Ghost, Opus Eponymous (review 2.0)

So– many moons ago, I publicly-decried the Swedish traditional-metal stalwarts Ghost.

Here’s my apology–here’s why I was totally wrong.

iTunes (the computer program) doesn’t lie.

Opus Eponymous is my most-played metal album of the last year– according to its coldly-calculating statistics.

I even bought a ticket to see them play in October 1, 2011– only for them to drop off the tour.

I even play this fucker when I’m doing dishes– because I love the tunes that much.

Instrumental “Deus Culpa” opens the proceedings, in clearly-liturgical-fashion, followed closely by “Con Clavi con Dio,” which, in its lyrical-literacy (even if it’s dying to denounce the Catholic liturgy) is frankly inspiring, and an intellectual antidote to modern pap like Jersey Shore-

I’m obviously an over-intellectual, but still–

what does it say about America when publicly-avowed Devil-worshipers like Ghost are an obvious alternative to the typical American television offerings…?

Track four, “Elizabeth,” (Ghost’s first single) is also (arguably) the most memorable tune here (while also enunciating the career of Elizabeth Báthory),

Track six, “Satan Prayer,” in all honesty, inspired me and fills me with soul– because this allegedly-Satantic band went to such literal lengths as to mirror the Catholic/Episcopalian mass-based tune of the Nicene Creed in its lyrical content– honestly: in an age filled with shit like Nicki Minaj, this attention to detail, Lucifer-espousing as it may be, is truly inspiring to a former English major.

Are Ghost essentially Satanic Blue Öyster Cult worshipers?


But they’re still definitely worth hearing– especially to the metal/rock world, who so seldom get acquainted with “hooks.”

I, admittedly, hated on Ghost because of their generic-ness– but I never dreamed that their musical talent (and Satanic message?) would overcome this.

Decline of the West is back!: Heavy Metal’s Ghost and their irrational number: or, a diabolical infinite regress where capitalism and Satanism are literally indistinguishable

[Editor: Yes! Dex is back!]

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, 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 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.


Ad infinitum.


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.

[Original article here.]

hour of 13, The Ritualist

The Ritualist is probably exactly what you know and expect at this point, what with retro traditional metal acts like Ghost, Devil and In Solitude:

They’re minor-chorded, Sabbath-worshiping alleged-Satanists….


“Pink Sabbath”/ “Black Floyd”


“Deep Skynyrd”/ “Lynyrd Purple”….

What’s I’m trying to say is:

Hour of 13 are best classed as late 70s/ early 80s-ish psychedelic detuned proto-metal/ heavy rock–

They’re Graveyard’s weird cousin, that sorta looks like them, and yet not really, that no one has ever seen in the daylight.

There are craaaaazy hooks here: each tune is nearly instantly memorable. The best ones:

“Naked Star,” “The Ritualists,” “”Possession” and “Evil Inside” have a great series of riffs in them, “Evil Inside” in particular sounding like a radio-friendly Candlemass.

The singer sounds like a simpler David Coverdale, and it works here: there’s a stripped-down production and little detuning (they’re in D).

There’s cliched simple lyrics, a la early 80s metal– The Ritualist is as simple and straightforward as doom gets, really; like my old cassettes of Sabbath, listening to this makes me wanna learn the riffs –they are pretty cool and succinctly heavy– but not necessarily listen to this repeatedly: slow this one down even more, detune and gain-up the amps, and this would be an absolute monster: as it is, it sounds like a well-made demo.

Now, all we need’s a high-res, arty/ high-concept video as a cool juxtaposition to the retro-production here.

Happy Hallowe’en!