Tobias Forge

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Tobias Forge
Tobias Forge (Ghost) au Hellfest 2022.jpg
Forge performing with Ghost in his Papa Emeritus IV persona at Hellfest 2022
Background information
Also known as
  • Leviathan
  • Kopromancer
  • Gene Walker
  • Mary Goore
  • A Ghoul Writer
  • Nameless Ghoul
  • Papa Emeritus (I, II, III, IV, Nihil)
  • Cardinal Copia
Born (1981-03-03) 3 March 1981 (age 42)
Linköping, Sweden
  • Singer
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • drums
  • keyboards [5]
  • kazoo
Years active1996–present
Member of Ghost
Formerly of

Tobias Jens Forge (Swedish pronunciation: [tʊˈbǐːasˈjɛnsˈfɔ̌rːɡɛ] ; [6] born 3 March 1981) is a Swedish singer, musician, and songwriter. He is the leader and primary songwriter of the masked rock band Ghost, performing live as their vocalist under the stage names Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia. Although the band was formed in 2006, Forge's identity as the Ghost frontman was only confirmed in 2017, following a lawsuit by former band members due to a royalty dispute. Prior to finding success, he was in several other bands, including Repugnant and Crashdïet, under the stage name Mary Goore.


For his musical accomplishments, Forge was awarded the 2019 Platinagitarren award from STIM, who explained "With one foot standing firmly on the metal floor, Forge is a composer pushing the boundaries of the genre." Jury member and journalist Jan Gradvall stated that Forge is among the "most visionary and creative in Swedish music history." [7] Due to "Ghost's epic progression from underground doom favorites to an arena phenomenon" in the 2010s, Loudwire named Forge the Metal Artist of the Decade. [8]

Repugnant and Crashdïet

Forge was a member of the band Superior under the stage name Leviathan in 1996. He fronted the Stockholm-based death metal band Repugnant from 1998, under the stage name Mary Goore, which Metal Hammer reported is a play on the name of Irish guitarist Gary Moore. [9] 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. [10] Between 2000 and 2002, Forge was also a guitarist for glam metal band Crashdïet using the Mary Goore name. At some point he also played guitar for the punk rock band Onkel Kånkel. [11] Repugnant briefly 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. [12] They released two EPs and one album, So Far So Noir (2006), 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. [13] Forge played guitar and bass, with Persner and Söderberg both handling guitar and singing duties. The band went on hiatus when all three began to focus on Ghost. [14] Persner left Ghost in July 2016 and reformed Magna Carta Cartel. [15]


Forge performing as Papa Emeritus I, 2012 Ghost - GRF 2012.jpg
Forge performing as Papa Emeritus I, 2012

Since 2006, Forge has acted as chief songwriter and business leader of the rock and heavy metal band Ghost, a project and role that contributed to a significant rise in his fame and popularity, following many years of involvement in other underground acts. [16] During live performances with the band, he performs as its singer. Each album has a 'new singer': originally Papa Emeritus I through to III—a demonic anti-pope—and then Cardinal Copia, who became Papa Emeritus IV in March 2020. 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. [17] For recorded material, Forge seems to also play most of the other instruments in addition to vocals. For example, he claimed that the 2010 debut album, Opus Eponymous , was recorded with a session drummer and nothing else. [5]

In 2012, during a concert in the band's hometown of Linköping, Sweden, Papa Emeritus was seemingly retired and replaced by a new vocalist, Papa Emeritus II, but this was actually Forge in another costume. [18] 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 using the name "Ghost B.C." in the United States. [19] Forge performed as Papa Emeritus II for this album, as well as the subsequent EP, If You Have Ghost (2013). Papa Emeritus III was introduced in 2015 to coincide with the release of the band's third album, Meliora . [20] 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. [21] Forge is credited as Papa Nihil on the two-track release Seven Inches of Satanic Panic , which is purported by the band to have been recorded in 1969. [22] [23] For Ghost's fourth album, Prequelle (2018), Forge adopted another new persona, Cardinal Copia. During the final show of A Pale Tour Named Death, Cardinal Copia was anointed and introduced as Papa Emeritus IV. [24]

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. [25] 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". [26] 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." [5] 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." [16]

Other work

Forge performing as Papa Emeritus III in 2016 Ghost Rockavaria 2016 (7 von 14).jpg
Forge performing as Papa Emeritus III in 2016

Forge, as Papa Emeritus III, appears as a guest on Candlemass's May 2018 vinyl-exclusive version of "House of Doom". [27] 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 a ceremony on 14 June 2018 honoring Metallica with the Polar Music Prize. [28] Cardinal Copia also makes a featured appearance on the song "I'm Not Afraid" from Emigrate's November 2018 album A Million Degrees . [29] On 22 January 2021, Papa Emeritus IV joined the Hellacopters on the Swedish television game show På spåret to perform a cover of "Sympathy for the Devil". [30] Papa Emeritus IV also appeared at Guaranteed Rate Field on 22 September 2022 to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians baseball game. [31] [32] [33] Forge also appeared in the last episode of Netflix series Clark, that aired in May 2022. [34]

Personal life

Forge is married and the father of fraternal twins, a son named Morris and a daughter named Minou. [35] Minou sings in "Ashes", the opening track to Prequelle . [36] Morris is featured on Ghost's cover of the Metallica song "Enter Sandman", which Forge recorded to support Camp Aranu'tiq, a summer camp for transgender youths. [37]

His brother Sebastian, who was thirteen years his senior, had a large influence on him 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 heart disease on 12 March 2010, the same day that Ghost released their first demo songs online. [38]

Forge stated that as an adolescent he "unquestionably [threw] [his] hands into the hands of Satan." [38] 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." [38]

Forge is a member of the Swedish Order of Freemasons. [39] [40]


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ghost (Swedish band)</span> Swedish rock band

Ghost is a Swedish rock band that was formed in Linköping in 2006. In 2010, they released a three-track demo followed by a 7-inch vinyl titled "Elizabeth", and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The song "Ritual" of this album was chosen by Kerrang! as one of "The 50 Most Evil Songs Ever". This 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, reaching number one in Sweden, and number eight in the US. Its lead single, "Cirice", earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. The band released their fourth studio album, Prequelle, in 2018. The band released their fifth studio album, Impera, in 2022.

<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 18 October 2010, on the independent record label Rise Above. It was released in North America on 18 January 2011, and in Japan on 6 April 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".

Repugnant was a Swedish death metal band from Stockholm active from 1998 to 2004. The band has been cited as one of the first revivalists of the Swedish death metal movement, along with Kaamos. 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. Vocalist and guitarist Mary Goore recruited a new lineup of Repugnant to perform at the Hell's Pleasure festival in 2010, as well as several other shows, ending at the Maryland Deathfest in the United States on 29 May 2011. Following the break up of Repugnant, Forge went on to form and front the Swedish rock band Ghost, where he achieved a higher level of success and fame.

<i>Infestissumam</i> 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 Swedish rock 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cirice</span> 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 number 4 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Secular Haze</span> 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" 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">He Is (Ghost song)</span> 2015 promotional single by Ghost

"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 Swedish national music chart. A live recording was later released in 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ghost discography</span>

The discography of Ghost, a Swedish rock band, consists of five studio albums, one live album, three extended plays (EPs), thirteen singles and fourteen music videos. Formed in Linköping in 2008, Ghost is composed of nine anonymous members – vocalist Papa Emeritus and eight 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Square Hammer</span> 2016 single by Ghost

"Square Hammer" is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was released as the lead single from the group's second 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" was one of the official theme songs for NXT TakeOver: San Antonio.

<i>Prequelle</i> 2018 studio album by Ghost

Prequelle is the fourth studio album by the 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. The album's themes include medieval times and the Black Death, along with more contemporary subject matter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rats (Ghost song)</span> 2018 single by Ghost

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A Pale Tour Named Death</span> 2018–20 concert tour by Ghost

A Pale Tour Named Death was a concert tour by the Swedish rock band Ghost in support of their fourth studio album, Prequelle. Before the tour had been announced, two arena shows in Los Angeles, California, and New York City had been announced. The official tour was announced on 11 June 2018. It began on 9 September 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, and concluded on 3 March 2020 at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico; the latter concert was dubbed A Final Gig Named Death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dance Macabre (song)</span> 2018 single by Ghost

"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. It peaked at number six on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in September 2019.

<i>Impera</i> 2022 studio album by Ghost

Impera is the fifth studio album by the Swedish rock band Ghost. Released on 11 March 2022, it was produced by Klas Åhlund who also produced the band's 2015 album, Meliora. The release of Impera was preceded by three singles: the first, "Hunter's Moon", was released on 30 September 2021 in support of the 2021 slasher film Halloween Kills with a version being a part of the film's closing credits; the second single, "Call Me Little Sunshine", was released on 20 January 2022 and the third, "Twenties", was released on 2 March 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Imperatour</span> 2022–23 concert tour by Ghost

The Imperatour is an ongoing concert tour by the Swedish rock band Ghost in support of their fifth studio album, Impera. Following its announcement on 20 September 2021, the tour began on 25 January 2022 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada, and is currently ongoing.


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