Ghost Premiere “Square Hammer”

 

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With the countdown seemingly on for the Friday release of Ghost’s new EP, Popestar, what better way to wet the proverbial whistle than to release a premiere track.  Today marked the release of “Square Hammer,” one of five tracks from their latest offering.  Coinciding with the EP release, Ghost will embark on their largest headlining tour to date, spanning from coast to coast and then some.

Those of you in need of a ritual fix have lots of stops to choose from this time around.  Marissa Nadler will join them for a run of dates in the latter half of the tour and Deafheaven will join them for both performances in Los Angeles, CA.  Stream the new track below and check out the upcoming tour dates!

 

09/16 Rochester, NY @ The Armory
09/19 Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
09/21 Cleveland, OH @ Masonic Auditorium
09/23 Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall
09/27 Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater
09/28 St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
09/30 Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank at Midland Theatre
10/01 Madison, WI @ Sonic Boom Festival
10/02 Louisville, KY @ Louder Than Life
10/03 Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
10/04 Kalamazoo, MI @ Kalamazoo State Theatre
10/05 Cedar Rapids, IA @ Paramount Theatre
10/07 Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
10/08 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
10/09 Missoula, MT @ The Wilma Theatre
10/11 Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall
10/13 Vancouver, BC @ The Vogue Theater
10/14 Seattle, WA @ The Moore Theater
10/15 Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theater
10/16 Portland, OR @ The Rosalind Theater
10/18 Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium
10/20 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
10/21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
10/22 Las Vegas, NV @ The Brooklyn Bowl
10/25 Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
10/27 Lubbock, TX @ City Bank Auditorium
10/28 San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theater
10/31 Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
11/02 Orlando, FL @ The Hard Rock
11/03 Miami Beach, FL @ Fillmore Miami Beach
11/04 Jacksonville, FL @ The Florida Theatre
11/05 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
11/07 Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
11/09 Toronto, ON @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre
11/11 Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
11/12 Brooklyn, NY @ Kings Theatre

-Thalia Gore-

Ghost – Together as One at The Sherman

There are many reasons people come to see Ghost rituals.  The sheer theatrics alone make for an entertaining evening, from the intricate Grucifix embroidered robes of Papa Emeritus III to the tailored black suits and spats the Nameless Ghouls and tech crew wear.  Add to that their unrelenting heavy riffs and a charismatic leader with no shortage of quips and you have a potent concoction for wooing the masses.

Ghost celebrated their 100th show on the Black to the Future tour on this unsuspecting Thursday night at the Sherman Theater.  In a darkly lit room, with smoke and incense lingering in the air,  “The Masked Ball” by Jocelyn Pook began to play.   You could feel the entire crowd become restless.  These mysterious shrouded demons emerge from shadows, and a single spotlight illuminates A Nameless Ghoul known to fans as Alpha (Fire). He plays the opening chords to “Spirit,” the title track of their current release, Meliora.  Papa slowly emerges from the smoke at center stage, arms held wide revealing all the intricacy of his robes and sending the crowd into a total frenzy.

They continued through four of their heavier songs including “Pinnacle to the Pit,” ending with my personal favorite, “Con Clavi Con Dio.”  Papa slowly strolled to the mic swinging a thurible of incense, filling the stage with smoke as he chanted the lyrics.  The Ghouls in a demonic flurry, pounded the notes out to this unwavering song.

Papa later addresses the crowd, saying they need to slow things down, before introducing the Sisters of Sin and casting them into the pit to feed the “Body and Blood” to the devout.  There is a short interlude as Papa disappears to slip into something more comfortable and the Nameless Ghouls take over with “Devil Church” and then lead into “Cirice.”

Papa saunters back on stage in his new outfit, a black and white suit inspired by Swedish King Gustav III who was responsible for overthrowing the Swedish government.  Every female in the front row begins to lean forward, knowing on most nights, one lucky lady will have a moment with Papa as he kneels down to sing to them.  He does not disappoint and descends into the pit to find her.

Ghost continue to power through such tracks as “Absolution” and as Papa states, their heaviest track, “Mummy Dust” before they begin to wind the show down.  Papa stops to give the crowd a lesson in the birds and bees and their reasoning behind always ending with “Monstrance Clock.”  So it is in celebration of the female orgasm that they say goodbye to the crowd and leave with the final lyrics playing on a darkened stage.

Ghost will continue their tour across America until May before heading back to Europe to participate in a multitude of summer festivals.  Additional tour dates are below for the U.S.

Check out our photos below!

-SKC Photo-

(Click on the thumbnails to open gallery)

 

Black to the Future Tour

APR 22 EL PASO, TX @ TRICKY FALLS
APR 23 TUCSON, AZ @ THE RIALTO THEATRE
APR 25 AUSTIN, TX @ EMOS
APR 26 HOUSTON, TX @ HOUSE OF BLUES
APR 27 BATON ROUGE, LA @ THE VARSITY THEATRE
APR 29 TAMPA, FL @ 98ROCKFEST
APR 30 FORT MYERS, FL @ MONSTER ENERGY FORT ROCK
MAY 01 JACKSONVILLE, FL @ MONSTER ENERGY WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE
MAY 02 BIRMINGHAM, AL @ IRON CITY
MAY 03 NASHVILLE, TN @ MARATHON MUSIC WORKS
MAY 04 KNOXVILLE, TN @ TENNESSEE THEATER
MAY 06 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA @ FARM BUREAU LIVE
MAY 07 CHARLOTTE, NC @ CAROLINA REBELLION
MAY 08 BALTIMORE, MD @ THE HIPPODROME
MAY 09 RICHMOND, VA @ THE NATIONAL
MAY 11 LOUISVILLE, KY @ MERCURY BALLROOM
MAY 12 CHATTANOOGA, TN @ TRACK 29
MAY 13 ATLANTA, GA @ CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK & INTERNATIONAL PLAZA
MAY 14 KANSAS CITY, MO @ 98.9 THE ROCK’S ROCKFEST (W/ SEVENDUST)
MAY 15 SOMERSET, WI @ NORTHERN INVASION
MAY 17 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK @ DIAMOND BALLROOM
MAY 19 INDIANAPOLIS, IN @ EGYPTIAN ROOM
MAY 20 EAST GRAND RAPIDS, MI @ THE ORBIT ROOM
MAY 21 COLUMBUS, OH @ ROCK ON THE RANGE
MAY 22 ALBANY, NY @ ROCK’N DERBY

 

 

Ghost Grucifix Cookies

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As Papa says, if you have Ghost (cookies) you have everything.  Since they are heading  out on another tour in America, we thought we would make these Grucifix cookies to celebrate.

Since we wanted the actual cookie to look similar to a communion wafer, we made sugar cookies, but if sugar cookies aren’t your thing, feel free to use any type of batter.  The black and white Grucifix design is made with Royal Icing so if you are a beginner in the field of baking just know this is a challenging recipe.  Royal Icing is hard and anyone that tells you differently is a liar.  Or they drink far less caffeine then we do and have steadier hands.  As our contributor, Winter Doom say, “Royal Icing is a son of a bitch.”

There is no alternate recipe for gluten free or vegan attached because we are not that savvy so if you have your own spin on this that you would like to add, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Recipe is below Ghouls and Ghulehs, enjoy with your favorite unholy communion wine.

 

Ingredients:

 

Cookies-

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the royal icing!)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

 

Royal Icing-

I have this broken down as a per batch measurement since some batches require coloring.  You have the option of making one large batch and portioning it out, just increase the amount depending on how large you want the batch to be.  I ended up making three batches for the icing on these cookies; one regular white, one black and one flood white.  I will explain the flooding technique in a bit.

1 cup confectioners sugar per batch

1 egg white per batch

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Black food coloring gel

3 plastic piping bags

#2 piping tip

 

Directions:

Cookies-

Preheat oven to 300F

Combine butter and shortening on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  I have a Kitchenaid and use the paddle attachment but if you are using a standard mixer, regular beaters are also fine.  Add sugar, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda and beat until combined.  Be sure to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl to include excess.  If you use a paddle attachment, I recommend one that has the rubber scraper on the edge so it wipes down the bowl as it mixes.

Next beat in vanilla extract and egg yolks until combined.  Beat in flour in increments until combined.

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Prior to shaping the dough, place in fridge for 15 minutes.  It will be much easier working with slightly chilled dough as opposed to it being room temperature and sticky.

Once you have it chilled, you have two options for shaping the dough.  Your first option is to shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a nonstick cookie sheet.  If you prefer to have the cookies as a more perfect circle, so they look more like wafers, you can either use a circular cookie cutter or you can take a clean can, cut off the lid and the bottom and use that as your cutter.  Be sure to dust the cookie cutter with flour to keep it from sticking to the dough.

Bake at 300º for 13-15 minutes but do not let the edges brown.  Cool on the baking sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack.

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Royal Icing aka The Devil:

Once the cookies are completely cool you can start on the royal icing.  The reason I make the icing in batches is because the design is a slower process and I don’t want to have icing sitting around with enough time to potentially dry out.  If you are less caffeinated and can work quickly, make a larger batch.

In a mixer using the balloon whip attachment, add confectioners sugar and cream of tartar and just mix briefly to blend.  Add the egg white and begin whipping on high speed.  The reason I use the cream of tartar is because it will give the royal icing a nice stark white color.  Without it you will end up with a dingy white that you will have to lighten using white food gel.  Using it will save you some time and energy.

The mixture will look slightly white/grey at first, continue mixing until it changes to the nice bright white shade and you get nice peaks when you lift the beater.  If the mixture seams too runny you can add more sugar but these measurements should yield the proper consistency.

My first batch of icing I use to draw the crucifix on the cookie.  So once you get the consistency you want, add black food gel until you get the shade you want.  I ended up putting about 7-8 drops in overall.  You can buy coloring gel at any baking store.  It is much more concentrated so you will not need to add a lot to get the desired results.

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Once the black is ready, place the icing in a plastic piping bag, with a #2 size tip.  You can also use a plastic baggy and snip the corner.  I find the piping bags are easier to use but find what works for you.

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Place the piping bag in a mug and fold the extra over the edges.  This way when you scoop the icing out, you aren’t wrestling with the bag and end up slopping it all over yourself.  In case you are curious, I get everything all over me all the time so these are all tricks I have learned over time but still somehow end up covered in flour and sugar.

Once the icing is in the piping back, use a rubber band or hair elastic to tie the bag closed so it doesn’t drip out the other end and get all over your arms (something else I have done and not realized until it was everywhere).

You have to options for the Grucifix design.  One is to freehand it, which is what I did.  You will need to sacrifice a few cookies until you get your design steady and become familiar with how to control the piping bag.  The other option is to draw the Grucifix on parchment paper with icing and do a transfer, then go over the outline with the icing.
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Once you have the design done let it completely dry and make your next batch of icing. This will be plain white icing which we will use to pipe the border of the cookies to prepare for the flood icing.  In essence you are creating a border so the flood icing doesn’t dribble off the cookie.  This you will have to do freehand so don’t be like me and chug two cups of coffee right before starting.  In my defense it was getting to be the wee hours of the night.  Once the cookies are all piped set aside to let dry and begin making your flood icing.

Flood icing is initially made the exact same way.  You will prepare your white royal icing as normal.  Once it is done, you will remove from the mixer and then using a regular spoon, stir in one teaspoon of water at a time.  Make sure you stir in one teaspoon at a time so you can keep track of consistency and stir gently to avoid creating air bubbles.  You will be at the proper consistency when you can lift your spoon out of the icing and the ribbons that drizzle down disappear in 5 seconds from the surface.

Using a back and forth sweeping motion begin filling in the open space on the inside of your circle.  The icing should meld into itself and create a nice smooth surface.  We careful when you begin to flood around the Grucifix design that you do not squeeze too much out and flood over the edges, covering the design.  You should gently fill in the crevices, and use the tips to nudge extra into corners.  Keep those practice cookies from before so you can get a feel for the flood icing before doing your final batch.

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The flood icing will take longer to dry so do not cover them, let them set for at least a couple hours.  Once they are done, volunteer for a church bake sale and watch all hell break loose.  Enjoy!

-Thalia Gore-

 

Ghost Win Best Metal Performance at The Grammys

 

It’s official, Ghost have won Best Metal Performance at the 2016 Grammys.  The win comes for the single, “Cirice” off their latest album, Meliora.  There was definitely some serious competition from Slipknot to Lamb of God but they pulled through with the win.  It’s a shame that the win was not part of the publicized Grammy show, but I cannot say that I’m surprised.  It is the way the cookie crumbles as they say but I never lose hope that it will change.

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If you are wondering why Ghost won this award then you should definitely see them live.  It’s a different experience all together and many people come away with a different opinion of them.  They will embark on another US tour starting in April and participate in various festivals throughout the summer.

As with all things, there is a love/hate relationship with these mysterious guys from Sweden.  Some people think they are just a sideshow act with no real talent while others are completely devout.  I have had the good fortune of seeing and photographing Ghost live and for that I am extremely grateful.  Their energy is unparalleled and watching them play I always think of Franz Liszt’s, “Dante Symphony.”  A flurry of demons, swirling through the various levels of hell.  All of this led by a frontman with no shortage of charisma, wit, or showmanship.

I will say plainly I am a fan but my personality does not allow me to become starstruck nor feel the need to tattoo a grucifix on my person.  After all, at the end of the day, when they step off stage and remove their masks, they are just people.  But as a fellow artist, I respect what they do.

Of course, the mystery is intriguing, that is the point.  Having written thesis papers on the psychological aspects of the use of masks in art and music, I enjoy seeing it in the flesh so to speak.  I love seeing the effect if has on the public, both with the ones that love them and the ones filled with revulsion.  Like everything else, people fear what they do not understand and that in and of itself should be worth a long discussion for another day.

I do think what Ghost is doing is important.  Where it will go, I have no idea but I look forward to seeing what else they come up with.  They seem to have no shortage of ideas and seeing the evolution of the band is nothing short of intriguing.

 

See you in the Pit – SKC Photo

Meet the Crew – SKC Photo

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Skc is one of our contributing photographers and grew up near New York City.  She has been taking pictures for a long as she can remember, from the basement shows her friend’s band played to the abstract architecture she sees in the cities she visits.  Her favorite camera will always be her Holga, which is held together by Hello Kitty duct tape because she refuses to buy a new one.

Skc loves photographing shows and trying to capture the energy and emotion present.  She is always intrigued by the light and constantly searches for the details others might not see.  By day she can be found working as a product photographer and by night you can find her in the pit, her favorite place to be.  For her, music and photography go hand in hand, they are two parts of her that she cannot live without.

 

Top 5 Bands –

Omega Massif

Dynfari

The Locust

Mastodon

Skraeckoedlan

 

Three musicians to have a drink with –

Jarboe

Sid Vicious

Patti Smith