Ghost (Swedish band)

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Ghost - Wacken Open Air 2018-4997.jpg
Ghost performing at Wacken Open Air in 2018
Background information
Also known asGhost B.C.
Origin Linköping, Sweden
Years active2006–present
Associated acts Dave Grohl
Past members
  • Martin Persner
  • Simon Söderberg
  • Mauro Rubino
  • Martin Hjertstedt
  • Henrik Palm
  • Gustaf Lindström
  • Aksel Holmgren
  • Rikard Ottoson
  • Linton Rubino
  • Megan Thomas

Ghost is a Swedish rock band that was formed in Linköping, Sweden in 2006. [1] [2] In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7" vinyl titled "Elizabeth", and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous . The Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and significantly increased their popularity. Their second album and major label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden, and won the Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora , in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden, and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, "Cirice", earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. The band released their fourth studio album, Prequelle , in 2018.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Linköping Place in Östergötland, Sweden

Linköping is a city in southern Sweden, with 158,841 inhabitants as of 2018. It is the 7th largest city in Sweden. It is the seat of Linköping Municipality and the capital of Östergötland County. Linköping is also the episcopal see of the Diocese of Linköping and is well known for its cathedral. Linköping is the center of an old cultural region and celebrated its 700th anniversary in 1987. Dominating the city's skyline from afar is the steeple of the cathedral, Domkyrka.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, formal name: the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.


Ghost is easily recognizable owing greatly to its eccentric on-stage presence. Seven of the group's eight members, its 'Nameless Ghouls', [3] wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. Prior to a 2017 lawsuit filed by former members of the band, lead singer Tobias Forge obscured his identity behind the character "Papa Emeritus". The character, which consists of Forge in a prosthetic mask and makeup can be best described as a 'demonic anti-pope'. [3] The Papa Emeritus Character has gone through four incarnations - I, II, III, and Nihil. As of the 2018 album Prequelle and subsequent world tour, Forge portrays a character known as "Cardinal Copia", who is described as being unrelated to any of the Papa Emeritus characters and whose costume consists of either Cardinal vestments or a black or white tuxedo alongside a prosthetic mask with black eye makeup and the multi-colored eyes which had been present in each Papa character.

Tobias Forge Swedish musician

Tobias Forge is a Swedish singer, musician and songwriter. He is the leader of the masked rock 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 due to a royalty dispute. Prior to finding success in Ghost, Forge was in several other bands including Repugnant and Crashdïet under the name Mary Goore.

<i>Prequelle</i> Album by Swedish heavy metal band Ghost

Prequelle is the fourth studio album by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was released on 1 June 2018 and produced by Tom Dalgety. The album's first single, "Rats", was released ahead of the album on 13 April, and as of 28 July, had peaked at number one for seven weeks on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The second single, "Dance Macabre", later topped the same chart for two weeks as well. The album marked the band's strongest selling debut to date, landing at number 3 on the Billboard 200, selling 66,000 copies in its first week, with 61,000 of those being "traditional" album sales.

Heterochromia iridum disease resulting from genetics or injury causing someone to have different colored eyes

Heterochromia is a difference in coloration, usually of the iris but also of hair or skin. Heterochromia is determined by the production, delivery, and concentration of melanin. It may be inherited, or caused by genetic mosaicism, chimerism, disease, or injury. It occurs in humans and certain breeds of dogs and cats.


Formation and Opus Eponymous

Ghost was formed in 2006, when future band leader Tobias Forge wrote the song "Stand By Him". [4] He said, "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." [5] Forge then contacted his former Repugnant bandmate Gustaf Lindström to record the song. [4] In early 2008, the two entered the studio to record three songs: "Stand by Him," "Prime Mover" and "Death Knell". [4] Afterwards Forge remarked to Lindström: "This definitely does not sound like two dudes that look like you and I". [4] Thus Forge decided that they should be an anonymous "theater band", and use their love of horror films and "the traditions of Scandinavian metal" in the band's imagery. [4] [5] While other members of the band would wear black hooded robes and be called "Nameless Ghouls", Forge would go by "Papa Emeritus", dressed in Papal regalia and his face painted to resemble a skull. [6] Forge then chose the name Ghost for the group. [4] Initially Forge had no aspirations on becoming the band's vocalist, instead wanting to play guitar. [4] He offered the position of lead vocalist to Messiah Marcolin, Mats Levén, Christer Göransson and JB Christoffersson, all of whom passed. [4] As a result, Forge became the band's lead singer by default. [4] On 12 March 2010, Forge posted the first three Ghost songs on MySpace and within two days was contacted by records labels and managers wanting to work with the group. [4]

Repugnant was a Swedish death metal band from Stockholm active from 1998 to 2004. According to Swedish Death Metal author Daniel Ekeroth, "Their amazingly old school-sounding death metal is something you must hear to believe." The band has been pointed out as one of the first revivalists of the Swedish death metal movement, along with Kaamos. Vocalist and guitarist Mary Goore recruited a new lineup of Repugnant to perform at the Hell's Pleasure festival in 2010. Following the break up of Repugnant, frontman Tobias Forge would go on to form Ghost, with whom he achieved much more success and fame.

Messiah Marcolin Swedish singer

Messiah Marcolin, also known as Eddie Marcolin, is a vocalist best known for his work in the doom metal band Candlemass. Marcolin is well known for his operatic voice and for his signature 'Doom Dance'.

Mats Levén Swedish singer

Mats Levén is a singer. His most notable recent collaborations have been with symphonic metallers Therion and doom metallers Krux and Candlemass.

Ghost spent a few weeks in a basement studio in the band's hometown of Linköping recording their debut album. [6] In June 2010, the band released their first single "Elizabeth". [6] Ghost released their first studio album, Opus Eponymous , on 18 October 2010, on the independent record label Rise Above Records. The album reached number 50 on the Sverigetopplistan and was well-received by critics, being nominated for the 2011 Grammis Award for "Best Hard Rock" album. [7] [8] [9] Ghost played their first concert on 23 October 2010 at the Hammer of Doom festival in Würzburg, Germany. [10]

Elizabeth (Ghost song) 2010 single by Ghost

"Elizabeth" is a song by the Swedish rock band Ghost. The track was released as the lead single from the group's first studio album Opus Eponymous.

<i>Opus Eponymous</i> 2010 studio album by Ghost

Opus Eponymous is the debut studio album by the Swedish rock band Ghost. It was released on October 18, 2010, on the independent record label Rise Above. It was released in North America on January 18, 2011, and in Japan on April 6, 2011. The album was recorded in the band's hometown and produced by Gene Walker. Opus Eponymous was nominated for a Grammis Award. The Japanese release contains an additional bonus track: a cover of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun". The album cover has a heavy resemblance to the poster artwork of the 1979 horror miniseries Salem's Lot which is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.

Rise Above Records London, England based independent record label

Rise Above Records is a London, England based independent record label owned by Lee Dorrian.

Ghost live at Roskilde Festival 2011 Ghost live at Roskilde Festival1.jpg
Ghost live at Roskilde Festival 2011

Ghost supported gothic metal band Paradise Lost on their "Draconian Times MMXI" tour in April 2011. [11] On 29 May, Ghost made their United States debut at the Maryland Deathfest. [12] The band played at the annual Download Festival in the United Kingdom on 11 June. Following their performance, Phil Anselmo, lead singer of the band Down, performed wearing a Ghost T-shirt and invited three members of the band to join him on the main stage, where they performed Down's "Bury Me In Smoke" together. [13] In December 2011, Ghost took part in the "Defenders of the Faith III" tour with Trivium, In Flames, Rise to Remain and Insense. [14] The band then embarked on their first United States tour, "13 Dates of Doom," beginning in New York on 18 January 2012, and ending on 2 February in Los Angeles. [15] Afterwards Ghost joined Mastodon and Opeth as the opening act on the Heritage Hunter Tour throughout North America during April and May 2012. [16] [17] [18] [19] In June, Ghost received the award for "Breakthrough Band" at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. [20]

Paradise Lost (band) British band

Paradise Lost are a gothic metal band that formed in 1988 in Halifax, England and are considered by some to be one of the pioneers of the death-doom genre and of the gothic metal genre. Paradise Lost has proven to be an influential band, with Jonas Renkse of Katatonia saying that his band started off "as Paradise Lost fanboys".

Maryland Deathfest is an American extreme music festival held in or near Baltimore, Maryland during Memorial Day weekend each year. It is the biggest of its kind in North America.

Download Festival English music festival

Download Festival is a British rock festival, held annually at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, since 2003, in Paris, France since 2016 and Parramatta Park, Sydney since 2019 & Flemington Racecourse Melbourne Australia since 2018. It is the most popular British summer rock and heavy metal festival and has hosted some of the genre's biggest names, including Saxon, Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Korn, Soundgarden, Motörhead, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Kiss, Judas Priest, Status Quo, Mötley Crüe, Journey, ZZ Top, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Faith No More and Guns N' Roses. The 2015 festival featured massive technological surveillance by police in conjunction with festival organizers Live Nation UK. RFID wristbands and facial recognition technology were used to compare visual scans of attendees against a European criminal database.


In February 2012, a Nameless Ghoul revealed that the band had completed writing their second album. [21] Ghost entered the studio in October to record their second album in Nashville, Tennessee, with producer Nick Raskulinecz. [22] The band had planned to record the album at the turn of 2012, but after starting their US tour in January, they were offered another tour immediately after. [22] At the same time the band, their management and Rise Above Records all agreed that the group's next album should be released on a different label. [22] Thus Ghost signed with Loma Vista Recordings in partnership with Republic Records a division of Universal Music Group. [23]

Nick Raskulinecz is an American record producer. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Loma Vista Recordings

Loma Vista Recordings is an independent record label founded by Tom Whalley, former chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records and Executive of A&R at Interscope Records. The label was initially a joint venture with Republic Records and is based in Beverly Hills and Brooklyn.

Republic Records record label, division of Universal Music Group

Republic Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group (UMG). It was founded by Avery Lipman and Monte Lipman as an independent label in 1995, and was acquired by UMG in 2000. Republic was initially an imprint of the Universal/Motown Records Group, and was renamed Universal Republic Records after a reorganization in 2006 before reverting to its original name in 2012.

On 15 December 2012, Ghost played a show in Linköping, where they debuted a new song titled "Secular Haze", which was released online earlier that day, as well as their cover of ABBA's "I'm a Marionette". [8] During the same show, the band introduced Papa Emeritus II as the successor to the first Papa Emeritus. [24] On 20 December, the band announced that their second album, Infestissumam , would be released in early 2013. [1] On 5 February 2013, the band announced a name change to "Ghost B.C." in the United States for legal reasons. [25] 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 ... The B.C. is silent, and as soon as we can, it's gonna be taken away forever." [26] They officially dropped the amendment from their name in 2015. [27] From 23 February to 4 March 2013, Ghost toured Australia as a part of the Soundwave Festival. [28]

Ghost performing in Utrecht in 2013 Ghost live in Utrecht.jpg
Ghost performing in Utrecht in 2013

Infestissumam was originally scheduled to be released on 9 April 2013, in the US, but the band could not find a US company that would manufacture the CD. [29] Four US CD manufacturers rejected the job because the artwork for the deluxe edition of the album was described as "basically a 16th century illustration of an orgy." [29] Rather than delay the album further, the band decided to use the artwork from the regular edition for the US pressings of the deluxe edition and announced the new release date of 16 April. [29] All European copies and the US vinyl versions include the controversial artwork. [29] Infestissumam charted in seven countries, including at number one in Sweden, eventually going gold. The album was also well received by critics, winning the Grammis Award and the P3 Guld Award for "Best Hard Rock/Metal Album" of 2013. [30]

Ghost began their "Haze Over North America" tour on 14 April 2013, at the Coachella Festival, which continued until 18 May. [31] On 27 July, Ghost began the "Still Hazing over North America Tour", which ended in Chicago at the Lollapalooza festival. [32] Immediately after, Ghost toured South America supporting Iron Maiden and Slayer, which included a performance at Rock in Rio. [33] In October 2013, Ghost opened for Avenged Sevenfold and Deftones on their US tour. [34] In November, the band toured the UK with Alice in Chains, before a tour of Europe. [35] [36] On 20 November 2013, Ghost released the EP If You Have Ghost , consisting almost entirely of cover songs. It was produced by Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame. [37]

In January 2014, Ghost received six nominations at the Loudwire Music Awards. [38] From 17 January to 2 February 2014, the band toured Australia as a part of the Big Day Out festival. [39] [40] They then embarked on the "Tour Year Zero", which lasted from 17 April until 17 May 2014, in North America. [41] In July, the band performed at the European Sonisphere Festival. [42]


Ghost's third studio album, the follow up to Infestissumam, Meliora was released on 21 August 2015. In an advertisement for the album that aired 28 May on VH1 Classic, it was announced that Papa Emeritus II was "fired" and that his successor Papa Emeritus III is his younger brother by a full three months. [43] The song "Cirice" was released as a free download from the band's official site on 31 May, and won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. [44] Papa Emeritus III was officially unveiled with a debut performance in Linköping on 3 June 2015, where the band also performed new songs from the upcoming album. [45]

The album was first promoted in August by a five date acoustic tour named "Unholy/Unplugged" of record shops in the US. Here Papa Emeritus III sported slicked-back jet black hair without his trademark mitre, and performed alongside the two guitarist Nameless Ghouls; accompanying them on the kazoo. [46] A tour of the US titled "Black To The Future" began on 22 September and ran until 1 November. [47] This was quickly followed by a European tour of the same name that ran until 21 December, including a full UK tour and two other tours in North America that took place in the spring and mid-summer of 2016.

On 12 September 2016, the band released a new track on a radio show titled "Square Hammer" and a new EP, Popestar , was released on 16 September, the same day the Popestar Tour began. Following the conclusion of the North American tour that concluded on 12 November, was the European tour of the same name which started in late March and finished in late April 2017. [48] They were the opening act for Iron Maiden on their 2017 North America tour from June to July 2017. [49] A Nameless Ghoul stated that after the tour was over, they would be writing and recording the new album which they stated would be much darker than Meliora , with Tobias confirming in a recent interview that the fourth album would be released in 2018. [50]

In early 2017, Tobias Forge was sued by former Ghost members Simon Söderberg, Mauro Rubino, Martin Hjertstedt, and Henrik Palm as part of a royalties dispute. The four, who left Ghost in 2016, filed the suit in the district court of Linköping, Sweden and accused Forge, who was in charge of the band's business affairs, of withholding financial information and payments to the other members. [51] [52] The former members also claimed that "Our vocalist and former friend is now attempting to, in an underhanded and shameless way, transform Ghost from a band into a solo project with hired musicians." [53] 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." [54] He also stated that he refers to Ghost as a solo project, "Even though I've never wanted it that way, but at the end of the day, that is what it is. I mean, I started it in 2006, and no one that was ever in the band in 2016 was even on the first record. Call it solo, if you want to, but I call it a project." [2]

On 24 August 2017, the band released their final music video from Meliora for their song "He Is". It premiered at Saint Vitus Bar in New York City the day before. [55] The band released their first live album titled Ceremony and Devotion digitally on 8 December 2017, with a physical release following on 19 January 2018. [56]


Ghost performing at Wacken Open Air 2018 Ghost - Wacken Open Air 2018-2558.jpg
Ghost performing at Wacken Open Air 2018

On 13 April 2018, Ghost released a new single, titled "Rats", along with an accompanying music video. [57] This marked the first release from the band, with their "new" frontman Cardinal Copia. [57] Additionally, the band welcomed a new character, saxophonist Papa Nihil, extending Ghost into a septet. [58] The album was titled Prequelle , and it was released on 1 June 2018. [57] A second song, “Dance Macabre” was released ahead of the album on 17 May, and was later released as the album’s second single. [59]

To promote the album, Ghost began the Rats! on the Road tour in the United States which ran from 5 May until 1 June. [60] The band was an opening act for Guns N' Roses in Oslo, Norway on 19 July 2018. [61]

Ghost began A Pale Tour Named Death in London, England at Royal Albert Hall on 9 September 2018. A North American tour of the same name began later in the fall that year featuring two headlining arena shows in Los Angeles and New York City. [62] [63] An early 2019 European tour of the same name was announced on 10 September 2018. [64] In March 2019, the band performed in Australia and Japan as part of Download Festival. [65] Ghost was later announced as the opening act for Metallica's WorldWired Tour from May to August 2019. [66] A second North American tour was announced on 1 April 2019, with Nothing More as support. [67]

The band released their second music video for the song "Dance Macabre" on 17 October 2018. [68] A third single, "Faith" was release as well. [69]


The members of Ghost mimic the Roman Catholic Church, but have reversed the image to worship Satan instead of the Holy Trinity. [70] From 2010 to 2017, the band's instrumentalists, referred to as the "Nameless Ghouls", each represented one of the five elements; fire, water, wind, earth, and ether, [71] and wore their respective alchemical symbol on their instruments. With Meliora each Nameless Ghoul had all five elemental symbols embroidered on the right breast of their costumes, with the elemental symbol representing the individual Ghoul being highlighted to show the identity of the wearer. In 2018, the band's line-up was expanded to include a third guitarist, two female keyboardists referred to as the "Ghoulettes", and Papa Nihil on saxophone. [72]

Papa Emeritus

Ghost - GRF 2012.jpg
Ghost B.C. at Estadio Nacional (Chile) 9.jpg
Ghost - Austin 2016 7.jpg
The original Papa Emeritus (left) in 2012, Papa Emeritus II (middle) in 2013, and Papa Emeritus III (right) in 2016

The group's vocalist usually portrays the band's mascot character, a Satanic priest known as Papa Emeritus. [3] There have been four different characters taking the name Papa Emeritus. They first welcomed the second Papa Emeritus on 12 December 2012, in Linköping. On 3 June 2015, the second Papa Emeritus welcomed his younger brother as the new Papa Emeritus in Linköping after being "fired" due to not performing his duty in overthrowing governments and churches. Papa Emeritus II and Papa Emeritus III were stated to only have a 3-month difference in age. On 30 September 2017 during a show in Gothenburg, Papa Emeritus III was dragged off stage by two men, who then escorted a new character, Papa Emeritus 0, to the stage to introduce the band's next chapter. Papa Emeritus 0 is portrayed as being significantly older than the previous Papas, making use of a walker and oxygen tank whilst walking on stage. On 19 January 2018, the band shared a video that features a character, implied to be Papa Emeritus IV, listening to Ceremony and Devotion on 8-track tape while critiquing Papa Emeritus III's vocal abilities. The character's face is hidden offscreen, but he is shown to wear red vestments similar to a cardinal priest. [43] [73] All versions of Papa Emeritus are actually the same vocalist. [74] [75]

Peter Hällje, a former bandmate of former Ghost member 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. [76] His claim was later confirmed by Forge. [77]

Cardinal Copia

Cardinal Copia performing in 2018 Ghost - Wacken Open Air 2018-4856.jpg
Cardinal Copia performing in 2018

In April 2018, it was revealed that the "new leader" of Ghost would be Cardinal Copia, who made his live debut with the group at a private acoustic show on 6 April; he is not a part of the Papa Emeritus lineage. [57] Instead, Forge described the situation as being like Star Wars; there is always two, master and apprentice... And if he does his job well then he may earn his face paint.

In promotion for their 2018 US tour a video showed that Papa Emeritus one through three had been killed and their bodies embalmed. [78] In an interview the following month, Forge stated that unlike Ghost's previous frontmen, Cardinal Copia is planned to be around for about five years. [79] The band also welcomed Papa Nihil, the first band member besides Forge to receive a character name. Originally introduced as Papa Emeritus Zero, Nihil is the ancestor of all previous Papa Emeritus characters, and after the "deaths" of his descendants, the only survivor of the Papa Emeritus lineage that we know of. [58]


The Nameless Ghouls performing in Austin, Texas, 2016 Ghost - Austin 2016 5.jpg
The Nameless Ghouls performing in Austin, Texas, 2016

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 alchemical symbol, while Papa Emeritus signs with his stage name or the letters "P.E." [71] One Ghoul said the idea that the band's members remain anonymous to gain attention is a misconception, and that the idea was to remove their personalities to allow their audiences to focus upon the artwork itself. He also said, "Had not the music been rocking, I don’t think that people would have gone gaga just about our looks". [80] 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." [81] In early 2012, a member of the band said he enjoyed being an individual and that he could easily "step outside the bubble" when he wanted to. [21] In May 2013, a Ghoul disclosed that they had started to reveal their membership in the group to their local friends and family "for house peace." [82]

In an August 2013 interview with Jack Osbourne for Fuse News, a member of the band said that Dave Grohl has dressed up as a Nameless Ghoul and secretly performed with Ghost. [83] In April 2014, a Nameless Ghoul revealed that the group has had several member changes through the years. [84]

The Swedish Performing Rights Society was 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". [85] All of the band's songs are credited to "A Ghoul Writer", causing people to suspect that Forge was Papa Emeritus. The online database for US-based performance rights society ASCAP, when having the name Tobias Forge entered into its search box, revealed all of Ghost's original songs (even though many of the tracks use the pseudonym "A Ghoul Writer" in the database itself) [86] At the time, Ghost stated they would not comment on any rumors of their identities. [21] Following a lawsuit in 2017, Forge's identity as Papa Emeritus was revealed. [51]

In March 2017, Swedish musician Martin Persner of the band Magna Carta Cartel claimed in a short video clip that he was the rhythm guitarist, also known as Omega, from 2009 to July 2016. This marked the first time that someone has publicly identified themselves as a member of Ghost. [87] A few months before Persner's announcement, the band recruited a new bass player who was suspected to be Lez Zeppelin bassist Megan Thomas, later confirmed by Forge. [77] [88] A lawsuit against Forge in April 2017 on behalf of four past members revealed their names, as well as the names of several more past members. [53] When asked about the complete lineup change at the end of 2016, Forge stated 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." [89] The lawsuit was dismissed by the court on 17 October 2018.

Musical style and influences

Ghost's music has been categorized in many genres, critics have classified them as hard rock, [90] [91] [92] [93] [94] [95] heavy metal, [90] [91] [96] [97] doom metal, [90] [92] [98] [99] pop rock, [100] [101] progressive rock, [102] psychedelic rock, [103] occult rock, [104] and arena rock . [100] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters 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." [105] Speaking to, a Nameless Ghoul described Ghost as a black metal band in the traditional sense, but said that they probably do not fit into the norms of the current black metal scene. This Nameless Ghoul described Ghost's music as a mix between pop music and death metal. [106]

In an interview, a Nameless Ghoul said 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." [5] A member of the band said the Swedish and Scandinavian black metal movement of the early '90s plays a major role in their act, [98] and said that each member has come from a metal background. [81] However, the band has stated several times that they do not aim to be a metal band. [81] [21] For their second album, Ghost chose a more diverse songwriting style; a member said, "we tried to deliberately have every song have its own signature." [107] Only a few members actually write songs. [108] The writers compose an acoustic outline of songs before other instrumentation is added so it sounds like a group, rather than being dominated by guitar. [108] In 2017, Forge claimed that he was the main author of every song except "Year Zero" and "Zenith", which were Persner's ideas. [54] Asked how he keeps Ghost's sound intact despite large lineup changes, Forge said he has to teach them to play like he does; explaining that while he is a good guitar player, he is only an "okay" drummer, bassist and keyboardist. So it is a matter of getting them to "underperform [laughs] together." [89]

Their lyrics are often Satanic in nature[ citation needed ]; one Ghoul said, "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. [Infestissumam] is about the presence of the Devil and the presence of the Antichrist." [80] However, the band has said several times their image is all tongue-in-cheek, citing that "We have no militant agenda. We are an entertainment group." [3] Infestissumam also deals with "how people relate to a deity or God, themes like submission and superstition, the horrors of being religious." [81] Additionally, a Nameless Ghoul said the second album is about "how mankindpredominantly menwhat 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 ... the Inquisition was basically men accusing women of being the Devil just because they had a hard-on for them." [70] The group's theatrics are influenced by Kiss, David Bowie and Alice Cooper, but a member said they are more influenced by Pink Floyd. [81] A Ghoul later cited Death SS as an influence on their "gimmick" but not their music. [109]


Ghost performing at the Getaway Rock Festival 2011 in Sweden Ghost Getaway Rock Festival.jpg
Ghost performing at the Getaway Rock Festival 2011 in Sweden

Ghost's Satanic theme has proven problematic for the group, especially in the United States. While recording Infestissumam in Nashville, Tennessee, they were unable to find choral singers who would sing their lyrics, forcing them to record the parts in Hollywood. [110] The group was unable to find a record manufacturer in the US to press the album because it featured artwork showing nudity, which resulted in a delay to the album's release. [29] When one interviewer suggested that the band's music had become more "radio-friendly" and that they were being accepted into the US mainstream, a Nameless Ghoul replied that in the US their music was banned from major chain stores, most late-night television shows, and most commercial radio stations. He said, "So, yes, mainstream America is absolutely welcoming us with open legs." [111] During an interview with Loudwire in October 2015, a band member stated that as of 2015, the US had become more accepting of their music and imagery, further evidenced by their appearance as the main musical guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on 30 October 2015, during a Halloween-themed episode. This was Ghost's first live television appearance in the United States.

Chicago heavy metal-themed restaurant Kuma's Corner added a hamburger called "The Ghost" to its menu in tribute to Ghost. Its recipe includes goat shoulder, red wine reduction, and a communion wafer. Local Catholic institutions have called the burger "tasteless" and demanded Kuma's Corner to remove it from the menu. The restaurant's owner acknowledged the controversy and stated they respected religion while refusing to remove the burger, citing the First Amendment. To demonstrate his respect for opposing views, he also donated $1,500 to Catholic Charities of the Chicago Archdiocese. [112] [113]

Awards and nominations

Grammis Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2011Opus EponymousBest Hard Rock Album [9] Nominated
2014InfestissumamBest Hard Rock/Metal Album [114] Won
2015MelioraBest Hard Rock/Metal Album [115] Won
2016PopestarBest Hard Rock/Metal Album [116] Won
GhostSwedish Export [117] Nominated
2019PrequelleBest Hard Rock/Metal Album [118] Nominated

Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2012GhostBreakthrough Band [20] Won

Loudwire Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2013 [38]
GhostLive Act of the YearNominated
InfestissumamMetal Album of the YearNominated
GhostMetal Band of the YearNominated
"Year Zero"Metal Song of the YearNominated
"Year Zero"Metal Video of the YearNominated
Papa Emeritus IIVocalist of the YearNominated
2015 [119] Nameless GhoulBest BassistWon
GhostBest Live ActNominated
MelioraBest Metal AlbumWon
GhostBest Metal BandNominated
"Cirice"Best Metal SongNominated
"Cirice"Best Metal VideoNominated
Papa Emeritus IIIBest VocalistNominated
Papa Emeritus IIIRock TitanNominated
2016 [120] "Square Hammer"Best Metal SongNominated
"Square Hammer"Best Metal VideoWon
GhostBest Live ActNominated
Papa Emeritus IIIRock Titan of the YearNominated

P3 Guld Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2014InfestissumamBest Rock/Metal Album [121] Won

Bandit Rock Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2016 [122] GhostBest Swedish Live ActWon
GhostBest Swedish GroupWon
MelioraBest Swedish AlbumWon
2017GhostBest Swedish Live ActWon
GhostBest Swedish GroupWon
PopestarBest Swedish AlbumWon

Grammy Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2016 "Cirice" Best Metal Performance [44] Won
2019 Prequelle Best Rock Album Nominated
"Rats" Best Rock Song Nominated

Notable tours


Related Research Articles

The Heritage Hunter Tour was a joint concert tour by American sludge metal band Mastodon and Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. Opeth and Mastodon each headlined specific concerts. Ghost was the tour's opening act.

<i>Infestissumam</i> 2013 studio album by Ghost

Infestissumam is the second studio album by the Swedish rock band Ghost. It was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Nick Raskulinecz and released on April 10, 2013. It was released in North America by Loma Vista Recordings on April 16 in partnership with Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, marking the band's major label debut. The album was generally well-received, with several music publications placing it on their list of the best heavy metal albums of the year, and won the 2014 Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. In late 2013, the band released a special edition of the album, called Infestissumam Redux.

<i>If You Have Ghost</i> 2013 EP by Ghost

If You Have Ghost is the first EP by the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost. It was produced by Dave Grohl and released on 20 November 2013 by Republic Records. Four of the five tracks are covers of other acts; "I'm a Marionette" and "Waiting for the Night" were originally released on various editions of Ghost's second album, Infestissumam, while the two others were newly recorded. The fifth is a live recording of Ghost's own "Secular Haze" from the band's performance of 28 July 2013 at Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York City.

<i>Meliora</i> (album) 2015 studio album by Ghost

Meliora is the third studio album by Swedish rock band Ghost. The album was produced by Klas Åhlund and released on August 21, 2015. The album was generally well received, placing on several music publications' lists of the best heavy metal albums of the year and winning Best Hard Rock/Metal Album at the 2015 Grammis Awards. Lead single "Cirice" won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. In September 2016, the band released a special edition of the album, called Meliora Redux.

Cirice 2015 single by Ghost

"Cirice" is a song by the Swedish rock band Ghost. The track was released as the lead single from the group's third studio album Meliora. The song peaked at #4 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016.

Secular Haze 2012 single by Ghost

"Secular Haze" is a song by the Swedish rock band Ghost. The track was released as the lead single from the group's second studio album Infestissumam. The song reached number 22 on The Official Finnish Charts.

Year Zero (song) 2013 single by Ghost

"Year Zero" is a song by the Swedish rock band Ghost. The track was released as the second single from the group's second studio album Infestissumam.

He Is (Ghost song)

"He Is" is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. The fifth track from the group's third studio album Meliora, it was released as a promotional single on May 31, 2015. The song reached number 64 on the Sverigetopplistan chart. A live recording was later released in 2017.

The Popestar Tour was a concert tour by Swedish heavy metal band Ghost in support of their second EP, Popestar. The EP was released on September 16, which coincided with the first show of the tour in Rochester, New York. They toured Europe in the spring of 2017, followed by a tour as openers for Iron Maiden.

<i>Popestar</i> 2016 EP by Ghost

Popestar is the second EP by the Swedish rock band Ghost. It consists mainly of covers and was produced by Tom Dalgety. The EP was released on 16 September 2016, by Loma Vista Recordings. The band began the Popestar Tour of North America following its release.

Ghost discography discography

The discography of Ghost, a Swedish rock band, consists of four studio albums, one live album, two extended plays (EPs), nine singles and nine music videos. Formed in Linköping in 2008, Ghost is composed of six anonymous members – vocalist Papa Emeritus and five instrumentalists known as "Nameless Ghouls". After a self-issued demo, the band released its full-length debut Opus Eponymous on Rise Above Records in October 2010, which reached number 30 on the Swedish Albums Chart. "Elizabeth" was released as the sole single from the album in June.

Square Hammer 2016 single by Ghost

"Square Hammer" is a song by the Swedish rock band Ghost. The track was released as the lead single from the group's second studio EP Popestar. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in January 2017, making the band the first Swedish band to top the chart. "Square Hammer" is one of the official theme songs for NXT TakeOver: San Antonio.

Amaranthe discography

Amaranthe is a Swedish heavy metal band from Gothenburg, known for their unique combination of pop rock and death metal. Their discography consists of five studio albums, one compilation album, one extended play, fourteen singles, and eleven music videos. To date, the band has sold 500,000 album copies worldwide.

"Rats" is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was released as the first single from their fourth album Prequelle. It topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in July 2018. The song was nominated for the Best Rock Song Grammy Award for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

"Dance Macabre" is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was their second single off of their fourth studio album Prequelle. It topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart for two weeks in February 2019.

"Faith" is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was their third single off of their fourth studio album Prequelle. As of May 2019, it had peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart.


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