Ghost has a wide variety of influences, which is why it’s so hard to categorize them as a rock band or a metal band. In fact, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott – who is a self-proclaimed fan – said their latest album Impera is “like a whole new kind of music”.
You might wonder why anyone should care what Elliott thinks of Ghost, but Tobias Forge recently said metal hammer that he tried to emulate Def Leppard’s songwriting structure with Impera.
“Going into this album, I thought I’d see if I could do it a bit more like Def Leppard did, where every song – especially on Pyromania or Hysteria – starts with a thing, then there’s a verse, then there’s a pre-chorus that sounds like a chorus, then there’s another pre-chorus and another thing and finally, after about five different sections, comes the chorus, in a completely different key way,” Ghost’s mastermind explained.
“It’s such a riot! Every song! Even ‘For Some Sugar on Me’ is pretty cleverly written. I’m not saying that as a surprise – I think they were brilliant.”
Given Forge’s praise of Def Leppard, metal hammer then interviewed Elliott to see what he thought of the compliments and whether he was actually a fan of their music or not.
The singer recalled that he discovered Ghost through guitarist Phil Collen, who described Ghost’s sound to him as “sort of Scando gothic metal but with brilliant melodies”, and Elliott was intrigued. After hearing some of their new songs, Elliott asked Collen to send him the full album, and now it’s been his “must-have album” for the past few weeks.
“I listened to it all and thought it was absolutely mind-blowing. It’s like a whole new kind of music – it’s way more Toto than death metal or anything like that,” said said the singer. “I downloaded it to my Apple Watch so I could walk away and listen to it. I only have a few albums on it, and Ghost is one of them.”
While Elliott admitted he didn’t hear many similarities between Ghost and Def Leppard in the music itself, he feels they have a similar attitude – and he appreciates that Forge admitted he likes them. , rather than pretending to dislike them while following a similar songwriting format.
“He’s not afraid to lose credibility with his fans by checking Def Leppard’s name,” he remarked.
Another sentiment that Forge and Elliott seem to share is their admiration for theatrical performances. A few weeks ago, the Ghost frontman said he’d rather be known as being more like Rammstein than Pearl Jam, who have a much more stripped down style of performance than the German metalheads. Elliott has apparently never been disappointed by the grunge aesthetic either.
“Oh, I love that theatrical stuff. When I was 16 and saw Kiss Destructive posters in Bradley’s records in Sheffield, life-size, I was like, ‘If that sounds like it sounds, that’s my kind of album.’ Same thing with Bowie,” the Def Leppard frontman recalled. “He was someone who made an effort not to look like a roadie. That was the thing with grunge and britpop – I could listen to the music, but it sounded like they were waiting for a bus. Wearing a fucking parka on stage? No thanks.”
As for a potential Ghost collaboration, Elliott said he’s up for it.
“We are not afraid to collaborate with anyone,” he enthused.
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