n this article we want to find out together why Ghost is accused of being a satanic band. How much the band plays with these allegations in the media. How good this is for them. And how the band members defend themselves against these allegations. 😈
After reading the following lines you can perfectly tell if Ghost is a devil worshiping band or not.
Controversial Swedish goth rockers
In the past decade, few metal bands have garnered as much acclaim – and controversy – as Swedish band Ghost. Their blend of easy-to-digest goth rock and Halloween satanism has made them darlings of the media, who view them as ultra-satanic and spooky for their use of makeup and inverted crosses . ✝️ As such, their spotlight-seeking theatrics and toned-down semi-metal have earned them international acclaim, collaborations with other bands such as Iron Maiden , and even a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
But for a lot of metalheads there is something that doesn’t go with Ghost…. This may be due to the vocals, which are so special, with tones you won’t find anywhere else. Or maybe the costumes that flirt with the dark but can never keep up with Satan . Or the acclaim of the general public, which is the ultimate tool to annoy the metal purists who « only like the first album ».
To put it simply, Ghost’s self-propelled advertising machine is pretty special. The band members will do almost anything to draw attention to themselves, as all of their actions are completely off the hook. And after that, the band almost consistently denounces the press for giving them so much attention. Their entire publicity strategy is similar to that of a teenager who gets a tattoo all over his face and asks his parents not to comment under any circumstances…
A little background: Ghost performed in 2010 with a demo consisting of three doom metal songs mixed with gothic horror themes. A demo that became an underground sensation. This earned Fenriz , the frontman of Darkthrone, and many other underground metal lovers a lot of praise.
Their first album, Opus Eponymous, was released by two major independent metal labels, Rise Above in Europe and Metal Blade in the US. The band quickly exploded, largely due to the fact that they were fronted by « Papa Emeritus, » who wore a satanic papal costume and had his head painted. While the rest of the band played the role of « Nameless Ghouls » in black suits and commedia dell’arte masks.
Since then, the band has refined their music to incorporate the catchy 80’s heavy metal and have released several enjoyable singles. The most recent was Rats, in which the video featured the band’s « new » frontman dancing through a devastated cityscape like a fashionable version of horse sickness.
But Ghost’s promotional routine has a story of its own. A new « Papa Emeritus » (the name of the band’s lead singer) is introduced in each album cycle.
Emeritus II, with a slightly more stylized dress than the first. Emeritus III, with straight hair, white opera gloves and a black Nehru jacket. And now Cardinal Copia, a mafia personality with a prosthetic old man’s face. And since 2018, Cardinal Copia is Papa Emeritus IV.
The change for « Ghost BC »
If the band had hired a new frontman for each album, that might have been pretty cool. But all of these titles, which sometimes propagate religious supremacy, are nicknames for Tobias Forge , the band’s frontman. Forge did his best to publicly hide his true identity before being accidentally exposed by Rob Zombie. As a result, he felt compelled to conduct interviews in which he spoke about how the publication of his identity affected him.
In addition to the changing dads, there was also a name change. In 2013, the band changed their name to Ghost BC for « legal reasons ». They abandoned the suffix in 2015, publicly complaining about the attention it was getting from all sides.
At the 2018 meta-gala, themed « Fashion and Catholic Fantasy, » pop star Rihanna appeared in a traditional papal robe complete with a miter (the official term for the hat worn by the Pope, which resembles the tip of a fountain pen looks). The band Ghost felt compelled to tweet: « We wish to inform you that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thank you Rihanna ».
From this one can conclude that the guys feel so much like satanists themselves that when a superstar wears the clothes of the pope they point to their band? It’s the same as those celebrities who wear t-shirts from metal bands they don’t actually listen to. Funnily enough, Ghost also seemed like she wanted to borrow Rihanna’s celebrity and impeccable fashion sense to further her own style. As if to say: « We also wear this hat, just like Rihanna! ».
Accused of being a satanic group
Religious imagery and satanism have always been intertwined with heavy metal music. The pioneers of the genre, Black Sabbath , were masters at merging the two. But Ghost takes it to a whole new level. Their stage turns into a church during live concerts. The idea is to present the music as salvation, with the live show taking on the role of a worship service. As the musicians take the stage, they are preceded by a suit-wearing satanic priest who possesses a voice of unexpected charm and vulnerability, aided by a group of cardinals known as the « Nameless Ghouls. »
Though Ghost’s satanic imagery continued to draw critics, the band eventually began to gain wide acceptance. However, she is occasionally confronted with allegations. In November 2018, Larry Long, the communion’s US pastor, said they needed to protect themselves « from a band claiming to be devil worshippers . » 👿 « This type of group will bring spiritual influences to the region. This worries us because we believe that the devil is real, just as we believe that God is real ».
Very interesting response from the bandleader: « I find it sad that people waste their time thinking that we are bad for others when actually we are just trying to make people happy and make them feel good when they come to our concerts and have fun ». Some shock rockers have paved the way for Ghost, such as Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Judas Priest or Marilyn Manson, who have also been accused of encouraging suicidal or killing tendencies in their fans.
On the contrary, Forge believes that « gloomy music ranging from goth to death metal to black metal to hardcore » can be a source of celebration and even redemption. « There are certainly rock fans who have done negative things towards each other or towards themselves over the years, but I don’t think it’s because of the music. It was because they were going through a bad phase in their lives, »he points out. « Maybe it was even the music that kept her alive for so long, that kept her going. Hard rock in general doesn’t propagate that you have to hurt someone ».
He continues, « I believe there are other styles of music that encourage a much worse lifestyle that you could call more negative, » says Forge. Music that promotes a lifestyle its fans will never have. One that consists of wearing « bling-bling » and surrounding yourself with lots of girls. Reinforce the idea that without these things you are nothing. In my opinion, this is a negative influence. At the very least, most gothic or hard rock music is about being comfortable in your own skin ».
Join the Young Rock Star movement!
We just gave you the points that journalists love to claim Ghost is a satanic rock band for. And the least that can be said is that since the band members have agreed to interviews, they have perfectly defended themselves against attacks on them. Our conclusion: NO, they are not satanists, they like certain dark themes and have a special relationship with the catholic religion, but that’s about it. 👹
Young rock fan, if you are still with us as you read this, then you are undoubtedly a true metal fan. And that’s why we have a little gift for you. We want the way you dress to match who you are. And there’s nothing better for a true rock fan than to put on his skull and crossbones t-shirt before heading to a metal concert.
Do you want to learn more about rock music? Find out 15 facts about Gun’s and Roses!