Ghost: What’s the Fucking Deal?

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I’ve been meaning to write this post since I got back from MDF but fuck it, shit happens. Anyways, can somebody please explain the band Ghost to me? I’m be-fucking-wildered at how/why this seemingly innocuous, 70′s rock throwback, Witchcraft-lite with goofy costumes can turn the gnarliest of DeathMetalers and the crustiest of punks into screaming, crying beatlemaniaesque teenyboppers singing along to every word.

Now, for full disclosure, the first time I heard this band I was so fucking annoyed I made it through about 15 seconds of song after the vocals came in and then slammed my fat meatpaw against the keyboard repeatedly until it fucking ceased. At first listen, my impressions were basically limited to, “Fuck this pussy shit, this sounds like fucking Journey and I hate it. What is wrong with you for giving me this to listen to? You are a puppyfucker.” That coupled with the fact that when the co-writer who posted it on my site/gave it to me to listen to had it taken down by their lawyers in like 36 seconds officially sealed the deal that these assclowns were basically a cause that wasn’t even worth losing. Read the rest of the discourse after the jump!!!



Then I saw them at MDF.

The background for my experience with ghost, besides that I was expecting fuckall, was that they were the final act of the whole fest. I’d been listening to basically non-stop deathgrind for 4 days straight, everyone had been (mostly…) super cool with their pit-iquette and dealing with the heat, the crowd, etc. Then the load-in started.

As you may or may not be able to tell, I hate rockstar bullshit (… unless you’re Dio, Maiden, or Priest. Then it’s aight… Mostly…) Ghost repeatedly dinged the fucking 10 on the rockstarbullshitometer. Their load in/soundcheck was a solid hour and change. For like 3 amps and a drum kit. They had a small army of emaciated Swedish teen boy roadies perfectly outfitted in 70′s hesher outfits with like, just the right rips in the knees, and their backpatches just so to tune and check guitars. It was hot as fuck. Everyone was exhausted. And, most of all, there was absolutely no need to take that long. As people were forced to stand around in a completely packed main room, people started losing their concert-cool and shoving, pushing, jockeying for a better position, etc. all that shit was going on full force. What you need to know about this, is that none of this bullshit had happened for any of the other bands. Not Neurosis, not Voivod, not Tragedy, etc. This was pretty fucking confusing for me seeing as, compared to even the “less extreme” (in comparison to full on goregrind insanity) bands like Nuclear Assault or Doom, the crowds were much more courteous. Sure, the pits were going the fuck off, as they should, but if you weren’t in the pit, you could basically count on dudes being cool. Not so with Ghost.

Finally, after an eternity of setting up, the band finally hit the stage. The first thing you’re forced to come to terms with is the goofy costumes and funny hand gestures. It’s supposed to be like a few faceless black robed monks fronted by a dead pope or something? The pope singer mostly seems uncomfortable and constricted in his little get up there considering that the only movements he made were awkwardly sweeping hand gestures and very little else. The black robe monk dudes stuck to standard band jamming but you know, in vests and jeans they woulda been any other band.

Now, this may sound belittling to their act but for me costumes and showmanship and all that shit can be fucking awesome. Take, for example, a band with almost the same, exact, IDENTICAL look who fucking kills it.

 

See that shit? Basically identical. Especially when I saw them at MDF last year and Curator was wearing a fucking pope hat. Anonymous, black hooded band? Check. Creepy hidden faced lead singer with funny hat? Check. Crazy atmospheric vibe? Check. Audience losing their shit? Megacheck.

Now, on top of directly biting Portal’s look but none of their sound, Ghost seems to basically have come directly out of the same Nordic cauldron that spawned Witchcraft and Devil and yadda yadda yadda. Back to back, Ghost really sounds like an AOR version of the rest of their northern fellows.

The funny thing about all this is, the band sounded great. In fact, the band sounded way better than I expected. Much better than they sound on album. In fact, the tone and playing was pretty on fucking point to any fan of Sabbath. It was great. The vocals I could totally do without in the context of the rest of the sound, but apparently I’m in the vast minority. I haven’t seen that many totally stoked heshers singing along to every single word of every single song since I saw Amebix, and those were punks man.

So long and short, I guess Ghost fills a big ol’ hole in the metal world. Apparently, after 4 full days of completely incomprehensible vocals and bands that look the same on stage and off, people are ready for a little showmanship some singalong songs.

Fair play Ghost, good luck to ya, now stay the fuck off my speakers.

Ghostwriter

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  • Mark

    I really couldn’t agree more with this. Like the author of this post, everybody pisses themselves like an overly excited dog for a band that is a pastiche of 70s rock and AOR nonsense – which to be fair has been done far better in the past.

    I have friends that profess to be kvlt as fuck, and yet they turn into screeching Bieber-esque amoeba brained morons for their rehashed musical tat.

    Spot on, good sir.

  • teflonrobg

    HAHAHAHA!! I fuckin’ hate that band too. The worst sound & look ever! The guitar riffs are cool and everything else sucks. Off with their heads.

  • http://www.unhinged.me.uk/ paul mccarroll

    Finally succumbed to checking these out last night, Not what I was expecting, didn’t make it to the end of the song. Just sounded like a really weak Mercyful Fate rip off. meh

  • Joe

    A band that I can see not fitting in for uberPunks, but they’re honey to my Judas Priest/Mercyful Fate loving heart.

    • http://www.nogodsnovegetables.com Jack Crank

      My Mercyful Fate/Priest loving heart still thinks these dudes are a bunch of pussies. At least KD can wail and this shit makes just about anything after rockarolla look like cannibal corpse. It’s AOR dude.

      Maybe if they ditched the weak approximation of Steve Perry in a skull mask for some good old fashioned NWOBHM vox I’d be about it.

      • Joe

        Matter of taste. You could play Dark Castle all you want and I’d be bored to tears.

  • http://www.midwesterndecline.blogspot.com Dan

    I’ve not seen Ghost live, but totally agree with you that it is essentially AOR music, and other than people wanting to be “hip” I see no reason to think they are anything special.

  • Jon

    Thank you for picking my brain and saying exactly what I’ve been thinking for a year. This band is awful and they look like Portal and they’re boring and I don’t get it… and they should be ashamed for confusing people with stealing the name from the great Japanese psych band.