Against all odds, the genius of Ghost's continually evolving lead vocalist Tobias Forge has unleashed upon this world a retro-inspired satanic rock band that is burning down all barriers and enlightening non-believers.
The theatrical Swedish rock act singed through Syracuse on a seemingly calm Wednesday night to the delight of a theater full of hungry disciples. When the lights went black, an eerie chant of children singing “Ring Around The Rosie” gave way to the dark opener “Ashes” from the newly released album Prequelle. Followed by their latest single, “Rats,” a song reviving The Black Plague, the audience sang in unison the opening line: “In times of turmoil - In times like these.”
Prequelle has a dark foreboding atmosphere while offering a catchy underbelly and being brilliantly structured. The loose theme of the album is one of death and doom based around medieval times. Ties to our modern situation entangle and engage within the album's messages. Ghost has always set the stage around its evil conception, slanting deeply from influences of the '70s and '80s. Categorizing the band as metal seems easy, yet they tap the sinister vein of metal, prog, classic rock, pop, and electronica to create a unique vibration that is ever expanding.
The fourth and latest incarnation of Tobias Forge as “Cardinal Copia” presents a less fearsome frontman, a change that keeps the Ghost magic feeling fresh as the band continues their evolution. Throughout the night, heaviness gave way to gorgeous melodies and mood-ridden theatrical moments embracing their entire catalog of music. Watching Forge shaking, serenading, then whipping up their audience into a frenzy is something to behold. The energy of the audience never faltered and reached its pinnacle during “Square Hammer” then closed out at midnight with the legions' favorite “Monstrance Clock.”
The two-hour-and-thirty-minute set showed Ghost tighter, mightier, and catchier than ever. The market for insidious music may seem to be needle thin in the grand scheme of the entertainment business, but Ghost have sown up any incisions with a precise attention to detail while still showing the ominous scars. As the crowd spilled out into the streets, I overheard nothing but raving fan reviews. “Sinter Sonic,” “No one is like our Ghost,” and “That could have very well been the best experience of my life,” sum it up quite nicely. That, my dear Ghouls, is where the real stories of success live.