Editorial: Thoughts on Ghost’s He Is Video
Written by Brett Kihlmire
In what is likely the farewell of Papa Emeritus III, Ghost released a video for ‘He Is’ off the Meliora album (2015). Some have cried foul at this video for a number of reasons with the most common being that it mocks Christianity (no kidding, it’s Ghost), it features only Papa Emeritus III, and it’s the “weakest” track on the album. While I personally enjoy this tune and I enjoyed the video (and who can argue with that baptism scene?), it was a little strange given the length of time between the release of the album and the video. Regardless, I have some thoughts on it. Let’s start with Papa Emeritus.
In my eyes, this was most certainly a send off to Papa III and a hint that album four is on the way. After all, Ghost released the Popestar EP last year, which has become something of a pattern for Ghost – album, EP, album, EP. As for Ghost ripping on Christianity in this one, well, it’s Ghost, what more can I really say? Well, a lot actually.
Ghost isn’t taking a jab at Christianity as a whole, rather they’re poking fun at evangelical Christians, particularly the ones that appear on television and worship money more than they do God. This all plays well into Papa Emeritus III’s playboy persona. After all, he’s been the most comical and least satanic of the three Papa’s so far. In fact, it was hard not to notice that his playboy antics have earned the ire of the dark lord himself as shown in the video for ‘Square Hammer’ (watch it HERE), which was a heavy hint that the Emeritus title is soon to be passed on to a new Papa. Now for the Nameless Ghouls question.
Where the hell are the Nameless Ghouls in ‘He Is’? Quite simply, they wouldn’t have fit in this video quite so well. After all, they’re a group of ghouls wearing demonic masks. They would stand out in a church like the devil himself. But for a bit of speculation; the lack of Ghouls is possibly due to Papa III going his own way, the character that is. As mentioned with Square Hammer, he’s not like the preceding two in that he’s much more of an individual rather than a speaker for Satan. As such, it’s not out of character for him to form his own congregation and reap the benefits of a cult following. He is a movie star after all (see Square Hammer). Then again, the absence of the Ghouls could also be due to the real life situation of the Nameless Ghouls splitting with Ghost and taking the man behind the skeleton mask to court over royalties. Whatever the case, it was a cool video and I’m sure a lot of people were enjoying what YouTube forgot to censor.
All in all, ‘He Is’ was an unexpected video from Ghost. Meliora released in 2015 and the Popestar EP was released in 2016. It goes without saying that we’re all hungry for new Ghost material, but once more, I believe this is meant to be a send off for Papa III, though ‘Square Hammer’ was more than adequate. Then again, there’s always the possibility that it’s just a means of letting the fans know that Ghost is still alive and well as a band with or without its gaggle of Nameless Ghouls. After all, this is Papa’s band and it will go on until he calls it a day. Hopefully we get an announcement on album four soon.