Live: Ghost

The preaching Papa and co. deliver a devilishly good pop-metal show.

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Beelzebub has a devil put aside for Ghost, whosweep into Manchester at the end of a triumphant year that saw them score a US Top Ten with their acclaimed third album Meliora.

Flamboyant frontman Papa Emeritus III is allegedly Ghost’s third singer, though some claim the booming voice behind the anonymous skull make-up remains the same.

Midway through the set, Emeritus slips off stage to ditch his papal garb, returning bare-headed in a dapper greatcoat. Pure Dave Vanian, with a dash of Beetlejuice. Meliora tracks dominate this second half, including the anthemic single Cirice and the polished melodic roar of He Is, which is how ABBA might have sounded if they worshipped Satan. Monstrance Clock, a witty celebration of the female orgasm, forms a suitable climax. Ghost may be a fairly conventional pop-metal proposition at heart, but deadpan Nordic humour and superlative theatrical presentation elevates their live show from goth-rock pantomime to graveyard smash.

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.