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O2 ABC, Glasgow
Friday 18th December 2015

Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland


Swedish Satanic Metallers Ghost have certainly created a stir with their masked look, satanic lyrics and their sheer determination to remain true to the image they have created.

None of the band's real names are known, each band member aside from singer Papa Emeritus III (who sounds eerily similar to his predecessors in the band I and II) is a Nameless Ghoul, all songs are written by a Ghoul Writer and every message on their Facebook page is titled 'A Message From The Clergy'.

Fortunately all this is done with a sense of fun (no church burning going on here) but for me the main thing that makes the whole thing work is that they have the music to back it up.

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Looking at the pictures you might be expecting a Black Metal growlathon but as covered in my review of their third album 'Meliora' here they are a far cry from that.

With influences ranging from classic Metal to pop they are certainly a Metal band but not the kind you might expect.


True to their mantra the stage set is church like with burning incense and Gregorian chants creating an atmosphere in the packed ABC before the ghouls appear in their silver masks and launch into 'Spirit'.

The sound takes a little while to settle down but by the time Papa Emeritus joins the band the guitars sound crisp and clear and the vocals are strong and carry the strangely unsettling nature of the song well.

The band are obviously confident in the newer material and with good reason. The opening trio of songs are all from 'Meliora' and are greeted like old favourites by the crowd. That welcome is of course repeated when some old favourites do get an outing and 'Per Aspera Ad Inferi' generates a huge sing along.


It is obviously difficult for any of the musicians to stamp any personality on their performance behind their evil looking masks but Papa Emeritus has a different kind of mask and makes the most of it. He is a strangely playful character, not really threatening in any way but hugely watchable and with an almost gentlemanly style all his own.

There is more humour than you might think too such as when explaining that a couple of girls in nun outfits will be offering drinks to the front row during 'Body And Blood' no one is to touch them inappropriately 'only for insurance purposes, you understand'.

When he changes outfit part of the way through the show the white gloves and tails make his movements a little Chaplinesque too, which is an image I wasn't expecting at all.

Enjoyable as the older songs are, it is the newer material which provides the highlights of the set for me. 'Cirice' is a magnificent, stomping beast of a song with a huge chorus and a classic riff while 'He Is' has all the hallmarks of a great pop song apart from lyrics which are clearly a satanic tribute, although hopefully a tongue in cheek one.

After a set including I think every track from 'Meliora' all too soon the end is nigh. After teasing the audience with a bow after 'If You Have Ghosts’ the masks stay on for one more song and there is the traditional set closer of 'Monstrance Clock' to for everyone to enjoy.


The ABC was sold out tonight and the crowd all knew the songs and loved the band too. The mixture of image, presentation and musical style which Ghost have come up with obviously works and I enjoyed the show as much as I did their most recent album.

If the image puts anyone off that's a shame because they are a lot of fun with some really good songs and terrific musicianship to back it up. Judging by tonight's reaction from the crowd they are a band on the way up and I expect to see them in bigger venues soon.


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