By: Clay Drummond
Photo by: Sergio Armenta
Up-and-coming Swedish doom metal band Ghost (formerly Ghost B.C.) is now under fire by a Texas pastor. While religious criticism is nothing new to Ghost, Texas pastor Larry Long is now calling for tonight’s (11/19) ritual in Midland, TX to be cancelled. Local members of the Christian community gathered in prayer regarding the band’s show and its threat to the religious community.
For those of you who may have never even heard of Ghost, allow me to provide some brief insight. Ghost is a Swedish doom metal band that formed in 2006. The band is led by lead singer Tobias Forge, who has taken on a variety of personas since the band’s inception. Currently, Forge’s appearance comes as the character “Cardinal Copia”, while the other existing members of the band are referred to as the “Nameless Ghouls”. Ghost brings a unique, theatrical experience to their music that is supposedly based on an anti-religious depiction of the Catholic church. As expected, this has drawn a vast amount of criticism over the years, despite the band’s success.
As a result of Ghost’s musical message, Texas pastor Larry Long is calling for a complete cancellation of the show. The pastor shared his thoughts on “The Morning Show With Craig Anderson” on KWEL AM 1070 FM 107.1.
On Ghost’s image and their depiction of anti-religious themes:
“Of course, you see this kind of stuff and you say, ‘Well, how much of this do they understand?’ I think they understand all of it. I think they are doing this intentionally, and I think they really do worship the devil, because I believe…as a Christian, as a biblical Christian, I believe the devil’s real. So I imagine maybe some people are listening right now would say, ‘Oh, you guys are getting overblown by this,’ and those kind of things. Well, you would only think that if you didn’t think the devil was real.”
Cardinal Copia (Forge, middle) and the Nameless Ghouls of Ghost
Credit: Mikael Eriksson
When learning Ghost was coming to town, the Pastor conducted research on who the band was.
“I was in a prayer group yesterday afternoon, so I didn’t learn about it until yesterday morning. I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine. But it was during the time that we were spending in prayer, a group of us, that it [was] just really impressed upon me that we need to speak out against this. I don’t know that we can stop the band from coming—I don’t know how that works—but this is very concerning to me.
“When they came to America and went to Nashville to cut their album, they couldn’t find anybody that would sing with them on their album because the content of their music is so demonic. So they had trouble finding people to sing. Here’s the funny thing: they couldn’t cut their album in Nashville, so they had to travel out to California to find people to be willing to sing the devil’s music. (chuckles)”
The Pastor went on regarding his concern with Ghost’s upcoming show:
“Sure, I’m concerned about the content of the band. We have a freedom of religion in America, which means a freedom of irreligion and anti-Christian faith, if that’s what people want to do. And so, from that sense, yes, the band bothers me. But I’m not in favor of outlawing the band per se; what I’m in favor is finding out from Wagner Noël (venue) what in the world they’re thinking… I don’t know what Wagner Noël can do once they sign that contract, but for Heaven’s sakes, they need better sense than this. And I think the community should be alarmed about it.
This is not healthy for our community. Because we Christians believe the devil is real, so when you have a devil-worshipping band… And I’m sure the band believes the devil’s real; I doubt that they’re just doing this as a part of their shtick for music and music they produce and so on. And if you were to read some of the lyrics of their songs, they’re really quite disturbing.”
When asked of the lyrics that concern him, the Pastor stated:
“There’s a song about… What’s it called? ‘Satan’s Hammer’? Something about a hammer. And it talks about the fact that the person singing the song is seeking a relationship with the devil. And if young people go to a concert like this and they think it’s all just good fun—kind of like Halloween, so to speak—and so, ‘This is all just good fun,’ and ‘Don’t make such a big deal out of it,’ I think if they’re singing along to those lyrics, who knows what in the world they’re opening their hearts and lives up to?”
Ghost – “Square Hammer”
Many members of the community have reached out to the venue, but received no response.
OPINION: When I came across this story, I pushed everything to the side to write about it. It could have been how much Ghost means to me, but regardless I knew it had to happen. I have often come across the question, “how do you listen to Ghost as a Christian?” I am certain I am not the only person approached by this, but there could not be a more perfect time to approach the controversy.
Let me be perfectly clear: I do not tie my interests in music to my religious affiliation. Often as a society, we get caught up in judging others and their decisions based on religious beliefs. I am, by no definition, a perfect identification of a religious affiliate. However, this story did not come as that much of a shock to me. A religious organization is downgrading another group/organization for their image rather than a true representation of their morals and values. If we had it the way this article indicates, we would have only genre based around one religion’s musical interests. Say what you want, I find beauty in the art of Ghost and their image. I’m not the only one, as this group is an award-winning phenomenon taking the metal world by storm.
Not to mention, Ghost just returned to a town to do a make-up show. In the previous show, tragedy struck as a member of the crowd passed away during the set. Not only did Ghost return to give the crowd another show, they donated all of the proceeds of the show to the family of the deceased.
In closing, it has become increasingly evident that Ghost sincerely cares about their fans. Their fan base is constantly growing and it consists of people of all religious affiliations, races, and genders. With that, I will always support this band and all of their endeavors.
We are all people first. Choose to love rather than hate.
Ghost’s Album Prequelle is available on Amazon!