“In Times of Turmoil, In Times Like These…”, probably these lyrics from “Rats” are the ideal introduction for any special feature or tribute to Ghost. You see, we live in strange times where it seems and is almost impossible for a band to make an indelible mark on musical reality and achieve lasting commercial success. Concepts and goals that once seemed attainable today have fallen into disuse as the music industry and the approach of the buying public have radically changed. And yet, where you least expect it, acts are popping up – almost out of nowhere – that manage to stand out, change the terms of the game and outsmart, so to speak, the…voracious monster of the modern state of the music industry. Ghost is the prime exemplary case.
I belong to those who by coincidence bought Ghost’s debut album “Opus Eponymous” when it first came out. Don’t think I’m a fan of the doom/occult sound. Not even close. I’m just a big fan of Hammer Horror films and the album cover artwork directly referenced an iconic artwork from the legendary studios. So I thought I’d check them out. I even recommended them to some friends and since then I’ve been buying their albums admiring their evolution and especially the musical genius of their leader, Tobias Forge. I won’t hide the fact that I prefer their more commercial approach, the one they’ve been following since “Meliora”, and the mere fact that Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) did a duet with Forge on the excellent “Spillways” says a lot.
But maybe what intrigues me the most is the fact that Ghost in a relatively short time have built their own legend with the Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia personas so that you wonder every time how this dark Pope will be in the next album. And as for the music alone, there is no serious listener of this music who doesn’t recognize Tobias’ rare talent and knack in writing songs that stick in your brain at once. And most importantly: you know at once, by the first listen, that it’s Ghost! The guy has fully assimilated all the Blue Oyster Cult influences and has turned them into his own thing. Personally, I grew up in a time when music was still making rock stars and records were selling millions of copies. So, I want to see bands break the narrow confines of the hard rock sound and reach a wider audience. Believe me, the fans they lose will be overwhelmingly fewer in number than the number of new…followers. Ask Maiden, Leppard, Whitesnake, Scorpions and so many others for the truth of the matter.
Ghost is coming to Athens again but this time things are different. They are at their commercial and artistic peak. And as we know in our country it is a rare opportunity to see a band in their absolute prime. So don’t miss it…or more accurately, don’t miss them!