Infestissumam (Deluxe Version) by Ghost on Apple Music

13 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Frontman Papa Emeritus II dresses like a satanic pope and paints his face to resemble a skull. Backed by a band of cloaked, devil-worshipping monks, Ghost B.C. is an intimidating sight to behold. That is, until the band starts playing music. Like its 2010 debut album, Opus Eponymous, Ghost B.C.’s 2013 sophomore full-length is ripe with catchy songs and melodic guitar-pop hooks that have more in common with Blue Öyster Cult than any of those church-burning Norwegian black metal bands. Following the introductory title track (with the aforementioned monks chanting in Latin over a bombastic classic rock backdrop), “Per Aspera Ad Inferi” kicks out some hard-rocking riffs as Papa Emeritus II sings like a young Buck Dharma on BÖC’s 1981 album Fire of Unknown Origin. The anthemic “Year Zero” winds through progressive arrangements driven by galloping rhythms and dramatic swells of choral chanting. The Moody Blues–esque “Idolatrine” sounds authentically '70s. Of the deluxe version’s two bonus tracks, “Secular Haze” stands out with a contrast of dark carnival sounds and near sing-along choruses.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Frontman Papa Emeritus II dresses like a satanic pope and paints his face to resemble a skull. Backed by a band of cloaked, devil-worshipping monks, Ghost B.C. is an intimidating sight to behold. That is, until the band starts playing music. Like its 2010 debut album, Opus Eponymous, Ghost B.C.’s 2013 sophomore full-length is ripe with catchy songs and melodic guitar-pop hooks that have more in common with Blue Öyster Cult than any of those church-burning Norwegian black metal bands. Following the introductory title track (with the aforementioned monks chanting in Latin over a bombastic classic rock backdrop), “Per Aspera Ad Inferi” kicks out some hard-rocking riffs as Papa Emeritus II sings like a young Buck Dharma on BÖC’s 1981 album Fire of Unknown Origin. The anthemic “Year Zero” winds through progressive arrangements driven by galloping rhythms and dramatic swells of choral chanting. The Moody Blues–esque “Idolatrine” sounds authentically '70s. Of the deluxe version’s two bonus tracks, “Secular Haze” stands out with a contrast of dark carnival sounds and near sing-along choruses.

TITLE TIME
1:42
4:09
5:11
3:58
7:29
5:50
3:43
4:23
5:25
5:53
5:14
4:52
5:19

About Ghost

A band rife with contradictions, Sweden's Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the United States) preach extreme satanic viewpoints over surprisingly accessible heavy metal cum pop-driven hard rock. The bandmembers maintain a strict vow of anonymity, both on record and on-stage; they obscure themselves under monks' cowls, except for their lead singer, known only as Papa Emeritus (there have been three, each supposedly younger than the last and denoted by a successive Roman numeral, though it's the same singer). His appearance, synonymous with the band's image, is instantly recognizable with skull-faced makeup, cardinal robes, miter and thurible; his image is that of an anti-Pope.

Formed in 2008 in Linköping, Ghost began playing underground shows and sharpening their sound. Given their occult ritual-styled performances, their popularity with metal fans in their home country flourished. In 2010, they issued a three-track demo, followed by the single "Elizabeth," and both quickly sold out. Their debut album, Opus Eponymous, on Rise Above Ltd., defied expectations with a surprisingly welcoming melodic sound, weaving together '60s psychedelia, '70s doom, and '80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and their reputation spread. They took to the road, touring internationally. They were forced to take the Ghost B.C. moniker in the U.S. because another band had laid claim to the name. Though it was a tad confusing, it didn't hurt their reputation for wildly theatrical performances, and their identities remained cloaked in mystery.

After a wait of over two years, Ghost issued the single "Secular Haze," followed by their sophomore album, Infestissumam, in January 2013, and the band debuted Papa Emeritus II. Infestissumam caused plenty of controversy during the recording process. Begun in Nashville, its satanic themes caused it to be boycotted by virtually every backing chorus -- an important aspect of the album. These vocals had to be recorded in Hollywood. The critical and fan acclaim was nearly universal; the release increased their profile across the globe and won them many fans who didn't necessarily claim heavy metal as a favorite style. The album debuted on some charts at number one. Later in the year, they released a covers EP, If You Have Ghost, produced by Dave Grohl.

A festival tour followed in 2014, including appearances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Rock on the Range. The band reentered the studio late that year. In May of 2015 it was announced that Papa Emeritus II had been fired and was succeeded by his younger brother (by three months), Papa Emeritus III, adding to the band's schtick. A new single, "Cirice," was issued in May of 2015, followed in August by their third album, Meliora, on Loma Vista Recordings. It was produced by pop heavy-hitter Klas Åhlund (Katy Perry, Usher, Kesha, Madonna) and mixed by Andy Wallace. The following year saw the arrival of a new covers (and one original) EP, Popestar, followed by a lengthy tour of the same name. After a long legal battle, they won the right to their name without the suffix.

Just how long Ghost's musicians will manage to keep their identities a secret even as their notoriety grows remains to be seen. A fan search of the Swedish Performing Rights Society's website revealed that Tobias Forge, formerly of Repugnant, has songwriting credits under the pseudonym "A Ghoul Writer." ~ Eduardo Rivadavia & Thom Jurek

  • ORIGIN
    Linköping, Sweden
  • FORMED
    2008

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