Mysterious Swedish heavy rock buzz band GHOST performed at Orion Music + More, the two-day festival created by METALLICA that was held June 23-24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey. METALLICA frontman James Hetfield personally took to the stage to introduce GHOST, telling the audience, "I appreciate you coming coming down early and checking out one of my new favorite bands. From Sweden… It's never too early for scary, all right? Please welcome from Sweden… GHOST."
Fan-filmed video footage of Hetfield's GHOST introduction, as well as the first song of the band's Orion Music + More set, can be seen below.
GHOST is rumored to have inked a deal with Seven Four Ent. The band is said to be the first signing for the label, which is led by former Warner Bros. Records Chairman/CEO Tom Whalley.
Seven Four Ent. in April announced a label deal with Universal Republic Records.
While at Interscope Records, Whalley signed such acts as NINE INCH NAILS, LIMP BIZKIT, HELMET and PRIMUS.
GHOST's debut album, "Opus Eponymous", was released in late 2010 in Europe and in early 2011 in North America via Rise Above Records. The CD has sold around 30,000 copies in the United States so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
GHOST cult leader "Papa Emeritus" (rumored to be REPUGNANT/SUBVISION's Tobias Forge, who takes the stage in the form of "a satanic pope") and his anonymous ghouls recently supported MASTODON and OPETH on a North American tour.
In a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, one of the "Nameless Ghouls" from GHOST was asked whe he thinks his band has garnered support from such high-profile musicians as James Hetfield (METALLICA) and Phil Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA). "We like to think [it's because of] our playfulness in terms of not — I almost said think[ing] too much — obviously, we think, but we feel a lot and we try not to limit ourselves to genre," he said. "Even though we're a hard-rocking band, we try to mix everything from death metal elements to new-wave choruses. And I think that sort of resonates to… I wouldn't say only an older generation [because] we have a lot of new, younger fans, but I think that anybody who is older than 35 might have a stroke of nostalgia or whatever."
On the topic of whether he can foresee a day when the members of GHOST won't be anonymous anymore, he said, "I think there is a difference between being anonymous and unmasked. Where SLIPKNOT actually wear masks still, while KISS during their unmasked days didn't. Obviously, it's a thing of the times. What we're trying to do, it's very hard to maintain. If the actual goal was to not be known, we try to maintain that, but in the long run we can't really expect that to be something everlasting. Most of our fans are actually quite keen on not knowing, which works to our favor, but I think there is a difference between people knowing who is behind the mask or being unmasked. We can't really see ourselves going up on stage and afterwards just dropping the masks saying, 'Oh, it's me, it's me, actually. Can you see?' No, no, no… We don't want that. We don't want to spoil it. That's the whole reason why we are anonymous and we try not to show ourselves. We try to eliminate, not the human aspects, but the humane aspects, if you want. We want to put Papa Emeritus in the limelight. He's supposed to be the living character, even though rigor mortis has basically set in in his poor old body. But that's the face of the band. He's the person, everybody else are just puppets."
Regarding GHOST's future plans, he said, "These 18 months since we released the album has been a lot of touring. We play a lot of concerts and our goal has always been to put on a show that was way more theatrical than we have had the opportunity to, sort of, perform or display in this type of touring. Even though this is a tour where we're actually allowed to flex our muscles a little bit, you can't expect to have a production. We have our windows, we have a few things, but I'd say that our short-term goal, for now, when we have a new album out, will be to start bringing forth a way more theatrical show that will be a lot more intriguing with a few magic tricks."
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral