Ghost Cult’s Albums of the Year 2022 Part 3 (20 – 1)

Press on, intrepid reader, to find out our top albums of 2022, as voted for by the cast, crew and hangers-on of the good ship Ghost Cult. Over 275 albums were nominated (including one stray and errant vote for Stryper… we’ve had words), some people lauded albums as the greatest of all time that no one else noticed, other albums picked up a steady stream of votes across the board without tickling the top of anyone’s charts, but through it all, we’ve been able to compile our team list of the best 75 albums of the year. And there are some absolute corkers, here. 75 of them, to be exact…

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Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year 2022 Part 2 (40-21)

As we move into the meaty part of the Ghost Cult albums of the year for 2022 (as chosen solely by the team that dedicate their time to promote, analyse and share the love for the great alternative music that we exist to talk about), we find a mix of old favourites and a sprinkling of new rising and shining stars…Continue reading

Ghost Cult’s Albums of the Year 2022: Part 1 (75 – 41)


After a false start, someone (naming no names) got rather over-excited about a new Power Metal band that promptly disappeared out of the collective consciousness, it wasn’t until mid-January, and a new 40 Watt Sun album, that alternative, rock and metal really got out of the starting blocks for 2022.Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Victorius – Dinosaur Warfare Pt. 2 – The Great Ninja War

Just when you thought things had finally returned to normal after the pandemic, up pop Victorius to make you question your own sanity. Returning with their sixth full-length studio album (or second since going full dino-ninja bonkers) the five German nutters with a Gloryhammer sense of humour and an instant autocorrect for a name thrust Dinosaur Warfare Pt. 2 – The Great Ninja War (Napalm Records) onto an unsuspecting (Jurassic) world.Continue reading

Majestica – Above The Sky

Unless you keep one eye permanently fixed on the European power metal scene, the chances are you might not have heard of Swedish act Majestica. You’ll have probably have heard of ReinXeed though, and – no matter what your opinion of them might be – you’ll definitely have heard of Sabaton. The link between them all? Guitarist Tommy Johansson. Continue reading

September 28th 2018 New Music Releases

Check out all of today’s new releases in the music world! Continue reading

Serenity – Lionheart

Symphonic Power Metal band Serenity is back with a new album, Lionheart (Napalm), and they are strong as ever. As on previous album Codex Atlanticus, which explored the life and writings of Leonardo DaVinci, the band’s passion for history inspired the themes and lyrics of the album. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: Wintersun’s Jari Mäenpää Talks Musical Influences

In this exclusive album preview for Ghost Cult, Wintersun mastermind Jari Mäenpää discusses is his biggest musical influences. You can watch the video below. Continue reading

Tuska20 – The Anniversary Song Features Members Of Amorphis, Children Of Bodom, Nightwish, Wintersun And More!

Finland’s Tuska open-air metal festival is celebrating their twentieth anniversary in a very cool way. Continue reading

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow Genting Arena ghostcultmag

It was unfortunate that the first thing I noticed after entering the impressive Genting Arena for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was a seriously poor collection of t-shirts at the merchandise stand. How difficult would it have been to produce a nice black shirt with the Rising cover on the front and the single NEC date splashed across the back for a smugness level of 11? Mind you, you did get a free Blackmore’s Night CD with every purchase, so there was that, I suppose.

Support act Mostly Autumn were up first, and shorn of a member or two, could realistically have been called Mostly Mostly Autumn for the evening. Hard rock with a celtic edge, singers Bryan Josh and Olivia Sparnenn sounded fantastic, but you felt they would have been far better suited to a much smaller stage.

And so to the only reason people were in attendance. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Arriving on stage to a recording of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ the lengthy intro was completed by a sound clip of Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz followed by Blackmore playing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ while accompanied by the loud and rapturous applause of everyone inside the sold out venue.


Opening properly with Deep Purple‘s ‘Highway Star’, it was lift-off inside the arena as everyone sang along with relatively unknown vocalist Ronnie Romero at the top of their voices. However, even at such an early stage in proceedings it was clear that Ritchie was not on top form. Well, how could he be? He’s 71 with the onset of arthritis and recovering from a recent operation on one of his fingers. This wasn’t Blackmore at the height of his pomp, this was an ageing Blackmore doing his very best his fingers would allow. His guitar sound wasn’t great, he stayed pretty much rooted to the spot, steadfastly refusing to move to the other side of the stage even for a couple of minutes, and he appeared to be playing everything a little slower and a lot more staccato than the studio material everyone knows so well. But he was there. It’s a distinct possibility that Black Sabbath won’t sound their absolute best when they play their final show here next year, but you know it’ll go down as a classic regardless of their performance, and it was the same for Rainbow last night. Blackmore might not be able to let his fingers fly like they used to, restricting his solos to bluesy licks and scales, occasionally throwing in short bursts of speed when needed, but he still gave it his all and the gig will still be talked about for a long time to come.


If it wasn’t for Blackmore, vocalist Ronnie Romero might well have stolen the show last night. I’d never heard of him or his band Lords of Black until very recently, but if there’s any justice in this world then he’ll have a big future ahead of him. He belted out Ronnie James Dio‘s Rainbow tracks with complete authority and his voice was nothing short of spectacular. He handled the Ian Gillan stuff incredibly well too, showing the right amount of power and emotion, with only ‘Child In Time’ being a bridge too far for his ability as he let the two female backing singers take the ridiculously high notes for him while he continued in a lower register. Keyboard player Jens Johannson, stolen for this brief run from Finnish Power Metallers Stratovarius excelled in his role as Ritchie’s foil, playing off the guitar parts and taking over when he needed to. His playing even turned a predictably tedious drum solo into something actually worth listening to.

Mixing just about the right amount of Purple and Rainbow material, Blackmore always had the audience on side, and God help me, I’m sure I even saw him crack a smile on a couple of occasions. ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’, ‘Spotlight Kid’, ‘Mistreated’, ‘Perfect Strangers’, and ‘Soldier of Fortune’ were brilliant. ‘Long Live Rock and Roll’ turned into a massive sing along, and ‘Stargazer’ was phenomenal. However, ‘Black Night’ sounded a little twee, and you’d think the guy who wrote ‘Smoke on the Water’ would be able to play it in time. The few first bar was off by about half a beat and it took a few seconds to get back into it. ‘Since You Been Gone’ was another huge sing along and ‘Catch The Rainbow’ although played well, just wasn’t as good as when Opeth played it at Bloodstock Open Air shortly after Ronnie James Dio died. That version was a serious shivers down the spine moment, while last night it just lacked something special. Thankfully, the omission of the hugely overrated ‘I Surrender’ helped make up for this.


A massively enjoyable evening where everyone went home with daft grins, thoroughly happy that they’d seen someone called Ronnie sing Rainbow songs with Ritchie Fucking Blackmore on the stage.

Set list:
Land of Hope and Glory/Over the Rainbow (intro)
Highway Star
Spotlight Kid
Since You Been Gone
Man on the Silver Mountain
Soldier of Fortune
Difficult to Cure/Drum Solo
Catch the Rainbow
Perfect Strangers
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
Child in Time
Black Night
Smoke on the Water


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