BEING THERE: Ghost @ The Tower Theater



I don’t think anyone in the history of time has received quite the bad rap that Satan has. Dude offers out a helping hand to two individuals thrust in to a new plane of existence, extensively written about by some folks who never even met him, and that one book has cast a shadow over his intentions for a couple of millennia now. Thankfully, the Swedish metal/satanic PR firm known as Ghost has descended upon the US to spread cheer and merriment this holiday season.

Fronted by the elusive (and until 2017, anonymous) Tobias Forge (playing the role of Cardinal Copia this go round) backed by a small army of Nameless Ghouls, Ghost sounds like every suburban parents nightmare metal act. On paper, at least. But strip away the top layer of diabolical imagery and infernal pageantry and Ghost is a fairly straightforward metal act, albeit one that dabbles deliciously in a style of metal few seem to be making with their level of craftsmanship anymore. Well-produced, crisp, clean vocals, and a band name written in a font that I can actually read, they are purveyors of epic and melodic heavy metal that probably would have been right at home opening for Ozzy in the ’70s.

The live act is an impressive array of set design and technical skill. Full to the brim with instrumentalists (they even added a saxophonist for their most recent album – 2018’s Prequelle), Ghost burst in to Tower Theater with a thunderous “Ashes” (after setting the mood with some Gregorian-like chanting) before tearing through a double-act of material spanning their career. The Nameless Ghouls come decked head to toe in black and adorned with intricate (and certainly uncomfortable looking) masks, never breaking character, and all in service of their leader – Cardinal Copia, who maintained an air of energetic mystery, magically disappearing from one spot only to emerge almost impossibly from another on the grand stage.

The Ghost fan base knows what to expect from their shows at this point, and judging by the reception, they delivered for the entirety of their double act set. Even if the subject matter gives you the heebie jeebies, I would highly recommend attending at least one show to any metal head, of any age (the little girl standing next to me couldn’t have be older than six, and she was having a blast on her dads shoulders). As for the subject matter itself, if you’ve spent a few thousand years in solitary, Cardinal Copia and the Nameless Ghouls are who I would call for help. Remember reverence and, in the immortal words of Ice Cube and the Westside Connection, bow down when you come to their town. — MATT SHAVER