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Ghost Frontman on New Record: “The Next Stop is the Black Album”

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If all goes according to plan for Ghost, the outfit will spend at least the first half of 2020 writing and recording their next album, for which Tobias Forge already has “50 ideas,” and they’ll release it at some point in early 2021.

But what will that next album sound like? Will it hark back to the band’s earlier, heavier material — the burning question always on the minds of a certain subset of fans — or will it continue their sonic evolution into new territories? Other than to say the next frontman will be Papa Emeritus IV, we haven’t heard much.

Forge shared some thoughts on how he envisions the next album turning out in a recent piece on Kerrang!, outlining his vision for what new Ghost needs to be while admitting it’s still a bit too early in the process to know for sure.

This much is certain: the band’s next album will not be a continuation of the psychedelic throwback sounds of Seven Inches of Satantic Panic, the mini-release Ghost put out last year. Speaking affectionately of that 7″ as a fun diversion, he said:

“It’s just there for shits and giggles. I grew up listening to ‘60s music like the Rolling Stones and The Doors, as well as metal. People shouldn’t read too much into this direction, though. The next album is going to be something completely different from that.”

Asked if he could give two words to describe where Ghost’s fifth album is headed, Forge zeroed in on its direction a bit more while retaining his trademark coyness:

“I’d choose the words ‘fifth’ and ‘album.’ I look at many fifth albums as a guide as to the urgency for what that record will need to be, with [Iron Maiden’s] Powerslave being a great example. By the fifth album you’re at a point in your career where you have this momentum built up, and you have the expectancy of people depending on you, so you have to put something special in those many spotlights. You need to step up and make a record that’s worth it and justifies all of these things.”

Speaking of famous fifth albums, there’s another legendary metal band whose fifth release was their biggest ever…. who could that be? Oh, right, Metallica!

“I regard Metallica as colleagues and friends now, but they’re still Metallica. I am an ambassador and they are presidents. But when I look to Metallica for influence, I’m looking at what they did in 1988. We’re on our fourth album, as they were on the Damaged Justice Tour, so the next stop is the Black Album.”

“You have to make a responsible record. That doesn’t mean to expect riffs. It’s two different things – what the record sounds like and knowing to put yourself in the right spot at the right time. When I had nothing, and lived in a small apartment that cost very little because the ceiling leaked, the dream was to be able to live off making music. When I had kids that became even more important. Now it’s about something else. I’m responsible for showing my wife and my kids that all these years of waiting for me have been worth it. And that goes beyond money, because at the end of the day that’s just seasoning. One day my kids will be grown-up and I have to be able to show them that all this time playing rock shows had a real purpose.

In other words, Forge is about to sell the fuck out! J/k j/k, I love the Black Album, it’s one of my favorite metal records ever, but there’s no denying its divisiveness in Metallica lore — nay, metal lore — and to that end any such tack by Ghost will surely alienate some of their original fans (the few who haven’t already jumped ship). But for what it’s worth, I think Forge is 100% correct in his assessment of where Ghost need to go next, both creatively and career-wise. Now’s the time for Ghost’s Black Album! I’m stoked to hear it.

Ghost are on tour right meow in the U.K. and Europe, then it’s into the studio they go (he goes). Dates:

Nov. 22: London The SSE Arena, Wembley, UK [TICKETS]
Nov. 23: Leeds First Direct Arena, UK [TICKETS]
Nov. 30: Katowice, Spodek, Poland [TICKETS]
Dec. 01: Prague Universum, Czech Republic [TICKETS]
Dec. 03: Budapest BSA, Hungary [TICKETS]
Dec. 05: Mantova PalaBam, Italy [TICKETS]
Dec. 06: Zurich Halle 622, Switzerland [TICKETS]
Dec. 08: Barcelona St. Jordi, Spain [TICKETS]
Dec. 10: Lisbon Sala Tejo, Portugal [TICKETS]
Dec. 11: Madrid Vistalegre, Spain [TICKETS]
Dec. 13: Strasbourg Zenith, France [TICKETS]
Dec. 17: Rockhal Luxembourg, Luxembourg [TICKETS]
Dec. 18: Nantes Zenith, France [TICKETS]
Dec. 19: Toulouse Zenith, France [TICKETS]

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