Swedish-based occult rock outfit GHOST is teasing introduction of a “new” frontman with the release of a new three-minute clip video dubbed “Chapter One: New Blood.”
Papa Emeritus is played by GHOST lead singer and founder Tobias Forge, who, in a parody of the Catholic Church’s tradition of papal succession, is purportedly replaced by a new Papa for each GHOST album.
Every Papa, as it happens, has a voice and build exactly like his predecessors.
GHOST wrapped the tour cycle for 2015’s “Meliora” album and 2016’s “Popestar” EP with a concert last September in Gothenburg that ended dramatically with Papa Emeritus III getting forcibly removed from the stage by two men. A short time later, an elderly person wearing Papa-like attire of a robe and a tall pointed miter headdress, his face covered in black-and-white corpse paint, took the stage and addressed the crowd in Italian. He reportedly said: “I am Papa Emeritus Zero. The party is over and now a new era begins. The Middle Ages begin now.”
Forge has spent the last few months working on GHOST‘s fourth album for a tentative June release via Loma Vista Recordings. The disc was recorded last year at Artery studios in Stockholm with producer Tom Dalgety (OPETH, ROYAL BLOOD) and was mixed in January at Westlake Studios in West Hollywood, California with Andy Wallace (NIRVANA, SLAYER). Songtitles set to appear on the LP include “Rats”, “Life Eternal”, “Faith” and “Dance Macabre”.
“Rats”, the album’s first single, is expected to arrive in April.
Forge told Revolver about the upcoming album: “It is loosely themed around the concept of death and doom. It’s a themed album around medieval times, but it’s definitely clinging onto a lot of very current things. The Black Death [plague] is a great example of a turning point for a whole civilization. Complete villages were annihilated. Most people knew very little, so all of it was God or the Devil — and about their faith being questioned: Why are we being stricken down by this great scourge? It must be because of our not fearing God enough and all this superstitious bullshit.
“There’s a lot that you would recognize today in online mannerisms,” he continued. “In many ways, we’ve gone back a few steps because now it’s closer to how it was back in the old days when people were standing at the square and all of a sudden, it’s like in Monty Python‘s ‘Life Of Brian’: ‘Stone him! Ra! Ra! Ra!’ Public trials are very unsupervised and extremely swift and speak to the most primordial parts of us.”
In a separate interview with Metal Hammer, Forge talked about the musical direction of GHOST‘s new album, saying: “It’s a very bright-sounding record. And it’s a very heavy record, I’d say, but not from a Metal Hammer point of view, meaning all metal through and through. But it’s a heavy record with a heavy theme. I think the overall ambience is very serious.
“Technically, a GHOST song could just be piano and vocals but it could also be full pounding, heavy-thrashing hard rock,” he added. “I’m not in any way comparing us to them but I guess our modus operandi is a little like what QUEEN did — just decide to play really good songs and not focus too much on sticking to a recipe.”
Forge last year revealed his identity while responding to a lawsuit filed by four former members of GHOST, who accused him of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group’s album releases and world tours.