Home Gigs Gig Review : GHOST IMPERA TOUR – EUROPEAN TOUR 2022 RESORTS WORLD ARENA BIRMINGHAM 15TH APRIL 2022

Gig Review : GHOST IMPERA TOUR – EUROPEAN TOUR 2022 RESORTS WORLD ARENA BIRMINGHAM 15TH APRIL 2022

48 min read
Comments Off on Gig Review : GHOST IMPERA TOUR – EUROPEAN TOUR 2022 RESORTS WORLD ARENA BIRMINGHAM 15TH APRIL 2022
0
2,318

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

A Ghost is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living’

All hail the demonic creation of Tobias Forge, a somewhat understated individual who has become a giant in the world of rock music.

With Papa Emeritus IV returning to the UK with his new ‘Imperatour’ show. It goes without saying that it’s been a complete sell out. Sadly, this is a short and swift visit to our shores before whisking himself and the nameless Ghouls off to Europe, where, no doubt the reception of this Anti Pope and his entourage will go down just as well.

The bands meteoric rise to fame is no doubt down to the sheer effort Forge has put into the ‘Brand’. With several ‘re-incarnations’ to fuel the imagination, and a constantly evolving storyline combined with a stage show that nowadays rivals the ‘old’ school guard, you just know that a Ghost gig is going to be Monumental in more ways than one.

Up first are

Twin Temples

60’s Satanic Do-Wop, the brainchild of Alexandra and Zachary James. Hailing from LA, they bring their spin on 50’s and 60’s rock and roll mixed in with a heavy dose of Satanism, using it more as a metaphor for their desire to do away with the old-fashioned ways of thinking and bring about equality, individualism and creativity into our society rather than evil.

Combining their love for rock and roll and the dark arts of Satanism into a show, that has been known to scare some due to its Satanic-esque rituals and practice of Alexandrian magic, is purposefully designed to shock, they have said that they’re not to everyone’s liking and for them, that is a good thing, they don’t want to be liked by anyone who doesn’t understand them or what they are about. They emphasise they don’t want to convert as you have to be born with the ‘dark arts’ in your blood.

The pair met at a Punk Rock show and played in a couple of bands before marrying and performing as a duo. Their first outing, oddly enough, was Halloween in 2016.

The music is a mix of 20’s blues with the rock and roll guitar of the 50’s and 60’s. Throw in a strong sultry vocal delivery that would be equally at home coming from Morticia Adams, Alexandra’s voice is both mysterious and sexy as she ‘breathes’ the words from behind a dark mask of the occult.

The duo are trying to dispel that fact that to love Satan you have to be into metal, saying that why can’t you love Roy Orbison and hail Satan at the same time? We love metal but we also love the Platters and Buddy Holly.

Their music wouldn’t have been out of place on 60’s shows such as ‘Be-witched’, ‘The Munster’ and even Batman. There is a certain Amy Winehouse style to Alexandra’s delivery, Amy, who we all know was carrying more than a few demons around in her beehive.

ALBUMS Twin Temple (bring you their signature sound…. Satanic Do-Wop) July 2018

Twin Temple Present a Collection of Live(and undead) Recordings from their Satanic Ritual Chamber…Stripped from the Crypt. October 2020

Setlist

In Lvx, Sex Magick, Let’s Have A Satanic Orgy, Satan’s Woman, I’m Wicked, In Nox,

Elvira would be proud of the Kitsch-ness as the pair paraded on stage and opened their show with a ritual blessing of incantations, when the microphone worked, swords and splashing water into the crowd from a chalice.

The stage show is full of dramatic theatrics, not out of place on a magic show, and I guess for a longer set would be ideal, however as the opening act it did tend to take away from the musicality side of things, I’m sure we could have gotten a couple more of the songs in otherwise, which to be fair were excellent. Full of twangy guitar and that 50’s-60’s Bigsby tremolo sound it certainly provided a great vessel to propel the satanic messages across.

A thoroughly enjoyable musical set with a great vocal from Alexandra. Just a shame that when she came to the front of the stage, as when throwing roses to the crowd she was in shadow so hard to make out what was happening.

After a quick pee and a drink, we are into the second support band of the night

Uncle Acid and the deadbeats

If you like your Stoner, Doom or Psychedelic metal played with authenticity, full of dark, fuzz laden distorted guitars, then this band are for you.

The thick layers of sound that are thrown at you compete to overthrow your senses as you gaze longingly at your shoes. Full of cymbal crashes, tempo changes and dropped tunings, this band from Cambridge have a sound that transports you back to that golden era of chasing the dragon and Lucy in the Sky.

Consisting of :-

‘Uncle Acid’ – Kevin R. Starrs – lead guitar, vocals and organ

Vaughan Stokes – rhythm guitar and BV’s

John Rice – Drums

Justin Smith – Bass

2011’s Bloodlust has been noted as the breakthrough album, full of Psychedelic, Punk and Metal reverberations mashed together to shot gun itself under your skin and cause severe cerebral damage.

Their third album Mind Control is more 70’s orientated, and is described as being a conceptual album, a story about a cult leader who brainwashes his disciples through the use of drugs, violence, love and intimidation, sound familiar? (Charles Manson Clan). Strangely enough the band are also known as the ‘Sharon Tate Experience’.

The band have, also, been described as the Alice Cooper Band, Early Black Sabbath and the Stooges love child. It’s certainly evident in the tracks ‘Over and Over Again’ and ‘Shockwave City’, both full of Sabbath-esque dirty riffs and Osborne misstyled lyrics, full of effects and delay.

The band represents a veritable smorgasbord of sounds typically favoured by the acid tripping hippies of the end of the sixties. With a steady slow head nodding drive, the lyrics bob and weave in and around in the background of the ever-present mist of distorted guitars, personally, I love the vibe.

The Band have been around since 2009, somewhat belied by their authentic 60’s sound, they so far have 5 studio albums behind them, Volume 1 in 2010, Blood Lust in 2011, Mind Control in 2013, The Night Creeper in 2015 and Wasteland in 2018. Tonight, we get a good selection in the limited time available to them.

Setlist

Mind Crawler, Shockwave City, 13 Candles, Crystal Spiders, Ritual Knife, I’ll Cut You Down,

Melody Lane

Now, recently I’ve grown to quite like some of the bands in this genre. Listening to Uncle Acid while researching them, I have to admit I was looking forward to their set. Now don’t get me wrong, the band delivered on all counts, however the enjoyment was marred by not being able to see anyone on stage. I get that it’s the image that the band choose to display, but I like to visually enjoy the band too. Ok enough already. The set was full of deliciously distorted and fuzz laden guitar, the shoe gazers amongst us must have had one hell of a trip as the band delivered what I can only describe as an early Sabbath, amongst others, inspired musical extravaganza. A delight for the ears.

And now it’s time for the big guns

Formed in 2006 In Linköping, Sweden. Ghost started to gather momentum in 2010 when first a 3-track demo, and then a single entitled Elizabeth was released this was followed soon after by the first album ‘Opus Eponymous’ which, very quickly, gathered critical acclaim, its song ‘Ritual’ being hailed as one of the top 50 most evil songs ever.

With this album we saw Forge, who wanted to be the bands guitarist take on the duty as frontman and as the original Papa Emeritus I, the original anti-pope.

More acclaim followed in 2013 when the second album, ‘Infestissumam’ was released. Again, this saw a new character in the ‘Dr Who’ like ‘rebirth’, an upgrade to Papa Emeritus II, now hailed as the’ Scary One’.

‘Meliora’ followed two years later in 2015 from which the single ‘Cirice’ earned the band a Grammy’s award for best performance of 2016. Yet again we saw another upgrade in Papa’s to Papa Emeritus III. Said to be the younger brother of Papa Emeritus II he’s seen as a bit of a ‘Dandy’. Discarding the robes, in favour of a tight-fitting suit.

Around this time Papa Nihil made an appearance, referred to as the old one, he made his live debut after Papa III was dragged off stage in Sweden in 2017. Apparently, this Papa Nihil has been a mentor to all the Papa’s in waiting and to a certain newly arrived Cardinal. It was also seen that Papa Nihil could play the sax and would burst on stage when needed to give a good toot.

Unfortunately, after being removed from the stage, in 2018, Papa III was killed off, his severed head was proudly displayed on the cover of Metal Hammer magazine for all the world to see.

2018 also saw the release of the fourth album ‘Prequelle’ and yet again, we saw the frontman take on a different persona, this being of an unrelated character called Cardinal Copia. The suits of his predecessor became either a black or white tuxedo, which he wore along with the white and black face mask, but despite being unrelated, he continued to have the same multi coloured eyes of the previous Papa’s.

During the last show of the 2020 ‘A Pale Tour Named Death’ it was chosen at this time for another ‘re-birth’ or upgrade of the current Cardinal Copia to Papa Emeritus IV. He is now seen as the grandest of all the Papas. His robes are more opulent, his shows more extravagant.

During this time his band of ‘Nameless Ghouls’ have increased in numbers as well as attire. Previously they wore identical costumes and silver masks, their ‘Alchemical Symbols’ or names, adorned either their instruments or their costume.

Originally being of Five ‘Souls’ we now have an extra two ‘Girl Soul’ keyboard players nick named the ‘Ghoulettes’ and a third guitarist. They have also taken on a new wardrobe, now resembling something a bit more space age ‘Diesel’ punk in appearance.

Think Minions, their goggled eyes now enclosed in a helmet as they now, seemingly live in a postapocalyptic era were the world is full of antagonistic characters dressed in automaton styled Victorian garb!

A white curtain hides the stage from view. As a military snare roll cries out amidst an orchestral feeling, Imperium the instrumental from Impera is playing out saluting the intro to tonight’s Ghoulish goings on. The pitch raises then a single light appears shadowing one of the Ghouls on guitar, the curtain drops as a smoke-filled stage is revealed the three guitars are front and centre as they strike into this opening track

Kaisarion. Forge takes over as he delivers this powerful opening track, the crowd are on it already and we’re less than 30 seconds in. “When the Paradise is lost Go Straight to…. England” is met with huge cheers. Forge, dressed as Papa Emeritus IV, blood curdling scream during the track is of epic proportions.

Its catchy tune full of melody and some keen guitar riffage thrown in for good measure, Classic 2022 Ghost and a great start to the night.

Rats one of the more, heavier tunes from Cardinal Copia’s 2018 Prequelle and played extensively on Planet Rock. Its dark melodic beat makes it a fun but also full of mischief. Hissing vocals and Maiden-esque guitars. Full of dark imagery of early Ghost as Copia sings about death and disease.

Asking the crowd to sing as he skips around the Ghouls plying their trade, Forge shows himself to all sides of the stage, Standing, under a single spot he adores the adulation being hailed at him.

He leaves the stage to the nameless as they deliver a great breakdown, Forge reappears moments later minus his jacket, stood in a golden fronted waist coat he encourages the crowd to sing and gets the woah whoas in return. Claps emanate from the crowd as this dark riff sees the nameless at the front rocking out almost quo style.

From the Pinnacle to the Pit follows with a fat throbbing bass line delivered by the single Bass guitar Ghoul who is stood front and centre, back lit by spots, its rhymical bass, bellows out across the venue as the hauntingly creepy guitar and a crushing drum beat join in to try to pin you to the person behind. Blue spots flash as the crowd, who with arms outstretched sing as one to its epic chorus.

The guitar work is mesmerising as Forge motions the Nameless to get out of his way, admitting defeat and with hands up the white guitar Ghoul slowly saunters back. Forge climbs the huge drum riser in slow motion, turns and delivers the final line as a loud crack sounds out and lights die.

Mary on a Cross has Forge chatting again, he says “it’s been 21/2 years, hope it’s not been to shite for you. I’m going to sing a song my Papa used to sing”. A catchy wall of synth greets you as a great snare crackles through this swirling church organ wall of sound.

A 60’s vibe descends as he encourages the crowd to sing along with him, punctuated by a brief guitar as Forge stands stage centre, and then the lights flash and the swirling keyboard is on you yet again. All the lights pick out Forge as he gently brings this tune! To a fitting close.

Devil Church A heavy church organ starts as we go into this prog derived rock epic, but short instrumental. Bathed in blue light the Ghouls are gathered around the foot of the drum riser as the lights dim and the bass rumble takes over. A single Ghoul on a riser to stage right, black Hagstrom guitar in hand, plays a simple riff.

This in turn is then mimicked and bettered by a white guitar Ghoul on a riser, stage left, its simple musical riff sounding slightly like the great Swede Yngwie in places, his Strat ‘quacking’ to his touch. Again, Stage right replies with a clean guitar lick and back we go to stage left, a tremolo features as the Ghoul displays a sinister slow clean riff.

Stage right has his arms out as he salutes his compardre who has now taken to the floor, he wanders to his pedal board and hits the boost button, his fingers are now flying across the neck with a scorching display of guitar virtuosity.

Bathed In red light they then go into the opening riff to Black Sabbaths Iron Man much to the crowd’s delight, after all we are in Birminham! This is quickly replaced by the haunting tones of the opening to

Cirice, from 2015’s Meliora. This doomy riff and striking drum beat sees the stage filled with dry ice as it lifts off proper, as, adorned in bat wings, Forge takes over from the Nameless at the front of the stage, as the red light sweeps around the crowd.

Spot lights pulse into the air with the kick drum. The dark moody guitars grind their way into your very soul as Forge asks if we can hear the thunder. He kneels at the front of the stage to deliver his endearing lyric as the guitars rip a solo, an animated Forge encourages the crowd to clap the guitars as a Keyboard fill worthy of ‘YES’ takes over, the Ghoul is even wearing a Rick Wakeman style cape! The Wakeman Ghouls asks for some love with arms extended, he/she gets it.

Hunters Moon follows on and Is a song that, again, hits you squarely in the jaw. Another from the new album. Forge asks if the crowd like to party as he goes into this fan favourite.

Stood at the front he grabs the microphone and says he does, but he does it responsibly, and goes on a walkabout as the nameless grind out the melody. Directing his attention to the guys at stage right and left he confidently toss’s his microphone from hand to hand, leaving the stage whilst the nameless deliver one of several hooks, to only reappear on the opposite side of the drum riser moments later.

Faith with its repetitive guitar introsoon drops into a dirty frenzy of drums, guitar and bass. Forge is stage left as the Ghoul delivers a scorching solo, he transits to stage right to croon to the crowd there. A wah Wah fuelled solo soon follows as Guitar Ghoul joins in with a foot stamping grunge of guitar as Forge at the drum riser repeats the lyric “This is my Faith” along with several cheers from the crowd.

Spillways has an element of Scandi Pop as you could be forgiven for thinking that ABBA’s Benny Anderson was the ‘Nameless Ghoul’ on keyboards tonight. This tune is full 80’s goodness as Papa Emeritus IV, again gets the party going as he ‘dad’ dances back and forth, back arched as he delivers his vocal. The Keys have a distinctive early 80’s Bon Jovi vibe to them. An 80’s rock inspired solo punctuates the song which gets a bow from the nameless when he’s finished his brief interruption.

Ritual is, again, more pop driven, full of dirty guitar, switch up fast kick drum and snare cracks with great guitar looping over the top, A BÖC type vibe commences, “sometimes songs start slow and then go wild its known as a grower in my country” says Forge’.

With encouragement he has a Ghoul start a slow riff, this is taken over by another of the nameless as he drives out a crushing riff. As the lord’s prayer is recited Forge is engulfed in red whist orange spots emit from the stage behind him. The Ghouls looking like steampunk Minions crossed with the Rocketeer, are delivering the goods. White guitar Ghoul holds a stunning note and is brought down eventually by the collective souls who visit him feeling his is trapped!

Call Me Little Sunshine with its simple opening bass rumble dominates as a soul Ghoul opens up on guitar as Forge parades in full regalia, stands at the front as he sings, the crowd, as one, sing back. Forge quite simply delivers a devilishly seductive message as he pulls us all into his grasp. Bathed in yellow spotlights the soulless deliver a pure evil solo. The crowd hand clap as Forge in Blue robes and papal hat points and gestures while he sings along with the crowd. A double kick drum and the killing of the lights mark the end of the song.

Helvetesfönster a diversional track full of instrumental voices instead of Forges. Here the band have given him time to costume change while they entertain with a clever musical interlude from 2018’s Prequelle.

Year Zero psychedelic and danceable, a union of sabbath and Floyd, dark and enchanting. Starting with Gregorian chanting of Beelzebub and other demonic names. The three guitars ‘chug out’ at the foot of the drum riser, Forge in Cap and gown joins them as this mighty song smashes out.

A brief lights out then we get the demons name chanted again as the stage flashes various shades of hellish red. Dry Ice pours of the edge of the stage as Forge strolls around the, Hail Satan, Archangelo welcome Year Zero is chanted. Black Guitar Ghoul hits all the poses while the solo is delivered, at times the moves are similar to those danced by Hurricane Nita Strauss of the Alice Cooper Band, if only, the lack of lady bumps suggest otherwise. Flames rip in to the sky at the rear of the stage as the song it brought to a dark end.

Spöksonat 1-minute instrumental, full of strings on guitars flow and ebb briefly before we drop into He Is. This comes across as Ghost’s take on a power rock ballad, something that maybe Stryper may have put out in the 80’s. Forge dressed in a black flowing gown greets the crowd, as phones light up in the arena as the crowd again sing along, the guitars harmonise during the solo as Forge again encourages the crowd to applaud the Nameless’s musicianship. White guitar Ghoul takes over the centre spot, with his arm in the arm he brings the song to a screaming close.

Miasma is an Instrumental from Prequelle 2018, so with a stage bathed in blue light the Ghouls deliver a postulating opening, looking like giant ants in their new head gear, they perform as one. Keyboards soar as the guitars windmill their pic hand like Pete Townsend. While the guitars are at the front, a box containing Papa Nihil is wheeled on, in full Papal Regalia, the nameless rock out with familiar riffs, then to everyone’s joy, Papa Nihil slams out a joyous solo on the sax, Papa Nihil can blow a mean sax, the crowd love it.

Mummy Dust is up next, from Meliora, as a dirty guitar grinds out, Forge screams out, dressed in a sparkly blue jacket his dark whispered vocals blend in with the keys as he charges around the stage amongst the dry ice like he’s performing in a Hammer House cemetery. Wakeman Ghoul has descended to the front with his Keytar where he rocks out in front of the crowd. The stage is bathed in green light as lightning flashes go off, so do the confetti cannons obliterating the view of the stage.

Kiss the Go-Goat is the set closer and a classic slice of Scandinavian Pop Rock fitting of a Eurovision entry. Forge is dancing around the stage, making sure he gets his steps in. Keyboards bring us to the Nameless guitar solo delivered from on top of the stage left riser. Psychedelic in sound.

Encore

Enter Sandman A Ghost favourite and a nod to Metallica and the support given by the band in the U.S. This starts at a sedate pace accompanied on Piano, Forge stands front and centre delivering the opening lines, Joined by a Ghoul with guitar hanging low, we get the dirty riff favoured by Hammett and the boys, Shouting “Rock it Homie” we get the Ghoul ripping the guts out of the solo, he then nonchalantly marches back after he’s finished. The Nameless again, provide BV’s for this arse ripping cover as pyro’s and bangs go off completing the effect.

Dance Macabre a pure rock n roll tune after Metallica’s anthem that greeted us back from the brief encore. The Ghouls shine as they hit this disco ridden anthem with aplomb. You got your dancing shoes on shouts Forge as he directs the crowd in a dance routine, “how are your butt cheeks? Let’s get them warmed up” declares Forge.

Dirty bass and kick drum smash you full on, the crowd are bouncing hands aloft clapping as Forge wanders the stage singing to all parts, lights flood around the arena. Forge controls a Ghoul as the solo rips out. Confetti cannons fire off and fill the air with coloured ticker tape, as the song grows to a close. Saying adios Forge leaves the stage from behind the drum kit only to reappear, saying “he forgot the third song, and when its finished make sure you go, make sure you go home and fuck yourselves or someone close”. The crowd whoop and cheer in response.

He wanders past a white guitar Ghoul who is stood front and centre, as he passes, he says, “show us what you got mother fucker”! The keyboards strike up, the drums surge and the familiar riff that is Square Hammer cranks out. This song, which has, in parts, been likened to a metal version of ‘Message in a Bottle’ by the Police.

Has become an Anthem for the band. From the EP released in 2016, a collection of covers. Square hammer is a tune that a lot of Ghost fans relate to.

A heavy live track that fills the space and gets the crowd bouncing as they all sing along, the sinister church organ fills the air with menace as the drums rip you apart with a ferocious delivery, supports guitar Ghoul, who is trading riffs with his other collective souls across the other side of the stage. With arms in the air the crowd sing the closing lines before erupting into huge cheers as Forge hangs onto the last word. As more confetti cannons fire of a waterfall of sparks drops on the stage from above the drum kit, as the Ghouls finish in a flurry of orchestral genius. Then Darkness covers the stage once more!

Emilou Harris and ‘Sorrow in the Wind’ pipes up as the band leave the stage and the crowd are encouraged to leave.

What a night, What a ‘bloody’ great night. Ghost are a band you either get or you don’t. After tonight’s show I get them even more. Forge has marched the ‘Collective’ onwards with each, new, re-generation of ‘Papa Emeritus’. Tonight’s version ‘IV’ has given us a more modern take of the band of old. Papa IV has taken devil worship and the macabre mixed it in with the world of Scandinavian Rock and Eurovision and created the show to replace the likes of KISS and ALICE COOPER who have seemingly been around for ever.

If you get the chance, go get you some Ghost, Swedish Eurovision, with a dollop of Judas Priest and a side order of Satan, mash it all up and have it played by a collective of Nameless Ghouls, and you’ll have a Ghoulishly Stunning Night!

Load More Related Articles
Load More By admin
Load More In Gigs
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Gig Review : Queen + Adam Lambert – SSE, Belfast

Queen are arguably the most loved band on the planet right now. With a back catalogue that…