May 29, 2014 Ghost Entrance The Chance Poughkeepsie, NY 5-16-14
One of the most impactful metal bands to hit the North American scene in recent years is Sweden’s Ghost. Formed back in 2008, their 2010 debut album Opus Eponymous garnished a sea of attention among critics and fans alike. After making their debut in the USA back in 2011 at Maryland Deathfest the popularity of the band spread like wildfire, seeing the flames reach new heights with the release of their 2013 album Infestissumam. With a series of touring cycles under their belt, the announcement of their return to North America came down in January, immediately resulting in sky-rocketing ticket sales. Dubbed the Year Zero Tour, the month-long trek began to wind down on Friday May 16th at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY.
As direct support all tour long, King Dude were up first. Hailing from Seattle, WA the band was birthed back in 2006 by songwriter TJ Cowgill. Developing a unique dark sound filled with influences from Americana, rock, country, and blues, King Dude are impossible to categorize. Taking the stage with the live lineup of Cowgill, Joey D’Auria, and David Nelson, they immediately captivated an unsuspecting audience with their grim atmosphere. Throughout their ten song set a feeling of impending doom entered the air of the Chance. Their use of acoustic guitars and haunting vocals was spectacular, making King Dude an extremely intriguing opening act, one which left the crowd dying to hear more of.
It is hard to think of any other band that has a more visually profound presence than Ghost. The band is known for its theatrical stage attire and entrancing technical metal music. Their lineup consists of Papa Emeritus II along with five other members referred to as nameless ghouls. Having done a fine job over the years of keeping their true identities anonymous, each ghoul came to the stage in black robes with masks over their faces, while the master of ceremonies, Papa Emeritus II, adorned a satanic version of the Catholic pope’s iconic dressings, along with some very un-pope-like skull paint on his face. With the venue filled to capacity, metal fans from surrounding areas were eager to get a glimpse of the ritualistic performance ahead. For many this was a new experience, for some it was a return to a place full of epic metal music and eye-glazing showmanship.
Adding mystique to the evening as the band approached the stage, the room was black with only the green glow of light against the stained glass windows of the church-esque back drop. Like a classic horror film, one by one the nameless ghouls came out on stage and took their positions. Diving into “Infestissumam” they wailed on their guitars, filling the Chance with their eerie riffs. At the peak of excitement Papa Emeritus II arrived on stage in his signature attire and in his right hand holding a great scepter with the logo for Ghost on top. Sending waves of awe into the room he grabbed the microphone with his left hand and began to sing with a voice that can be described as both hauntingly beautiful and sincerely inviting. Powering through a monstrous seventeen song set filled with thrills and chills that included “Ritual”and “Body and Blood”, Ghost were at the top of their musical game on stage. Throwing in some interesting cover songs such as The Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” and Roky Erickson’s “If You Have Ghosts” added an interesting flare to the already exciting evening. Full of theatrics and entertainment, Papa – being the master of the black mass – controlled his nameless ghouls by conducting their instrument solos in clever and imposing fashion.
The set concluded with “Monstrance Clock” and Papa ended the ceremony by giving out a single rose to one lucky member of the audience. There is no doubt in recent years Ghost is one of the greatest bands to witness perform live. Not only is their music impeccably enthralling with doom and gloom, their stage show is a must see for metal fans of all ages.