Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the United States) wrapped up their Tour Zero Year 2014 North American tour with an amazing sold out show in NYC.
Hailing from across the Atlantic, Ghost formed in Linkoping, Sweden in 2008 and is comprised of Papa Emeritus II on vocals, along with five instrumentalists known as The Nameless Ghouls. It has been said that The Nameless Ghouls represent the five elements; fire, water, wind, earth, and ether and the six members of Ghost mimic the Roman Catholic Church but have reversed the image to worship Satan instead of the Holy Trinity.
Similar to King Diamond or KISS, Ghost is easily recognizable because of their unique costumes and make-up. Papa Emeritus II dresses up as a Roman Catholic pope wearing a black chasuble with purple lining, and a white mitre. He has a corpse-like face and uses a scepter, which adorns a metallic version of the bands logo. The Nameless Ghouls dress up in hooded robes while wearing masks. They also keep their identities secret by not revealing their names publicly.
According to the band, they decided to use their love of horror films and the â€˜traditionsâ€™ of Scandinavian metal in their imagery. They say that they are fulfilling their dream of putting on a horror show together with their music. Although KISS, David Bowie, and Alice Cooper are listed as influences, one of the band members has said that their theatrics are more influenced by Pink Floyd.
It wasnâ€™t until 2010 they released any recorded material. Their Elizabeth demo which was followed shortly after by their dÃ©but full-length Opus Eponymous. This debut album was nominated for the 2011 Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album in their home country.
The band made their United States dÃ©but at the 2011 Maryland Deathfest. They started building a loyal U.S. cult following while touring with the likes of Mastodon and Opeth, and headlining their own 13 Dates of Doom tour.
In 2013, the band added the B.C. to their name, to be used in the United States, for legal reasons (possibly because of the other band already using the name Ghost?). According to A Nameless Ghoul, â€œB.C. is obviously a pun on â€˜Before Christâ€™, but itâ€™s just an amendment. In our world, weâ€™re just gonna be called Ghost… The B.C. is silentâ€
2013 also saw the release of the bandâ€™s sophomore effort, Infestissumam. It was released in North America in partnership with Republic Records marking the album as Ghostâ€™s major label dÃ©but. Infestissumam is Latin for hostile. Used by the band in reference to the Antichrist, which is â€œthe most hostileâ€ or â€œthe biggest threat.â€ The band won the 2014 Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album in their home country while also reaching #1 on the Swedish Albums Chart. In the U.S., the album peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart and placed at #28 on the Billboard 200.
Ghost embarked on a massive world tour, which included their Haze Over North America tour, several music festivals such as Coachella, Download, Swedenâ€™s Metaltown, Lollapalooza, and Rock In Rio as well as a second tour of North America titled Still Hazing over North America tour. During this time, the band was fortunate to have toured with such veteran acts as Iron Maiden, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones, Alice In Chains, and Skeletonwitch.
Toward the end of 2013, the band hit the recording studio with Dave Grohl as producer. The result of this collaboration was titled If You Have Ghost and consisted almost entirely of cover songs. In 2014, the band came back to the U.S. where they embarked on their Tour Zero Year 2014 North American tour.
Ghost played the final show of their Tour Zero Year 2014 tour at the Best Buy Theater in NYC on May 17th, 2014. This was their 4th appearance in New York. In a short amount of time, they have gone from making their dÃ©but at the basement of Webster Hall back in 2011 to headlining a sold out show of much bigger proportion!
While standing in line to pick up my photo pass, I noticed that there were several people here from out-of-town. Some stated they were in NYC on vacation and made it a point to see Ghost while others said they felt the imagery of the band was too good an opportunity to pass up. Either way, the line to get in was a long one and it was filled with eagerly awaiting fans.
One of the things I love about seeing Ghost live is that they always bring with them bands and artists who are not only unique in their sound but are also relatively unknown. Tonight was no exception as they had brought King Dude from Seattle, Washington as direct support on this tour.
King Dude, whose real name is TJ Cowgill, is self-proscribed as a â€œfolk singer turned rock nâ€™ roll for Lucifer.â€ His touring back-up band consists of Joey Dâ€™Auria and David Nelson. King Dude delivered his unique dark sound that can be best described as country mixed with blues, gospel, and folk, with lyrical themes that can be both dark and uplifting all at the same time.
The band’s use of acoustic guitars and haunting vocals astounded me. He was reminiscent of Johnny Cash, wearing all black on stage, while his music felt inspired by the macabre. There was something very dark and mysterious about him!
It is hard to categorize his style of music. He was an extremely intriguing opening act. His vocals were low and had a â€˜croakingâ€™ rasp to them. It really felt like he physically embodies the doom sound and imagery.
According to his bio, he â€œpulls together the biblical sound and isolation of the bygone days of revelation with an atmosphere filled with hope and salvation.â€ King Dude says he has woven his own brand of American music, which brandishes many varied influences in his songwriting. â€œEverything from British Folk, Americana, Country and Blues can be heard in his songs. Even the heavier sounds of heavy metal tend to sneak and slither itâ€™s way inâ€, as his bio states.
King Dude is out in support of his recent release Fear which was produced by the legendary Bill Rieflin (Ministry, Swans, Pigface, etc.) and mastered by John McCaig. Although it appeared as if the crowd wasnâ€™t all that responsive to his performance he did receive applause from them and there were lots of people gathering at his merch table.
Ghost is a must see live band which always delivers an eye-catching theatrical performance and tonight was no different! They commanded the crowdâ€™s attention as the five Nameless Ghouls entered the stage to the sacred choral chant of the title track from Infestissumam.
As the band transitioned into Per Aspera Ad Inferi, the sinister and mysterious Papa Emeritus II glided on to take his rightful place at center stage in front of his microphone.
He is one of the most memorable front men you will ever experience. He commands the stage and the attention of the crowd like few others can. Decked out in full Cardinal robes, complete with upside down crosses, thereâ€™s something that keeps your eyes glued to him. One of the things I noticed was that Papa Emeritus II was not only wearing corpse paint, but he was also wearing a latex prosthetic style mask.
The crowd sang along to every word and, at times, the crowd was louder than the band during the chorus. With Papa Emeritus II leading the crowd, it felt as if it were a typical choir session at a church, except that this was no ordinary church!
One of the highlights included the introduction of nuns who went around the crowd giving sacraments in honor of the body and blood of the dark lord, which went on while the band played Body and Blood. This was something new to me, which I had not previously seen them do. As Roky Erickson once said, â€œIf you have ghosts then you have everything.â€ I left this concert feeling as if Ghost gave it, their â€˜allâ€™ which was definitely their â€˜everythingâ€™.
Per Aspera Ad Inferi
Jigolo Har Maggido
Con Clavi Con Dio
Body and Blood
Here Comes The Sun
Depth Of Satanâ€™s Eyes
Stand By Him
If You Have Ghosts