Ghost performing their Back To The Future Tour at Rock City on Monday 14th December 2015


Review by  Kevin Cooper

Ghost stormed into Nottingham’s Rock City on Monday night in all of their satanic glory and wasted no time in showing this audience exactly what this Swedish heavy metal sextet are all about.

As the lights dimmed, a roar erupted from the crowd that quickly grew to cataclysmic proportions as Ghost took to the stage in their latest iterations of their stage costumes. For those unfamiliar with this eccentric band, their lead vocalist Papa Emeritus III sported his usual papal vestments, of a black satin gown and a mitre emblazoned with the G monogram and a fiendish skeletal facemask.

The other five band members are also anonymous, and are collectively dubbed The Nameless Ghouls, (although each is identified by a specific alchemical symbol) and were clad in near identical black cardinal outfits with full face silver devil masks replete with horns but lacking mouths.

With their set list drawing heavily from their latest album, Meliora, they opened with Spirit, quickly followed by From The Pinnacle To The Pit, with its menacing distorted base line that shock the very foundations of Rock City.

With The Ghouls having no way of expressing themselves vocally, the band do utilize a good bit of pre-recorded support tracks, in particular their vocal harmonies. But this is not a band to under estimate. The musicianship was flawless, and whilst visually and aesthetically the band may seem extreme, they have a remarkable sense of melody and a willingness to embrace a more gentle music at times to deliver their dark message. He Is, also from Meliora, is for all intents and purposes Ghost’s slow dance power ballad.

They delivered Ritual from their debut album, Opus Eponymous, which was very well received by a crowd who knew all the words, before returning to their latest offering with Majesty, Meliora’s ostensible centre piece featuring some decidedly progressive rock-like twists and turns. Papa’s witty banter between songs such as Body And Blood and Year Zero injected a great deal of humour to the proceedings which made for an all-round entertaining evening.

Ending the set with their classic cover of Roky Erickson’s If You Have Ghosts, there was a mass sing a long from the audience. After a brief exit from the stage, they returned for an encore of Monstance Clock from their Infestissumam album, which had this audience in raptures.

Ghost is a band that you can enjoy on all levels, either as a fully-fledged Satanist or as somebody who just enjoys good old fashioned guitar tones and great tunes featuring big hooks. Their look may say satanic kiss but their music is pure old school rock. Just ask this appreciative Rock City audience.