Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ghost - Year Zero



“Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub.
Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer….”


Since I discovered them last year, I have been listening to a lot of Ghost. Despite my best efforts I have had a difficult time over the past couple years of discovering new music I like, fortunately European metal has not let me down, as Avantasia, Sabaton and Ghost all had new content released last year. I talked about all three last year, but I feel like Ghost, the new comer to my music collection, deserves more discussion.

In my opinion Ghost is the most interesting musical creation in recent history. A satanic concept group where all the band are masked ghouls except for the creator and front man Papa Emeritus who is a sort of satanic pope. There was a full commitment by the band to stay in character, and play along that they were legitimate Satanist, and actual ghouls, and this made for amazingly fun live performances.

It has since been revealed that the many of band members have been replaced and none of the original line up are currently active, thus confirming the potential immortality and quasi stage show nature of the band. It has also been reveled that all three Papa Emeritus who have thus far fronted the band were in fact what most people suspected all along, the same person, and due to a legal battle between past members and Emeritus his name has become public and he is in fact Tobias Forge.

Now I have to go and learn about Forge’s earlier work.

My first discovery of Ghost was their 2016 single “Ghost Hammer,” the only original (non-cover) song from their LP Popestar. I loved it. It was greatest song about Satan I had ever heard; but not for very long.

I went to see Ghost weeks after discovering them, and since I was only familiar with “Square Hammer” and a passing knowledge of the rest of their music I was in for a night of discovery. I heard many songs I would love instantly that night, like “Gheleh/Zombie Queen” and “Monstrance Clock.” However, nothing hammers and thunders quite like “Year Zero.”

I just really like the album Infestissumam, as all three songs just mentioned are from it.

It was an impossible to forget performance that sent me home directly to find these songs, I needed to hear “Year Zero” again, and have done so probably two hundred times since then. I have try to pace myself when talking about a band, not to repeat talking about them again for at least a year, and I have literally been waiting a full year to write this. If you are comfortable with, or enthusiastic about, satanic metal music, then listening to “Year Zero” is a must.

In “Yero Zero” the drums are roaring thunder, and everything is built around it and the marching base line. It is a perfect example of a heavy metal song, as it is both loud and powerful, but it is also deadly. Demonic chanting of the many names of Satan, and Emeritus sings of the futility of man’s struggle.

“Since dawn of time the fate of man is that of lice,
Equal as parasites and moving without eyes.”


That’s the first line, it really sets the mood.

It is a song of the hopeless of our plight and the pointlessness of our existence, as the next line makes perfectly clear.

“A day of reckoning when penance is to burn,
Count down together now and say the words that you will learn.”


Which brings us to the chorus, the amazing chorus.

“Hail Satan, Archangelo,
Hail Satan, Welcome year zero.”


The chorus is less sung by Emeritus and more shouted by him. It is a dark invitation that cannot be refused, welcome to year zero. The Satanic invocation adds that something extra that makes the song even more metal; even more badass. Ghost is literally yelling at us “hail Satan.” There is no subtlety in this chorus, there is no room for it. “Year Zero” is the most in your face, Satan worshipping song I have ever heard, and it takes no prisoners.

On an amusing side note, I find it charming the way Emeritus pronounces “Satan” in the chorus, instead of saying “seyt-n” he says “sawt-n,” I do not know if there is some deliberate reference being invoked or if this is an accent thing. I mean Forge is Swedish, but the Swedish do not pronounce Satan like that. Emeritus speaks in what I believe it meant to be a fake Italian/Vatican accent, which blends with his natural Swedish accent creating a very unique voice, so maybe Emeritus just pronounces Satan like that, you know… only he never does at any other time, and he says Satan a lot. Why “sawt-n?” Maybe I’ll never know.

When considering the greatness of a song like “Year Zero” it is a fair conclusion to draw that it is in fact the best Satanic song ever, not necessarily the best song about Satan or Ghost’s best song, however it is the best tribute to Satan ever, and given that most Ghost songs are effectively just that, “Year Zero” stands high among a very fine playlist.

More Ghost Soon.

- King of Braves

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