Here’s a Photo of Ghost’s Tobias Forge in Corpse Paint at Age 15
Anyone who’s ever been in a band has got embarrassing promo photos from the past that they’d prefer stay in the past. Most of us are able to keep those buried treasures exactly where they belong, forgotten by the sands of time. (Challenge: can you find mine?? They’re out there!)
But being a well-known rock star comes with an added layer of public scrutiny, and it’s only a matter of time before old photos bubble up from the surface. So it is for Ghost frontman Tobias Forge who, before he dressed up as Cardinal Copia or Papa Emeritus, donned a more traditional form of corpse paint as the frontman for a band called Superior, calling himself “Leviathan.”
The photo you’re looking at was taken from a metal zine called Scriptures of Malignancy in 1996, meaning Forge would have been 14 or 15 years old depending on when exactly the pic was snapped (he was born on March 3, 1981). The interview was recently unearthed by Brad Sadler and posted in the School of Ghoul Ghost fan group on Facebook.
The problem with corpse paint, of course, is that it’s impossible to verify a subject’s identity on sight alone, so this discovery should be taken with a grain of salt until acknowledged by the source himself. That said, Metal Archives does list Forge as being a member of Superior in 1996 before moving on to the bands for which we know him better: Repugnant, Magna Carta Cartel, and eventually Ghost.
Here’s the description and back-story of the photo’s origin from School of Ghoul:
“If you’ve ever wondered what Tobias Forge would look like as a 90s black metal guitarist then here you go. Here is ‘Don Juan Leviathan’ from Superior in 1996. (On the left is the original photo and on the right is a version which I digitally restored slightly to remove the marks and sharpen it a little etc.)
“This picture was found by Brad Sadler in a metal zine called Scriptures of Malignancy. This is very rare and few copies exist.
Forge was interviewed by the zine and from reading this we learned that he was in a band called Absurdum in 1994 aged just 14.
“Tobias played in a series of bands in 1995 which he refers to as ‘unserious shitbands’ and in August 1995 he decided to change the name of Absurdum to Superior.
“There were two Superior demos called “Metamorphis” (1996) and “Illustrare ad Infernali” (1997) It’s now come to light that there was an earlier demo recorded for Superior in 1995 called “Anno Dracule (Dark Wampyrious Consipracy)” but it was never released. Seriously, that’s the name of it! ????
“He also played a few rehearsals with a black metal band called Malign. This band released a demo tape in 1996, called Livextirpation, but Forge wasn’t on this tape or ever recorded any tracks with Malign as his time in the band was short lived and he was never an official member.”
Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? Next time you see Ghost live, work your way up to the front row, scream for the band play “The Bleeding White” at the top of your lungs, and see what happens.