Live Review: Ghost, Blood Ceremony, Ancient VVisdom at El Corazon

Robert Hanna / February 3, 2012
Ghost live at El Corazon
Singer Papa Emeritus of Ghost

Few metal bands received as much buzz in the past year as Ghost, an enigmatic six piece hailing from Stockholm, Sweden notorious for their elaborate stage presentation as well as their personal anonymity.  Musically, Ghost is a complete anomaly in the metal scene; while still just as technical as their grindier and growlier counterparts, Ghost focuses largely on harmony and melody, and their debut LP Opus Eponymous is so radio-friendly that it reads more like a pop album.  On a songwriting level, Ghost have more in common with bourgeoning sound of metal in the late 70’s and early 80’s; bands like Mercyful Fate, Witchfinder General, Blue Oyster Cult and even Alice Cooper are invoked in various forms.

Nameless Ghouls of Ghost

While the band has an undeniable lyrical corniness about them, they are voraciously tight and put on a fantastic live set.  Singer Papa Emeritus emerged onto stage, donning a signature dark, ironic pope costume swinging a very pungent incense burner, while the rest of the group only known as Nameless Ghouls remained shrouded.  Ghost naturally invokes a lot of criticism from metal purists, yet there is something refreshing and unavoidably infectious about their music.  One has to wonder if the band would be experiencing such successes if the costumes and mystique weren’t involved, but for now they are garnering obsessed fans everywhere they appear.


Alia O’Brien of Blood Ceremony

Accompanying Ghost were Metal Blade label mates Blood Ceremony, a Toronto-based quartet that play occult-inspired, flute and organ-tinged rock, almost like an evil Jethro Tull or a witchy Jefferson Airplane.  Invoking equal part elements of early doom metal and classic rock, the group writes remarkably involved songs supporting singer and flutist/keyboardist Alia O’Brien’s powerful voice.  Formed in 2006, the group made heads turn with last year’s Living With the Ancients LP, and certainly proved to be the more interesting act on the tour.

Guitarist Sean Kennedy of Blood Ceremony


Guitarist Ribs of Ancient VVisdom live at El Corazon

Opening the set was Ancient VVisdom from Austin, a strange hybrid of neo-folk, grunge (yes, that’s right), and acoustic metal.  While the band invokes memories of Jar of Flies-era Alice in Chains, there is something very unique and introspective about their sound.  Singer Nathan Opposition played a stripped-down kit and their minimal stage was adorned with antlers, horns, and burning incense.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *