Swedish metal band Ghost play Stage AE Friday, April 18, and let's get one thing out of the way: they are self-proclaimed satanists. Or at least that's the story. The truth? Ghost is all spectacle and theatrics, Ozzy's version of Kiss. You either get it or you watch too much Nancy Grace. ("Socialist devil-worshippers preach their satanic sermon," the headline screams!) And besides, satanists are a lot less interesting than we might imagine
That's not to say Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the States because of a trademark dispute) don't do a convincing job of portraying evil incarnate. All but one of the band members go by "Nameless Ghoul" and perform onstage in black robes and black masks. The one who doesn't is the lead singer, Papa Emeritus. He comes out wearing all-black papal vestments, mitre included, his face painted like a skeleton. (Dave Grohl, a big fan of Ghost, is rumored to have performed anonymously with them in the past.)
But Ghost isn't just a gimmick band. Their second album, Infestissumam, won the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy in 2014 for Hard Rock / Metal album of the year. Their sound isn't nearly as heavy as you'd expect, even though the Ghouls cut their teeth in the flourishing Swedish black metal scene. Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult seem like obvious influences, while others have pointed out a connection with Mercyful Fate and their facepaint-wearing lead singer, King Diamond. Judge for yourself: here's Ghost performing the track "Year Zero" live:
We have two tickets to give away for this performance. Email us at "pghmusicreport [at] gmail.com" with Ghost in the subject line. We'll announce the winner Wednesday evening. Not feeling lucky? Tickets cost $23 and are available via Promowest.
King Dude opens for Ghost. He's a devil-worshipping folk singer. Or at least that's what he'd have you believe.
– B. Conway