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Tobias Forge wanted Ghost to be "what Metallica was in the '80s"

Ghost on stage in Milan, May 2022
(Image credit: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images)

Ghost's visionary leader Tobias Forge always has one eye on the future, and in a new  interview, the Swedish musician states that he's looking to lead his Nameless Ghouls into venues suitable for "big-ass arena rock".

Asked how Ghost able to break through at a time when pop, R&B and rap acts dominate commercially, Forge tells AL.com, that he always envisaged his band operating on a grand scale, akin to Metallica's pre-'Black Album' era.

"When rock isn’t the flavour of the day, I think it has behooved us that we’ve sort of moved against the pack," Forge suggests.

I think it has helped we have consistently tried to bring a show to the people. It defies logic for a lot of bands, I think, to try to expand beyond their means.

"But that was aided by the fact that I was the only one that invested and everybody else was paid. [Laughs] If we had people voting on everything, it would not have happened this way. Because I was so determined that, yeah, I want to be what Metallica was in the’ 80s, on the …And Justice For All tour. That sort of band or like Powerslave with Iron Maiden. That sort of fucking theater and playing arenas.

"And I’ve always been very, very influenced by Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones. As much as I’m a sucker and grew up listening to really obscure, very extreme death-metal, I also have a huge alignment and childhood love with big-ass arena rock."

Ghost recently shared an alternative version of their track Mary On A Cross, the original of which was released in 2019 on the Seven Inches Of Satanic Panic single.

The new reimagining of the song - which has been slowed down with added reverb - was first posted by TikTok user @editingtherapy, who used it as a soundtrack for a video edit about the latest series of the sci-fi/horror show Stranger Things.

Since the TikTok surge, Mary On A Cross has received a major boost in streams on Spotify (now at 57 million) and Apple Music (4 million).

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. 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.