Monstrance rock: Ghost, live at the Bristol O2 Academy
December 24, 2015
Something Ghoulish this way came: Ghost rolled into town on December 20th and delivered a show that most are unlikely to forget.
Swedish metallers Ghost are a bit of a strange entity in the world of metal today. Neo-classic/ psychedelic rock is usually squashed up with the ‘not metal’ bunch of bands, but Ghost have struck a chord with the scene to become arguably the next big band to rise from the ashes. It may not come as a surprise to many. Their style is instantly catchy and appealing. More so than, say, death metal ever could be. The band’s image is draped in occultism and they always stay in character, clad in their costumes and keeping their real identities hidden from public eye. Lead by Papa Emeritus III, Ghost are quite possibly the most interesting metal band in quite some time. This was particularly evident with their recent offering to the metal masses in Bristol, complete with a communion and the whiff of incense. They were ready not just to play, but to entertain.
Most of the setlist was drawn from Meliora, Ghost’s latest album released in August this year, with several interludes of previous efforts in 2010’s Opus Eponymous, 2013’s Infestissumam and If You Have Ghost, all of which sounded fresh and mischievously subversive for the crowd of metalheads. Tracks such as ‘Mummy Dust’, ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Ritual’ all resonated to the point where the crowd started moshing. Moshpits at a Ghost gig are rare as their music leans towards church service than pigsties of mayhem, but it suitably characterises the passion the fans had for the band and the excellent quality music they were receiving.
The Nameless Ghouls that surrounded Papa were excitedly active; even without faces they felt incredibly human with how seemingly kinetic their effort was. All the while, Papa would prance and flitter across the stage, addressing the crowd as his choir, his faithful base of devil worshippers. It felt incredible to stand at the very front and witness the unfolding of this musical endeavour that would sooner pledge itself to Belial than to any other spiritual force. Even so, satanic imagery and appeal aside, Ghost remain one of the best metal acts to emerge from Europe since the new millennium. Do not miss them the next time they tour the UK.