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Ghost’s new album Impera features a song about serial killer Jack The Ripper

Ghost 2022
(Image credit: Mikael Eriksson )

Ghost’s leader Tobias Forge has described the subject matter of his band’s forthcoming fifth album, Impera, as “dark shit”: evidence of this comes with the fact that the album’s final track, Respite On The Spital Fields, deals with the climate of fear which engulfed East London in the aftermath of the five 1888 murders attributed to the Victorian-era serial killer known as Jack The Ripper. 

Never identified, Jack The Ripper is believed to have been responsible for the murder of five women - Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly - between August 31 and November 9, 1888. Because the murderer was never apprehended, the terror inspired by his brutal crimes lingered long after the killings stopped, a fact which inspired Forge and co-writer Jocke Berg to write Respite On The Spital Fields.

“He did the people of Spitalfields and that part of London an enormous disfavour, because he was never caught,” Forge tells Kerrang! in a new interview. “Which meant that even though he had technically stopped killing at some point, they were never sure that he was not going to do it again. So, for a long time after, there must have been fear, especially among women, that it could happen again, because you don't know where he is. You don't know where he's hiding. You don't know what happened.”

In the interview, Forge reveals that much of his band’s fifth album is rooted, lyrically and subject-wise, in the Victorian era. Last year, the Swedish musician revealed that Impera was “a record about the rise and ultimately the unescapable fails and falls of empires", and that the album was partially inspired by the book The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, And Why They Always Fall.

“We live in a time right now, where we believe that history is a thing of the past, and everything that we live through here and going forward is eternal,” Forge tells Kerrang! “Which is not true. Maybe we have the foundation of a society that could remain for some time and function. But unfortunately, if you look through history, there's a natural cycle where a society is built up, and then it's sort of perfected, perfected, perfected. And then it usually falls apart. Even the ones that are dictatorships, they also crumble. Everywhere where there's a dictator, and everywhere where there's the system, it usually falls apart after a while because people always want to build where they're standing. And any tower that gets too big or too high, it falls over. That's the cycle of things. So, in a way, you have to destroy to rebuild.”

Produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace (Slayer, Nirvana), the new Ghost album is set for release via Loma Vista on March 11: two singles have already been released from Impera, Call Me Little Sunshine and Hunter’s Moon.

Currently on tour in the US with Volbeat, Ghost will launch their biggest ever European headline tour in April, kicking off the trek with four arena shows in the UK.

They will play:

Apr 09: Manchester AO Arena, UK
Apr 11: London O2 Arena, UK
Apr 13: Glasgow OVO Arena
Apr 15: Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Apr 17: Rotterdam RTM Stage Ahoy, HOL
Apr 18: Paris Accor Arena, FRA
Apr 19: Cologne Lanxess Arena, GE
April 21: Leipzig Quarterback Immobillen Arena, GER
Apr 22: Frankfurt Festhalle, GER
Apr 24: Prague Arena, CZE
Apr 27: Tampere Nokia Arena, FIN
Apr 29: Stockholm Avicii Arena, SWE
Apr 30: Oslo Spektrum, NOR

May 01: Malmo Arena, SWE
May 03: Brussells Forest, BEL
May 05: Milan Mediolanum Forum, ITA
May 07: Barcelona Olympic Arena Badalona, SPA
May 08: Madrid Vistalegre Arena, SPA
May 11: Vienna Stadthalle, AUS
May 13: Zurich Hallenstadion, SWI
May 15: Hanover Zag Arena, GER
May 16: Munich Olympiahalle, GER
May 18: Budapest Arena, HUN

Support on all shows comes from Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats and TwinTemple.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder and Metal Hammer. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.