Asked about GHOST‘s plans for the follow-up to 2015’s “Meliora” album, the GHOST mainman said: “The ideas for the new record will be quote-unquote darker, because it’s thematically set in a different… in a darker setting. ‘Meliora’ was supposed to reflect some sort of utopia/dystopia in the modern society, whereas this new one is gonna be a little bit more apocalyptic, a little bit more back to the medieval times, which, obviously, is associated with darkness. ”
He continued: “Obviously, in metal, in extreme metal, you have a myriad of records that are thematically in the Middle Ages, but the idea for this new album is to combine… So where [other] records [covering similar lyrical themes are] drowned and surrounded and drenched in death, it’s gonna be a record about survival. So that constantly working with those polar, sort of, elements is also a difference, I guess, between… If you find a black metal record that is about the Plague and the death, you will have only death — everything is just black and everything just ends black. Whereas one of my driving forces writing a record like that is to write a record about the survival of that and the prosperity.”
The GHOST leader added: “Yeah, it’s gonna be a darker record. Is it gonna be all through and through heavier? I don’t know, obviously. But we do have melody and we do have songs that are not so heavy. From my point of view, from where I’m sitting, knowing a little bit of the material coming in, it’s gonna be both. It’s gonna have everything from heavy, crushing metal to big, ballady anthems.”
Asked about the status of the recording sessions for the new GHOST album, the band’s mainman said: “Right now we’re in the writing phase. As most modern music acts, you tend to record as you write. And we have never been a band that goes into a room and stands in a ring and just jams things; it’s more of a… you go into a room and record songs, and when you record it, it sort of comes back and you listen to it and then you do it again. So we’re in that phase right now. I’m not done with the record. It’s not gonna be recorded until… We’re gonna start for real in August. As soon as we come home from the American tour, it’s gonna start.”
None of the GHOST bandmembers’ real names have ever been revealed, although singer Papa Emeritus is believed to be Swedish rock musician Tobias Forge, who writes almost all of the group’s music and does all of the act’s interviews disguised as a member of his backing band of Nameless Ghouls.
Since none of the musicians in the band are ever identified, personnel changes in the group have gone unannounced. It is believed, however, that the lineup has changed a few times over the years, including at the end of 2016, when Forge is rumored to have fired all five of the Nameless Ghouls following the completion of GHOST‘s North American tour. As a result, GHOST‘s upcoming European headlining trek — which kicks off at the end of March — will apparently mark the live debut of GHOST‘s new lineup, featuring Forge as the sole remaining member from the band that previously toured in support of “Meliora” and last year’s “Popestar” EP.
During the Metal Wani interview, GHOST‘s leader touched on the subject of lineup changes and how they have affected the band’s sound over the years.
“From a practical point of view, you’re interested in, on the one hand preserving the sound, or the elements that make up the sound, and you still wanna progress,” he said. “I think one of the secrets behind our preserving ability is the fact that we don’t necessarily have to have the same six people in the room to make that sound, which helps.
“It’s always a blessing and a curse when you have some of these classic bands over the course of rock and roll history, where in order for them to sound like that exact band, you need those four individuals, and if one is missing, it does not sound like that,” he continued. “And, fortunately, we don’t have that problem. Because performing GHOST and recording GHOST has never really been the same thing. So that we can preserve our sound; we don’t have to rely on… if some people come and go, which is good. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE is the same thing. Everything goes through Josh‘s [Homme] hands, and therefore it sounds like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, regardless of who he brings in and out of the band, which is, I guess, a similar situation.”
“Popestar” was released last September. The effort features covers of songs from bands like ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN and EURYTHMICS along with a new original tune called “Square Hammer”.