Saturday 12th December 2015
Beckett University in Leeds, UK
Reviews & Photography by Gina Godfrey
After a very rainy trip to Leeds, I arrived well before the doors were scheduled to open and there was already a noticeably large queue of fans waiting outside the Beckett University’s doors. At just after 7.30pm, Dead Soul took to the stage. The trio have joined Ghost on a 31 date European tour to promote their second full length album, ‘The Sheltering Sky’. They kicked off the evening with their first ever single, ‘They Will Play’. Lead singer, Anders Landelius, brings a rough, unpolished Delta blues style vocal to marry up perfectly with Niels Nielsen’s electronic beats and thrashing guitars. ‘The Fool’ was up next, followed by ‘Home by the Sea’; both tracks off the new album. Dead Soul seem like a strange pairing with Ghost, and their unique bluesy punk style may to be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly made a refreshing change.
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Ghost at Beckett University, Leeds, UK, 12th December 2015
Photograph copyright © 2015 Gina Godfrey - www.metal-discovery.com
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Ghost (formally Ghost B.C.) originate from Sweden and hit the music scene in 2008, releasing their first 3 track demo in 2010, followed by a full length debut album, ‘Opus Eponymous’. They are now back with their third full length album, ‘Meliora’, released on the 21st of August 2015, and touring in support of said release.
With incense sticks burning and red lighting, the mood was set. At just after 9pm, Ghost graced the stage. The room was full to capacity and the atmosphere of the crowd was one of excitement. A thunderous roar came from them as the lights went out and onto the stage came the mysterious, masked, nameless ghouls. The set kicked off with ‘Spirit’, the first track from ‘Meloria’. Papa Emeritus III’s vocals soaring choral in the ether above the explosion of heavy pounding doom metal riffs. The bar had been set and the foundations laid for what was to follow… an assault on the senses of the highest order. The unholy ones wasted no time and rip roared into their second song, ‘From the Pinnacle to the Pit’, giving the frenzied fans an introduction into the new material. ‘Ritual’ followed, as did the voices of the audience like a fallen choir filling the hall, ‘Con Clavi Con Dio” was cut short after the opening bars and the ghouls left the stage. The crowd were patient and, after a brief period of time, they returned (citing technical difficulties, Emeritus joked the heat from the ladies in the audience caused him to faint)… and business resumed as if nothing untoward had happened. They continued the onslaught with Papa Emeritus swinging a smoking thurible, commanding “Lucifer, we are here”.
If Ghost were a more established band, this set could have been mistaken for a best of album as every song hit the mark; ‘Per Aspera ad Inferi’ (through hardships to hell), being one of them. The track ‘Body and Blood’ introduced the sisters of sin, who came out to the front row of the audience, feeding them sacramental bread and wine. The stage sank again into an eerie darkness with just the nameless ghouls left on stage, and Papa Emeritus emerged from the back, through the fog, as a younger, less papal self, delivering the crushing melodies of ‘Cirice’. Crowd participation hit an all time high with the 2013 hit single, ‘Year Zero’ and flowed seamlessly into the newest anthem, ‘He Is’.
The highlight of the evening, for myself, was the Roky Erickson cover, ‘If You Have Ghosts’; there wasn’t a still body or tongue in the venue. Papa Emeritus brought the set to a close with, as he put it, “the celebration of the female orgasm”, ‘Monstrance Clock’. It’s very easy to say that Ghost have the perfect combination of mystery, finesse and primeval brutality.