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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A View From The Back Of The Room: Ghost (Review By Paul)

Ghost – O2 Bristol Academy

The final gig of 2015 for the vast majority of the Musipedia crew saw a mass occupation of the balcony at the O2 for the appearance of Swedish occult tinged metallers Ghost. Indeed, when Papa III asked the crowd if there was anyone from Wales in the audience, you could have been forgiven for thinking we were actually in Cardiff such was the voracity of the response from around the O2.

Unfortunately for openers Dead Soul (5), their techno trance/electro rock was pretty uninspiring and despite a decent reaction from the pretty full venue, their lack of real movement on stage meant that they quickly lost the attention. Maybe they will be better on CD. Who knows?

A massive stained glass backdrop covered the back of the stage as the tarps were pulled off the drums and keyboards and the intros of Misere Mei, Deus and the Masked Ball welcomed the arrival of five Nameless Ghouls and the opening riff to Spirit. With chilling red lighting adding to the already intense incense heavy atmosphere, Papa Emeritus III arrived on stage to a huge ovation. For the next hour and 20 minutes Ghost (10) delivered a flawless set which held the attention, got the head banging and the arms aloft and also provided more than a few giggles thanks to Papa’s brilliant humour and delivery. Spirit was followed by the pounding From The Pinnacle To The Pit and then it was a delightful mixture of tracks from all three of Ghost’s long players.

Either side of the stage, the guitar work of the Ghouls was excellent, and once again you were reminded just how heavy this band can be. A rock hard rhythm section and deliciously eerie keyboards underpinned the quality of the songs. Whilst Papa III rightly commands the centre stage the rest of the band also capture your attention and despite their masks they still managed to convey a huge amount of emotion both to the crowd and to each other.

Highlights? Well, I'm not the connoisseur when it comes to Ghost, having only seen them a couple of times before but if I had to pick four stand out tracks, it would be the blistering Year Zero, the stunning He Is, a hammeringly heavy Mummy Dust and the massively entertaining Monstrance Clock which closed the set. Oh, and of course Body And Blood which saw the arrival of two Sisters of Satan, complete with their habits, chalice of wine (blood?) and plate of wafers which the front row gratefully received after Papa’s warning not to touch the young ladies “cavities”!

However, I can’t think of a poor song from the well-crafted set list and the whole evening was an absolute joy, despite the boiling hot temperatures in this less than enjoyable venue. As the band exited all around there were beaming faces. 2015’s final gig was one of the best.

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