Sunday, December 24, 2017


ISR Music Magazine

 "Papal Rock"

Ghost B.C. - "The Pope of pop-metal"

Ghost B.C. aka Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band. Perhaps more of a Hard-Rock band than metal since theirs is a sound more akin to Kiss meets Slipknot than Motorhead or Metallica.

The Swedes have shown tremendous facility for music. They are fluent in Pop (Max Martin), Black Metal (Shining, Bathory and Opeth), Thrash Metal (Bloodbath and Entombed), and even Disco (ABBA). Roxette, Ace of Base, Avicii, and Tove Lo are also from Sweden.

Roxette in 1986 had four of their songs, "The Look", "Listen To Your Heart" (both 1989), "It Must Have Been Love" (1990) and "Joyride" (1991), reach number one in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, while two further singles, "Dangerous" (1990) and "Fading Like a Flower" (1991), both peaked at number two in the Billboard Hot 100.

Roxette's "Join The Joyride World Tour 91-92" attracted 1.7 million people around the world. And in 1993, they became the first non-English speaking band ever to play at MTV Unplugged. In 1995, they became the first Western band to be allowed to perform in China since Wham! in 1985.

ABBA's record sales figure is uncertain and various estimates range from 140 to over 500 million records. This makes them the second best-selling music group of all time, after the Beatles.

Denniz Pop and Max Martin, at Cheiron Studios the Swedish pop music factory have sold over 200 million records writing and producing for Britney Spears, NSync, Backstreet Boys, Ace of Base, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Robyn, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and many others. But I digress it is Ghost BC that this article is about.

Ghost BC is sort of the alien bastard child of Kiss and Slipknot. Ghost is what you would get if those two bands had a baby and they named him "Blue Oyster Cult".

Ghost's take on theatrical rock is perhaps more humorous than serious. Although a quick glance at their lyric sheets do show a macabre interest in the occult and satanism. The harmonic structure and rhythmic pulse of their material is more akin to pop-rock than anything hardcore. And perhaps this too is an intentional and humorous juxtaposition.

Live they sound exactly as they do on record. The six members tightly rehearse and meticulously record their songs and perform them live note for note without error. Their lead singer called; "Papa Emeritus III" slowly walks from one side to the other side of the stage gesturing like the actual Pope in a mock-up Papal garment gone wrong.

It's totally sacrilegious, but even more than that, it's hysterically funny as Papa talks and gives patter in between songs in a mock Italian - Spanish elderly and dignified accent. I could swear I saw Papa Emeritus even bless the crowd with the sign of the cross a couple of times to the roaring delighted laughter of those in the front row seats.

With a major label deal and a huge advance and now three albums under their belt, Ghost is definitely a band to see. In 2016 they won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

The members refuse to show their faces (à la Kiss/Slipknot) in public. But Ghost takes it one step further since they refuse to even tell their names to the public or press.

It's really quite a sight to see them live with their perfectly performed act never failing to enrapture the crowd at every show. Definitely a band to watch for in the future when they come to your town.

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