. They released two EPs and one album, 2006's So Far So Noir, before disbanding.
Forge, Persner and Simon Söderberg, another future Ghost member, were also members of the Linköping-based alternative rock band Magna Carta Cartel (or MCC) from 2006 to 2010. He played guitar and bass with Persner and Söderberg handling both guitar and singing duties. The band went on hiatus when all three began to focus on Ghost. After leaving Ghost in July 2016, Persner reformed Magna Carta Cartel.
Forge has been the chief songwriter and business leader of the heavy metal band Ghost since 2006, a project and role that contributed to a significant rise in his fame and popularity, following many years of involvement in other underground acts. During live performances with the band, he performs as its singer, originally under the stage name Papa Emeritus, a demonic anti-pope, and now Cardinal Copia. Peter Hällje, a former bandmate of Martin Persner, claimed he designed the Papa Emeritus character in 2005, prior to the formation of Ghost. Hällje never performed as Papa Emeritus and agreed with Persner to let him use the character for his then-new band. For recorded material, Forge seems to also play most of the other instruments in addition to vocals. For example, he said their 2010 debut album Opus Eponymous was recorded with a session drummer and nothing else.
During a concert in the band's hometown of Linköping, Sweden in 2012, Papa Emeritus was ostensibly retired and replaced by a supposedly new vocalist, Papa Emeritus II (which was really just Forge in another costume). The band's second album Infestissumam was released in 2013. Due to a legal dispute over the band's name, they were forced to release the album as Ghost B.C. in the United States. For this album as well as the subsequent EP If You Have Ghost (2013), Forge performed as Papa Emeritus II. In 2015, Papa Emeritus III was introduced to coincide with the release of Meliora. Papa Emeritus III was retired at the end of Ghost's 2016-2017 Popestar Tour (being physically dragged off stage at the end of the final show), and a new character, Papa Emeritus Zero (now known as Papa Nihil), was introduced immediately afterward. For the band's fourth album, 2018's Prequelle, Forge adopted another new persona, Cardinal Copia.
Despite anonymity being one of Ghost's biggest themes, Forge's identity as Papa Emeritus was revealed following a lawsuit in April 2017 by former Ghost members over a royalties dispute. They also claimed he was trying to transform Ghost "from a band into a solo project with hired musicians" in an "underhanded and shameless way". Forge has disputed this, claiming that Ghost "was always sort of… I guess a Bathory sort of band, where there was people playing live, and the people playing live [were] not necessarily the same that played on the records." Forge claimed that "no legal partnership" ever existed between the other members and himself; they were paid a fixed salary to perform and execute the band's image as he instructed as "musicians for hire."
Forge, as Papa Emeritus III, appears as a guest on Candlemass' May 2018 vinyl-exclusive version of "House of Doom". As Cardinal Copia he joined members of Candlemass and Vargas and Lagola for a live performance of "Enter Sandman" in front of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia of Sweden during the June 14, 2018 ceremony honoring Metallica with the Polar Music Prize.
Forge is married and is the father of twins. His brother Sebastian, who was thirteen years his senior, had a large influence on Tobias and introduced him to film and music such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kim Wilde, Rainbow, Kiss and Mötley Crüe at a very young age. Sebastian died from a heart disease on 12 March 2010, the same day that Ghost released their first demo songs online. Sebastian was also a published author.
Forge stated that as an adolescent he "unquestionably [threw] my hands into the hands of Satan." He cited a strict stepmother, the alienation he felt at her home, and an even stricter religious schoolteacher for making him run "headfirst into the arms of the devil."
- Metamorphis (Demo, 1996)
- Spawn of Pure Malevolence (Demo, 1999)
- Hecatomb (EP, 1999)
- Draped in Cerecloth (Demo, 2001)
- Dunkel Besatthet (Split, 2002)
- Premature Burial (EP, 2004)
- Kaamos / Repugnant (Split, 2004)
- Epitome of Darkness (2006)
- Demo 1 (Demo, 2000)
- Demo 2 (Demo, 2000)
- Demo 3 (Demo, 2001)
- Pearls For Pigsnawps (EP, 2003)
- The Killing Floor E.P. (EP, 2004)
- So Far So Noir (2006)
Magna Carta Cartel
- Valiant Visions Dawn (EP, 2008)
- Goodmorning Restrained (2009)
- "Ghost Bio". AllMusic.
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- "Iron Maiden Defy Age, Which Is Why They're Still One of Metal's Best Live Acts". It Djents. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
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- "Ghost Unveil 'New' Leader Papa Emeritus III". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
- "Ghost's Papa Emeritus III Plays Final Show, Transition to New "Papa" Begins". Loudwire. 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
- "Four Former Members of Ghost Reveal Identities, Speak Out About Lawsuit Against Tobias Forge ("Papa Emeritus")". MetalSucks. 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
- "Former GHOST Members Accuse Singer Of Trying To 'Shamelessly' Turn 'Band' Into 'Solo Project'". www.blabbermouth.net. April 6, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
- "GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE To Guest On 10-Inch Vinyl Version Of CANDLEMASS's 'House Of Doom'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- "METALLICA Honored With POLAR MUSIC PRIZE; GHOST And CANDLEMASS Members Perform 'Enter Sandman'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- Bennett, J. "Ghost: The True Story of Death, Religion and Rock & Roll Behind Metal's Strangest Band". Revolver. Retrieved 31 May 2018.