Given their pre-eminent status in the metal world, it’s sometimes hard to remember that Ghost haven’t always been with us. But while 2020 hasn’t given us a huge amount to celebrate, this year actually marks Ghost’s tenth anniversary, for it was on March 12, 2010 that 29-year-old Swedish musician Tobias Forge uploaded the first batch of songs by his new occult pop-metal project to MySpace. A mundane enough beginning for a band whose theatricality, singular vision and utter fearlessness has made the likes of James Hetfield and Phil Anselmo swoon, and established the mysterious, suave Satanists as the definitive metal band of the decade. For Tobias Forge it’s a narrative arc made possible by “timing… ambition… and a little bit of desperation”, and possibly a helping cloven hoof from Ghost’s one true master, Satan.
“I’ve lived most of my life in cahoots with the Devil,” Forge freely admits in an in-depth and revealing account of Ghost’s first decade in the new issue of Metal Hammer, which is on-sale from November 12. “I deeply identify with the pop culture Satan – I grew up with it, it’s in the music I listened to, the films I watched, the art I saw. He was the perfect father figure for an angry teen who wanted to blow up the world.”
After being signed to a three album deal by Rise Above label boss Lee Dorrian on the strength of those initial MySpace demos, Ghost were officially unveiled to the public at the Hammer Of Doom festival in Wurzburg, Germany on October 23, 2010, and made their UK debut in London, at the Live Evil Festival at Camden Underworld the following day.
“There weren’t that many people watching them,” recalls Lee Dorrian, who was in attendance. “And most of them didn’t know who they were. When they came on, it was, like, ‘Whoa, what the hell is this?’”
By the time Ghost played the final show of the touring campaign to promote their debut album, Opus Eponymous, the album had become Rise Above’s biggest-selling release. And Tobias Forge was only getting started…
For the full story of Ghost’s remarkable first decade, pick up the new issue of Metal Hammer which is on-sale tomorrow, November 12. The issue’s cover is graced by the late, great Eddie Van Halen, as we investigate his extraordinary influence on the rock world, and there are additional features on Marilyn Manson, Killer Be Killed, Mr. Bungle, Pallbearer, Oceans Of Slumber and more. You can pre-order the issue now (opens in new tab).