But I cannot abide by Ghost.
They've been getting quite a bit of hype and press since their breakthrough Opus Eponymous stormed the beaches of the blogmosphere around a year ago. Everybody seems to be running back and forth with big wet spots on the front of their pants, gibbering about how "catchy" and "theatrical" the band is. Indeed, the allure of the band seems to rest in the mysterious visage of the frontman in the giant hat, a man who is caked in makeup and made to look like something that would have absolutely terrified parents in the early 1960's.
Theatricality! Mystery! Ghost seem to have it all.
Here is my issue: it seems like nobody is taking into account that Ghost is 1) not metal, and 2) not good.
Most people who are in my position are being denounced as detractors for the sake of detracting, or are accused of being charlatans whose beef is with the fact that somebody is "making it." Am I jealous? Perhaps. I've thrown my hat into the music ring with more than just a few failed attempts to wrest some of that media attention from other bands, and I've never succeeded. I'm also jealous that Kanye West gets to be so fucking rich, because he's clearly just an assclown with a high opinion of himself who likes to ruin awards shows as an extracurricular activity. But that's not why I don't like Ghost (or Kanye West). I genuinely think that Ghost is a bad band that has achieved much fanfare for confusing reasons. I'd like to briefly break down my reasons for not liking them, something of a brief counterpoint to the article I read on Invisible Oranges this morning that pushed the boulder over the edge.
My biggest concern with Ghost is that their sound is so outdated and boring that it loses me from the very intro to Opus Eponymous, the sad, poorly played organ solo giving way to the driving (and perfectly generic) riff that dominates much of "Con Clavi Con Dio." What really bothers me is that this early 60's sound that lacks any extremity (other than some light double bass work and Satanic themes and imagery) has become something that the extreme metal community has become so fixated upon. "But your just jelous LOL," you're thinking, "their songwriting is so catchy you couldn't do it yourself. U a hatr!" If you're so interested in songwriting, interbung nerd, you should check out all of those people they play on the radio. They do the standard formula for songwriting, too, and actually get quite famous for it.
In fact, listening to Ghost (which I'm doing right now [ugh]) makes me believe that if Taylor Swift wrote some songs that thematically centered around Satan, she would be welcomed into the metal community with open arms. Maybe she'd have to pour some pig's blood on herself too.
It would look like a Cannibal Corpse song.
I hope I'm not the only person who thinks that musical theater is super lame. Am I? From most accounts of live Ghost shows, the band seems to mostly stand perfectly still while the singer gazes imposingly across the crowd, "transfixing" them with his I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Alice-Cooper mystique. To deny that heavy metal lacks any theatricality would be disingenuous, but I don't revel in it. Indeed, I like to play that aspect down to the casual observer, because the moment that you admit that the allure of Manowar is the motorcycle sounds and the buff men in leather codpieces, you're going to have lots of explaining to do.
And believe me, it's a lot harder to convince people around you that you aren't gay than you'd think.
The Cool Costumes
Costumes are dumb. Except for this one:
"Dear Diary: I think I finally broke my jacking off arm today."
Probably Some Other Stuff About Ghost You Think is Cool
I wish I had some other insightful and thought provoking reasons why I don't like Ghost, but since I've had to listen to this album one time more than I ever wanted to so that I give semi-coherent reasons why I hate them for no reason, I'm tapped out of things to say about boners. So I'll leave you with something that is uncharacteristically hateful for me to say:
If you're into Ghost, you're probably still wondering how your mom suddenly forgot your name. It's because you're a hipster failure and you should shave your handlebar mustache off.