By Savannah Higley
It’s not often that a metal band charts high. Swedish Rock/Metal band Ghost has risen from obscurity and ranked as Billboard’s #1 bestselling current album as of March 23 with their new album IMPERA.
Ghost is a Swedish rock band originally formed in 2010. The band is easily recognized by their somewhat peculiar stage presence. The instrumentalists all wear identical costumes, featuring masks that conceal their entire faces. These members are known as “nameless ghouls” and for the most part conceal their identity. Aside from these nameless ghouls is the lead vocalist, a stage character that goes by “Papa Emeritus.” Papa Emeritus is described as a “demonic anti-pope” and is characterized by his iconic face paint and Roman-Catholic inspired garb. There have been many iterations of Papa Emeritus, the most recent being Papa Emeritus IV. All these Papas are played by the same man, Tobias Forge–his identity only being revealed after a lawsuit involving royalties. The band incurs major controversy often because of the themes they represent, with frequent mentions of Satan and the occult. The band essentially mimics the Roman Catholic church with a twist of worshipping Satan instead of the holy trinity, which has caused major problems in the United States, as their music has been banned and pulled from shelves for these themes.
While Ghost may be obscure and unheard of to some scenes, their musical career has actually been very successful. Ghost has won multiple Grammis, which are the Swedish music awards. They won a Grammy in 2016 for best metal performance for their song “Cirice.” Their song ritual was chosen by Kerrang! as one of the “top 50 most evil songs ever.” They very recently performed on Jimmy Kimmel, with their new hit song “Call Me Little Sunshine.” The band has somewhat of a cult following of devoted fans who love both the stage performances and the music. Ghost is influenced by artists such as Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. Their stage theatrics are influenced by Kiss, David Bowie, and even Alice Cooper. The band says they perform music that falls between pop music and heavy metal. Many of the members have metal backgrounds but try to branch out to other styles during their tenure in Ghost.
Watch out for Ghost as they take their new place on the charts and give these diamonds in the rough a listen!