Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2008. In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7″ vinyl titled “Elizabeth”, and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and increased their popularity significantly. Their second album and major label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden, and won the Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora, in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, “Cirice”, earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.
Ghost is easily recognisable because of its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is the vocalist, who wears a prosthetic face with skull face paint, appearing as what can be described as a “demonic anti-Pope”. Each album cycle has brought about a change in the band’s appearance. The vocalist is always portrayed as the same archetype character, but has slight appearance changes and even personality traits are altered from former versions. The band members’ true identities are kept anonymous, as their actual names have not been publicly disclosed. The vocalist calls himself Papa Emeritus, and the musicians are referred to only as Nameless Ghouls.
The six members of Ghost mimic the Roman Catholic Church but have reversed the image to worship Satan instead of the Holy Trinity. The Nameless Ghouls each represent one of the five elements; fire, water, wind, earth, and ether, and wear their respective alchemical symbol on their instruments. With the new Meliora costume changes each Nameless Ghoul has all five elemental symbols embroidered on the right breast of their costumes, and the elemental symbol representing the individual ghoul is highlighted to show the identity of the wearer. The group’s vocalist portrays the band’s mascot character, a Satanic priest known as Papa Emeritus. There have been three different characters taking the name Papa Emeritus, each younger than the last.
Ghost’s music has been categorised in many genres, though critics usually classify them as heavy metal, doom metal, hard rock, and to a lesser extent progressive rock and psychedelic rock. Speaking to Noisey.com, a Nameless Ghoul described Ghost as a black metal band in the traditional sense, but said that they probably do not fit into the norms of the current black metal scene. This Nameless Ghoul described Ghost’s music as a mix between pop music and death metal.
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