One of the great success stories of the last ten years or so, the inexorable rise of occult rockers Ghost has been nothing short of astonishing. From their inception in 2006 and the release of full length debut Opus Eponymous (Rise Above Records) four years later, the act from Linköping have gone on to become one of Sweden’s greatest ever exports.
Released an improbable seventeen years ago, Once (Nuclear Blast), the fifth album from symphonic metal pioneers Nightwish saw the band catapulted from relative obscurity and into the eyes and ears of a much wider audience. With lead single ‘Nemo’ being given regular airplay on radio and music television channels, everything seemed to be falling into place for the Finnish act.
The last of a groundbreaking run of undisputed classics, Sabotage (Vertigo/BMG), often gets overlooked during debates about the studio legacy of legendary metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Considering the seismic impact of the band’s previous five releases, this isn’t entirely surprising but Sabotage has always deserved more time in those conversations.
It was a drizzly, grey Saturday morning sometime in 1982 and I was being dragged around the shops by my parents. At some point, we ended up in a WH Smiths record shop. I wasn’t even into music then, of any description, but I flicked idly through the vinyl anyway just to pass the time. By chance, two tall, long-haired cavemen clad in denim and leather came and stood next to me. When one of them leaned over and picked up something called The Number of the Beast it grabbed my attention instantly, my ten-year-old face transfixed by the artwork on the front. As he lifted it out, I noticed more artwork, this time on the back of his jacket. Iron Maiden – Purgatory. It looked magnificent. I’d never even heard of Iron Maiden before then and I certainly didn’t know who or what a Purgatory was, but I knew I wanted to see more. Grabbing the next record in the section, my eyes didn’t leave the intricately painted sleeve until my parents came and literally pulled it out of my hands. Killers.
The first time I saw Between the Buried and Me live was at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City, during a tour for their then-newly released Colors (Victory Records) album; it was a pivotal period for the group who had, at that time, seen a series of lineup changes in short order. Five drummers, four guitarists, and three bassists later, the band was shaping their sound to dull the edges from the ever-aggressive Silent Circus (Victory Records) and Alaska (Victory Records) albums to an arguably more technically complex, albeit at times mellower, Jazzy era that would set the tone for the rest of their musical trajectory as we know it today. Continue reading
Deftones, even at their best, have been a band of dichotomies. That is what makes them a special band in the history of heavy music: opposing forces pulling and pushing them apart and back again. They may have been coming apart at the seams in the run-up to making Diamond Eyes (Reprise), and you couldn’t blame them. If you follow the band closely, you know the history. The band was nearly done tracking their highly anticipated album Eros in the fall of 2008, when founding bassist Chi Cheng was in a car wreck, on his way home from a funeral. Chi was left in a vegetative state, and the band was in shock. As Chi fought for his life (he passed in 2013, RIP), the band was left wondering what to do. They wanted to make music, but the experience with their best friend caused them to shelve Eros, never to be heard (almost never). When they came back together, the results were unexpected and wild. Continue reading
“What if there’s no more fun to have?” This seems to be a common sentiment among many when looking at the state of the world these days. Here at Ghost Cult, we’re hoping to bring a little joy, perhaps, dare I say, a will to live? If you’re anything like me, music is as essential to you as the air that you breathe, the blood in your veins, or Matt Pike’s lack of a shirt.Continue reading
The 1980s was a transition time for Rock and Heavy Metal. Led Zeppelin would disband soon after a loss. AC/DC would lose a leader but gain new life. Ozzy was out of Sabbath, they had yet to unleash the Dio era, and Ozzy had yet to deliver his solo début. Michael Schenker quit UFO. Uriah Heap was changing key members left and right. Queen, Thin Lizzy, and Ultravox were adding new sounds and weirding out core fans. Only Judas Priest and Iron Maiden seemed to be ruling over the upper echelon and pioneering the New Wave of British Heavy Metal Sound. A young band the strength of an impressive demo (The Getcha Rocks Off E.P.), Sheffield UK’s best export, Def Leppard, debuted a début album full of ass-kicking music, the influence of the masters, few pretentious trappings, wizard guitar work, and amazing vocals. On Through The Night (Vertigo/Mercury) broke through as major-league début release in a year that later would be remembered for greatness. Continue reading
40 Years, Still Breaking The Wall
Ever wondered what makes a “classic band” classic? Have you ever sat down and play records of bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, etc. just to analyze the components of what makes them be as magnificent as they are? Even more, how is it that forty, fifty years later their music still as intact and as relevant as ever before? This is the case with Pink Floyd, especially when we think about that four classic albums run that they had in the mid-seventies. Albums like The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals, brought us records that still are in the charts and are, basically, soundtracks of our current lifestyle. Continue reading
Twenty-five years ago Korn released their debut self-titled album and changed the face of music. Yeah we know you think anything “Nu’ and metal bites. You can see yourself out right now. Whether you like all things Adidas tracksuits and Hip-Hop beats with downtuned riffs or not, what Korn put down on that first album changed heavy music for the better. All heavy music.