Ghost are currently one of the biggest and most relevant rock bands in the world. Swede Tobias Forge, who stands at the center of the project, has somehow managed to create music that gets attention in an era where rock has given way on the commercial charts to genres like pop, rap and R&B.
Forge himself, who grew up with rock music and as a Metallica fan, sees several reasons for this that combined in the right way to make Ghost’s career possible.
“I think it helped our sound and the approach of not making the same album every time but still having that distinct DNA. I think it helped that we’re constantly trying to put on a show for people,” Forge told AL .com.
He is the engine of the project, and his name only became clear in 2017, when other members of the gang revealed that behind the mask of the demonic Pope Emeritus (and his various versions over the years) was actually the Swede. The litigation led to an entirely new lineup for Ghost, once again hidden behind the anonymity of masks and the generic Nameless Ghouls, and two of their best-received albums.
According to Forge, the success of the group is also helped by the fact that only he made the decisions over the years, and his goal was one – to achieve the successes of his idols from more than 40 years ago.
“[Успехът] we’re supported by the fact that I was the only one investing and everyone else was getting paid,” he explains, laughing. “If everyone voted on everything, it wouldn’t have happened this way. Because I was determined that yes, I want to be what Mettalica was in the 80s during the tour for “…And Justice For All,” the Ghost frontman explains.
He also gives examples of Iron Maiden around “Powerslave” – ”that type of fucking theatrics and playing in halls”.
He states that he was also always very influenced by Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, although he grew up listening to extreme death metal. It’s just that the love for arena rock has always been present in him.
Ghost’s success today, he says, is influenced by the fact that they went against the herd, ie. against what is successful in the music scene. However, Forge also cites the influence of Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, Metallica frontman James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo, Dave Grohl and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, all of whom invited the Swede’s band on joint tours.
“They put the band Ghost on their stages and put us in front of a lot of people. Other than that, [успехът] it wasn’t going to happen,” explains Forge.
He was able to show his appreciation for Metallica specifically when his band was invited to record a version of Enter Sandman for The Metallica Blacklist, a cover album of songs from the legendary 1991 album.
“My older brother was a Metallica fan, so they were always around when I was growing up. I had a poster of them from [списанието] Metal Hammer hanging on his wall. It was with the demon from Jump In The Fire, but with a picture from the Master of Puppets era. The Black Album is the first album I remember looking forward to,” Forge told Louder in March of this year.
The first thing he – like many others – hears from the album is exactly Enter Sandman. He stopped what he was doing every time the song came on MTV or the radio.
According to him, it was one of the few times in his life when he was in sync with what was going on in the music world commercially. In his words, there was a “tsunami” of big rock albums at the time, from Nirvana and Pearl Jam to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but Metallica were “the biggest, coolest, bad-ass band” of them all.
Forge has had the opportunity to hear the band live several times over the years, but what really impressed him was the two-part documentary Year and a half in the Life of Metallica.
“I’ve watched it over a hundred times. I probably watched it 60 times before I even went into the studio to record my own first demo. It became a handbook – this is how you record an album and this is how you tour it,” says the central figure in Ghost.
Ghost’s fifth studio album, titled Impera, appeared in March of this year. and was received with critical acclaim. The album again combines a variety of sounds, intertwining hard rock, arena rock, glam metal, heavy metal and pop rock.