It’s an inviting malevolence, voiced by a fellow dressed as an evil skeleton pope.
Sweden’s Ghost often sounds like Blue Oyster Cult, the Beach Boys and Black Sabbath all at once.
The band’s latest record, “Infestissumam,” was one of the best of 2013, a mix of golden melody and soot-black misanthropy equally suited for humming or soundtracking your next sacrificial offering to the goat lord.
The band is fronted by Papa Emeritus, the costumed clergyman in question, backed by five hooded, masked bandmates known only as the Nameless Ghouls.
These days, their congregation is growing fast.
Who exactly counts themselves among the band’s flock?
Read on and find out.
Hard rock and heavy metal royalty
The heavy metal T-shirt is a sacred thing, right up there with denim, beer and the indecipherable band logo.
It’s a part of one’s identity and an endorsement of the band in question.
It says, “I proudly vouch for this band’s awesomeness,” and in doing so, I’m adding their awesome to my awesome to form a multidimensional panoply of kick-ass-ness.
This is why, when you wear a metal T-shirt in public, you will invariably be greeted by other metal dudes who will come up to you and shout the name of said band directly at you at volumes normally reserved for airport baggage handlers trying to communicate over the din of a departing 747.
This is a good thing.
It’s also something that fans of no other style of music seem to do.
Ever witness someone bellow “Death Cab for Cutie!” inches from the face of another fan sporting the band’s gear, spittle coating their chunky black-framed glasses?
Reason No. 1,478 why metal fans rule.
So, when metal luminaries like Metallica frontman James Hetfield and former Pantera/current Down singer Phil Anselmo began donning Ghost T-shirts early on in the band’s career, it instantly created buzz for the group.
And then there was Dave Grohl.
Not only did the Foo Fighters frontman record and produce Ghost’s excellent covers EP, “If You Have Ghost,” which came out last fall, but he also played drums on the band’s stirring version of ABBA’s “I’m a Marionette.”
Because they’re Swedish.
And, also, Satan’s a big fan.
Speaking of which …
The Prince of Darkness
Yeah, ol’ Beelzebub has long been associated with heavy metal even though we all know it’s the collected works of Donny and Marie Osmond that’s on permanent rotation in the burning depths of hell.
Despite metal’s demonic connotations, there have never been that many truly Satanic bands, just a lot of groups that have adopted a pentagram-heavy presentation as a way to really make moms hyperventilate.
C’mon, metal would be way less fun if parents approved.
And it’s safe to say that Grandma won’t like Ghost, whose lyrics are wholly Satanic.
The first words sang on the band’s 2010 debut, “Opus Eponymous”: “Lucifer / We Are Here / For Your Praise /Evil One.”
Elsewhere, there’s plenty of human sacrifice and succubus action, along with ample Bible bashing and, of course, the comparing of mankind to lice.
So, does Ghost really bro-down with the Antichrist, or are they just playfully blowing some (un)holy smoke?
They insinuate it’s the latter.
But either way, we bet Satan listens with forked tongue in cheek.
Traditionally, heavy metal has been about as seductive as the come-ons etched into the stalls in a truck stop men’s room.
This is one of the reasons why women have had less of a presence at metal shows over the years than Wham! tattoos and sobriety.
Ghost, however, manages to bridge this yawning gender gap, at least partly.
There’s a dark carnality in parts of the band’s catalog, not only lyrically — what woman doesn’t like a good old fashioned romantic tale of getting it on with “the beast of evil” — but also in Ghost’s sound itself, which has a sensual quality to it on songs like “Prime Mover” and “Jigolo Har Megiddo.”
To underscore the band’s appeal with the fairer sex, Papa Emeritus was recently featured in a video on the Noisey website which chronicled his adventures in Las Vegas after a show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in October.
In it, he catches the eye of a comely gal backstage, and soon enough, the two of them, along with another buxom lass, are rolling around in the bed of Emeritus’ sweet suite.
File under: Things that never happen at a Dying Fetus gig.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.