In an interview with Revolver, GHOST mainman Tobias Forge shared an update on the band’s follow-up to 2015’s Meliora, saying: ” “It is loosely themed around the concept of death and doom. It’s a themed album around medieval times, but it’s definitely clinging onto a lot of very current things.”
He continued: “The Black Death [plague] is a great example of a turning point for a whole civilization. Complete villages were annihilated. Most people knew very little, so all of it was God or the Devil – and about their faith being questioned: ‘Why are we being stricken down by this great scourge? It must be because of our not fearing God enough and all this superstitious bullshit.
“There’s a lot that you would recognize today in online mannerisms. In many ways, we’ve gone back a few steps because now it’s closer to how it was back in the old days when people were standing at the square and all of a sudden, it’s like in Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’: ‘Stone him! Ra! Ra! Ra!’ Public trials are very unsupervised and extremely swift and speak to the most primordial parts of us.”
Speaking about the album’s opening track, “Rats,” Forge said: “It’s actually not technically about rodents. It’s about something spreading as wildfire and completely destroying things quicker than you know. It was how the plague started in Europe.
“It was basically a couple of merchant ships that had been over in Crimea. A few of them sailed into the port of Messina in Sicily, and according to the legend, from the ship came rats and they were carrying the fleas that had this bubonic plague. Almost everyone on the ship was dead and dying.”
He was then asked about another track, “Dance Macabre,” to which he replied: “Europe was in this turmoil in the late 1340s. The plague is extremely fast. It starts off as the worst flu you’ve ever had and then it just goes worse and then you’re dead after three days. So people were lying in the streets – corpses and all the surroundings were just falling apart.
“All the brothels and pubs were thriving because people started partying literally like there was no tomorrow because they were gonna die. They were just going for it. ‘Dance Macabre’ is capturing that joyous nocturnal sort of life in a disco song. [Laughs]”
He also spoke about the album’s closing track, “Life Eternal”: “After this whole album going in and out of that sort of mortality, let’s say you were given the opportunity to circumvent the natural order of things and given carte blanche to live forever. Would you want to do that? Is that something you would be willing to commit to?”