Ghost leads Good Friday service in Pittsburgh Apr21

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Ghost leads Good Friday service in Pittsburgh

Swedish purveyors of melodic, Satanic doom metal, Ghost, are currently out on the road with King Dude, promoting their latest unholy incantation Infestissumam on the Tour Zero tour. The band and their love of all things Satan made a stop in Pittsburgh on Good Friday of all days and the diehard Pittsburgh fans decided to forgo Jesus to burn in hell with Papa Emeritus II and the Nameless Ghouls.

Anyone would feel sorry for the poor bastards that would have to face the seemingly insurmountable task of opening for heavyweights like Ghost, but Luciferian lovers King Dude from Seattle were ready to lead the faithful into the darkened abyss with their unique, one of a kind brand of acoustic doom metal that can only be described as Johnny Cash having a bad acid trip.

Their sound is a mix of 60’s surfer music, The Stooges, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Pink Floyd and of course, Johnny Cash combined with a deep lower vocal register similar to Peter Steele or Peter Murphy. Their 40 minute set was dripping with blasphemous Satanic lyrics and references to Lucifer. For just two guitarists and a drummer they made one hell of a lot of noise.

A tattered, burned and blackened American flag served as the focal point of their stage show and the band’s minimalist approach was received surprisingly well by the so far mellow crowd. They played so hard the drummer broke a stick and sent it flying. Only taking a break before closer “Lucifer Is the Light of the World” for King Dude to say “I’m glad you’re all still here. I spilled my whiskey, so I’m drinking his,” motioning to the other guitarist.

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Ghost was next and the energy in the air was so intense you could feel it. Several devoted fans had their faces painted and a few were even dressed like Papa Emeritus II. Not to mention the diversity and age of people in the crowd. Despite coming from a myriad of different backgrounds, all the disciples in attendance had come to kneel and pray at the church of Ghost.

Their time had come.

The lights dimmed and the intro music played as the band took the stage to the visceral roar of the crowd. Church was now in session and the imposing cathedral facade taking center stage as the Reverend Emeritus lead the congregation through a plethora of Satanic hymns. Papa prowled the stage with a quite confident demeanor while the Nameless Ghouls unleashed hell, the depth of his conviction and charisma immeasurable.

To show his prowess and total command over the crowd of impassioned onlookers, Papa often proved his dominion with just simple had gestures. He seldom said a single word, even raising the volume of the near capacity crowd when introducing the Ghouls before “Year Zero” by just pointing at them.

How many frontman can just stand there and still work the crowd into a frenzy?

Even on the rare occasion when he did speak, Papa was a very soft spoken man of few words. “Pittsburgh are you still ok?” This is our third time here. It’s nice to see so many familiar faces.

“It’s not quite as loud as I wanted it. We’re going to change this, yes?”

His thick accent only to his mystique and charm which triggered the shrill cries of a baby through the speakers, that signaled the beginning of the Beatles cover “Here Comes The Sun” and a huge sing along.

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Everyone’s evening of darkness was further enhanced by a sound mix that was near perfect so the massive hooks and rumbling bottom-end of tracks like “Ritual,” “Prime Mover,” “Elizabeth,” “Body And Blood,” “Depth Of Satan’s Eyes” and “Genesis” came across much heavier than their studio counterparts and shook the venue and its occupants to their very core.

The show came to a temporary close with a stunning, crowd favorite cover of “If You Have Ghosts,” by Roky Erickson. At its conclusion, Papa leaned forward to hand a young lady in the front row a blackened rose followed by the Ghouls throwing sticks and picks into the audience.

Having not had quite their fill, the immediate chants for their return began. The band obliged with the encores of “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” and “Monstrance Clock.”

It’s gang chorus of “Come together as one, for Lucifer’s son,” slowly faded into the night as the band again exited the stage. Refusing to accept it was over, the fans again began chanting for more, only to have their hopes crushed when the house lights came on.

The big surprise of the evening was that the band did not play “Secular Haze” and to all you sinners who ate meat, then worshiped at the temple of Ghost, you are going to hell for sure, but it will be a wild ride and you’ll have good company along the way. Plus there will be a killer house band.

-Eric Hunker