During his first public "unmasked" interview at Los Angeles's Grammy Museum on May 1, GHOST leader Tobias Forge said that the group's new album, "Prequelle", was at least partially inspired by current world events.
"Over these last couple years, or last year especially, you had a lot of Cold War situations between, obviously, your guy [referring to U.S. President Donald Trump] and his equal over in Russia," Forge explained. "What happens without going too political is the populations of all these countries become the children when the parents are fighting. It obviously affects everything — it affects the stock market, it affects the general well-being — so there's this sort of pre-apocalyptic aura in our thinking. I think in the midst all these threats — either in the deeds of potential terrorists, to actual nations sending bombs overseas — you feel like you're being attacked, or potentially could become attacked by anyone. If it's not a warfare situation, it's someone hijacking your identity.
"I think that the end of the world has already happened many times," he continued. "If you bumped into someone in Berlin in March 1945, he'd probably think that we're done. It's over. Same thing if you go to Aleppo, [Syria], you'd probably feel [that] that sort of Armageddon is happening right here. I think that especially if you think about the plague, the Black Death. When it hit Europe in the mid-1300s, it wiped out half of the population. That's not every other person — it wiped out complete villages, and maybe that one peasant who was a bit too far off or a little bit too secluded, that was the only person that survived. Then you had other villages that miraculously lived, but that created a lot of shifts. After the plague faded out, it also led to a resurgence, and a lot of bloom, basically.
"[In] the scene that I spent my adolescence in — death and black metal — obviously the whole theme of black/death has been done to death, but usually it's focusing on the idea of the half of the population that died, whereas I wanted to make a record that sort of shone the light on surviving through a turmoil like that. This is a record about survival, but through somewhat troubled times."
Forge recently made similar comments to Billboard, when he acknowledged that the recent lawsuit filed against him by former members of GHOST affected the making of "Prequelle". "Of course there was a great sense of urgency over the album," Forge said. "I had a personal situation that urgently told me to salvage the situation and reclaim what is mine and also justify that it was mine to begin with. This was a record about survival through trauma. The end result is positive, but it's about taking a very negative situation and forging it into something great that you can learn from."
"Prequelle" will be released on June 1 via Loma Vista Recordings. The disc was recorded last year at Artery studios in Stockholm with producer Tom Dalgety (OPETH, ROYAL BLOOD) and was mixed in January at Westlake Studios in West Hollywood, California with Andy Wallace (NIRVANA, SLAYER).
GHOST kicks off its first tour in support of "Prequelle" on May 5 in Riverside, California.