Ghost – Prequelle: The Ultimate Guide

The ultimate guide to Prequelle, the fourth album by Swedish band Ghost with no spoilers to ruin the band mythos.

Ghost – Prequelle: The Ultimate Guide

 

Ghost Prequelle Cover

Prequelle is finally upon us and this will be the first Ghost Ultimate Guide. As with all Ghost articles on Gear4Geeks, we attempt to preserve the mystique of the band where possible though there will be references to behind the scenes details because of their influence on the album and due to the man behind Ghost now going by his real name in interviews. Citations are as follows: anything hyperlinked should be safe from spoilers whereas anything that includes band member identities or pictures of them unmasked will have a footnote citation.  There are mega spoilers, even for hardcore fans included at the very end of the footnotes.  I’ve made every effort for the guide to remain free of serious spoilers but external links are beyond my control and could change or feature spoiler comments so please use your discretion. Discussion of the people behind the masks and the music projects of ex members can be found in the Ghost Uncensored Facebook group.

While Opus Eponymous was written in sections and didn’t tell a story as such, Ghost have said that the album dealt with setting the scene for the birth of the Antichrist while Infestissumam told the story of the birth of the Devil’s child and Meliora dealt with a future without God where people feel they can do what they like as no one is watching. In 2017 the band said in interviews that Prequelle would be much darker in subject manner and would explore the Middle Ages. As time went on we learned that the theme for the album would be specifically The Bubonic Plague AKA The Black Death, the disease that started in Asia in 1346 then devastated up to 60% of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1353, killing between 75 and 100 million people. The album was to draw a parallel between the Middle Ages and how very little is different in the present as we still live through uncertainty of annihilation (nuclear war) and mob justice (trial by social media).

Two cover songs were recorded as bonus tracks for the deluxe version of Prequelle, but Ghost have confirmed that there will be no covers EP between albums this time as there have been with the last two albums. All covers recorded during the Prequelle sessions are intended to be released as free tracks although there’s been no confirmation of how many covers were recorded.

Lead Up to Release

It is safe to say that the 21 months between Popestar and Prequelle were somewhat stressful for Ghost. There are some huge positives like another Grammi win, a tour with Iron Maiden and Square Hammer being played virtually everywhere from radio stations to football games but the negatives are equally big as the band suffers a huge schism in personnel.

On March 2nd 2017 a former Nameless Ghoul unmasks himself in a video to promote his current musical project. While bands touring with Ghost had to sign non-disclosure agreements promising not to reveal the identities of band members, members of Ghost never had to do so. The unmasking confirms many rumours that have circulated regarding who is in Ghost.

April 6th 2017 compounds that when former band members file a law suit against the man behind the mask of Papa Emeritus III naming every band member to date. Two weeks later, Papa is interviewed on Radio Metal but for the first time is interviewed as himself and gives his real name.

On the 17th of August, Ghost’s front man hosts the Swedish radio show Sommar i P1 under his real name with accompanying photographs of him unmasked.

At the September 30th 2017 gig in Gothenburg Papa Emeritus III is dragged from the stage by suit clad men and a previously unseen Papa takes the stage, introducing himself to the crowd in Italian, “I am Papa Emeritus Zero. The party is over and now a new era begins. The Middle Ages begin now.” 1

Revolver Mag Online publishes the first ever English interview with the man behind Ghost using his real name on February 2nd 2018. From this point onwards, he uses his real name in all interviews. 2

On February 27th 2018 Ghost announced the Rats on the Road Tour and gave us our first glimpse of the new front man, followed by a YouTube video on March 5th teasing video clips. VIP packages make mention of PapaNil and his newly appointed protege.

March 31st 2018 saw the release of the Chapter One: New Blood video with Sister Imperator informing Papa Nihil (formerly Papa Emeritus Zero) that it was time for new blood to lead Ghost. Songs featured are Ashes, Faith and Pro Memoria.  The note that Papa Nihil attempts to play on the saxophone (he gets it a little wrong due to his health) seems to be the same note that the Lazy Town song We Are Number One begins with, something we parodied on our YouTube channel. We Are Number One was a huge meme in late 2016 and 2017 as fans raised money for actor Stefan Karl Steffanson to help with his battle with cancer.

Chapter Two: The Cardinal is uploaded to YouTube on April 6th 2018. In this video we are introduced to Cardinal Copia as Sister Imperator puts him forward as the new leader of Ghost; a suggestion Papa Nihil objects to as the bloodline has not been broken for “nigh a millennia”. With Papa Nihil out of children and Cardinal Copia being the most senior (plus also holding the second highest number of Employee of the Month Awards), Nihil relents and appoints the Cardinal as Ghost’s new leader with an altered version of the Dies Irae hymn:

Dies iræ, dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando Judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Papa’s version substitutes David for Satan, with the English as follows:

The day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the world in ashes,
Satan being witness along with the Sibyl.

How great will be the quaking,
When the Judge will come,
Investigating everything strictly.

Dies Irae was traditionally used during Requiem masses (funeral services) but during 1969 and 1970 the Vatican revised the standards for masses, eliminating many traditional parts of masses unchanged since the Middle Ages that referenced the negative aspects of Old Testament Christianity such as judgement and fear. Masses from that point on were to emphasise hope, forgiveness and the more positive aspects of Catholicism. The Sibyl referred to in the passage were ten female oracles who directly spoke the word of God.

Songs in the Chapter Two video, in order are, Pro Memoria, Faith and Pro Memoria.

That night Ghost play an intimate gig with Cardinal Copia making his live debut. Phones have to be handed in beforehand as the show features songs from Prequelle for the first time and recording is banned. Footage from the show makes it on to YouTube anyway.

Around the same time as the YouTube video is released, the cover for Prequelle is leaked on the internet. Likewise, the name Prequelle is leaked as the album’s title, as are the song names thanks to the Shazam music app; the name Pro Memoria after a fan re uploads the Chapter Two video and it is taken down down in a copyright claim by Universal Music Group.

April 12th 2018 Rats is played on SiriusXM.

April 13th 2018 sees the video for Rats release on YouTube, preorders for Prequelle open with Rats being an immediate download.

Metal Hammer magazine hits stands on April 26th, the cover features Cardinal Copia holding Papa Emeritus III’s severed head.

Ghost Prequelle Metal Hammer

On April 30th 2018 Ghost’s most shocking video, Chapter Three: Back on the Road, is uploaded to YouTube. The video shows the three offspring of Papa Nihil murdered by the Nameless Ghouls and are then embalmed in preparation to go on display to VIP ticket holders on the upcoming tour. Songs featured in the video, in order, are Pro Memoria, Faith and Pro Memoria again. The three Papas are playing Uno, where we see that Papa Emeritus III isn’t wearing his face paint, Papa Emeristus II is also without face paint as per the Papaganda videos which introduced him and the ‘unmasked’ Music Feeds studio session, while Papa Emeritus I still wears his makeup and a lovely scarf.

Papa I is presumably still wearing his paint as the II and III masks were made for Ghost whereas the Papa I mask was a store bought Walter Grey mask by Greyland Film with ‘face paint’ added to it. Therefore Ghost probably weren’t legally able to show the unpainted mask.

Papa III seems to have put on some weight since stopping touring, coincidentally a former Ghoul also put on weight by his own admission after stopping touring.

The mortician in the video who embalms the three Papas bears a striking resemblance to Babish from the YouTube video series Binging with Babish. At 2:43 in the video, one of the Papa’s feet twitches which is pretty obvious as the foot is in the foreground. This may be intentional though as the body may be experiencing a Cadaveric Spasm, a rare condition that is almost only seen in those who died a violent death.

A Pale Tour Named Death is announced on May 1st

May 5th sees the start of the Rats on the Road tour which is held mainly in theatres.

On May 17th Dance Macabre is released as digital download for those who preordered Prequelle. A video is also posted on Instagram of various stars enjoying the song including:

  • Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
  • Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast)
  • WWE Superstar Chris Jericho (and Fozzy singer)
  • NXT Superstar Aleistar Black
  • Charlie Benante (Anthrax)
  • Matt Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold)
  • Actress Jessica Pimentel (Orange is the New Black)
  • Philip Anselmo (Pantera)
  • MMA Fighter Josh Barnett
  • Mike McKenna (NHL Dallas Stars)
  • Chino Moreno (Deftones)

And of course, Ghost’s own Sister Imperator.

52 year old Ghost fan Jeffrey Fortune passes away during the intermission of the May 31st gig in Milwaukee due to a cardiac arrest, resulting in the band cancelling the second half of the show. Ghost fans donate over $7,000 in three days to the family via Gofundme.

Prequelle is released on June 1st.

In it’s first week of release Prequelle becomes Ghost’s most successful album as it smashes charts globally, reaching #1 in Sweden and Norway, #2 in Germany and Switzerland, #3 in the US Billboard 200 chart, #4 in Belgium’s Flanders chart, #5 in Belgium’s Wallonia chart, #7 in Australia and #10 in the UK.

Prequelle – Formats 3

We started working on a comprehensive list of releases based on the list in the footnote and got up to 25 different versions plus Horseman variants then got trumped by Ghost super collector Ruben Rey who had identified 35 before the variants so here’s a very basic list instead as some of these are available in different markets through different record labels/distributors:

Prequelle – CD
Prequelle – Deluxe CD with bonus tracks
Prequelle – Cassette
Prequelle – 8 Track (like with Ceremony and Devotion, the 8-tracks are reclaimed cases so there are a number of colours including black, white, red, blue, green and yellow. Some white cases have discoloured from age)
Prequelle – Black Vinyl
Prequelle – Deluxe Clear Vinyl with Bonus Clear 10″
Prequelle – Mint Green Vinyl
Prequelle – Clear Purple Vinyl
Prequelle – Clear Orange Vinyl
Prequelle – Clear Blue Vinyl
(The above 5 coloured vinyls seem to come with random covers that have slightly altered artwork with the horseman in the bottom left corner appearing in different places and different poses carrying a different coloured flag – red, yellow, black or blue. There are five different positions the Horseman appears in and two different poses confirmed so far.)
Prequelle – Deluxe Gold Vinyl with Bonus Gold label 7″
Prequelle – Deluxe Gold Vinyl with Bonus black label 7″
Prequelle – Clear/Black Swirl Vinyl
Prequelle – Clear/Red Swirl Vinyl
Prequelle – Clear/Silver Swirl Vinyl
Prequelle – Deluxe Red Smoke Vinyl with Bonus Red Smoke 7″
Prequelle – Deluxe Clear Smoke Vinyl with Bonus Clear Smoke 7″
Prequelle – Hardwood Coloured Vinyl
Prequelle – Metallic Marble Semi-Translucent Vinyl
Prequelle – Coke Clear Vinyl

Prequelle – Artwork

Prequelle’s artwork was leaked in early April 2018 and once again was produced by Polish artist Zbigniew M. Bielak (not Abiguiem Bielak as Tivo’s Allmusic database credits him) who created the covers and interior artwork for Infestissumam and Meliora. Breaking from previous tradition, the album cover wasn’t a reference to a movie but was seemingly a tribute to the Sepultura album Bestial Devastation.

Sepultura Bestial Devastation
Prequelle’s cover also references the painting of Pope Innocent X by Diego Velázquez (seen below) which is considered to be the finest portrait of all time.

Pope Innocent X Prequelle Ghost

There also seems to be an homage of sorts to one of the paintings from the 15th century Hours of Catherine of Cleves manuscript in the Hellmouth depicted below the Pope.

Hours of Catherine of Cleves Ghost Prequelle

In addition to breaking tradition with the cover, Ghost broke with the traditional Latin naming for the album by using the French word for Prequel but the biggest change was the band itself.

Cheap plug – buy your Ghost merch in our store.

Prequelle Line-up

In 2017, the Nameless Ghouls left Ghost with some filing a lawsuit against the man behind the mask of Papa Emeritus III which unfortunately outed all of the band members’ identities which had been kept anonymous, or at least as anonymous as possible in the time of social media. The lawsuit also named Pelle “Peter” Hällje as being the person who created the character of Papa Emeritus, whereas he had in fact come up with the name and a very loose idea for the character which bore little resemblance to the band’s Papa. While the man responsible for writing the music of Ghost and performing as the front man has said that an endless string of numbered Papas would be boring and predictable, it is entirely possible that the lawsuit resulted in the shocking video released on April 30th which saw Papas I, II and III all killed off and Cardinal Copia becoming the new lead singer of Ghost. The Cardinal is Papa Emeritus IV in training and has to earn his skull make-up. 4 The Cardinal Copia mask is based on Vincent Price.

Ghost Prequelle Cardinal Copia

Somewhat disappointingly the appearance of the Nameless Ghouls didn’t change with Prequelle beyond the masks now missing a piece at the mouth and the female Ghouls’ masks sporting a nice hair do. The slight change to the mask allows the Ghouls to perform backing vocals live and makes it easier for them to breathe. While only four Ghouls appeared in photoshoots and the Rats video, the stage shows feature seven Ghouls (three guitarists, bassist, drummer, keyboards and a multitasking keyboardist/backing vocals/tambourine Ghoul).

The album was mainly recorded during August 2017 at Artery Studios in Stockholm and was produced by Tom Dalgerty who produced Popestar for Ghost and Royal Blood’s first album.

Mixing was by Andy Wallace, the engineering master behind Melioria, Slayer’s three best albums, the Run DMC/Aerosmith collaboration Walk This Way, Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water and virtually every top rock artist imaginable including The Foo Fighters, Korn, Rise Against, Sepultura, Nirvana, The Misfits, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Disturbed and a long list of others.

Engineering on the album was by Clif Norrell who has worked with Miley Cyrus, The Rollins Band, REM, Bruce Springsteen and more.

Greg Eliason worked as assistant engineer; he has previously worked with Lorde and Jennifer Lopez and others.

Joe LaPorta mixed Prequelle, he has mixed nearly 800 albums at the time of this writing including albums by David Bowie, Bon Jovi, Alanis Morrisette, Santana, The Foo Fighters, the 2012 re-recording of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and many many more.

Finally photography and packaging design was by Mikael Eriksson who did the packaging design for Popestar.

The musical credits on Prequelle followed usual Ghost procedure with the Nameless Ghouls credited for the music, vocals accredited to Cardinal Copia and saxophone by Papa Nihil. Other musicians who played on the album include:

  • Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth (Acoustic Guitar on Helvetesfönster)
  • Vincent Pontare (Songwriter for Katy Perry, Avicii and Madonna) (Backing Vocals)
  •  Ludvig Kennberg (Drummer on Opus Eponymous and Meliora) (Drums)
  • Steve Moore (Bass/Keyboards with Zombi, who supported Ghost on their 2017 UK tour) (Keyboards)
  • Salem Al Fakir (Songwriter for Avicii and Madonna) (Keyboards)
  • Deryn Edwards (Backing Vocals)
  • Christopher May (Backing Vocals)
  • Gavin Fitzjohn (Ex Adequate Seven, has also worked with Manic Street Preachers and Super Furry Animals)  (Saxophone)
  • Minou Forge (Additional Vocals)
  • Davide Rossi (Orchestral Co-Ordination

Not all Prequelle CDs contain the full credit list but the vinyl has double the credits list with Extra Special Thank You To, Alphabetical But Still Honourable, Bands, Companies/Magazines and an Apologies section. Listing the people in the thanks section and who they are would be exhaustive but there are some interesting names in there with most hardcore fans being presumably happy to see that there’s no ill will between Ghost and the Ghoul who unmasked even though there were some hard feelings at the time.  Eagle eyed A few people are notably missing from the thanks lists; presumably they are covered by the rather pointed Apologies section.

Prequelle – Track Listing

1. Ashes 1:21
2. Rats 4:21
3. Faith 4:29
4. See the Light 4:05
5. Miasma 5:17
6. Dance Macabre 3:39
7. Pro Memoria 5:39
8. Witch Image 3:30
9. Helvetesfönster 5:55
10. Life Eternal 3:27
Total length: 41:43

Bonus tracks (Prequelle Deluxe Version)
It’s a Sin 4:41
Avalanche 3:47

Ashes

Ashes is Prequelle’s introduction with a young girl singing, ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses’, a song widely believed to be about the Black Death which presumably leads to its inclusion here (The song being about the Black Death is actually an urban legend). Vocals are performed by the man under the mask’s daughter before kicking into a heavier version of Rats.

Ashes Lyrics

Ring a ring of roses
A pocket full of posies
Atishoo, atishoo
We all fall down
Ashes on the water
Ashes in the sea
Ashes on the riverside
One, two, three

Rats

The first song confirmed for the album was Rats. While it would appear that the song was quite literal in being about the rodents that spread the Plague, the song is in fact more of a metaphor for how something would spread, whether it be a disease, panic, information, ideas or religion.  When pressed on the subject, Ghost have admitted that the song is about trial by social media and how in the wake of the lawsuit being announced, the man behind Ghost was judged by many fans and demonised.5

Rats had been cut from the album Meliora but the end riff was used as Spöksonat. While Ghost used to open with songs that had a slow build to them like Con Clavi Con Dio or Infestissumam, Square Hammer was written to be a short punchy opening song to kick start a gig and Rats was written so that the band would have more than one song for that role. 6

On April 13th Rats was available as a download to those who preordered Prequelle and the video was uploaded to YouTube. Rats‘ highest chart position was #3 in Billboard Magazine’s Mainstream Rock Chart. No physical version of the song was released apart from a cut to shape 7″ picture disc given away to fans who bought the VIP experience for the tour; the B-Side is an instrumental version of the song. A second Rats shaped picture disc was released with some copies of prequelle, this version is a picture of numerous rats tied together by their tails; known as a Rat King (A Rat King originally was a term used for someone who lived off others like a parasite, in reference to old rats relying on their young to feed them).

The video shows Cardinal Copia dancing while dead bodies are cleared away by workers in HazMat suits (although at the 1:35 mark they seem to have forgotten their gloves).

The Cardinal’s dance with the umbrella under the water of the fire hydrant seems to be a tribute to Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, though none of the dance moves seem to be replicated. The dance done by the women incorporates moves from the musical Cats, specifically the Jellicle Ball routine.

At the 18 second mark of the video we see a Ghoul next to the headstone of Dorothy Ladd which means that Ghoul parts of the video (including indoor shots) were filmed in Mountain View Cemetery in Pasadena, California. The cemetery, its mausoleum and fake morgue are used for filming approximately 60 days of the year and have been used in the Ozzy Osbourne video for Life Won’t Wait and for scenes in The Flash, Sons of Anarchy, Riverdale, The X-Files, The Office, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1 and others.

The video was shot on February 23rd and 24th 2018 with four admins from the Legion of Ghost Facebook group (Juan Leon, Camille Cottrell, Carolyn Arleen and Mikey Elms) appearing as dead bodies.

Video directed by Roboshobo aka Robert Schober.

The white horse at the end is a reference to to The Bible chapter Revelations and the Four Horsemen:

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. ( Revelation 6:1-2)

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come and see!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. ( Revelation 6:3-4)

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (Revelation 6:5-6)

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)

To confuse matters, the passages above do not name the Horsemen but their names seem to be Conquest, War, Famine and Death. With Conquest and War being essentially the same thing, it was debated that the last sentence of the description for Death was of the Horsemen as a whole, not just Death.  Add to this, Revelations was written John of Patmos, Patmos being a Greek island where John would have been exposed to the legends of the Greek Gods including Apollo. Apollo is thought to be the same God as the Hittite and Hurrian God Aplu, the God of Plague and Apollo is said to have spread plague via arrows he would shoot from his bow.

Therefore it’s now largely accepted that the first rider is Pestilence, the second is War, the third Famine and the last, Death with their powers to kill by sword (War), famine (Famine), plague and the wild beasts of the earth (Pestilence) with Death overseeing them and reaping the souls for Hell/Hades as none killed by the Horsemen would go to heaven.

To confuse matters even more, the song Witch Image refers to ‘a pale white horse’ but the pale horse is actually described as being pale Green in translations of The Bible which include that horse’s colour.

TLDR: Cardinal Copia is either Pestilence bringing disease via rats or he is Death.

Cheap plug – buy your Ghost merch in our store.

Ghost Rats King Rat Picture Disc Prequelle version
The Rats shaped picture disc that ships with some copies of the album
Rats Lyrics

In times of turmoil
In times like these
Beliefs contagious
Spreading disease
This wretched mischief is now coursing through your souls
Never to let go
Never to let go

Them rats

Into your sanctum
You let them in
Now, all your loved ones
And all your kin
Will suffer punishments beneath the wrath of God
Never to forgive
Never to forgive

Them rats
Rats
Rats
Rats

This devastation left your cities to be burnt
Never to return
Never to return

Them filthy rodents are still coming for your souls
Never to let go
Never to let go

Them rats
Rats
Rats
Rats

They’re still coming after you
And there’s nothing you can do
They’re still coming after you
And there’s nothing you can do
Rats

Faith

Faith seems to be a song written from the perspective of the Devil watching people die while they are unwilling to turn to him for safety.  It also seems to be a thinly veiled message to the former Ghouls of Ghost.

Faith Lyrics

There is a scourge in the guise of sanctity
A perpetrator with a quill
Although it’s
Often steeped in well spun mystery
The accuser sends a bill
Yeah

I am all eyes
I am all ears
I am the wall
And I’m watching you fall

Because faith is mine

The Luddites shun the diabolical
A fecal trail across the land
Although it
Stinks, feels, and looks identical
A pack of fools can take the stand
Ha

I am all eyes
I am all ears
I am the wall
And I’m watching you fall

Because faith is mine

I am all eyes
I am all ears
I am the wall
And I’m watching you fall

I am all eyes
I am all ears
I am the wall
And I’m watching you fall
I am all eyes
I am all ears
I am the wall
And I’m watching you fall

Because faith is mine

See the Light

Another shot at the former Ghouls and the lawsuit; a song about “being surrounded by enemies.” 7

The ‘Drink me, Eat Me, Then you’ll see The Light’ chorus is a reference presumably to Communion at Catholic Masses where blessed unleavened bread is eaten symbolising the body of Christ and blessed red wine is drunk signifying the blood of Christ. These are consumed by the congregation as a literal acceptance of Christ into them, a rite resembling The Last Supper where Jesus made the same gesture to his disciples.

See the Light Lyrics

Many a sin I have witnessed
And in many indeed I have been
Many a rat I’ve befriended
And so many a thorn stood between
But of all the demons I’ve known
None could compare to you

Every day that you feed me with hate
I grow stronger
Every day that you feed me with hate
I grow stronger

Drink me, eat me
Then you’ll see the light
Drink me, eat me
Then you’ll see the light

Many a mind I have haunted
And in many a way, I have been
Often the one to have flaunted
An image grotesque and obscene
But of all these dark roads that I roam
None could compare to you

Every day that you feed me with hate
I grow stronger
Every day that you feed me with hate
I grow stronger

Drink me, eat me
Then you’ll see the light
Drink me, eat me
Then you’ll see the light

Drink me, eat me
Then you’ll see the light
Drink me, eat me
Then you’ll see the light

Every day that you feed me with hate (Drink me, eat me)
I grow stronger (Then you’ll see the light)
Every day that you feed me with hate (Drink me, eat me)
I grow stronger (Then you’ll see the light)

Papa Nihil Miasma Live Prequelle
Papa Nihil has sax appeal as he performs the Miasma saxophone part.

Miasma

As always, Ghost write and arrange their music for vinyl making Miasma the last song on Side A of the record. Miasma is an instrumental and is the first Ghost song to feature a saxophone which is performed live by Papa Nihil.

A Miasma is an unpleasant smell with Miasma Theory being the belief that the smell given off by rotting organic matter such as plants or meat could pass on diseases. In the early 1800’s the theory was expanded with the proposition that inhaling the smell of food could make a person fat. The Miasma Theory was abandoned after 1880.

There’s a nice little tribute to the Michael Jackson song Beat It at 4:03.

Cheap plug – buy your Ghost merch in our store.

Dance Macabre

This song is about living life to the fullest even in a catastrophe. The term ‘Dance Macabre’ comes from the French ‘Danse Macabre’, meaning Dance of Death and was originally applied to artworks that depicted the dead or death itself accompanying the living; the earliest being the depiction at Holy Innocents’ Cemetery in Paris that was created in 1425. These images followed various disasters in Europe, The Black Death being the primary one, and were intended to serve as a reminder (Memento Mori) that people should live as if death were imminent because, quite frankly, it probably was: The Black Death killed people within two to seven days of infection, causing 75-100 million deaths in 6 years while France and England were embroiled in the 100 Year War which lasted 113 years and led to the loss of approximately 3 million lives.

Dance Macabre was made available as a digital download (the second ‘single’ from Prequelle) on May 15th to those who preordered the album, it’s highest chart position was #44 in Billboard Magazine’s US Rock Chart.

Co-composers Vincent Pontare and Salem Al Fakir.

A remix of Dance Macabre by Carpenter Brut was released on August 24th 2018.

Dance Macabre Lyrics

You’ll soon be hearing the chime
Close to midnight
If I could turn back the time
I’d make all right

How could it end like this?
There’s a sting in the way you kiss me
Something within your eyes
Said it could be the last time
‘Fore it’s over

Just wanna be
Wanna bewitch you in the moonlight
Just wanna be
I wanna bewitch you all night

It keeps on giving me chills
But I know now
I feel the closer we get
To the last vow

I don’t wanna end like this (Like this, yeah)
But the sting in the way you kiss me (I’m loving it)
Something within your eyes
Said it could be the last time
‘Fore it’s over

Just wanna be
Wanna bewitch you in the moonlight
Just wanna be
I wanna bewitch you all night
Just wanna be
I wanna bewitch you, one last time in the ancient rhyme
Just wanna be
I wanna bewitch you all night

Just wanna be
Wanna bewitch you in the moonlight
Just wanna be
Wanna bewitch you all night
Just wanna be
Wanna bewitch you in the moonlight
Just wanna be
I wanna bewitch you all right

All right

Pro Memoria

The intro to Pro Memoria was written for Meliora while the verses and chorus were written during the recording of Popestar. 8

Tricksy Ghost are at it again with their multiple meanings! Pro Memoria literally means ‘for memory’ when translated from Latin and the term is used for something used as a reminder, usually a text or a book with other memory joggers being referred to as Momento Mori (Remember Death). In this case the song serves as a reminder that we all die and that death is inevitable.

Also, it’s another song about the former Ghouls going by the ‘Swede Saint Peter’ line – Saint Peter, originally known as Simon then later Simon Peter, was Jesus’ closest disciple and while Judas betrayed Jesus to the Romans, Peter also betrayed him by denying that he knew Christ on three occasions. It doesn’t take much to figure out which former Ghoul this references.

Some of the piano sequences seem to be influenced by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar musical, specifically the titular song which is also known as The Song of Judas. For those who aren’t musically inclined, it is easier to hear the similarity at the 3 minute mark when compared to Laibach’s cover of Jesus Christ Superstar as the piano arrangement is louder. Start from around 3:50 onwards.

Ghost have a habit of writing music that is ‘reminiscent’ of other songs from time to time. We suspect that Ghost may just be fans of The Eagles as Pro Memoria sounds a touch like Journey of the Sorcerer.  Full credit to Eclectician on YouTube for spotting that. The Eagles song was used as the theme of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Pro Memoria Lyrics

Lucifer, whispering
Silently into your mind
Who walks behind
Who walks behind
Standing tall, invincible
But do not forget your knives
To save your lives
To save your lives

Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die

Don’t you vomit savage slurs
Spewed up wickedly
To hide from me
To hide from me
Navigate all alone
On this tempestuous sea
To ride with me
To ride with me

Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die
Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die

Lucifer, whispering
Silently into your mind
Who walks behind
Who walks behind
Had you had the chance today
You could’ve sold out too
Ain’t that right
Swede Saint Peter?

Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die
Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die

Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die
Don’t you forget about dying
Don’t you forget about your friend death
Don’t you forget that you will die

Prequelle Back Cover
The back cover of Prequelle. “Summoned to a cadeveric synod The Emeritae tremble before blades of the Clergy, dreading the coming of Cardinal’s reign.” – Zbigniew M. Bielak

Witch Image

Another song with dual meanings it would seem – on one hand it is about death coming for a person who has sold their soul to the Devil just as they are about to achieve their goals and on the other it seems to be another message to a former Ghoul. Prequelle has more diss tracks than a year’s worth of hip-hop albums. Originally had the working title ofFat Lizzy, a reference to the band Thin Lizzy.

Witch Image Lyrics

You
Have never stood this close to where you want to be
You
Have always waded in the shallows
Between me and the deep blue sea
You’d never want me to appear
You’d never want this to be over
You never want it to reach out to the edge of time

While you sleep in earthly delight
Someone’s flesh is rotting tonight
Like no other to you
What you’ve done you cannot undo

I
Have always kept you closer than you’ve known
I
I am riding in the shadows
Behind you on a pale white horse

You’d never want me to appear
You never want this to be over

Someone’s flesh is rotting tonight
Like no other to you
What you’ve done you cannot undo
While you sleep in earthly delight
Still your soul will suffer this plight
Like your father in hell
What you’ve sold you cannot unsell

While you sleep in earthly delight
Someone’s flesh is rotting tonight
Like no other to you
What you’ve done you cannot undo
While you sleep in earthly delight
Still, your soul will suffer this plight
But like a mother would save
Her own child from digging a grave

Helvetesfönster

Helvetesfönster translates from Swedish as ‘Hell Window’ and was a style of dress during The Middle Ages which was square cut and revealed a side view of a woman’s breasts. It is the second instrumental on Prequelle.

Musically there’s a similarity to the theme to Stranger Things.

Papa Nihil

Life Eternal

The last song on Prequelle is a nod to the band Mayhem, specifically their ex vocalist Atilla who once said in an interview with Sweden Rock Magazine, “I think you can defeat death”. It’s also a nod to the line from Dracula, “I give you life eternal”.

Life Eternal is about how everything comes to an end, or does it? We believe death to be the end but if there’s an afterlife then there is no end and that means that a commitment would be eternal, so would you be willing to commit to being the same person forever?

Life Eternal Lyrics

Can you hear me say your name forever?
Can you see me longing for you forever?
Would you let me touch your soul forever?
Can you feel me longing for you forever, forever?

I know the light grows darker down below
But in your eyes, it’s gone before you know
This is the moment of just letting go
She said – if you had life eternal

Can you hear me say your name forever?
Can you see me longing for you forever, forever?
Would you let me touch your soul forever?
Can you feel me longing for you forever, forever?

We dance once more, I feel your hands are cold
Within your heart, a story to be told
This is the moment of just letting go
This is the moment of just letting go

Can you hear me say your name forever?
Can you see me longing for you forever, forever?
Would you let me touch your soul forever?
Can you feel me longing for you forever and ever?

Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever)
Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever)
Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever)
Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever)
Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever)
Forever (Forever) Forever (Forever) Forever
If you had life eternal?

Prequelle Bonus Tracks

It’s a Sin

A number one hit in the UK for The Pet Shop Boys in June 1987, It’s a Sin is allegedly the best selling single in Europe for 1987. The song was originally written and demoed in 1984, the subject matter being Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant’s Catholic upbringing and how everything he enjoyed in life was sinful (Tennant is openly gay).

The Ghost version was done in the style of Killing Joke 9 and ironically, for a band that uses a lot of Latin, omits the Latin spoken passage at the end of the song.

It’s a Sin Lyrics

When I look back upon my life
It’s always with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too
It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin

Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

At school they taught me how to be
So pure in thought and word and deed
They didn’t quite succeed
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too
It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin

Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

Father, forgive me, I tried not to do it
Turned over a new leaf, then tore right through it
Whatever you taught me, I didn’t believe it
Father, you fought me, ’cause I didn’t care
And I still don’t understand

So I look back upon my life
Forever with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too
It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin

Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to – it’s a sin
It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin

Avalanche

The second of Prequelle‘s bonus tracks. Originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen and released on his third album, 1971’s Songs of Love and Hate. Avalanche was written as a poem and then later turned into song lyrics. Ghost’s version was a deliberate attempt to do something different to the original and Nick Cave cover.

Avalanche Lyrics

Well I stepped into an avalanche,
It covered up my soul;
When I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
You must learn, learn to serve me well.

You strike my side by accident
As you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
Is neither starved nor cold;
He does not ask for your company,
Not at the centre, the centre of the world.

When I am on a pedestal,
You did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
To kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
For this ugly hump at which you stare.

You who wish to conquer pain,
You must learn what makes me kind;
The crumbs of love that you offer me,
They’re the crumbs I’ve left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
It’s just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you’ve gone away from me,
But I can feel you when you breathe.

Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor
You don’t love me quite so fiercely now
When you know that you are not sure,
It is your turn, beloved,
It is your flesh that I wear.

Thank you for reading this guide to Ghost’s Prequelle by Gear4Geeks, you can buy Ghost merchandise in our store. Below there be spoilers!

S
P
O
I
L
E
R

S
P
A
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E


 

1 Papa Emeritus Zero was played by Jonny Preston with make up by Jerry Constantine who provided SFX  on the movie Thor amongst others and costume by Bea Ackerland who does work for Madonna and other stars. Henry Duarte worked on the Cardinal Copia outfits, he has provided clothing and ‘costume’ for Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Vanilla Ice, New Kids on the Block, The Cure, Axl Rose and other top tier musicians.

2  https://www.revolvermag.com/music/ghost-mastermind-tobias-forge-reports-studio-first-unmasked-us-interview

3 https://www.reddit.com/r/Ghostbc/comments/8byrxq/list_of_all_known_prequelle_vinyl_variants/

4 https://www.revolvermag.com/music/ghost-true-story-death-religion-and-rock-roll-behind-metals-strangest-band

5 http://www.nme.com/music-interviews/ghost-band-interview-nme-2322556#DzTPk8pDB4S0hu9z.99

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ghost-leader-reveals-why-he-wrote-rats/

http://www.nme.com/music-interviews/ghost-band-interview-nme-2322556#DzTPk8pDB4S0hu9z.99

Sweden Rock Magazine May 2018 issue English translation part two

Sweden Rock Magazine May 2018 issue English translation part three

If you’re still here then congrats, or should that be cong-rats! While it wasn’t used as a source for the write up, here’s the first part of the Sweden Rock Magazine translation:

Sweden Rock Magazine May 2018 issue English translation part one

Here’s a pic of Jonny Preston made up as Papa Emeritus Zero before his debut, picture is of course copyright of Mr Preston. Check out his Instagram, he’s a handsome chap.

REALLY BIG SPOILERS ARE BELOW!

Writing Credits For Prequelle

Ashes – A Ghoul Writer
Rats – A Ghoul Writer & Thomas Dalgerty
Faith – A Ghoul Writer & Thomas Dalgerty
See the Light – A Ghoul Writer,  Thomas Dalgerty & Dimitri Tikovoi
Miasma – A Ghoul Writer
Dance Macabre – A Ghoul Writer, Salem Al Fakir & Vincent Pontare
Pro Memoria – A Ghoul Writer,  Niclas Frisk, Jesse Saint John & Sarah Hudson
Witch Image – A Ghoul Writer, Thomas Dalgerty & Suzzanne Shin
Helvetesfönster – A Ghoul Writer
Life Eternal – A Ghoul Writer, Salem Al Fakir & Vincent Pontare

 

Update history:
06/09/2018 Added the working title for Witch Image and release details of the Dance Macabre remix.

09/06/2018 fixed two typos, removed speculation on identity of the girls in the Chapter One video, corrected date of Rats filming and added extra info courtesy of Tim Lanning. Edited the description of Meliora, thanks to Vot-Gospod-Satana on Reddit. Added in details on Saint Peter, thanks to Meraxes20 on YouTube reminding me of Sunday School. Chart placings added.

14/06/2018 Added US Billboard 200 and Switzerland chart placings. Removed the reference to The Black Death being a virus as it’s not one, thank you to Adrian Jones for the correction.

21/6/2018 Updated Rats release information

Morg

Gear4Geeks' owner and interviewer.

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