My First Ritual: A Review of Ghost’s Rats on the Road Tour and a Review of Prequelle
By Monica Redwine
It is no secret that I, admin horridhavoc, Monica Redwine, am in love with the band Ghost. There is no telling how badly I get on everyone’s nerves with my constant posting of their songs, sharing of their memes, pictures, and videos, and speaking about them with people IRL, and if you know me at all then you know I don’t really mind that I annoy people with my love for them. Papa I, II & III were beautiful, and Cardinal Copia is no less wonderful in my eyes. The Nameless Ghouls, Papa Nihil and Sister Imperator are fabulous to me as well. I follow them on Instagram and Twitter. I am in so many Ghost Facebook and Instagram groups that it ought to be a crime (special shout out to the Legion of Ghost, Sisters of Sin, and Ghostly Desires)! And for all the love I have for this band, it was only just this year, on May 27th in Memphis, TN, that I finally got to attend a Ritual. There has always been something standing between me and the One Lascivious, but finally the clouds parted and I was able to not only attend a show, but I got to meet the Cardinal himself! But we’ll get to that later.
Before I get started on this album review I would just like to state that I understand that Ghost is not your typical metal band. I have heard some people refer to them as “Scooby-Doo-metal”, but in my humble opinion they go a lot harder than people give them credit for. For me they feel like a mixture of Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss, and Type O Negative amongst other bands. Their showmanship on stage is incredible, and what’s not to love about a band that can turn a song like “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles into something spooky and sweet? Being such a fool for bands like Type O Negative who have quite the reputation for taking something soft and sweet and turning it into something dark and twisted, it’s no wonder I can’t resist Ghost!
Their latest album, Prequelle, is a masterpiece from beginning to end. It starts off with the sweet, spooky intro, “Ashes” and has everything from hard-hitting anthems such as “Rats” and “Faith”, to catchy yet morbid songs like “Dance Macabre” and “Witch Image”. “See the Light” is definitely a highlight on the album in my opinion—to me this song represents survival, moving forward and thriving. “Pro Memoria” will beautifully remind you of your own mortality and happens to be my favorite from the album at the moment. “Helvetesfonster”, an almost 6-minute instrumental, will leave you breathless and features Mikeal Akerfeldt (Opeth) on acoustic guitar! “Miasma” is another instrumental that includes a fun saxophone solo that is sure to please. “Life Eternal” is a haunting, gorgeous way to end the album, unless you have to bonus tracks of course—these 2 tracks are cover songs. The first cover is “It’s a Sin” (originally by The Pet Shop Boys) and the second is “Avalanche” (Leonard Cohen); both covers are wonderful.
Now, back to the Ritual. On May 27th I was elated to finally be going to see one of my all-time favorite bands (I’ve been listening to them heavily for about 3 years now and they have definitely made it to my all-time top 5). I had spent the months leading up to that day fantasizing about what I would say to my beloved Cardinal once I was there with him. I painted a portrait of him to present him with to show my gratitude for his artistry. I was also lucky enough to get to meet one of my Sisters of Sin that I had been talking to on Facebook already, Keisha, and then made friends while in line for the meet-and-greet with another, Brittney. You might think that someone like myself would be cool, calm, and collected when getting to meet one of their idols ; not at all! Exactly the opposite as a matter of fact! Before I could even get into the room to witness the “relics”, also known as Papa I, II, and III, I was about to hyperventilate. I was so happy to get my picture taken with my favorite Papa of them all (Papa II) and with Papa III—I took pictures of all 3 of our fallen Papas and will soon have them framed and hanging in my home—but by the time I came out of the room from viewing them and started in the line to meet Cardinal Copia I was on the brink of a panic attack. And then, faster than I could imagine, it was my turn to enter the curtain. I was immediately awe-struck.
There he was. His hand extended. Greeting me and holding my hand, his arm around me. I could barely breathe or think! I finally pulled it together enough to tell him I had painted the portrait for him. He looked at it and thanked me, told me he liked it before handing it to someone that I was barely aware existed at that point because all I could see were his wonderful eyes peering at me from his mask. I don’t remember anything I said to him beyond that point. I remember him putting his arm around me again for the picture, me taking his hand again, hugging him again, and him thanking me again, but that’s it. I know I spoke, I just have no idea what was coming out of my mouth. And just like that, it was over. But I was beyond satisfied regardless of the fact that I couldn’t remember what I’d said. All I knew was that I met him, I hugged him, and I delivered the painting with my “thank you” message painted on the back: mission accomplished!
After meeting him and speaking with Brittney again (thank you again for helping me keep it together!), my husband and our friend Danny found our seats on the 3rd row and settled in for the concert. Regardless of the seat we had, we stood for the whole concert and I sang every word to every song. I can tell you with 100% certainty that he “tickled my taint” and I am DEFINITELY with them! Copia did not disappoint as he strutted around the stage giving us the gift of his voice, and the ghouls and ghulehs were just as giving. There wasn’t a moment of the entire show that I didn’t enjoy. When it was over I felt relieved to finally be able to see Cardinal Copia and the Nameless Ghouls there before me on stage, like I was with a part of my family that I had never been able to meet until that night. It truly felt as though we had “come together as one” in that concert hall. And I’m so proud to say that I will be seeing them again on November 21st in New Orleans at the Orpheum, so if you happen to be there give me a shout!
Before I end this, I’d also like to give a special shout out to everyone that donated to the family of Jeffrey Allan Fortune, the man who lost his life a few days later at the Ghost show in Milwaukie on May 31st. The Ghost fans came together yet again and were able to raise over $10,000 for his family, and I am in awe of the generosity and compassion exhibited through this. The GoFundMe page was put up by Ghost American Ministries on behalf of Mary Fortune, and it is still up if there is someone out there that would like to donate.
In conclusion, my experience with Ghost in concert was phenomenal. Their new album, Prequelle, is a 10 out of 10 for me. I am a hardcore Ghost fan, but I can tell you with no bias that this album has something for most people, and everyone else is going to complain that it’s not hard enough or it’s not like the other Ghost albums. The truth is that it’s not supposed to be like other Ghost albums; none of the previous albums were like the others either. This is the latest chapter and I am sure there will be plenty more to come, and I for one CANNOT WAIT!
MHF Magazine/Monica Redwine