In the twilight of 2010 sepulchral Swedish cardinals Ghost delivered their primordial decree Opus Eponymous. Since then their noxious gospels, suffused with gloom and detailing the birth of the Antichrist, have awakened our most immoral lusts and converted thousands to the company of Satan.
This March nomads and vagabonds across the UK convene in worship of these occult parsons and their one God. We gather at Sheffield’s O2 Academy to cathect at their altar.
We are a clergy, serried disciples summoned for a divine cause swaying in uniform sacrilege beneath Satan’s banner. We desperately await this depraved exordium. Incense burns at stage left. The death of light marks the beginning in more ways than one. It begins.
In darkness, summoned by their intro tape, Jocelyn Pook’s Masked Ball, the Nameless Ghouls take to the stage. Robed; their identities unknown, they take up their tools and herald ‘Infestissumam’, the opening to Ghost’s forthcoming album of the same name. It is immediately followed by the pummelling introduction to ‘Per Aspera ad Inferi’, another new doctrine. But there’s still a base force lurking in the shade, the wicked pontiff Papa Emeritus II, leader and overseer of tonight’s foul sermons. A shadow is cast on the backdrop. Thence he comes. Clad in cloak, staff in hand, we are immediately mesmerised by his deuced movements and graceful tongue.
Excited but silenced by unknown refrains, Papa’s knavish gestures graciously usher in more prevalent verses, allowing our conclave to sing the infernal psalms of ‘Con Clavi Con Dio’, ‘Prime Mover’ and ‘Elizabeth’. We chant in full voice.
Brisant keys bring ‘Secular Haze’, the first single from the forthcoming album. Papa’s black fingers weave an omnipotent fog and command the crowd. The Nameless Ghouls merge a perverted pulse with frolicking melodies in an omniscient display of their craft.
Tonight’s unhallowed exhibition shows the Ghouls can conjure even more weight from slithering guitars and glutinous bass than is heard on record. Ghost sound even more rousing and diabolical during ‘Stand By Him’ and ‘Death Knell’ than our clergy thought possible.
Together we ridicule the Nicene Creed in celebration of ‘Satan Prayer’, before Papa Emeritus II recedes into dark and leaves the Nameless Ghouls to play ‘Genesis’, the progressive instrumental finale of Opus Eponymous.
Papa reappears like some unholy eidolon to lead us through a sinister rendition of the second and latest track to be released from the forthcoming Infestissumam. Its recent release means the votaries are well equipped to hail the Lord of Flies and welcome ‘Year Zero’ as Papa offers the microphone to the crowd during its salacious chorus.
After the lights fall once more, from the dark a voice whispers “Join us, Sheffield, for one last ‘Ritual’.” Sensing the end the crowd vows to partake in this particular liturgy with added passion. After the extended outro, with the ritual done, Papa bows, Ghost leave the stage and all are plunged into darkness. We seasoned devotees know not to move.
The encore, the adytum sees Ghost perform the closing track of Infestissumam. It is a delicious end to an obscene evening. As the clock ticks away Papa Emeritus II ethereally beckons the clergy to give individual thanks to each of the five Nameless Ghouls. We give praise. Ghost leave the stage as the a cappella chorus of the nefarious ‘Monstrance Clock’ continues to instruct the crowd. Come together, together as one, come together for Lucifer’s son.
On this night of ritual, Ghost delivered a series of twisted canticles and a performance as slick as worshippers have come to expect. Sheffield’s O2 Academy, this chapel of ritual, smells of sweat, beer and dead human sacrifice. Having heard each song from Opus Eponymous and five tracks from Infestissumam, we the weary leave as if we’ve awoken from a nightmare told with absolute clarity. It is assured that the kingdom of Ghost shall haveth no end.