Ghost: Tobias Forge on How Lemmy’s Death Inspired New Album Prequelle and the Band’s “New” Singer
The metal community is on the edge of its collective seat, waiting for June 1 to roll around so we can all jam the new Ghost album, Prequelle. Indeed, there has not been this much anticipation for a metal album with a made-up word for a title since Slayer’s Repentless.
So you’ll probably be interested to read this little tidbits from a new Metal Hammer interview with Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge, ’cause they provide some serious insight into the thought process behind the group’s latest offering.
For example, while the title would suggest the album is about beginnings, the opposite it actually true:
“This is a record themed with death and the impending end – even if it might just be our own – and in recent years we have seen the passing of many of our elder idols.
“Ronnie James Dio was one, but I think that, especially when Lemmy passed away, and Bowie and Prince so close to that, it affected me a lot. It feels like our parents are passing.
“I think we took people like Lemmy for granted – he was going to sit at our table forever, but now, there is a chair that is loudly empty. It’s definitely affected me way more than I thought it would.
“It’s made me want to be a little bit more attentive when it comes to trying to make sure that you’re making the best of the opportunities that you have with your seniors. That is something that has affected me and this record a lot.”
Keeping this in mind, it seems worth noting that while there’s no such word in French or English as Prequelle, “quelle” is French for ‘what.’ So the title could actually mean something like Pre-What, where “what” signifies the fact that we don’t know what happens after we die (other than that a funeral director is going to gouge our loved ones’ bank accounts, I mean). Just a thought. I may be way off base.
ANYWAY, Forge also took some time to explain the idea behind the band’s “new” singer, Cardinal Copia, who has already made waves for being the “first” frontman for the band “not” to be a Papa Emeriti:
“If we just continued with Papa to Papa to Papa to Papa, that would grow very boring. That is a one-dimensional way of looking at this band.
“If I had just done that, Ghost would have gone on auto-pilot and it would have grown stale very quickly.”
Honestly, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me; it would be like if Slipknot argued that changing their masks every album cycle makes their work more multi-dimensional. I don’t know if one can avoid growing stale with a costume change; surprise haircuts and an unexpected use of eyeliner didn’t make the music on Load any better. I love Ghost, but I don’t think we need to pretend that getting a “new” singer every album cycle is anything other than a theatrical gimmick. Which is fine! But let’s call an ace of spades an ace of spades. It’s what Lemmy would have done.