Wednesday’s are a group workout for my department. We all head downstairs at lunchtime, make our way to a private room, and blare music of our own selection, while a trainer sends us through various exercise stations for an hour.
One of the (many) benefits of this is that we get to choose our own music.
Last week, my wonderful co-worker Lexi’s selection came on, and immediately, my ears perked up.
“Who is this,” I panted in between sloppy yoga-ball leg curls. “GHOST,” she panted back.
And that was that.
The next day, I searched Spotify and listened to all of Meliora, blasting through “Spirit” and “From the Pinnacle to the Pit.” By Friday, I braved the record store, only to have to wait for hipster shit-bags to get out of the “G” section, so I could grab Meliora and scramble out of the store.
I have a thing for bands who’s sound doesn’t match their appearance, and the minute I looked up Ghost B.C., I almost laughed out loud. Their lead singer’s dressed up as an Antichrist pope, with full skull makeup and mismatched contacts. He goes by Papa Emeritus.
Each of the band members dresses as a different Nameless Ghoul. In interviews, typically one of the Ghouls represents the entire band, or Papa Emeritus appears in (rather obvious) prosthetics and makeup to appear as an old Italian man, who is a “ladies man.” According to this faux-leader, there have been three Emeritus’, and the band intends to continue cycling them out. If you pay attention, (and don’t buy their schtick) you’ll realize it’s all been the same singer, just with different appearances. Odd, but intriguing. I think that sums up the band…
The death look doesn’t match their smooth sound. Vocals are intelligible, unlike many other metal artists. Riffs are clean. There’s nothing unintentional about their aesthetic. Even Dave Grohl (rock’s resident nice guy) dressed in Nameless Ghoul garb and took the stage with them secretly. The music community gets it.
It’s funny, the fear they’ve managed to shake up for their Satanic lyrics and sound. They’ve admitted that their appearance and display is an act. They’re a “horror band” (much like Alice Cooper) but the public does not see it that way. U.S. companies refused to print their album artwork or create copies of Infestissumam because of the sexually explicit artwork.
During recording of Infestissumam, the band apparently had to record their choir sections in Los Angeles, because Nashville choirs were so offended by their Satanic lyrics that they wouldn’t take part.
ANYWAY. Despite all of this odd background, “Cirice” has been nominated for Best Metal Performance for the 2016 Grammy’s. In typical Ghost style, they campaigned in Billboard magazine for attention leading up to the awards.
“Cirice” is haunting and melodic, and Ghost is entirely aware of that. They’ve openly admitted in interviews that they realized that it was an appealing song, and one that could really sum up the sound of Meliora.
The video is a fantastic representation of the Ghost dynamic and appearance. In it, a child takes to the stage during a school talent show, and apparently, calls upon Satan to liven things up a bit. The school staff, panicking, unplug the sound system, leaving the children on stage, bowing for their performance. It’s a wonderful pairing with the song, and perfectly sums up the public reaction to this intimidating (and fascinating) band.