Swedish occult metal band GHOST will release its as-yet-untitled fourth album in late spring or early summer Loma Vista Recordings. The follow-up to 2015’s “Meliora” was recorded last year at Artery studios in Stockholm with producer Tom Dalgety (OPETH, ROYAL BLOOD) and was mixed in January at Westlake Studios in West Hollywood, California with Andy Wallace (NIRVANA, SLAYER). Songtitles set to appear on the LP include “Rats”, “Life Eternal”, “Faith” and “Dance Macabre”.
GHOST lead singer and founder Tobias Forge — who performs as Papa Emeritus — told Revolver about the band’s upcoming disc: “It is loosely themed around the concept of death and doom. It’s a themed album around medieval times, but it’s definitely clinging onto a lot of very current things. The Black Death [plague] is a great example of a turning point for a whole civilization. Complete villages were annihilated. Most people knew very little, so all of it was God or the Devil — and about their faith being questioned: Why are we being stricken down by this great scourge? It must be because of our not fearing God enough and all this superstitious bullshit.
“There’s a lot that you would recognize today in online mannerisms,” he continued. “In many ways, we’ve gone back a few steps because now it’s closer to how it was back in the old days when people were standing at the square and all of a sudden, it’s like in Monty Python‘s ‘Life Of Brian’: ‘Stone him! Ra! Ra! Ra!’ Public trials are very unsupervised and extremely swift and speak to the most primordial parts of us.”
Last year, Forge revealed his identity while responding to a lawsuit filed by four former members of GHOST, who accused him of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group’s album releases and world tours. The 36-year-old musician, who used to do the act’s interviews disguised as a member of his backing band of Nameless Ghouls, told Revolver that “the original idea of being anonymous — it was a great, naïve idea on paper in 2008, not knowing to what degree we’d be touring or to what extent this was going to be a professional operation. That regimen is very hard to live by. What I hadn’t foreseen was the fans and their willingness to embrace that and play along. [Laughs] I guess that’s the whole thing with showbiz and magic tricks: It’s like you have a silent agreement with your audience. Now, I feel like this has already become more of an entity on its own. As long as I don’t go onstage completely normal and then jump into character onstage, I assume that most fans would be able to accept me as the creator. I can comment on the work the same way a director would on his movie.”
In a separate interview with Metal Hammer, Forge talked about the musical direction of GHOST‘s new album, saying: “It’s a very bright-sounding record. And it’s a very heavy record, I’d say, but not from a Metal Hammer point of view, meaning all metal through and through. But it’s a heavy record with a heavy theme. I think the overall ambience is very serious.
“Technically, a GHOST song could just be piano and vocals but it could also be full pounding, heavy-thrashing hard rock,” he added. “I’m not in any way comparing us to them but I guess our modus operandi is a little like what QUEEN did — just decide to play really good songs and not focus too much on sticking to a recipe.”
While responding to the lawsuit filed by his former bandmates, Forge — who had previously played in several other rock bands, including REPUGNANT, CRASHDIET, SUBVISION, MAGNA CARTA CARTEL and SUPERIOR — took credit for developing GHOST‘s image and stage show and blamed the musicians for “destroying the mystery” surrounding the group by lifting the lid on GHOST‘s business dealings.
GHOST is known for its eccentric performances and is composed of six members easily recognized for their satanic attires. Five men who call themselves as Nameless Ghouls play the instruments while the lead vocalist is known as Papa Emeritus. The Nameless Ghouls who are wearing identical devil masks and costumes represent the five instrumentalities or elements (fire, water, air, earth and aether or quintessence) while their leader Papa Emeritus represents the group’s anti-pope symbol.