GHOST Announces ' Phantomime' Covers EP, Shares 'Jesus He Knows Me' Music Video
Fresh off winning "Best Rock Album Of The Year" at the iHeart Radio Music Awards , GHOST has announced "Phantomime" , a five-song covers EP intended from the start to follow last year's international chart-topping opus "Impera" . A diverse and spellbinding sampling of the Grammy Award -winning band's musical DNA, "Phantomime" is comprised of covers of classics and deep cuts by TELEVISION , GENESIS , THE STRANGLERS , IRON MAIDEN and Tina Turner . "Phantomime" pays tribute in equal measure to every one of these unlikely bedfellow, influences while stamping them all with GHOST 's undeniable sonic signature.
The announcement of "Phantomime" 's impending release also solves the mystery of GHOST 's recent "Jesus Is Coming" campaign, as referenced in the Good Friday premiere of the newest installment of the band's long-running webisode series, "Chapter 17: Nap Time" . "Phantomime" 's May 18 release via Loma Vista Recordings is heralded by GHOST 's interpretation of GENESIS 's 1992 satirical stab at televangelists "Jesus He Knows Me" , available now to stream and download.
This second coming of "Jesus He Knows Me" is accompanied by an Alex Ross Perry -directed video that will surely make the case that one person's beauty is another's blasphemy. Culminating in a climactic ritual that must be seen to be believed, GHOST 's visual interpretation of "Jesus He Knows Me" rises to the occasion in unholy fashion — and then some.
"Phantomime" track listing:
01. See No Evil (TELEVISION) 02. Jesus He Knows Me (GENESIS) 03. Hanging Around (THE STRANGLERS) 04. Phantom Of The Opera (IRON MAIDEN) 05. We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) (Tina Turner)
GHOST is no stranger to covers, having previously tackled material originally written and recorded by THE BEATLES ("Here Comes The Sun"), ABBA ("I'm A Marionette"), DEPECHE MODE ("Waiting For The Night"), Roky Erickson ("If You Have Ghosts"), METALLICA ("Enter Sandman"), PET SHOP BOYS ("It's A Sin") and EURYTHMICS ("Missionary Man"), among others.
This past February, GHOST revealed details of its upcoming "Re-Imperatour" summer 2023 U.S. tour with special guest AMON AMARTH . Produced by Live Nation and FPC Live , the 27-date trek kicks off on Wednesday, August 2 in Concord, California at Concord Pavilion, with stops in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cincinnati, Austin and more before wrapping up with the band's Monday, September 11 return to the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.
GHOST is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Impera" , which sold 70,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the third top 10 album — and fifth top 40-charting set — for the Swedish act. The 12-song effort was produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace .
"Impera" landed at position No. 1 in Germany and Sweden, No. 2 in the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, No. 3 in Australia, No. 5 in France and Ireland, and No. 20 in Italy.
GHOST leader Tobias Forge worked on the follow-up to 2018's "Prequelle" with Åhlund and Swedish co-writers Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare , whose credits include Madonna and Lady Gaga .
In January, GHOST released a new version of its song "Spillways" featuring a guest appearance by DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott .
"Spillways" is taken from "Impera" , which was released in March 2022.
Photo credit: Jimmy Hubbard
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GHOST artist explains cover art of new 'Phantomime' EP
Ghost 's cover art is consistently stunning, and that trend continues with Papa and the Ghouls' forthcoming Phantomime EP , announced on Easter, which features eye-popping artwork by Hedi Xandt. The visual artist, writer and sculptor recently pulled back the veil on the striking biomechanical reimagining of Ghost's iconic skeleton-faced pope.
"My artwork always starts with the creation of a 3-dimensional digital model, no matter if the finished piece will be a print or a physical sculpture," Xandt explained in a post on Ghost's social media. "Rendering a full-fledged digital sculpture bears the opportunity to change materials, perspectives and lights at a whim – including extras like three separate face shells that can be removed to reveal the layer beneath, changing the appearance of the Phantomime — alluding to the cover songs on the EP."
In additional posts on Xandt's own Instagram , the artist shared some work-in-progress images and further behind-the-scenes insight behind the EP cover, which was created in 2022 "over a period of 6 weeks and ... consist[s] of over 600 individual pieces," he revealed. See below.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Band Ghost (@thebandghost)
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hedi Xandt (@hxandt)
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Ghost ’s success is built on theatrical blasphemy, winking provocation and some blockbusting tunes. The masked Swedes’ third covers EP ticks all three boxes, even if the tunes belong to someone else.
As always, singer and conceptual mastermind Tobias Forge has chosen five songs that fit his band’s worldview while fusing their musical DNA with his own.
Genesis ’ anti-televangelist broadside Jesus He Knows Me becomes a high-camp retro-metal anthem, Forge amplifies the Easter-based gag in The Stranglers ’ Hanging Around , and his epic update of Tina Turner’s We Don’t Need Another Hero is crying out for someone to remake Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome so it can appear on the soundtrack.
It doesn’t always work (their take on Television’s See No Evil is heavy-handed, while Iron Maiden ’s Phantom Of The Opera is too respectful), but mostly it’s devilishly good fun.
Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock , Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw , not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo , the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill . He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.
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Ghost – PHANTOMIME (EP Review)
Posted on May 13, 2023 by kjdraven
Ghost – PHANTOMIME Released: May 19, 2023
Papa Emeritus IV A Group of Nameless Ghouls
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It’s with a tinge of sadness that I review this one since it likely indicates the Impera era is coming to an end. Each full-length Ghost LP ( like the 10/10 Impera ) has been followed by a secondary release of covers and/or non-album tracks. PHANTOMIME is a collection of five new cover tracks that add to the Ghost legacy and showcases the band’s love of traditional metal and subversive pop hits.
The good news is that Tobias Forge has indicated they will be adding tunes from the EP to their upcoming tour, which includes the Australian leg in October (read more in our interview with Tobias here ). After that, it will likely be onto the next thing for Ghost and all signs point to the next phase being as glorious as the current one.
Ghost Australian Tour – Tickets here
Kicking off with Television’s ‘See No Evil’ , PHANTOMIME embraces darkness and adds their own gothic undertones to the lyrical depiction of desire. It fits with Impera’s theme of empire and the corrupting influence of power. It’s pretty groovy and heavy on the synth with gnarly little riffs. It leads into the tremendous lead single, ‘ Jesus He Knows Me ’ , from Genesis’ 90s album We Can’t Dance .
It’s given a metal upgrade and is a biting satire of televangelists. Its anti-religious authority message suits Ghost to a tee. The riff absolutely rips and it’ll be a great addition to the upcoming tour setlists.
Whilst Papa remains a charismatic presence, it’s actually the Nameless Ghouls who are the highlight here. The organist gets a great workout on ‘Hanging Around’ ( The Stranglers ) and the backing vocals ensure the chorus gets stuck in your head. The highly anticipated cover of Iron Maiden’s classic ‘Phantom of the Opera’ is also an opportunity for the guitar-playing Ghouls to absolutely shred as they mimic the original’s twisting, turning riffs and completely nail the solos. It’s arguably a bit too faithful to the original, and might have benefitted from a reworked approach like the band did for ‘ Enter Sandman ’ in 2021. I do wish I knew who to credit on guitars though because they really do a killer job on each track.
Which brings me to the climax – an incredible cover of Tina Turner’s anthem ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)’ . It’s bass-heavy on the verses building to the pre-chorus and that magnificent chorus. Without Turner’s powerful vocals, it’s in a different key which pulls it into the Ghost sound. Is there a message here? Are they suggesting there’s no more heroes to come? Could this be the first time a Papa Emeritus survives an LP/EP/tour cycle? Have I fallen too deep into the Ghost fandom?
As you can tell I’m an unashamed fan of Ghost and have been on board with everything they’ve done. This EP is in line with past efforts (though isn’t quite the weird sonic detour into 60s psychedelic rock like 7-inches of Satanic Panic EP). Without any new songs it’s not essential but still a great time. The covers sound great, they’re ready made for club and stage and will tide fans over until the next phase of Ghost begins.
Ghost – PHANTOMIME tracklisting
- See No Evil (Television)
- Jesus He Knows Me (Genesis)
- Hanging Around (The Stranglers)
- Phantom of the Opera (Iron Maiden)
- We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) (Tina Turner)
Rating: 8/10 PHANTOMIME is out May 19 on Loma Vista . Pre-order/save here Review by KJ Draven ( Twitter and Instagram )
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GHOST – Phantomime (EP Review)
Why in God’s name is this necessary? I mean, coming on the heels of “ Impera” — which I rated the top album of 2022 — “Phantomime” is a letdown. t’s just not special.
I know, Tobias Forge has done this before, putting out covers EP’s between albums. Maybe it’s a way to keep Ghost in the public eye. Maybe Forge is just paying homage to artists/ songs that mean something to him. Maybe it’s a chance to use royalties to support a cause ( “Enter Sandman” monies went toward a Swedish camp that welcomes LGBTQ kids). Maybe some or all or none of those. But why?
The record kicks off with “See No Evil,” a great song by the Punk/New Wave band Television . The Ghost version is more sonically full than the original. But there’s little to match up to the twin Television guitar attack of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd . An interesting choice, no question. But why?
“Jesus He Knows Me” is more of an obvious choice. The Genesis original poked fun and bile at televangelists — people who are out to gratify their wants as opposed to lifting the spirits of the faithful. Forge has been doing something similar for more than a decade, deriding organized religion and some of the pastors therein. The new version — and this may sound like a broken record — has a much fuller sound, highly produced and with a sheen that is pure Ghost . But otherwise, it’s pretty close to Phil Collins and company’s performance. Why?
I was actually thrilled to see the group cover Hanging Around by the Stranglers . If I’d interviewed Forge a couple of years ago (and I’m still available to do that, hint, hint), I would have asked him about doing that song. It’s a natural — specially with the bad Jesus joke in the chorus:
Christ he told his mother Christ he told her not to bother Cos he’s alright in the city Cos he’s high above the ground He’s just hanging around (hanging around)
That being said, I prefer the original. t’s sleazy and dirty (of course it is, it’s the Stranglers ). Jean-Jacques Burnel ’s bass drives the song throughout. Hugh Cornwell ’s somewhat threatening vocals really make a difference — while Forge ’s are very clean and crisp. Ghost ’s take is heavier, with a thicker production. It’s just not dangerous. Why?
Iron Maiden ’s “Phantom of the Opera” is also an obvious cover. The original is Prog-Metal, right up Ghost ’s alley. But Iron Maiden — at least on this song — has more fire and brimstone in the performance. The Ghost cover is better produced and, just like the others, has a fuller sound. The lead vocals are comparable between Paul Di’Anno and Forge ( Bruce Dickinson had not yet joined Maiden ). But they both lack the “pop” needed to do the song true justice. As always, Ghost is interesting. There is no revelation here, unfortunately. Why?
The closer is the surprise: a performance of Tina Turner ’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” This is the only song where the original was released during Forge ’s lifetime (and barely). The Ghost -man’s vocals are good and strong on this one — but how does one compete with the incomparable Ms. Turner ? You can’t. Honestly, Forge isn’t really trying to do so. This is his take on things. But Tina ’s version is the standard, more of a plea than a statement of fact. Ghost is demanding that there be no more heroes. I wonder — what if they’d slowed things down, echoing “Impera” ’s “ Respite on the Spital Fields,” creating something sinister and dangerous? Alas, we’ll never know. Why?
Interestingly, these songs were recorded at the same time as “Impera” — and another five were cut with the thought of doing an entire album of covers. Forge decided not to go that far, and that’s probably wise (and that means there are another set of songs ready to go). I’ve admitted it before—I came late to the Ghost banquet, but I dove into the feast with mouth wide open. “Impera” was brilliant. “Phantomime” is okay but not special, certainly not in the way that I’ve come to expect from the Swedish savant.
So I’ll go see the band on their current tour and marvel at all that they are. I’ll put “Phantomime” in the library, in the back with stuff I rarely listen to ( “Impera” is at the front). And I’ll await the next original album by Ghost . And when it comes out, I imagine I’ll ask, “Why the hell didn’t they put this out instead of the covers EP?”
Released By: Loma Vista Recordings Release Date: May 19th, 2023 Genre: Symphonic / Metal / Prog / Arena Rock
- Tobias Forge (Papa Emeritus IV / Vocals
- Nameless Ghouls / Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Background Vocals.
1. See No Evil ( Television cover) 2. Jesus He Knows Me ( Genesis cover) 3. Hanging Around ( The Stranglers cover) 4. Phantom Of The Opera ( Iron Maiden cover) 5. We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) ( Tina Turner cover)
The covers EP from Ghost has some interesting song choices, but there’s little special in this package. Tobias Forge may have his own reasons for putting this out, but it’s not obvious to the listener. So let’s anticipate the next full-length Ghost album
- Songwriting 9.5
- Musicianship 9
- Originality 6
- Production 9
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The “why” is in the part of Ghost you’re missing: THE LORE. Father Jim DeFroque might turn out to be a recurring character. There’s the reason for ‘Jesus He Knows Me’. The cover of ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)’ is poignant lyrically, and important for a generation who might never have heard the song outside of Ghost/Papa bringing it to them. (It is actually a favor to this generation that they are being introduced to past music, and equally as important to the original artists to bring the attention of new generations.) As well, pay attention to the theme: post-apocalypse. Or, more appropriately, post empire. These albums are following the rise and fall of empires. ‘Thunderdome’ is certainly in theme, especially with Aunty and the empire she seeks to build — her time having come due to social destruction.And the children on the outskirts, building their Utopia. There’s a whole lot there. As with prior EP’s, it sets up the next LP in one way or another. Ever seen a stage production of ‘Phantom of the Opera’? Think of the song ‘Hanging Around’. How many people had actually seen the Phantom, the evil haunting the Opera house? Pay attention to how the tracklist is laid out.
I’ll grant you that Forge usually has a method to the madness, and that this one may have escaped me. And I’ll agree that this may be the start of the DeFroque era. But I still think the ep is jusst okay. Musically, it doesn’t do much to interpret the music in a Ghostly fashion, other than through instrumentation and vocals (unlike, say Enter Sandman). It is not as challenging or gripping as Impera, which is an amazing work. For me, this is a palate cleanser. Yes, that will prepare me for the next release, at least in some ways. But it’s not the strong addition to the Ghost canon that I’d hoped for.
I understand that songs written and performed by Tobias Forge are beyond amazing but my personal opinion is anything Tobias Forge and Ghost put out there are worthy of praise as well. I can not get enough of Tobias’s vocals and I believe anything he puts his stamp on only improves the song. Whether it be covers or originals he lends a perfection as his ear for the instrumentals as well as his vocals are beyond reproach and all i can say is that ‘He Is’.
100% disagree with you on the Phantom of the opera cover. That song is art, it elevated the original in every way. Many of the guitar lines are pure genius. Accurate assessment on the rest of the album.
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Album Review: GHOST Phantomime EP
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