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YMMV / Ghost

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[For the first book of the Paladin of Shadows series, also titled Ghost, see here.]

For the Swedish band:

  • Anvilicious: "Rats" and "Faith" really are NOT subtle at all with their Religion Is Evil message.
  • Award Snub: People were NOT happy when Greta Van Fleet's From the Fires won "Best Rock Album" at the Grammys over Ghost's Prequelle.
  • Awesome Moments: Literally every single performance of "Con Clavi Con Dio", ever. Only one word sums it up: "LUCIFAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH."
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Deus Culpa/Con Clavi Con Dio".
    • "Ritual".
    • "Year Zero".
    • "Monstrance Clock".
    • "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen".
    • Meliora as a whole is considered this, even labeled as the band's greatest work in their run.
    • Prequelle as a whole will be remembered as the moment the band became superstars. And not without reason. It's 41 minutes of sheer, undistilled awesome.
    • The instrumental track "Miasma", arguably the catchiest metal instrumental since "Orion" by Metallica. It even ends with, of all things, a saxophone solo by Papa Nihil himself!
  • Base-Breaking Character: Cardinal Copia. From the first announcement of his character, some weren't fans of the idea of Ghost breaking away from the Papal lead singers that had become so iconic for the band. When he was finally officially unveiled, he was the subject of many complaints, particularly regarding his simple makeup design and goofy personality (which some felt was too similar to Papa III's). Considering there were already concerns that the band was becoming too "silly" and moving away from its horror movie feel, this was the exact opposite of what some fans wanted. Many warmed up to him after the release of the "Rats" music video, which featured him in a new outfit and showed off his character more, but others felt his Broadway-styled dance choreography was too over-the-top, even for this band. At least part of the backlash is due to the notion held by fans that Papa Nihil, a more traditionally sinister character, would be replacing Papa III, with the Cardinal feeling disappointing as a result. Still, Copia has many who will defend his flamboyance and humor as having been an important part of the band from the beginning, and who find him to be a refreshing twist on a formula that risked growing stale after several years.
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  • Bizarro Episode: The Popestar EP counts as this, both compared to their entire output, and compared specifically to the previous covers EP If You Have Ghost. It has one Ghost-esque song ("Square Hammer"), and one Ghost-esque cover ("Nocturnal Me" by Echo and the Bunnymen)... and then you get "Missionary Man" by Eurythmics, "I Believe" by Simian Mobile Disco (and here we were thinking they didn't listen to any music past 1989), and "Bible" by Imperiet (a Satanic band doing a gospel song). Yeah, your guess is as good as ours.
  • Broken Base:
    • Fan can't seem to agree on the new, feminine mask design seen on one of the Ghouls in new promo material. Some like the new look and see it as the band highlighting its female member. Others find it ridiculous and prefer the uniform, gender neutral look of the previous era.
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    • "Missionary Man" is either the most fun cover the band has ever done or the most embarrassing.
    • Some fans are also upset with the sexualization of the Papas and the Nameless Ghouls; finding the more sexually charged performances as distracting from the music. Others embraced it and find the aforementioned fans hypocritical since the music has always had explicit contents in them and that one of the older Papas even had sex toys made in his image. To them the more sexually charged performances is a natural outcome of the music itself.
    • There's also the fact that some fans are unhappy with more mainstream tunes of "Prequelle", though complaints about how each album does not "sound like Ghost" has been going on since the "Opus Eponymous" era. "Prequelle" however got a lot more flack than the previous ones because it has less Satanic elements and perceived by some as sounding too "pop". Others find it refreshing take on the heavy metal genre and proof of the band's ability to diversify their music.
  • Cool Old Guy: Papa Nihil attempts to be one and can give off this vibe to some people.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Water Ghuleh, the obviously femalenote  bassist portraying one of the Nameless Ghouls since 2016. Half of the comments on new live videos are about how tiny she is compared to the rest of the band. And the 2017 Water ghoul has been said to be just as awesome, for his hyperactivity, sheer stage presence and audience connection ability. It helps that he's Per "Sodomizer" Eriksson, a VERY respected musician in the Swedish metal scene. This only intensified when he became the Prequelle era Fire Ghoul.
    • For a bonus track only released on a limited LP, "Zenith" is a very popular song among fans. Likewise, "Life Eternal".
    • The 2018 Ghoulettes. They can sing, dance, and play keyboard, and the fans love them for it. And they're super cute too. Lots have commented on how much they add to the show with their mere presence alone.
    • Earth Ghoul (drummer) from 2017 onwards. Often considered to be their best live drummer... Hayden Scott, ex Awolnation drummer, definitely has lots to do with it... as has his barefoot drumming.
    • Only one word necessary: Multighoul.
  • Epic Riff:
    • The keyboards in "Secular Haze".
    • The trumpets at the end of "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen".
    • "From the Pinnacle to the Pit"
    • "Square Hammer" has one in its solo.
    • "Rats", "Dance Macabre", "Faith", and "See the Light" all have some pretty sick riffs.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Many fans constantly poke humor at the fact that Papa Emeritus is Tobias Forge of death metal band Repugnant. The fact Forge has been credited to writing all the songs for the three albums and even some have pointed his clean vocals on his indie project Subvision are very similar to that of Papa Emeritus (all three of them) should cause a fan to quirk an eyebrow. Went Up to Eleven when Nergal posted on Instagram a picture of him and Forge with the phrase "If you have ghosts, you have everything :)", causing more speculation. It didn't help Nergal later on deleted the photo from his Instagram afterwards. Even if one does talk about the similarities between the two, it doesn't ruin the illusion of Ghost, reaching jokable Memetic Mutation levels. Some people weren't surprised when the infamous lawsuit drama confirmed Forge as Papa.
    • When the lawsuit drama first entered the public eye, many fans were quick to theorize that it was all a hoax to set up the replacement of Papa III and the start of Era IV. This turned out not to be the case.
    • To say the fans have built up excessive lore for the band's backstory/the past of the Papas would take up an entire page for itself. However, there have been a multitude of speculation in regards to the linage of the Papas on the reddit page on the band, especially in regards to Papa II and III (who are both brothers). When Papa Zero appeared, fans speculated he was actually the last two Papa's father, this was also aided by a comment made by Special Ghoul/SG who said the father of the Papas would appear as Papa IV. But considering Papa Zero's age and appearance, it's unknown if he is the mentioned Papa IV. This was jossed following the introduction of Cardinal Copia, but it did raise questions about the Papa bloodline and the band's growing lore.
  • Face of the Band: Papa Emeritus is an intentional example.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Don't ask whether all the Papas are the same singer; this will earn you eye rolls from many fans.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Greta Van Fleet. The fact that Ghost lost "Best Rock Album" to them at the 2019 Grammys really hasn't made things better.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • A definite case of YMMV on this, but the reveal of the Nameless Ghouls being women in the Year Zero music video is preceded by the women stripping down to put on their ghoul garb. The uncensored version shows them topless, though since some of them are older, it's not exactly "sexy."
    • Likewise, anyone who isn't into old men will likely find the sexualization of the Papas and Cardinal to be off-putting. Special mention goes to the shot of Papa II's bare ass in the second Papaganda video.
  • Fanon:
    • It's commonly assumed among fans that Sister Imperator is a witch of some sort, despite there being little to no canon evidence to support this.
    • Thanks to him appearing with them in several merch designs, it's popular in fanworks to depict Cardinal Copia as keeping pet rats.
    • Fans tend to portray Papas II and III as having a somewhat unpleasant sibling relationship at best, outright hating each other at worst. This also bleeds over to the relationship between Papa III/II and Cardinal Copia; their relationships can bounce from being sickeningly sweet lovers to sworn enemies who loathe each other's existence. In canon, none of them have ever physically interacted with each other. At best Copia criticizes Papa III's singing and claims he's going to "wipe the floor of (Papa Emeritus III)".
    • Fan theories regarding Papa Nihil and Sister Imperator's relationship happened after Chapter 1 and skyrocketed after the "Dance Macabre" music video. Ranging from Copia being Imperator and Nihil's child to the Papas being their children, the speculation seems never ending.
    • Many fans tend to speculate that the Nameless Ghouls are genuine demonic creatures masquerading as performers and plenty fan theories abound on Ghoul Lore and their relations to the Emeritus bloodline and Satanic clergy.
  • Fun Personified: The band comes across as this during live shows, but Tobias Forge himself can be seen as this to some.
  • Funny Moments: The band likes to have a lot of fun, and this has led to a lot of laughs. For example:
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Papa III's stylish outfit isn't just for show. It's based off one of the uniforms worn by Sweden's King Gustav III, thus serving as a historical reference and a nod to Tobias' Swedish heritage.
    • Cardinal Copia's original eye make up actually resembles a condition called the bilateral periorbital ecchymosis (warning graphic imagery) a side-effect of the bubonic plague - a major theme of the album Prequelle.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The "Year Zero" video had the twist of the Nameless Ghouls being female. Three years later and the band debuted a new, female bassist during their Popestar Tour.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Prequelle was based around the Black Death, a plague that killed between 75 to 200 million people during the Middle Ages, the carriers of the disease being rats. Fast forward two years to 2020, and the world is again suffering from a plague, this time the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, with the virus originating from bats. Not helping matters is that a fan who attended their only show in 2020, which happened right as the virus hit North America, contracted it and died. Furthermore, 2020 just happens to be the Year of the Rat based on the Chinese Zodiac. The virus itself originated from Wuhan, China, and 2020 is the year the disease became a global pandemic.
  • Heartwarming Moments: For a group that's trying to convert people into Satanism, they're actually pretty nice.
    • Anytime that they pose with a kid. Probably because Tobias is a family man himself with twins.
    • During performances of "If You Have Ghosts", Papa/Cardi delivers a speech about how people are never alone because they have the memories of those who have passed on, their "ghosts". He also talks about how life can be pretty crappy, and that the pain of today will eventually go away.
    • As mentioned in Tearjerker below, during their concert on May 31st in Milwaukee, a fan, later identified as Jeffery Fortune, collapsed and tragically passed away at the hospital. Due to the death, the band decided to not do the second half of their show. However, it was announced that on October 31st (five months later), Ghost would return to Milwaukee to do the second half of the show for all ticket holders, and will be releasing a new shirt exclusive to the show, with the proceeds going to Fortune's family.
  • Ho Yay:
    • The 2017 Ether and Water ghouls really... erm, seem to like each other.
    • The female Water Ghoul still interacted with female audience members just as much as the male members do, though given she was from a band called Lez Zeppelin that may not be surprising.
    • Papa III was, ah, very close to his Ghouls. Cardinal Copia then proceeded to crank this Up to Eleven.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "PAPA IS TOBIAS!!!"
    • "scooby doo chase music"
    • Giving the members' ridiculous pseudonyms based on their names to avoid spoiling their identities when discussing them on public forums, i.e., a member with the initials E.P. would become "Electro Pants."
    • Jokes about whether Papa Zero will be the next person for Ghost and how he'd sing considering his old age (more so than Papa I).
    • "His father. His father's father. His father's father's father. His father's father's father's father's father. His father."
    • The official Cardinal Copia plushie was quickly memed as soon as it came out in the official merchandise store due to its perceived Ugly Cute quality.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Thanks to some douchebag alt-right internet personalities not worth naming, a vocal minority on the YouTube comments section for "Rats" started spouting that the titular rats were Jewish people, somehow completely missing the fact the band's gimmick has always been blatantly anti-Christianity.
  • Mondegreen: "Dance Macabre" has a couple:
    • There are harmonies which can be heard briefly in the second verse. It's often heard as "Like this, yeah" and "I'm lovin' it", but it's actually "Cataclysm" and "Armageddon."
    • Its chorus is also regularly misheard, with the repeated word "bewitch" often being mistaken for "be with".
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Papa Emeritus's vocals in spades, especially with songs like "He Is".
  • Narm:
    • Their lyrics can be seen as pretty silly and over the top to some.
    • Parts of the video for "From the Pinnacle to the Pit" are this due to its Special Effects Failure and confusing story line.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Their music is surprisingly absent of this most times, given the horror shtick, but they aren't ones to shy away from it every now and then.
    • "Mummy Dust". Much Darker and Edgier than their entire output, uncharacteristically harsh vocals, terrifying lyrics about greed, increasingly threatening atmosphere... proof that this band can be scary when they want to.
    • "Prime Mover" also counts for its rather graphic description of a nun's (likely forced, definitely fatal) pregnancy with The Antichrist.
    • The final performance of Papa III. During the performance of "Monstrance Clock", Papa III was grabbed by two men in black suits and dragged off the stage, much to the shock of the audience and even the Nameless Ghouls. And then, an older, decrepit satanic Papa totters on stage with a cane and an oxygen mask, along with two other black suited men carrying an oxygen tank. This new Papa identifies himself as Papa Zero and declares an ominous message in Italian: "The party is over. The Middle Ages has begun." And this will foreshadow Era IV...
    • Fans wondered what happened to the Papas after they "retired". We got an answer in one of the small video blurbs: They're put "back on the road", but poisoned and to be displayed during the band's tours. Not just that but the entire sequence of them being poisoned and then being preserved for their display features the song "Pro Memoria" off of Prequelle. A song about not fearing death, but with the imagery and the coroner preparing them in a very gleeful way comes across as...unsettling, to say the least.
  • Periphery Demographic: Likely due to their use of gothic and horror imagery, the band has found quite a few fans among Goths, ReeRee Philips being one famous example. This has even led to them being mistakenly labelled as Gothic Metal. The band also has quite the fanbase among middle aged and older classic rock fans due to their old school sound.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The Air Keyboardist replacement in 2017. While the fandom gradually grew to appreciate the rest of the replacement Ghouls brought on for the European leg of the Popestar tour as talented musicians in their own right, New!Air has earned the fans' ire for miming along to a backing track during the "Mummy Dust" keyboard solo, falsely claiming that the previous Air did the same thing in an attempt to defend himself, bragging about his status as a Nameless Ghoul on social media, and sitting during concerts.
  • Signature Song: "Cirice", formerly "Ritual"
    • "Dance Macabre" seems to becoming one as well.
  • Small Reference Pools: Of the dozens of demons they could have mentioned in Year Zero they went with Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, and two synonyms for the Devil.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Minus New!Air for reasons stated above, the 2017 lineup of the band seems to be getting this a lot, being praised for having a much tighter live sound than the previous band, being far more energetic on stage as well, having a better ability at interacting with the crowd, and even giving bands they open for a run for their money as far as overall presentation goes.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Moments before moving into a saxophone solo, "Miasma" features a very clear riff styled after a memorable part of Michael Jackson's "Beat It".
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: Surprisingly, and even hilariously considering the Satanic shtick, a great number of their songs fall into this.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Their cover of Simian Mobile Disco's "I Believe".
    • The last minute of "Deus in Absentia". The song is hardly happy to begin with, but the final minute with the choir sorrowfully clamoring makes hammers it in further.
    • Band example: Tobias went on an interview show after finally doing a first ever confirmation as Papa Emeritus and while discussing how Ghost began, mentioned the tragic passing of his brother, an event that shook him hard. Worse was his brother's death happened the same day he uploaded the first ever Ghost song on Myspace. At the end of said interview Tobias talks about how he still does things based on whether or not his brother would've liked them. Not to mention the fact that he claims the reason he does Ghost the way he does to make his brother proud. His last words, in tears, before signing off? "See you in Nangijala" (Nangijala is the representation of the afterlife in the "Brothers Lionheart" books). Doubles with CMOH
    • On June 1st, 2018, Ghost was performing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the night of the official release of Prequelle. What should've been a celebratory and fun night wound up tragic, as a fan collapsed during the show's intermission. He was given CPR and taken to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The band, having heard what happened, decided to end the show early out of respect for the fallen fan. For all their talk of death, it's obvious that the band was shaken and heartbroken about what transpired.
      • Doubles as heartwarming, as the band returned to the venue on Halloween 2018 for a special show in his memory. His family was given VIP seating and Tobias (in character as Cardinal Copia) said that even though tragedy brought them together that night, life is still worth celebrating. A special limited edition shirt was sold at the show with all proceeds going to the fan's family, and after the show, the band took pictures with the family and a framed photo of their fallen fan.
    • "Life Eternal" might be the most heartbreaking final song on an album since "Glass Arm Shattering".
    • On March 3rd, 2020, during their "Final Gig of Death" show, Papa Nihil collapsed after the sax solo in "Miasma". His handlers tried to revive him, but to no avail. Papa Nihil has passed.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The fact that all the past Papas were brothers was never explored in the band's supplementary material. With their deaths, it's unlikely their relationship ever will be depicted onscreen. Justified in the fact that they're all played by Tobias, so it would be hard trying to do any real interactions between them onscreen without it being obvious.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Cardinal Copia could fall into this. His prosthetics are convincing from a distance, but when closer up, you can tell that his face looks too big on his body (He somewhat resembles the exaggerated faces in Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" video). It also doesn't help that the prosthetics limit his mouth's range of motion, which means he has only one expression. This could be intentional, considering Copia looks confused and is going along with all the weirdness of following the work of Satan.
    • Papa III's unpainted "face." It too looks too big for his body, which makes it stand out more when you consider that his usual look was pretty normal.
    • The same can be said for Papa II's unpainted face, especially when he doesn't wear his sunglasses. The eyes especially looks comically small for the rest of his face.
  • Ugly Cute: The general consensus when it came to the official Cardinal Copia plushie.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: While most of the outfits in "Kiss the Go-Goat" fit the late 60s setting fairly well, young Sister Imperator is given a strange, costume-y looking dress that's far too short for the period, with very modern styled hair and makeup. Full photos show the shoes, at least, are accurate, but also that the outfit came with a very anachronistic feather boa.

For the play

  • Ho Yay: In the Norwegian version, Manders yells "Det er slutt mellom oss" at Engstrand, which usually means "It's over" as in a romantic breakup.


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