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Album Review: GHOST Phantomime EP
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The band’s satirical version of Genesis’ ‘Jesus He Knows Me’ precedes the EP’s release on May 18.
Fresh off winning Best Rock Album of the Year at the iHeart Radio Music Awards, Ghost announces the coming of ‘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’ 1992 satirical stab at televangelists “Jesus He Knows Me,” available now to stream and download .
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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. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Easter Sunday release of the “Jesus He Knows Me” track and video continues two established Ghost traditions: 1) Following up the release of a full length studio album with uniquely Ghost-ified cover versions, past efforts having included reinterpretations of favorites by ABBA , The Beatles , Depeche Mode, Roky Erickson, Eurythmics, Metallica , Pet Shop Boys and many more; and 2) Challenging, confronting and upending societal conventions and authority figures, often taking on specific antagonists — in this case, Father Jim DeFroque, host of the evangelical radio show Jesus Talk with Father Jim DeFroque on KLAQ in El Paso TX — and also star of the “Jesus He Knows Me” video.
‘Phantomime’s release will coincide with Ghost’s first live dates of 2023, beginning with a May/June European run of festival and headline dates including appearances at Primavera Sound 2023 where the band will share a bill with Blur, Depeche Mode, Halsey and Kendrick Lamar , among others, and Sweden Rock Festival 2023, where Ghost will be one of four headliners alongside Def Leppard , Iron Maiden and Motley Crue.
Ghost will then make its triumphant return to North America, for its Re-Imperatour U.S.A. 2023 summer tour with special guest Amon Amarth. Re-Imperatour U.S.A. 2023 kicks off August 2 in Concord, CA, with stops in more than two dozen cities before its two-night finale the Kia Forum in Los Angeles on September 11 and — recently added by popular demand — September 12.
Pre-order ‘Phantomime’ EP .
The complete track listing for ‘Phantomime’ is as follows:
“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)
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Ghost Phantomime EP Brings a New Sound to the Band
Photo Credit: metalinjection.net
Finn Lyons , Head Arts and Entertainment Editor May 20, 2023
On Friday, Ghost released their five track EP Phantomime . This EP is Ghost’s newest cover album featuring See No Evil by Television, Jesus, He Knows Me by Genesis, Hanging Around by The Stranglers, Phantom Of The Opera by Iron Maiden, and finally We Don’t Need Another Hero by Tina Turner.
Each of these covers hit it out of the ballpark in terms of the cover itself and the “Ghost vibe” each song provides. Each of these songs fit in extremely well with Ghost’s catalog of songs. Along with this each song, the album gives a hint into what is coming next for the band in terms of lore and on-stage performances.
Jesus He Knows Me was the first song to drop from the EP. It introduced a new character into the Ghost lore, Father Jim Defroque. The song is a criticism of the televangelists who take advantage of their devoted audiences and use their donated money for the televangelist’s own gains. The song has a beautiful guitar rift throughout the whole song. It is fast paced and the drums bang just right and the chorus just hits the brain so perfectly that you cannot help but to just vibe along to the song.
Phantom Of The Opera dropped just a few days before the whole EP did. Unlike the classic song from Iron Maiden, Ghost’s version is told from the view of the Phantom. With the slight change in lyrics, Ghost fans speculate about the upcoming fate of their current frontman of the band Papa Emeritus IV. It is tradition that eventually the current frontman will be “killed” and replaced, and with Papa Emeritus IV being around for a long time and with what the lyrics of the song (along with other signs from the previous album) are implying it might be his time. The song itself is a very evil feeling song. A guitar rift again accompanies the song, but this time it is much more sinister and almost evil. The song, while most certainly modern still is able to make you feel as if you are sent right into medieval Europe.
See No Evil again hints at Papa Emeritus IV’s demise. The song of course is about the Three Wise Monkeys statue of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but focusing on see no evil. In the context of Ghost, it could allude to the fact that despite Papa Emeritus IV knowing the fate of the past Papa’s he refuses to “see the evil” being planned against him, with the plot to “kill” him off next. Contrary to the last two songs this one makes heavier use of the drums to control the flow of the song, but of course there is an amazing guitar solo. The way the song is constructed just makes you want to shout! You want to, well, see no evil and you have to have the whole world know. The simple catchy lyrics make it impossible for this song to not get stuck in your head.
Hanging Around sound like a cheerful song about hanging around different spots in the London area, but when Ghost is added in, it becomes a whole lot darker in meaning. First off, the song is originally by The Stranglers. The previous frontman Papa Emeritus III was “strangled to death” thus already adding one connection to the lore. Secondly in the new interactive experience released by Ghost there were many allusions to Papa Emeritus IV and him “hanging around” with ropes scattered around this area. Again, pointing to a possible fate to Papa Emeritus IV. It is relatively calm but provides more than enough energy to get you in the mood to dance.
Finally, we look at We Don’t Need Another Hero . This one is confusing in terms of Ghost. The original song was about the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome , and the life of Tina Turner herself. With the main references to the movie and Turner’s life, it is difficult to see what this could mean in terms of Ghost, but one explanation is that Papa Emeritus II was trying to be a “hero” and he rebelled against the heads of Ghost wanted. (In Ghost’s lore the band is controlled by an entity called “The Clergy”) This song could be referencing how The Clergy had to “kill” Papa Emeritus II before they wanted to because of his antics and now The Clergy sees what Papa Emeritus IV is doing and they do not want to have an apocalyptic war for a lack of a better term between the supporters of Papa Emeritus IV and The Clergy. Again, this is just one idea there are many more ideas to consider. In terms of music, it really hits on the apocalyptic vibe it wants to have. It makes you feel sort of sad for a world destroyed, with people so distraught despite these people not actually existing.
In short, this EP is amazing. It all fits with the Ghost vibe and story they are trying to tell. With the release of this album before their upcoming tour it surely sparks some excitement into the hearts of Ghost fans, but with caution knowing what might happening to Papa Emeritus IV.
- Album Review
Finn is a junior News and Sports Communication major from Buffalo Ny. He is the Head Editor for A&E, and a reporter for CSN and can be found on RMU...
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Ghost's Phantomime EP: the devil still has the best tunes, even when they're someone else's
Winking provocateurs ghost give genesis, iron maiden and tina turner the satanic heavy metal treatment.
You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.
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)
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
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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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Ghost Announce New Covers EP ‘Phantomime’ + Debut Cover of Genesis’ ‘Jesus He Knows Me’
There’s been some speculation lately regarding whether or not Ghost will release new music prior to their 2023 tour . Well, it looks like our question has finally been answered, as Ghost just announced their latest EP – Phantomime – and premiered a video for their new cover of Genesis ’ “Jesus He Knows Me” (which originally appeared on 1991's We Can't Dance ).
Last Friday (April 7), the band released a new short (“Chapter 17”) that saw bandleader Tobias Forge (as Papa Emeritus IV ) struggling to use a juice box as he roused the threat of Papa Nihil. He then hands Papa Nihil a Ghost gold record, and the video’s caption reads: “Don't sleep on this, it will be a Good Friday.”
This, too, led fans to wonder what else Ghost are planning for 2023.
This morning (April 9), Ghost premiered a 30-minute video entitled “ Jesus Talk with Father Jim DeFroque .” Following a brief introduction (during which DeFroque welcomes viewers prior to talking about “the language” that everyone loves, music), he makes jokes about gothic music. Afterward, he humorously analyses the “blasphemous” lyrics of a few songs, including “ Jesus Built My Hotrod ” by Ministry and “ Personal Jesus ” by Depeche Mode , before ending with a positive assessment of the Genesis song.
(Along the way, DeFroque also speaks with a few call-in listeners about his take on Jesus and the music he played, as well as gives out this phone number for donations: 1-866-HOLY-HITS.)
Once the episode ended, Ghost started a countdown for the video premiere. As you can see below, the clip begins with DeFroque addressing a group of churchgoers and collecting donations. He then gets in his car and puts on the “Holy Hits” tape as he drives down the road. The rest of the video sees him rocking out to Ghost’s characteristic take on “Jesus He Knows Me” as he commits various transgressions.
READ MORE: Tobias Forge Struggles with Juice Box, Awakens Papa in New Ghost Short
Check out the album art and full track list for Phantomime , as well as the lyrics and video for Ghost’s cover of Genesis’ “ Jesus He Knows Me ,” below!
Of course, you can now preorder Phantomime – which is set to release on May 18 via Loma Vista Recordings – here , too. Naturally, it'll come in a variety of formats.
Lastly, you can scroll down to see the full list of Ghost's upcoming tour dates, and grab your tickets here !
Genesis, “Jesus He Knows Me” (via Genius )
D'you see the face on the TV screen Coming at you every Sunday? See the face on the billboard? Well that man is me On the cover of a magazine There's no question why I'm smiling You buy a piece of paradise, you buy a piece of me I'll get you everything you wanted I'll get you everything you need You don't need to believe in hereafter Just believe in me Cause Jesus, he knows me And he knows I'm right I've been talking to Jesus All my life Oh yes, he knows me And he knows I'm right Well, he's been telling me everything is alright I believe in the family With my ever-loving wife beside me But she don't know about my girlfriend Or the man I met last night Do you believe in God? Cause that is what I'm selling And if you wanna get to heaven Well, I'll see you right You won't even have to leave your house Or get out of your chair You don't even have to touch that dial Cause I'm everywhere Jesus, he knows me And he knows I'm right I've been talking to Jesus All my life Oh yes, he knows me And he knows I'm right Well, he's been telling me everything's gonna be alright Won't find me practicing what I'm preaching Won't find me making no sacrifice But I can get you a pocketful of miracles If you promise to be good, try to be nice God will take good care of you Well, just do as I say, don't do as I do Well, I'm counting my blessings As I've found true happiness Cause I'm a-getting richer Day by day You can find me in the phone book Just call my toll-free number You can do it anyway you want Just do it right away And there'll be no doubt in your mind You'll believe everything I'm saying If you wanna get closer to Him Get on your knees and start paying Cause Jesus, he knows me And he knows I'm right I've been talking to Jesus All my life Oh yes, he knows me And he knows I'm right Well, he's been telling me everything's gonna be alright Cause Jesus, he knows me And he knows I'm right Jesus, he knows, he knows Ooh, yes, he knows me And he knows I'm right Jesus, he knows, he knows I've been talking to Jesus All my life Well, he's been telling me everything's gonna be alright
Ghost, "Jesus He Knows Me" (Genesis Cover)
Ghost, Phantomime Album Art + Tracklist
- "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)
Ghost 2023 Tour Dates
May 21 – Rouen, France @ Zenith May 22 – Lyon, France @ Halle Tony Garnier May 23 – Toulouse, France @ Zénith de Toulouse May 25 – Rennes, France @ Le LIberte May 26 – Lille, France @ Zénith de Lille May 28 – Strasbourg, France @ Zenith of Strasbourg May 29 – Milano, Italy @ Ippodromo del Galoppo di San Siro May 30 – Nice, France @ Palais Nikaïa June 1 – Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound 2023 June 3 – Saint-herblain, France @Zenith Nantes Metropole June 4 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ AFAS Live June 6 – Berlin, Germany @ Velodrom June 8 – Gdańsk, Poland @ Mystic Festival 2023 June 10 – Sölvesborg, Sweden @ Sweden Rock Festival 2023 June 11 – Derby, United Kingdom @ Download Festival 2023 June 12 – Esch-sur-alzette, Luxembourg @ Rockhal June 13 – Bochum, Germany @ RuhrCongress Bochum June 15 – Dessel, Belgium @ Graspop Metal Meeting 2023 June 17 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Copenhell Festival 2023 June 19 – Hamburg, Germany @ Barclays Arena June 20 – Neu-ulm, Germany @ ratiopharm arena June 22 - 25 – Spálené Poříčí, Czechia @ Basinfire Festival 2023 June 23 – Osla, Norway @ Tons of Rock 2023 June 25 – Athina, Greece @ AthensRocks Fest 2023 June 28 – Viveiro, Spain @ Resurrection Fest 2023 July 1 – Seinäjoki, Finland @ Provinssi Festival 2023 July 2 – Helsinki, Finland @ Tuska Festival 2023 Aug. 2 – Concord, Calif. @ Concord Pavilion Aug. 4 – Auburn, Wash. @ White River Amp. Aug. 5 – Airway Heights, Wash. @ BECU Live Aug. 7 – West Valley City, Utah @ USANA Amp. Aug. 8 – Denver, Colo. @ Fiddler's Green Amp. Aug. 11 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Hollywood Casino Amp. Aug. 12 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ American Family Amp. Aug. 14 – Clarkston, Mich. @ Pine Knob Theatre Aug. 15 – Chicago, Ill. @ Huntington Pavilion Aug. 16 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ PNC Pavilion Aug. 18 – Syracuse, N.Y. @ St. Joseph's Amp. Aug. 19 – Mansfield, Mass. @ Xfinity Ctr Aug. 20 – Bridgeport, Conn. @ Hartford HC Amp. Aug. 22 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ TCU Amp. Aug. 23 – Burgettstown, Pa. @ The Pavilion Aug. 24 – Bristow, Va. @ Jiffy Lube Live Aug. 25 – Camden, N.J. @ Freedom Pavilion Aug. 27 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Ascend Amp. Aug. 29 – Simpsonville, S.C. @ CCNB Amp. Aug. 30 – Jacksonville, Fla. @ Daily's Place Aug. 31 – Tampa, Fla. @ MIDFLORIDA Amp. Sept. 2 – Woodlands, Texas @ Mitchell Pavilion Sept. 3 – Austin, Texas @ Germania Amp. Sept. 5 – Irving, Texas @ The Pavilion Sept. 7 – Albuquerque, N.M. @ Isleta Amp. Sept. 8 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Talking Stick Sept. 11 - 12 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Forum
Ghost Albums Ranked
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 )
Swedish hard rockers GHOST are known for their dramatic stage shows, catchy melodies and provocative, gothic themes. That said, some fans raised eyebrows when the band announced they would be releasing a new covers EP, "Phantomime" , which included renditions of everyone from TELEVISION to Tina Turner .
But, GHOST always break the rules, so one shouldn't be surprised. Moreover, GHOST have often released unusual covers, from everything to songs originally written and recorded by THE BEATLES ( "Here Comes The Sun" ) to DEPECHE MODE ( "Waiting For The Night" ) to ABBA ( "I'm A Marionette" ). GHOST fans can rest easy, though, knowing that the band truly put their own stamp on these "Phantomime" covers, fashioning them with bits of mystery and dark agony.
"Phantomime" begins with a cover of TELEVISION ’s "See No Evil" , which immediately has Tobias Forge and company adding their gothic textures and atmospheres to this classic. What really stands out are the guitars, as GHOST adds some modern solos and leads to update this song, which originally arrived on TELEVISOIN 's 1977 debut, "Marquee Moon" .
"See No Evil" bleeds into the EP's lead single, "Jesus He Knows Me" , a GENESIS song off the band's 1991 album, "We Can’t Dance" . The song is a satire of televangelism, as it was released when storied televangelists such as Jim Bakker were being investigated for financial scandal, and that theme perfectly fits GHOST 's irreverent character. GHOST 's version keeps the song's New Wave basis but adds some heavy riffing and rhythms, which really freshens the track up and turns it into a metal anthem.
"Hanging Around" , first released by THE STRANGLERS in 1977, follows, and it's a true highlight. The song features some incredible organ work and a glorious backing chorus that somehow makes Forge 's vocals take a backseat: a rare experience for GHOST .
One of the most anticipated covers off the set is GHOST 's rendition of IRON MAIDEN 's "Phantom of the Opera" , and it doesn't disappoint. Here, the guitarist Ghouls deliver the 1980 song's famous guitar solos and shredding with absolute perfection, as the band pulls off some incredible leads and duel guitar work. "Phantom of the Opera" is a difficult song to cover, but, unsurprisingly, GHOST does more than justice with it.
"Phantomime" wraps up with an imaginative cover of the Tina Turner classic "We Don’t Need Another Hero" . Covering Turner is a brave move for any artist, but especially for a gothic heavy metal band. Here, GHOST show they can do pretty much anything, as Forge and the Ghouls deliver a very respectable cover that adds their own twist. Of course, nobody can sing like Turner , and her vocal lines are very challenging. But, Forge does a solid job adjusting his singing to fit Turner 's vocal lines, and the result is a hip-sounding hard rock version.
GHOST are one of the more unique new bands to blossom from the hard rock world in the past fifteen years, and their blend of classic rock and stadium pop-metal shines on these unlikely cover songs. Those who are married to the original songs might find GHOST 's renditions a bit too jarring, but the band's fans will likely find lots to appreciate in a covers album that sounds like it could really be made up of GHOST originals.
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Ghost - Phantom Of The Opera
Stream Ghost's cover of "Phantom Of The Opera" by Iron Maiden, off of the covers EP Phantomime, out everywhere May 19th, 2023
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Why Japan has more than 8 million cheap abandoned houses that people are renovating into dream homes
- More than 8.5 million abandoned homes in rural Japan are creating a "ghost town" problem.
- A push into the city and population decline are two reasons these homes sit empty.
- Locals see them as a burden, while foreigners view them as an opportunity to own property cheaply.
Japan has millions of abandoned rural houses for sale.
The glut delights foreigners who've been able to buy one for as little as $23,000 . But underlying the surplus are meaningful shifts in Japan's culture. Demographic and economic patterns — including a shrinking population and migration from the countryside to cities — are combining to create a "ghost town" problem in Japan.
There are more than 8.5 million akiya , or abandoned homes, in rural Japan, according to the country's 2018 Housing and Land Survey, its most recent on record. By some counts, there are many more. The Nomura Research Institute, or NRI, pegs the number closer to 11 million . The institute predicts akiya could exceed 30% of homes in Japan by 2033.
For foreigners looking for a change of scenery, akiya are an opportunity to be a homeowner abroad on the cheap. Some foreigners have even turned to akiya to enrich themselves by launching short-term-rental businesses .
Why people are buying them is an easy answer — they're cheap. But why so many have sat empty for so long is more complicated.
Why are there so many abandoned houses in Japan?
Business Insider's Singapore bureau reported on Japan's "ghost town" problem in 2021. At the core of the issue, they found, is that Japan's population has been steadily migrating into cities for several decades, leaving an increasingly empty countryside behind them.
As Richard Koo, the chief economist at NRI, told them at the time, the Japanese countryside has been hollowing out since the mid-'90s.
There's also the matter of a shrinking population. Japan's fertility rate declined for a seventh consecutive year in 2022, falling to 1.26 births per woman from 1.30 births per woman in the previous year.
According to Chris McMorran, an associate professor in the department of Japanese studies at the National University of Singapore, the vacancy issue will only get worse "because the core of the problem is there aren't enough people to go around in Japan."
Why aren't more Japanese people buying abandoned countryside homes?
The Japanese prefer new builds to pre-owned homes, Koo said. Part of this is due to the lack of a strong DIY renovation culture in the country, Douglas Southerland, the senior economist responsible for OECD monitoring of the Japanese economy, told BI at the time.
Structural safety is also a major concern: Many akiya were built before a 1981 Building Standard Law amendment that required better earthquake resistance.
Finally, most young people simply don't want to live in the countryside, McMorran said. Apart from limited opportunities, the akiya themselves are a huge deterrence.
"The fact that there are so many empty houses is a blight on the landscape, and a further deterrent, because people don't want to live in a terminal village surrounded by 'ghost houses,'" McMorran said.
Natasha Durie, a PhD student from the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford University, is conducting fieldwork in Gifu, Japan. While she knows of young Japanese people who have bought and renovated akiya, she says most locals still aren't quite ready to try it out for themselves.
"There is this drive in Japan to have new things, and a lot of these houses aren't seen as inhabitable or desirable. I think that a lot of people see it as something that other people do and not something that they do, since renovating a house is a lot of effort," Durie told BI.
Why can't the Japanese government demolish these homes?
Japan's property rights laws make it hard for the government to interfere. Before 2015, the government had no right to get akiya owners to manage their homes properly, McMorran said.
It's also tricky to locate the owners of houses that have been left vacant for a long time.
"It's an enormous effort to trace down who the house belongs to, so most of the time, the government just gives up," Koo said. "So the akiya sits there for years with the government unable even to take it down."
Some foreigners say renovating an akiya is more affordable than buying a home in their own country
For some buyers, like Eric McAskill, who grew up in Vancouver, Canada, the money saved on renovating an akiya instead of buying property in their home country is too good to pass up.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the benchmark price for residential properties in the metro area of Vancouver, Canada was $1,168,700 CAD, or $866,620, in December 2023. McAskill told BI in September 2023 that he purchased a five-bedroom akiya for $23,600 in Nagano Prefecture and has spent $7,400 on renovations with another estimated $7,400 left to spend.
"I'd say that's on the high end," he told BI of his renovation. "I could get away with doing it for cheaper because I can do some of the work myself, or I have friends who work in the trades here as well."
Married couple Jaya Thursfield and his wife, Chihiro, moved from England to Japan and bought a $30,000 akiya in Ibaraki Prefecture in 2019 . The two put more money into their renovation than McAskill — about $150,000 — but still view it as a more affordable option than buying a home in London.
Take Kurosawa and Joey Stockermans, who can't afford homes in their native North America, bought an akiya in a city on Kyushu for $42,000 in June 2023. The friends plan to use it as a vacation residence and a short-term rental.
They also saw a business opportunity and founded Akiyamart, an online listing site to make it easier for foreigners to find one for themselves.
However, the influx of foreign demand has done little to change local perceptions toward akiya, Durie said.
"A lot of the people I speak to are from this area and have grown up here. And I'd say a lot of them don't even really know about the foreign interest in akiya," Durie said. "They find that quite surprising."