So I just blew my own mind, thinking about Sweden’s neo-traditional heavy metal band Ghost.
It was as fun as it sounds.
Reading some recent article on SawtoothWave.com, some hyperlink led me to their review of Ghost’s Opus Eponymous.
For those of you who don’t know (and I definitely didn’t)– there’s this band, Ghost. They’re Swedish. They released this LP, Opus Eponymous, late in 2010 (here’s the Allmusic.com review of it, if yer innerested) and apparently quickly became wicked popular.
Allegedly, no one knows who’s in Ghost. Allegedly, they are Satanists out to enslave/destroy the world. They perform in weird costumes (the leader up there, called “The Nameless Ghoul”), is dressed to the nines in Pope Gear© (mitre and everything).
Bottom line on the critical-consensus of Ghost:
They’re essentially Blue Öyster Cult with subtly-Satanic/diabolical lyrics that are also pretty literate: for example, there’s a tune on there, one “Satan Prayer,” which has a parallel structure and lyrical content to one Nicene Creed, from the Catholic/Episcopalian mass.
Now, I love BÖC. And since their latest oeuvres are, shall we say, less than stellar, the chance to listen to a sound-alike was too much to resist.
In a recent interview with Decibel magazine (who loved their album), the leader, said nameless ghoul (NG), claimed (as he has in many an interview) that Ghost’s explicit plan was dominate and control the world in the name of Satan.
So far, so metal, right?
What was interesting was NG’s possibly-chilling candor regarding their game plan/war strategy in dominating said Welt:
he said that there were actually counting on people assuming their gimmick (anonymous Satanic cult) was a marketing strategy.
Now, let that sink in a minute.
As I was washing dishes today, stoned as hell, I realized something:
As Hemingway might say– speaking in clean, honest prose, this is the claim of NG:
“We are a Satanic cult bent on world domination; we will achieve this by using your capitalist savvy/cynicism to allay your fears about our true motives– i.e., you will relax your vigilance (allowing us to convert you to our cause) because you will assume, quite incorrectly, that we are only a clever marketing ploy.”
This claim enters his proposition into a strange philosophical conundrum where it is literally impossible to logically determine their true motive (based on this information alone; you could abduct the nameless ghoul and torture him until he tells you the truth, but that’s neither here not there for purposes of this discussion).
So let’s think about it like this, in conversation form:
“Hey, have you heard that band Ghost? They claim they’re Satantic so people will listen and buy their album. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy.”
“But what if they’re really Satanic? Their best chance to get you to drop your guard would be to get you to think they’re just savvy capitalists.”
“Right… but if they’re actually trying to move units, capitalistically-speaking, making you think they’re a Satanic cult who are savvy capitalists is genius.”
“Unless they’re really Satanists, in which case making you think they’re only savvy capitalists is genius.”
…and so on, and so on.
Ghost, and their implicit argument as detailed above, have made two premises, logically-speaking, where each premise both suggests and negates the other.
It’s the Epimenides paradox, fer Chrissake. It’s an infinite regress. Christ, Kurt Gödel used a version of this to scientifically prove (this is what they tell me) that computers can never achieve sentience!
It’s an irrational number, one that, mathematically-speaking, repeats forever and never resolves.
Not unlike 6.66.
Whether you’re talking about the Capitalists or the Satanists– it’s in either version’s best interest to pretend to be the other.
And, neurologically-speaking, since the brain can never logically-conclude a definite motive here, it will keep going back to said problem to resolve it. In other words, it will keep listening.
And this is not excepting that the songs are all extremely memorable purely musically and prone to becoming earworms on their own, even if you couldn’t even understand the lyrics.
Well done, Mr. Nameless Ghoul.
In this virtually-soulless, capitalistically-whored out culture, I say, if you can’t find morality– accept skill.
I don’t normally pimp out records (sorry, Henry!), but I dare you to see if you can resist conversion.