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Ghost Scores First No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales Chart With Biggest Sales Week of 2022
Plus: The latest albums from for KING & COUNTRY, Rex Orange County, Benny the Butcher and Joell Ortiz & KXNG Crooked debut in top 10.
By Keith Caulfield
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Ghost ’s Impera blasts in at No. 1 on Billboard ’s Top Album Sales chart (dated March 26) with 2022’s biggest sales week for an album – 62,500 copies sold in the U.S. in the week ending March 17, according to Luminate, formerly MRC Data. It’s the first chart-topper for the rock band on Top Album Sales, and the act’s fourth top 10 overall.
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BENNY THE BUTCHER
For king & country.
Elsewhere in the top 10 of Top Album Sales, for KING & COUNTRY ’s What Are We Waiting For? debuts at No. 2, Rex Orange County ’s Who Cares? starts at No. 3, Benny the Butcher’s Tana Talk 4 enters at No. 8, and Joell Ortiz and KXNG Crooked’s Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse bows at No. 10.
Kenya Grace Retains U.K. Chart Crown With 'Strangers'
Billboard ’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now MRC Data. Pure album sales were the sole measurement utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. The new March 26-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard ‘s website on March 22. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Impera has the biggest week, by album sales, for any album in the 2022 tracking year so far, surpassing the 37,000 copies sold of The Weeknd ’s Dawn FM after its CD was released (week ending Feb. 3). Further, Impera has the largest sales week for a rock or hard rock album since the debut of Foo Fighters ’ Medicine at Midnight (64,000; week ending Feb. 11, 2021). (Rock and hard rock albums are defined as those that have hit Billboard ’s Top Rock Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums chart, respectively.)
Notably, Impera logs Ghost’s best sales week ever, surpassing the 61,500 start of its last full-length studio album, 2018’s Prequelle . The latter’s first-week number was boosted by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer. Ticket/album bundles, like merchandise/album bundles, ceased to count towards chart sales as of Oct. 9, 2020 .
Of Impera ’s 62,500 copies sold in the week end March 17, physical sales comprise 51,000 (28,000 on vinyl; 21,000 on CD and 2,000 on cassette) and digital sales comprise nearly 12,000. The album’s sales were enhanced by its availability on a variety of vinyl LP and CD editions. Impera was released in numerous color vinyl variants, including color versions available exclusively via Target, Walmart, Newbury Comics, Zia Records, independent record stores in general, as well as the band’s official webstore.
In total, Impera ’s 28,000 copies sold on vinyl LP marks the largest sales week for a rock album on vinyl in over a year, since Paul McCartney ’s McCartney III sold 32,000 in its debut frame (Jan. 2, 2021-dated chart). Further, Impera logs the biggest sales week for a hard rock album on vinyl since 1994, when Pearl Jam ’s Vitalogy sold 33,500 copies in its opening week (chart dated Dec. 10, 1994). Vitalogy was exclusively available on vinyl in its first two weeks of release, before it became available on CD.
Impera also debuts at No. 1 on Top Rock Albums , Top Hard Rock Albums , Independent Albums , Vinyl Albums , Tastemaker Albums and Top Current Album Sales .
Top Rock Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums rank the week’s most popular rock and hard rock releases, respectively, by equivalent album units. Independent Albums reflects the week’s most popular albums released by independent record labels. Tastemaker Albums ranks the best-selling albums at independent and small chain record stores. Vinyl Albums lists the top-selling vinyl albums of the week across all sellers. Top Current Album Sales ranks the week’s biggest-selling current albums (not including catalog – older – releases).
Brother duo for KING & COUNTRY bows at No. 2 on Top Album Sales with What Are We Waiting For? , selling 28,000 copies. It’s the third top 10 on the tally for the act. The new album’s sales were bolstered by its availability in a CD signed edition on the act’s official webstore. (In total for the week, CD sales comprise nearly 22,000 – both signed and unsigned across all sellers, while digital album sales comprise 6,000. The set is due out on vinyl LP on May 20.)
Rex Orange County’s Who Cares? debuts at No. 3 on Top Album Sales with 20,000 sold, marking the second top 10 for the artist. Of the set’s starting sum, vinyl LP sales accounted for nearly half of its sales – 9,600 copies. The album also got an assist from a pair of boxed sets sold through the artist’s webstore.
Dolly Parton ’s Run, Rose, Run falls 2-4 in its second week on Top Album Sales with 8,000 sold (down 49%) and the No. 1 Encanto soundtrack dips 4-5 with 7,000 (down 14%). Nirvana ’s Nevermind vaults 11-6 (nearly 7,000) as it basks in the buzz generated by its album cut “Something in the Way” being used in the film The Batman . Olivia Rodrigo ’s former No. 1 Sour rises 8-7 with 6,500 sold (down 4%).
Benny the Butcher’s Tana Talk 4 starts at No. 8 with 6,000 sold; Adele ’s chart-topping 30 is a non-mover at No. 9 with 5,500 (down 17%) and Joell Ortiz and KXNG Crooked’s Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse debuts at No. 10 with a little over 5,000.
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Tobias Forge on GHOST in 2023: "There's going to be a change. Good change."
2022 was a massive year for Ghost — so massive, in fact, that we named the Swedish occult-rock troupe Revolver' s Band of the Year and crowned their latest LP, Impera , the Album of the Year . Which only sets the stage for a very big 2023.
In a new interview with Metal Hammer , Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge teased the band's plans for the year ahead and hinted an unspecified "change" that's about to take place with the group.
First, he laid out a big-picture view of Ghost's touring plans. "We're doing a lot of touring again," Forge said. "On previous album cycles we've done four legs in America and two or three in Europe and repeated.
"We're going to go into every territory next year, but there's going to be one European tour, one American tour. We are going to do a little bit of everywhere. There'll be a little bit of something up in upper Asia, on the far end there — a very well-established country with a lot of pop cultural fascination, and the home of videogames. And there's going to be something in the Oceania world, and there might be something south of Panama, and there might be something slightly north of Panama. It feels pretty solid."
Exciting stuff, but then Forge dropped the most tantalizing breadcrumb. "We're going to come out with a little bit of change before that — good change," he said, cryptically. "We're not going to go silent. Some things are public, other things not in public view, but there are a lot of things brewing."
Asked of Ghost's next album, he offered, "Everything I'm doing now is for the next record. I have a vague idea what that will be like and a vague idea of the title and the color scheme."
When Revolver spoke to Forge late last year, he confirmed that he was already beginning to map out the follow-up to Impera . "I've already started planning, or at least outlined a few things that I want to do differently," he revealed. "That can also be from a completely practical point of view. It doesn't necessarily mean that, "Oh, I hate this record — now I'm going to write a grindcore record." It's just that there's always something that you want to improve..."
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13 Ghost (The Band) Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
Ghost – previously known as Ghost BC – is one of the fastest-growing metal bands on the planet after exploding onto the scene in 2010. Here are 13 facts you probably didn’t know about Ghost…
Ghost has four records under its belt, a cult following all over the globe, a brilliant live show, and some of the coolest artwork and stage makeup you’re ever likely to see.
As bands go, they don’t really get more interesting than Ghost, with its satanic imagery and lyrics, its focus on melody and stadium-rocking ballads, EPIC guitar riffs, and the ever-changing persona of its singer, Papa Emeritus (also known as Cardinal Copia).
If you’re new to Ghost, or a long-standing fan, you might enjoy this post which goes over some of the lesser-known facts about Ghost, its founding members, and some of the controversies that have dogged the band in recent times. Let’s do this…
Ghost is a Solo Project
You might think Ghost is a band. But it isn’t. In fact, Ghost is actually a solo project masterminded by one guy, Tobias Forge. Forge writes and records all of the music by himself and uses hired guns to play in the live band when Ghost is on tour. Forge is the ONLY official member of Ghost, the rest of the band are hired guns.
Tobias Forge has been a couple of other bands, most notably the death metal band Repugnant and sleaze metal band Crashdiet. Forge started Ghost back in 2006 off the back of a riff that he described as the “heaviest metal riff ever written” – that song went on to become the Ghost track, Stand By Him.
Tobias Forge is The Singer & Chief Song Writer
The frontman of Ghost, initially, was meant to be a secret. The entire band was meant to be completely anonymous. This is why Forge created the Papa Emeritus character, as well as Cardinal Copia. Forge initially didn’t want to do vocals but after struggling to find anybody else to do it, he ended up taking up the role permanently.
Every incarnation of Cardinal Copia and Papa Emeritus has been played by Tobias Forge. Forge does all the singing on all the records, as well as live. He wears heavy makeup and, on occasion, a mask to hide his identity. Up until 2017, nobody knew who was in the band Ghost.
Dave Grohl Was In Ghost
Because there was so much mystery surrounding Ghost, there was plenty of speculation about who was behind the band. It wasn’t until 2017 that Tobias Forge was unmasked during a court case, whereby the other “members” of the band tried to sue him.
Prior to all the legal shenanigans kicking off, Ghost recorded an EP in 2013 titled If You Have Ghost. This record was produced by Dave Grohl , and the Foo Fighter’s main man even played drums on the album. Grohl is also rumored to have done a Nameless Ghoul suit and played with the band live on a few occasions too.
Ghost Used Myspace To Get Started
When Tobias Forge had his first Ghost demos recorded, around 2010, he uploaded them to Myspace. Within a few days, Forge had labels on the phone wanting to sign the band. Forge then spent a frantic few weeks recording Ghost’s first studio album, Opus Eponymous, which was released in 2010 via Rise Above Records.
The first single off that album, Elizabeth, performed well and the album itself was widely praised by critics. Ghost played its first-ever show at the Hammer of Doom festival in Würzburg, Germany, on October 23, 2010.
Tobias Forge Used To Be In A Death Metal Band
Tobias Forge is most well known for Ghost. Ghost also likely represents a HUGE slice of his net worth; the band is now huge, globally, having sold hundreds of thousands of records. It also has multiple sold-out worldwide tours under its belt too. Ghost has made Forge a wealthy dude, basically. Of that, there is no doubt.
But Forge cut his teeth in the death metal band, REPUGNANT , and is also known for his roles in the following bands: Onkel Kånkel and Crashdïet . Forge has been playing in bands and touring since 1994.
James Hetfield Really Likes Ghost
One of Ghost’s biggest fans is none other than Metallica’s James Hetfield . Hetfield first heard Ghost back in 2011 and subsequently invited Ghost out to support Metallica on its North American tour, exposing Ghost to hundreds of thousands of new fans.
I’m in their fan club. [Laughs] I had no idea what they looked like until I saw the video. I heard the music first and I thought it was very great very unique, very melodic, and a breath of fresh air for metal. It reminded me a bit of ’70s kind of rock that I liked as well. So yeah, I love the band. James Hetfield
Ghost Was Banned From America
Because of Ghost’s satanic imagery, and the fact that America is VERY Christian in certain parts, Ghost has run into plenty of trouble when playing in America. When recording Infestissumam in Nashville, Ghost was unable to find singers that were willing to do backing vocals – the lyrics were too satanic , apparently.
Despite Ghost’s radio-friendly sound, the band’s music was banned from major chain stores, most late-night television shows, and most commercial radio stations, according to one of The Nameless Ghouls.
However, from around 2015, things started to change. Ghost hit the mainstream and started getting guest appearances on TV shows and radio stations. Ghost appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on 30 October 2015, during a Halloween-themed episode.
Papa Emeritus is Based On The Pope & And Tobias Forge is ALL The Papas
Tobias Forge based the character of Papa Emeritus on the pope. The entire aesthetic of Ghost is based on the Catholic church, its liturgy, and its customs, although Ghost inverts them, adding in its own special satanic flavoring. Ghost also develops backstories for each of its Papa characters.
For instance, Papa III is the “younger brother by three months” of Papa Emeritus II.
Papa III made his live debut on June 3, 2015, at a special show in their hometown of Linköping, Sweden. Papa II passed the mic down to his younger brother. Papa III and the ghouls played four new songs: From the Pinnacle to the Pit, Cirice, Majesty, and Absolution. Cirice also won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016. Ghost
The Nameless Ghouls Represent One of The Five Main Elements – Earth, Wind, Water, Ether, Fire and Wind
In a nod to the occult and Wiccan ideas of creation, each of The Nameless Ghouls represents one of the five elements that make up our reality: Earth, Wind, Water, Ether, Fire, and Wind.
- Lead Guitarist – Fire
- Drummer – Earth
- Bassist – Water
- Keyboards – Wind
- Rhythm Guitar – Ether
Ghost is From Sweden
Tobias Forge is 40 years old and was born in Linköping, Sweden in 1981. Forge is based in Sweden still and records and writes most of Ghost’s music there.
The Nameless Ghouls’ Tried To Sue Tobias Forge
In 2017, Tobias Forge and all subsequent members of Ghost were revealed during a court case. Forge is the chief songwriter of the band and therefore controls all the revenue and gets the majority of the money from the band’s royalties.
A selection of the band, however, felt that they were being cheated out of royalties, so they took Forge to court in a bid to sue him for access to royalties they believed they were due.
The former GHOST members are asking the court to order Forge to disclose the company’s revenues and expenses for the financial years 2011 to 2016 as well as to reveal the company’s assets as of December 31, 2016. If he fails to act as ordered, they are asking the court to force Forge to pay a penalty of SEK 200,000 (approximately $22,000), or an amount that the court considers reasonable. According to the lawsuit, GHOST was formed in 2010 and Forge, through his company, has been collecting all revenues from the sale of the band’s merchandise and music recordings. The GHOST leader did not at any time provide the other musicians with the company’s financial statements, the lawsuit claims, and has instead insisted that the company was not yet profitable. BLABBER MOUTH
The Live Band is NOT The Same As The Studio Band
Forge writes and records most of Ghost’s albums by himself. He does, however, use session musicians when recording Ghost albums . But the session musicians he uses in the studio to record the albums, oddly, are not the same musicians that make up The Nameless Ghouls when Ghost plays live and tours.
As noted earlier, Forge views Ghost as a solo project . Like Nine Inch Nails or Queens of The Stone Age , to an extent, there is only one, core member. In this respect, Tobias Forge. The setup ensures he has complete creative control and owns and controls all the revenue generated by Ghost.
Ghost Has Sold A LOT of Records
Despite its controversial image, Ghost has sold A LOT of records. Its break-out record, Meliora, sold very well, and the band’s latest record, Prequelle, sold 66,000 copies in its first week on sale. Ghost has also toured extensively, playing clubs and stadiums, as well as festivals.
Prequelle debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200. Revolver and Metal Hammer named it the best album of the year. And the average review for the album earned it a near-perfect score of 9/10 from most music review sites.
Ghost is currently working on a new album . The as-yet-untitled album is currently being recorded and likely won’t be out until 2022. Ghost released the single Hunter’s Moon in 2021. And you can check that song out here .
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Are they Nameless Ghouls? Who is the real Papa Emeritus? Ghost are perfect enigmas. Here are ten facts you need to know about Sweden’s heavy metal icons.
Image goes hand in hand with music, whether it’s the skinny black jeans and white hi-tops of thrash metal in the 80s, the flannel and combats of grunge in the 90s, or the comic-book space demons of KISS . Few bands today, however, push the envelope to the point where their theatrics are as important as their music. Ghost is a rare exception. Their very existence comes with a concept, backstory, and elaborate visuals, with these embellishments being as inherent to the band’s performances as guitars or drums. Here, then, are ten facts that uncover the mystery behind the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost.
Listen to the best of Ghost on Apple Music and Spotify .
The Satanic cult
Religious imagery and satanism have forever been intertwined with heavy metal music ; genre pioneers Black Sabbath were masters of marrying the two. But Ghost takes the construct to the next level. Their stage set during live concerts is dressed as a church. The idea is to present music as salvation, with the live show playing the role of a religious service. Then are the musicians: fronted by a satanic priest-like figure in papal regalia who possesses a voice with an unexpectedly enticing charm and vulnerability, backed by a group of cardinals known as the “Nameless Ghouls.”
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Ghost has so far appointed four frontmen. First was Papa Emeritus, who took on vocal duties for their debut album, Opus Eponymous , and its consequent tour. He was replaced in 2012 by Papa Emeritus II, for the Infestissumam cycle; in 2015, his younger brother, Papa Emeritus III, took over for the Meliora run. In September 2017, Papa Emeritus III was publicly ousted while performing in Gothenburg, Sweden, to be replaced by the significantly older Papa Emeritus 0 – later named Papa Nihil, an ancestor to all other Papas. However, Ghost’s new leader was named, in April 2018, as Cardinal Copia, an “apprentice” priest yet to earn his full Ghost regalia.
Since the band’s inception, in 2006, Ghost has maintained a strictly anonymous existence. The various frontmen never gave interviews, instead press duties were handled by the Nameless Ghouls. These are likely to be Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge, who also portrayed each of the Papa characters and is currently serving as Cardinal Copia. Forge was forced to give up his identity in 2017 when former bandmates sued him over royalties. His backing band retain their anonymity and maintain their mystery at record store signings by stamping their ascribed alchemical symbols for fire, water, air, earth, and ether.
Ghost formed around one song
Prior to forming Ghost, Tobias Forge was in the death metal band Repugnant, and sleaze metal band Crashdïet. In 2006 he came up with a riff that he described as “probably the heaviest metal riff that has ever existed.” To accompany it, he penned a chorus that “haunted my dreams.” The song developed into “Stand By Him” from Ghost’s debut album, Opus Eponymous , but Forge knew that he couldn’t carry off such a dark sound with his clean-cut looks. Instead, he created the concept and characters of Ghost as a vehicle for his new musical project.
Forge’s brother died the day Ghost came alive
Further to “Stand By Him,” Forge penned the tracks “Prime Mover” and “Death Knell,” and in 2008 entered a recording studio with former Repugnant bandmate Gustaf Lindström to lay them down. Those songs were later posted onto MySpace on March 12, 2010 and would attract immediate attention from record labels and managers wanting to sign the group. Little did Forge know that, as he uploaded the songs, his brother, Sebastian, would succumb to heart disease later that day. Forge looked up to his brother, who was 13 years older, and introduced him to many of the artists that would later influence Ghost.
What you see is not necessarily what you get, musically speaking. Though Forge’s main influence was the black metal of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, you might be surprised to hear a far more prominent pop and AOR influence in Ghost’s music. Though genres as diverse as doom metal, hard rock, prog rock, arena rock, and psychedelic rock have been used to describe Ghost, their sound is rooted in black metal, with Forge adding that they are influenced by “everything ranging from classic rock to the extreme underground metal bands of the 80s to film scores to the grandeur of emotional harmonic music.”
The live band is not the same as the studio one
When the identity of Ghost’s various frontmen was revealed by way of the 2017 royalties dispute, Forge went on the record to describe exactly how he saw the band. He described Ghost as a solo project that utilized hired musicians to translate his work in the live arena. Forge often records all the instruments himself in the studio, calling in his favorite musicians where he feels they will be of good use. And since all touring members of Ghost have other bands anyway, Forge prefers to give them time off between tours so that they can tend to their other projects and come back fresh.
Dave Grohl was once a Nameless Ghoul
Though the identities of the Nameless Ghouls remain a mystery, members are very approachable to fans who hang around the backstage door after the show. However, those die-hards remain respectful to Ghost’s anonymity and any shameless selfies are kept away from social media, so speculation abounds as to who the other members might be. But it was confirmed in an interview with Jack Osbourne, for Fuse News , in August 2013, that Foo Fighters frontman and one-time Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl once donned the Nameless Ghouls costume to play with them live. He had also produced Ghost’s 2013 EP, If You Have Ghost .
Banned in the USA
Ghost’s controversial image, lyrical themes, and artwork haven’t always worked in their favor. When they required a choir for the Infestissumam album, they were unable to find one in Nashville – where they were holed up in the studio – willing to commit the band’s lyrics to tape. Then, when it came to pressing the album, no US manufacturer was willing to take on the project due to the graphic nature of the artwork. In Ghost’s earlier days, too, no chain stores, TV shows or commercial radio stations would touch their music. Mainstream America seems to have warmed to them over the years: Ghost appeared on a Halloween-themed Late Show with Stephen Colbert in October 2015.
Ghost have won multiple awards
Further to their acceptance into mainstream culture, Ghost has won multiple awards in their Swedish homeland. The Grammis are the Swedish equivalent to the American Recording Academy’s Grammys, and Ghost won the award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album in three consecutive years, for 2014’s Infestissumam , the following year’s Meliora , and the 2016 EP Popestar . They also won a coveted Grammy for Best Metal Performance, for the Meliora track “Cirice,” in 2016, and earned further nominations for Prequelle as Best Rock Album and “Rats’ as Best Rock Song in 2019.
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Ghost Is the 2022 Artist of the Year – Interview
Ghost is Loudwire’s pick for the 2022 Artist of the Year. Tobias Forge joined us for an exclusive interview to discuss the band’s fifth album, Impera , his decision to reveal his bandmates’ identities, “Mary on a Cross” going viral on TikTok, wanting to bring Ghost’s concerts to Rammstein levels and more.
2022 was also the year that Ghost fans got to know Papa Emeritus IV . Promoted from his role as Cardinal Copia , the fourth Papa was the first time fans got to see a character evolve rather than simply appear.
“I liked the fact that we weren’t doing the same spiel one more time. Of course, it would’ve been less of a pleasant experience if it had really tanked and that really put an end to everything,” Forge says laughing. “Now we’re years into that character and we’re slowly seeing the end of that. It feels like a great circle.”
Impera was somewhat of a risk for Ghost, as once again they moved further away from their starting point as a late ‘60s / early ‘70s occult doom act. The music on Impera features Meliora -esque tracks like “ Call Me Little Sunshine ” and “ Hunter’s Moon ,” but floats into almost rock opera territory with “ Twenties ” and “Kaisarion,” and into ‘80s-era arena anthems like “Watcher in the Sky” and “Grift Wood.”
“I knew there were things on the album that would be up against some sort of reaction, but I felt the same way about 'Zombie Queen.' I felt the same way about 'He Is.' I felt like we were taking giant steps sideways, in a good way, already on the second record — intentionally, because I didn’t want to repeat Opus Eponymous ,” Forge explains. “There were moments where, I wouldn’t say doubts, but I could hear elements of the record that’s like, ‘This might be pushing it a little.’ But where would we be going if not forward? That’s what we do.”
Another left turn Ghost experienced in 2022 was the sudden explosion of “Mary on a Cross.” Originally released in 2019 as the b-side to their “Kiss the Go-Goat” single, TikTok gave the track new life , and ultimately turned the somewhat obscure song into Ghost’s most-streamed song on Spotify — even more than “Square Hammer” or “Dance Macabre.”
“I’ve always felt like it was a song that was… I’m not implying that anyone spat on it, but it was like, ‘I can’t believe this is not a song we made a single out of,’” Forge says. “When that happened, I felt… I wouldn’t say vindicated, because no one shat on it, but I’m really happy that it’s a song that I’ve always felt very strongly about, that we always played … that’s already a part of the DNA of what we do. I’m super stoked about that.”
Ghost, "Mary on a Cross" (Live In Tampa 2022)
“Bags off” is the order Forge gave to his bandmates as they took an end-of-tour photo onstage in mid 2022. After well over a decade of keeping the members of Ghost anonymous to the public, often wearing bags over their heads while on tour, Forge finally decided to reveal the identities of each musician in his ever-expanding band.
“Why now?” We asked Tobias. Long story short, Ghost were planning to hand out Broadway-style playbills at their shows, filled with stories and details about each band member. COVID ultimately made the production of said playbills too complicated, so Forge ended up exposing his bandmates’ identities the new fashioned way — through social media.
After the picture was done, someone asked, ‘Is it okay if it leaks out?’ ‘It’s gonna leak anyway, so sure,’” Tobias responded. “We’re not changing our M.O. in the sense that just because you know who’s playing drums or who’s singing backup does not mean that we have a live stream backstage and all of a sudden everyone is supposed to Instagram whatever they’re eating or where they’re eating or all that stuff that every other band is doing. I’m still trying to get everyone to not do what I’ve spent 12 years professionally not [doing].”
After another landmark year for one of rock and metal’s premier bands, Forge is looking into the future for what Ghost can achieve next. Namely, he wants to turn Ghost’s concerts into gigantic outdoor spectacles.
“Rammstein, obviously, is the perfect example of exactly just that,” Forge raves. “If you look at a show that they did in 1995, it’s basically the same gags, they’re doing the same things, it’s just magnified and placed out in this huge field. I think that Ghost could do that, but in order to make that happen, you need to be able to sell a lot of tickets everywhere. It costs so much to make that show that you can not just do it once, you can not do it twice, you can not do it 10 times, you need to do it so many times and it takes such a long time to recover that money. You’re literally burning money. That would be my long term goal.”
Congratulations to Ghost for another incredible year. Check out our full interview with Tobias Forge below.
Tobias Forge - I Want Ghost Shows to Reach Rammstein Levels | 2022 Artist of the Year
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Ghost review – rock’n’roll pyro pantomime is hellishly good fun
AO Arena, Manchester Tobias Forge’s band of ghouls just reached No 2 in the UK charts, and their symphonic metal – complete with bat wings, confetti and flamethrowers – has universal appeal
I t’s some feat bringing corpse paint to the mainstream, but Ghost have done it: the Swedes arrive for the opening night of their first UK tour in three years having seen their new album Impera reach No 2 in the charts last month.
The band’s identities were once totally secret, and although the rest remain anonymous – referred to as Nameless Ghouls, and wearing headgear that’s part steampunk, part Tom Hardy’s Bane – Ghost are a less mysterious proposition now that the theatrical Tobias Forge is known as their frontman. Not that this has had any impact on their symphonic, pop-savvy metal. What started as a doomy occult band has morphed into a blockbusting arena act, like a spooky Def Leppard without the flowing locks.
We’re two songs in and the prescient Rats already has a packed arena in raptures. Released pre-pandemic, Forge sings: “In times of turmoil, in times like these / Beliefs contagious, spreading disease.” Remove the driving guitar chugs from Spillways and in another lifetime it could be an Abba staple, such is its outrageously catchy chorus – that plinking piano opening surely a tribute to Mamma Mia from their fellow Swedes.
“Do you like a lot of oomph?” Forge enquires, before the band launch into Mummy Dust. Its zany keytar solo isn’t fooling anyone: with hulking, Metallica-esque riffs, this is Ghost’s heaviest song. On the moody Cirice, Forge slinks across the stage wearing bat wings, before funereal stomper Square Hammer inspires the most frenzied singalong of the night.
There are confetti cannon, costume changes, flamethrowers and other forms of pyro, but the band is self-aware, preventing proceedings from ever getting too cartoonish. As one of the three guitarists relishes a solo spot on From the Pinnacle to the Pit a little much for his liking, Forge playfully reprimands them with a wagging finger; this is pantomime as much as rock’n’roll.
Ghost have often delved into history for thematic fare – 2018’s Prequelle drew on the Black Death, Impera from Victorian empires – but they’ve always seemed one step ahead during their sensational, transatlantic rise. Forge has said that he’s already decided the title of Ghost’s next album; one only hopes that he’s not forgetting to take all of this in, because his band have something magnificent to offer in the present.
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Every Member Of Ghost Explained
Ghost is not just a metal band — they are an entire phantasmagoria, haunted by the lore and rumors dreamed up by their lead singer and mastermind, Tobias Forge.
Forge, who grew up in Linköping, Sweden, took on his brother's obsession with rock and amassed an enviable collection of metal magazines before he was 10 (via Los Angeles Times ). He got into the underground metal scene in his teens. He looks back at that time as having been deeply immersed in death metal and black metal, but those genres were hardly his only inspirations. As Total Guitar says, he was inspired by everything from Black Sabbath to Blue Oyster Cult and even ABBA (they are part of his Swedish heritage, after all).
Ghost started out with an inverse Pope who worshipped the devil and was often surrounded by his Nameless Ghouls. That Pope, Papa Emeritus I, was mysteriously killed off only to be replaced by his successor, Papa Emeritus II. The inevitable happened again: Forge (the only one behind those corpselike faces) buried the Papas for a while and performed as Cardinal Copia, who was eventually anointed as another Satanic Pope. But listen closely, because the lyrics are far from a musical black mass.
"The lyrics are not about God. They're about man," Forge told the Los Angeles Times. "We are, at the end of the day, an occult, pop, satanic sort of rock 'n' roll band meant to entertain a group of people who are already down with that stuff."
Papa Emeritus I (2010-2012)
Papa Emeritus I was the first demonic Pope character of Ghost who emerged with their premiere album "Opus Eponymous." It was the moment church went metal.
The skull-esque makeup, mitre, and robes adorned with upside-down crosses — which all the Papa iterations would wear in one form or another — were the brainchild of lead singer Tobias Forge. The Los Angeles Times observes that Forge had a different approach to occult metal as opposed to the expected chorus of screams and swears and explosive guitar riffs. He delivers the lyrics of a black sermon with a hypnotically melodic voice. Ghost first formed in 2006, and the release of "Opus Eponymous" in 2010 saw the emergence of the first of a line of anti-Popes blessing (or should it be damning?) the stage (via Ghost Cult Magazine ).
The vestments of Papa Emeritus I are mostly black, crowned with a silver mitre and slashed with red panels glittering with the repeated Cross of Saint Peter. Watch Forge perform as Papa I singing "Death Knell" at a 2011 concert, and it is clear he goes beyond just throwing on a costume to embodying the character — though the costume is a spectacle in itself. His hand motions appear to be leading a blasphemous mass as he walks solemnly across the stage.
Papa Emeritus II (2013-2015)
As "Opus Eponymous" gave way to the band's second album, "Infestissumam," Papa Emeritus I was overthrown by Papa Emeritus II. The successor to Emeritus I appeared with an even ghastlier face and more elaborate vestments that were almost completely black, with the only flashes of heavenly light coming from his silver mitre and ornamental inverted crosses. According to Seattle Weekly , "Infestissumam" is an album devoted to the mythical birth of Satan. This disturbed some printers to the point that they actually refused to print the album art for the deluxe edition, which features — among other unholy things — a throwback to the 16th century in the form of a massive Renaissance orgy. It was because of this that the release ended up being delayed.
Forge was still anonymous at this point — as anonymous as the Nameless Ghouls who made up the rest of the band. In the middle of 2014, one of the Ghouls leaked the impending replacement of Papa Emeritus II to Louder as the "Infestissumam" cycle came to a close and teased possible candidates for the Papacy. The Ghoul in question was referring only to the character and not Forge himself, but remember that Forge still cloaked himself in anonymity during this era. Deepening the mystery was the mention of the band considering candidates when the only ones to be considered were coming into being in Forge's imagination. Blabbermouth.net gave away that Papa Emeritus II was last seen, appropriately enough, holding up a coffin lid on the cover of Sweden Rock Magazine.
Papa Emeritus III (2015-2017)
Papa Emeritus III is actually supposed to be the younger brother of Emeritus II, born only three months later — how that works out biologically remains a mystery (via Louder ). This Papa's skull face is more abstract, and his papal robes are slashed with purple, a slightly less nightmarish departure from his predecessor. Metal Insider announced the transformation in 2015 when Ghost supposedly recruited Papa III for their latest album, "Meliora." When Forge still went unidentified, the band wanted fans to believe that each Papa was a new singer rather than a different persona their only lead singer conjured up.
Another Nameless Ghoul told Loudwire that the succession of Papas was not unlike different actors playing the same role. That same Ghoul went on to say that the imagery and music of Ghost are inextricably linked. The band had no visuals when they put out their first EP, but their ghoulish image soon followed. In another Loudwire interview, Forge himself admitted that he had a reason for killing off previous Papas. While they all succeeded, and he never had a favorite, he needed to keep his audience (and himself) engaged somehow. "If we just continued with Papa to Papa to Papa to Papa, that would grow very boring," he said.
The Papa characters vanished temporarily after Papa III's "death" (though they are briefly seen as corpses in the "Chapter Three: Back on the Road" video). In a move that almost seems sacrilegious, the next frontman of the band was a mere cardinal.
Papa Nihil (2017-2020 and 2022-present)
Also known as Papa Emeritus Zero, Papa Nihil is the most ancient Papa character, and he first appeared at a Gothenburg concert and announced, "The Middle Ages begin now."
Papa Nihil has the sunken face of a mummy and the gilded robes of an archangel. He always seems to be on his last breath, shambling onstage with a walking stick in one hand and an oxygen mask over his mouth, according to Kerrang . This Papa is a central character in Ghost's promo videos from his wheezing entrance in "Chapter One: New Blood," where he insists his bloodline goes back generations upon generations, to his remembered '60s youth in "Chapter Eight: Kiss the Go-Goat".
The videos unravel Nihil's backstory, revealing that he was once a rocker in '60s Los Angeles. As Kerrang also remembers, the band supposedly played their first gig — to promote their new EP "Seven Inches of Satanic Panic" (released by Galaxy Recordings) — at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go Bar right on the Sunset Strip. "Seven Inches" was Ghost's actual 2019 vinyl record, which his aging fingers revealed at the end of "Chapter Eight," as he claimed it was time to rerelease the EP that gave his band their big break in 1969. He appears on the cover as a psychedelic nightmare.
Inevitably, Papa Nihil went on to die like the others, but unlike them, he was eventually resurrected. Planet Radio named him as the band's official anointer and saxophonist.
Cardinal Copia (2018-2020)
The poster ghoul for the album "Prequelle" wasn't an undead Pope but a cardinal sans white face paint, though still rocking the look of blackened eye sockets. Cardinal Copia has no relation to the exalted bloodline of the Papas. This is something Papa Nihil keeps endlessly complaining about starting in "Chapter One: New Blood."
As Loudwire observed, the video "Chapter Seven: New World Redro" is an homage to Stephen King's "The Shining." Papa Nihil repeatedly types, "All work and no play makes Papa a bad dad," while Cardinal Copia navigates the clergy headquarters — already a shadowy mausoleum — on a tricycle and runs into the same sorts of terrors Danny Torrance encounters in the movie. Notably, there is a pair of twin girls who walk on either side of Papa Nihil in some of the videos. They channel those creepy twins that beckoned Danny to come play with them by having them materialize in front of the Cardinal and try to get him to join in a ghostly game of Red Rover before they suddenly vanish.
Forge started rumors that Cardinal Copia could survive for more than one tour, as he told Australia's "The Music" podcast (via Loudwire ) in 2019. "Right now, if everything goes according to plan, we're hoping for Cardi to be strong enough and cool enough to possibly do something that none of the previous ones have done, and that's basically to do two cycles," he explained.
Papa Emeritus IV (2020-present)
Turned out Cardinal Copia escaped the fate of death to be reanointed as Papa Emeritus IV. No wonder he inherited Cardinal Copia's eye makeup.
Though Tobias Forge previously said he wasn't going to create any more Papas, he morphed Cardinal Copia into one. The unholy anointing happened during a 2020 concert in Mexico City, which also marked Forge's 40th birthday (via Revolver ). The transformation is captured in Ghost's "Life Eternal" video, in which a clip of Cardinal Copia somberly walking down the hall of the Clergy's mausoleum headquarters gives way to legions of adoring fans with and without makeup and masks (and sometimes mitres). The video ends in an explosion of smoke and confetti that makes way for the newly mitred Papa.
Papa Emeritus IV is the flashiest Papa character yet, with jewel-encrusted vestments decked out in gold thread. He went from Cardinal to Pope to usher in the era of Ghost's latest album, "Impera", according to Distorted Sound Magazine . Kerrang announced an epic crossover when Iron Maiden made this Papa a character on their "Legacy of the Beast" mobile game. Forge himself is a Maiden fan — something he focused on in a 2018 interview with Loudwire — and has even toured with them. "There's a lot of cross-pollination between Iron Maiden and Ghost nowadays," he told the outlet. "They have been extremely important for my whole reason wanting to be here and the reason why I've gotten to the place where I am now."
Omega (Martin Persner, 2010-2016)
Ever wonder who those spooky masked figures behind Papa (or Cardinal Copia, depending on the era) are? The Nameless Ghouls of Ghost had their identities set aside for more emphasis on the music and the mythos that Forge created for the Ghost universe. Ghouls have come and gone — but at least some have been revealed.
Guitarist Martin Persner was one iteration of the Nameless Ghoul known as Omega, according to Metal Injection . The former bandmate of Forge's — who played alongside him in Magna Carta Cartel pre-Ghost — was also the first Nameless Ghoul to reveal his human form. Initially, there was skepticism surrounding whether he was telling the truth since his face always remained hidden behind some sort of mask. But the rings he wears in the video announcing his parting ways with the band in 2017 are the same as those Omega wore up until then.
"I wrote some songs [for Ghost], but mostly it was [Tobias's] own songs, and I would come along, maybe, and say, 'Oh, it should be like...' and we would fight — as always," he told GoetiaMedia . Why Persner gave up Ghost may always be a mystery. He gave a cryptic response when asked the question, telling GoetiaMedia that he would rather not talk about it because it was too personal and only let on that "something horrible happened." Loudwire found out that Persner resurrected Magna Carta Cartel and has been with them since his exit from Ghost.
Aether (Chris Catalyst)
Chris Catalyst is the face behind the Nameless Ghoul, otherwise known as Aether. The former Sisters of Mercy guitarist, who has also played with bands such as Terrorvision, Ugly Kid Joe, and Ginger Wildheart, recently unmasked himself on Twitter after Ghost's European Imperatour (via Planet Radio ). "Amazing tour with our wonderful Ghost family," he tweeted. "I supposed that's that particular cat out of the bag."
The entire band is unmasked in the group photo he tweeted (along with the members of supporting acts Twin Temple and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats). If you really zoom in, you can see him flashing a peace sign over Tobias Forge's right shoulder. The face to the left of Forge is thought to be guitarist Per Eriksson, formerly of Katatonia and Bloodbath, whose Ghoul alias would be Fire if he really is one of these creatures. There has been no confession from him yet.
Some ex-Ghouls left the band with a lawsuit, as Blabbermouth reveals. In 2017, four of them sued Forge after being fired because they believed he was breaking a partnership agreement by withholding their share of the profits. It was this lawsuit that gave away Forge's identity after years of going incognito behind heavy stage makeup. Some of the Ghouls in question — Air and Water — eventually formed the cyberpunk band Priest.
When the Colorado Springs Independent (via Blabbermouth ) asked Forge whether he could have dodged that lawsuit by making the Ghouls' identities known, he said he believed so.
The Ghoulettes (2018-present)
The Nameless Ghouls were all male until 2016, when two Ghoulettes were introduced to the band. As MetalSucks remembers, the identity of the first Ghoulette slipped when a finger tattoo identified her as bassist Megan Thomas of all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band Lez Zeppelin, who had also been missing from concerts for no apparent reason. How long she stayed on with Ghost is unknown. As of 2018, the PRP noted that another Ghoulette had joined the lineup because of a telltale mask style.
The Ghouls started out as faceless and genderless beings in hooded black robes. When Papa Emeritus I swapped out his black vestments for ghastly white, the Ghouls did the same, with masks that covered their entire faces except for two eerie eye holes (via Planet Radio ). With the rise of Papa Emeritus II, they were back in black, with black leather masks covering all but their eyes. The Ghouls backing Papa Emeritus III wore mouthless horned demon face masks. It was the shinier versions of these chrome masks that appeared in 2018, which had female versions that featured longer molded "hair."
Ghoulettes now touring with Ghost are thought to be Cirrus and Sunshine — aka Laura Scarbourough of Diamond Kobra — and musical theatre performer Sophie Amelkin (per Planet Radio ). Their suspected identities haven't been officially confirmed or denied. Forge's inspiration for the current post-apocalyptic Ghoul masks were the (once again genderless) Tusken Raiders of "Star Wars," as he told Revolver . He was into the dead look.
Sister Imperator (2016-present)
Supposed nun Sister Imperator is the forbidden lover of Papa Nihil in Ghost lore — whatever vows these members of the clergy took evidently did not involve chastity. Sister is the only main character who does not play with the band. Her main role is to build mystery and anticipation in Ghost's music videos and series of promo videos, and according to Revolver , Forge uses her to do just that and still leave fans wondering at the end. She is first seen in "Chapter One: New Blood," when she announces to a curmudgeonly Papa Nihil that fresh blood is needed in the Clergy, and that fresh blood later turns out to be Cardinal Copia. Whether he actually belongs there is something they continue arguing about.
Nihil and Sister argue even through her lengthy stay in the hospital after nearly being crushed in a car accident in "Chapter Four: The Accident," in which the hearse she drives is sidetracked and goes up in flames. In "Chapter Five: The Call," a completely bandaged Sister makes her best attempt to dial him on a rotary phone, and they proceed to review the "Omen" movies. Alternative Press noticed that Sister was flaunting a stunningly new look after the bandages were removed.
The sexual tension between Nihil and Sister is obvious in the videos they appear in, coming to a climax in a Valentine's Day video clip . ( Metal Hammer confirms suspicions that they are recreating the infamous "horny pottery" scene from the movie "Ghost.")
The Clergy (2010-present)
Shrouded in mystery, the Clergy are supposed to be the larger (fictional) cult from which Ghost spawned. They are never seen, but always heard on social media. Metal Hammer describes them as beyond powerful but never actually appearing anywhere. While the Papas, Sister, and Cardinal Copia are regarded as clergy since they are supposed to be nuns and priests, they are still not the Clergy, who are supposedly some higher power. The Clergy surrounded Cardinal Copia when he was reanointed to become Papa Emeritus IV. They can also decide when it is time to kill off the latest Papa — or potentially morph him into something else.
The Clergy members are most visible through their announcements. Ghost's social media posts and YouTube videos often open with "[MESSAGE FROM THE CLERGY]" — and of course, an omnipotent power like them would use all caps to get the importance of the message across. This is always followed by "we wish to inform you" before the announcement is made (via Twitter ). But who are they? What we do know is that Sister Imperator is the head, according to Revolver . So she is both clergy and Clergy.
Even after all the reveals, Ghost continues to be shrouded in mystery, and there are some things that may never crawl out of the inner sanctum.
Ghost: the definitive guide to every member of their crazy universe
From Papa Emeritus I to IV to Papa Nihil, Sister Imperator and beyond, here's everything you need to know about Ghost's colourful cast of characters
Ghost have long been shrouded in mysterious shenanigans. As well as the largely anonymous Nameless Ghouls that make up the bulk of the band, with each passing album, Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge has introduced a ghastly lead character to front the fold, starting back in 2010 with Papa Emeritus I for debut album Opus Eponymous . After Papas II and III followed for Infestissumam and Meliora respectively, for 2018's Prequelle , there was no numbered Papa to be found – just a Cardinal and another, newly introduced ancient figure known as Papa Nihil.
The plot has only thickened since then, with Cardinal Copia being upgraded to a Papa all of his own for the Impera era and even more strange and spooky characters being introduced into the Ghost canon. Here's our definitive guide to all of them so far.
Papa Emeritus I
AKA: The first one. Years Of Service: 2010-2012. Notes: Papa Emeritus I was the OG Ghost frontman and could usually be found stalking back and forth on stages wielding his trusty thurible (that’s that big, swinging incense burner thingy he used to have). The original, certainly, but arguably not the best.
Papa Emeritus II
AKA: The scary one. Years Of Service: 2013-2015. Notes: With a far ghastlier looking visage than his predecessor, Papa Emeritus II was also the first Papa to ditch the makeup when he fronted a special, three-song Ghost set for an Australian website in 2014. Though we’re still not convinced that was his real face, either.
Papa Emeritus III
AKA: The dandy. Years Of Service: 2015-2017. Notes: Allegedly the younger brother of Papa Emeritus II, Papa Emeritus III brought a new energy to Ghost, shrugging off his Papal robes mid-set for a snazzy suited-and-booted look that came with a host of sexually-charged stage moves. Oooh, the cad. It set a a new precedent for the dynamics of how Ghost shows would usually operate (let's just say the costume change count has only gone up since then). Papa III was eventually and unceremoniously killed off, along with his two predecessors, his decapitated head appearing on the cover of Metal Hammer in 2018. Oh dear.
AKA: The old one. Years Of Service: 1969-2020 alive, 2020-2022 as a spooky spirit Notes: Making his live debut seconds after Papa III was dragged off stage in Sweden in late 2017, Papa 0 looked older than time itself (er, no offense). His role was seemingly to mentor younger Papas and Papas-in-waiting, not least a newly arrived Cardinal who seemed to have more than just professional connections to the old-timer. Papa 0 could also, it would appear, bust out a mean saxophone solo, but that sadly wasn't enough to save him when he was rudely offed live onstage in Mexico in 2020. Then resurrected in 2022 to play sax again. This band's health insurance renewal rates must be through the roof, quite frankly.
AKA: The one that wasn't a Papa (but is now). Years Of Service: 2018-2020. Notes: Providing a combo breaker by eschewing the corpsepaint and having a decidedly less pope-y fashion sense, Cardinal Copia was the lovably daft Papa-in-waiting that brought an extra flash of sass to the Ghost camp. Tobias Forge once suggested to us that, unlike previous Ghost frontmen, Cardi C might actually stick around for a few records - and he was half-right. In March 2020, on stage in Mexico, The Cardinal was surrounded by The Clergy and transformed into Papa Emeritus IV. A new dawn beckoned...
Papa Emeritus IV
AKA: The grandest Papa yet Years Of Service: 2020-present Notes: The upgraded Cardinal is currently serving as the fourth Papa Emeritus, and if Ghost's latest live show is anything to go by, he may be the most extravagant one yet. Packing dazzling robes, a fancy new hat (or three) and a fine array of new stage costumes, he's perfectly set to lead what looks to be Ghost's most over the top and bombastic era ever. But what happens when The Clergy grow tired of him and decide it's time for a freshen-up? Could Ghost's current hero buck the trend and leave the fold with his head and body intact? Could a serving Papa IV become Papa V? Or is he doomed to join his predecessors in death? Only time will tell.
The Nameless Ghouls
AKA: The band. Years Of Service: 2010-Present. Notes: Less individuals and more a mass of souls represented onstage by mysterious, anonymous figures. They seem to grow in number with each passing album cycle, and get their own revamp to go alongside each newly introduced (or upgraded) frontman. Currently, The Nameless Ghouls are rocking a badass steampunk look. We approve.
AKA: The matriarch. Years Of Service: 1969-Present (at least) Notes: A figurehead behind the scenes, the mysterious Sister Imperator has appeared in a number of videos put out by Ghost in recent years, and she seems to have a particular (motherly) affinity for The Cardinal/Papa IV. We got to see both Sister Imperator and Papa Nihil in their younger incarnations during Ghost's Kiss The Go-Goat era.
First introduced in Chapter 10 of Ghost's ongoing video series, Mr. Saltarian is yet another mysterious religious figure with definite but somewhat murky connections to The Clergy. With poor Papa IV's future seemingly up in the air as of Ghost's most recent Chapters, it seems that Mr. Saltarian may have a part to play in the increasingly paranoid frontman's ultimate fate.
AKA: The main event. Years Of Service: 2010-Present. Notes: The mysterious cult from which these strange beings all stepped forth, The Clergy is the centre point for everything that Ghost is, was and shall be. They remain anonymous, omnipotent and powerful. Which is metal as fuck, to be fair.
Father Jim Defroque
AKA: The Bad Boy Priest Years Of Service: [unknown]-Present Notes: Introduced in a half-hour special on YouTube entitled "Jesus Talk With Father Jim Defroque" released on Easter Sunday 2023, at first it appeared the Pastor was the antithesis of our favourite Satanic Swedes and a true man of the cloth as he disapprovingly dissected lyrics from bands including Ministry, Soundgarden and Green Day (all Jesus themed, naturally).
It wasn't long before Father Defroque's true colours came out, however: suspicious sniffs throughout his YouTube special turned into a full bender during the Jesus He Knows Me video featuring copious amounts of blow, guns and erm, a questionable haircare regimen. How does he fit in with the wider Ghost lore? Well, we guess we'll find out pretty soon...
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Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.
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TOBIAS FORGE Was 'Furious' Over Venue Banning Face Paint At GHOST Show
GHOST leader Tobias Forge says that he was "furious" after learned two months ago that a venue in St. Louis had halted fans at the entrance to the band's concert and asked them to remove any face paint.
Two days before the concert, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights revealed via social media that "face paint or masks covering the face" would "NOT [be] allowed while entering the venue or purchasing items at concessions. Any face coverings must be removable upon request," the policy said.
Despite the publicly stated face paint policy, many of the two bands' fans arrived at the concert to realize they were in violation of the policy and were either denied entry or told to remove the face paint by venue staff. This resulted in general confusion about what was and what was not allowed, with one female GHOST fan reporting on Instagram that she was told her makeup "foundation was too light and it looked like facepaint to them so I had makeup wipes given to me and told that the white eye contact didn't help." Another attendee wrote on Facebook : "So weird we didn't see anyone have issues. We stood in VIP line over an hour with people who had make up. They all got through security. And no one said a word to them. Sucks it happened. I have even to KISS shows there as well... people wore KISS make up."
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre released a statement the following day apologizing for the confusion and clarifying that GHOST wasn't behind the face paint policy. Attendees who "experienced issues" at the concert were urged to contact the venue by e-mail to help "improve" the process "for future shows."
In a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Forge shared his reaction to reports of GHOST fans being told to remove any face paint. "I was furious," he said. "The story that I heard was that it was an initiative taken by some of the security people, who didn't approve of the band. They didn't like what we were doing so they wanted to be mean to these kids, and those kids were really, really upset with that.
"They told them it was a band requirement," he continued. "That was upsetting to me. We would never ask that of our fans. We want them to dress up, we want them to come and have fun."
Forge went on to explain why he is especially sensitive to the feelings of GHOST fans, saying: "Over the years, I've come to understand that a lot of our fanbase are, in one way or another, outsiders or that their lives are lonely or they're struggling with something. It feels like there's a lot of hurt among our fanbase, and I want to address that. They've found a kind of belonging being in this group of GHOST fans."
GHOST kicked off its summer 2023 U.S. tour on August 2 at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California. Support on the "Re-Imperatour" came from AMON AMARTH .
Produced by Live Nation and FPC Live , the 27-date trek stopped in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cincinnati, Austin and more before wrapping up with the band's September 11 and September 12 return to the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.
GHOST has been touring in support of its fifth 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.
"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.
"Impera" was released in March 2022. The 12-song effort was produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace .
Posted by Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St. Louis on Saturday, August 12, 2023
Joining us Friday for 105.7 The Point’s #BigSummerShow featuring Ghost with Amon Amarth? Here’s all the info you need to... Posted by Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St. Louis on Wednesday, August 9, 2023
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India's fiscal position remains solid, headline inflation to stay within target - ministry
Posted: October 23, 2023 | Last updated: October 23, 2023
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's fiscal position remains solid with steady revenue growth, and headline inflation is likely to remain within the target band, the government said on Monday.
"Revenues generated from direct and indirect taxes have exhibited steady growth and are indicative of the strength of underlying economic activity and a broadening tax base," India's finance ministry said in its monthly economic review for September.
India is targeting a fiscal deficit of 5.9% of GDP for the financial year-ending March 2024.
"Rationalisation of revenue expenditure has enabled the front-loading of capital expenditure while keeping the market borrowing programme tied to the budgeted target," the report said.
A Reuters poll last month projected India to be the fastest-growing major economy this fiscal year, supported by government spending ahead of next May's general election.
Headline inflation was also likely to remain within the target band, the report said, due to the downward trajectory observed in core inflation.
India's retail inflation eased to a three-month low in September on the back of softer vegetable prices, but remained above a 4% target that the central bank has signalled would be key before easing rates.
"Downside risks, especially emerging out of the vagaries of rainfall and global headwinds are however non-negligible," the report said.
While sluggish global demand is affecting India's trade, this is projected to recover in the second half, said the report adding that India's forex reserve position is "comfortable" and external account "robust".
(Reporting by Nikunj Ohri; Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Mike Harrison)
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