Papa Emeritus III and the five Nameless Ghouls of the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost took the stage of Denver’s Paramount Theatre on Friday, Oct. 7.
Marissa Nadler, a Massachusetts-based folk artist, started the evening off. Nadler’s sound falls somewhere between gothic and folk, featuring a distinct style of fingerpicking that affords complex melodies with a continuous beat using only one guitar. Although Nadler’s ambient style is a sharp contrast to Ghost’s hard-hitting riffs, her somber tone resonated with a crowd that would likely not have seen her if she had not been opening for Ghost.
Ghost is known for the satanic nature of their lyrics and the complementary outfits of its anonymous members. The vocalist, Papa Emeritus III, is dressed as a satanic version of The Pope, complete with a robe adorned with inverted crosses and skull facepaint. The remaining five members dress in horned mouthless masks and nearly identical robes that only offer the distinction of alchemical symbols to represent each one of them.
An enthusiastic crowd eagerly awaited Papa Emeritus III and his clergy of ghouls to take the stage. When the house lights dimmed, the theater erupted. Ghost opened with a song from their newest EP Popestar called “Square Hammer,” which has been well-received by critics and fans alike. They continued with songs from their entire discography, including “Cirice” a song from their 2016 album “Meliora,” which won a Grammy this year for Best Metal Performance.
During the song “Body and Blood” the band performed a parody mass ceremony complete with wafers, wine and suggestively dressed nuns known as the “Sisters of Sin.” Ghost is known for their theatrics, and high jinks like this are commonplace at their live shows.
Ghost played their heavy, precise and progressive medleys largely back-to-back for about an hour and a half and left the crowd pleased as they walked offstage to continue on the Popestar Tour.
Contact CU Independent Photographer Phil McKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org.