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Ghost / Dead Soul

Stimulating the parts other anti-popes can’t reach

With a lineup like Dead Soul and Ghost it feels like Halloween, not a few days before Xmas, but a pair of black Santa hats bobbing through Koko’s crowded dancefloor give the game away.

It’s a sold out show in Mornington Crescent tonight, which is not exactly a surprise considering the bombastic year that Sweden’s favourite ghouls have had, so it takes a support act with chops to make an impression, but luckily DEAD SOUL [7] are a well-chosen amuse-bouche. Bringing a macabre medley of 80s-tinged gothic odes with the nonchalant coolness of Johnny Cash this Swedish outfit, with the help of a drum machine, channel darkness without pandering to pomp and convert a few liggers in the process.

Everything is coming together for GHOST [9] right now. Meliora is an absolute blinder of a record and when the opening strains of Spirit mark the start of Ghost time the crowd go positively devotional to its paranormal lilt. Needless to say Papa Emeritus and the Nameless Ghouls look frickin’ awesome, dressed in their statement anti-papal garb and the Ghouls sport a new look with their bronze devil masks, preserving their anonymity. It’s a strong look but with three stunning albums under their belt there’s no sense of gimmick about it, simply a masterful aesthetic twist to their already meaningful offering. On the other hand, a momentary appearance by the titillating Sisters Of Sin during Body And Blood adds a dash of frivolity to the unholiest of ceremonies. There are many dips into Meliora tonight, from the hard-rocking From The Pinnacle To The Pit to a spine-tingling performance of Majesty. Older songs like Ritual explode with hymnic reverence but another newbie, He Is, is an unexpected anthem, guided by a laid back and jovial Papa Emeritus who casts aside his mitre exposing a bouffant mass of black hair.

Papa kicks back

Papa kicks back (Image credit: John McMurtrie)

Whether it’s because it’s the last night of their Black To The Future tour (70 shows in 90 days!) or simply because he’s had a successful year but the frontman’s high spirits add a real sense of celebration that reaches fever pitch during the disco-thrusting elation of Year Zero. Amid a hypercolour explosion of facepaint, stained glass and a sumptuous platter of finely crafted rock songs that ooze occult pop sensibility Ghost end their spectacle on Monstrous Clock. “This one is about the female orgasm,” their frontman cheekily announces, leaving the (a)rousing refrain ‛Come together!’ lingering on the lips during the final rapturous ovation.