A look into the beliefs of Swedish Satanic band Ghost who won Best of Metal Performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
The Swedish heavy metal band Ghost won the 2016 Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance category in relation to their song Cirice. Cirice is part of the band’s Meliora album which is now the third compilation released by the occult artists. Among the band’s rivals and top nominees for the category include August Burns Red, Lamb of God, Sevendust and Slipknot. The group is noted to be the first Swedish rock band to be nominated and eventually win in the Grammys.
The band known for its eccentric performances is composed of six visually-frightening members easily recognized for their satanic attires. Five men who call themselves as Nameless Ghouls play the instruments while the lead vocalist is known as Papa Emeritus. The Nameless Ghouls who are wearing identical devil masks and costumes represent the five instrumentalities or elements (fire, water, air, earth and aether or quintessence) while their leader Papa Emeritus represents the group’s anti-pope symbol.
From the time the group was formed in 2006, the real identity of each member remains unknown. In an interview with one of the Nameless Ghouls, concealing their identities is purposely done to let their audience focus on their music and artwork instead of the members.
Aside from their appearances, the most noticeable thing about Ghost’s music is the blatant use of satanic lyrics infused with ideas of the devil, doomsday, blasphemy, sexuality, etc. In a website dedicated to the group, Ghost is described as a “devil worshipping ministry” that uses pop rock music to achieve their ends that is; “to glorify and glamorize the disgusting and sacrilegious” and “to majestically weave their melodic spell of evil through the senses until the listener finds themselves utterly possessed and open to any diabolical suggestion.”
The online news and magazine site Tampa Bay had an opportunity to discuss religion with one of the band’s members. According to the ghoul, the band as a whole is described as Satanist, but each individual has their own beliefs. “The band is, certainly. But that’s not saying that everyone in the band is. I would never know. Even if someone told me they were, I couldn’t be sure… Some of the guys in the band might believe (in Satanism). I wouldn’t want to speak too much about it because it’s not my thing. I don’t. I don’t believe in God… As much as I don’t believe in God, I also believe in development. I’m still searching.”
In another interview, another ghoul explained that their eccentric image has a deeper goal. He believes that religion has been one of the biggest problems of society today. And Sweden just like the rest of the Western world is getting more and more secular. For him, the band simply wants to tell people that amidst the knowledge of today, there are things still unknown to mankind that needs to be accepted. That is, avoiding “disregard towards the idea that there are a lot of things that we might believe that we don't understand.”
This disbelief has influenced much of their work. For their first album entitled Opus Eponynymous, a Nameless Ghoul explained that it tackles the ever presence of antichrist and of the impending doomsday. Their second album Infestissumam represents the “horrors of being religious” and the ever prevalence of devil up to today.
With each album release, the band also adapts a slightly different costume. In the same manner, Papa Emeritus has also “changed” characters from Papa Emeritus I, II and the current Papa Emeritus III. According to the group, such changes reflect the papal succession in the Catholic Church.
Congrats guys! So well deserved!
— Tim Tronckoe (@timtronckoe) February 16, 2016
Though satanic in nature, each concert performance is also influenced by religion. One of the ghouls interviewed said that the goal of their unique theatrics is to mimic a church mass “What we wish to simulate at our shows, to the point where it's real, is a mass. It's this idea of religion, where people meet in a room or a building or a place that we have agreed upon as being solemn, and we then conduct predetermined rituals – rituals being the songs, or movements, things like that – in order for us to reach a sense of divine presence. And a lot of the sensations that we are evoking at our shows are very close to the sort of warm religious feelings you would get from an actual church mass. We're using the same sort of symbolism as the church, in a way, but with the idea of achieving bliss. Joyful bliss.”