Ghost: Members, albums, songs and tour dates

Band Ghost

We can’t forget the value that Sweden has brought to pop and rock music. ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base, Opeth, and many other pop and rock bands came out of Sweden. One of the most important of these bands is Ghost. We have gathered all the information you need to know about the Swedish rock band Ghost.

Among the Swedish rock bands that have garnered international attention, Ghost (also known as Ghost B.C. in the US) stands out as a true revelation in the realm of heavy metal and hard rock. Formed in Linköping in 2006, Ghost combines a unique blend of influences, including classic metal, arena rock, pop rock, rock, doom metal, and a touch of the macabre.

The Swedish band Ghost is known for its theatrical and enigmatic image. The band members are known as “Nameless Ghouls” and wear costumes and masks that conceal their identities.

How was the band Ghost formed?

The group members had known each other for a long time. One day Tobias Forge decided to form a group. This idea was welcomed by all Ghost members.

In 2006, they formed the band Ghost in Linköping, Sweden. At that time the members were still playing in other bands. The official formation took place only in 2008.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Deutschland, Tobias Forge (Cardinal Copia) talks about the creation of Ghost as follows:

“I’ve been playing death and black metal ever since the early ’90s, so it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’m gonna come up with a completely different thing, like the devil.” I’ve been delving into devilish themes ever since my first band, which was a death metal band. So, the idea wasn’t very original; it just felt natural.

Around 2006, 2007, and 2008, I had stepped away from the extreme metal scene. I wasn’t playing in a metal band anymore. Instead, I was playing bass in one band that was definitely not metal, and I had my own band that ventured into some sort of pop-rock territory.

When Ghost emerged in my mind and the songs started to take shape, it just fit perfectly. It felt intuitive and natural, like this is where my pop sensibilities could merge with my metal background. It allowed me to express myself in a way that’s, well, I guess the word for it would be Gothic.

In addition to their other jobs, the band members continued to work on Ghost. In 2008, they left the other bands and started to concentrate on Ghost and the seeds started to bear their first fruits. Ghost released its first songs as a 3-track demo on MySpace in 2010.

band Ghost
Ghost members

Ghost members

The founding Ghost members:

The band Ghost consists of six members, Cardinal Copia, formerly known as Papa Emeritus and five so-called Nameless Ghouls

Each Nameless Ghoul embodies one of the elements earth, fire, water, wind, and the Aether (Omega) which is also represented by the corresponding element signs.

Ghost’s symbols:

Symbols of the band Ghost
Ghost’s symbols

Some of the Ghost members’ names and faces were revealed in 2017. Here are the Ghost members unmasked:

Tobias Forge (Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia)

Tobias Forge, one of the founding members of Ghost, was born on March 3, 1991, in Linköping, Sweden.

He spent his childhood in the same house with his mother and older brother. It was not a very wealthy family. The family had different values than money. The family valued art, music, philosophy, and culture more than money. When people visited Tobias’ house and saw the paintings on the walls and the library, they thought it looked like a museum.

When Tobias became a teenager, he realized that he was uncomfortable with his Christian teacher’s authoritarian religious indoctrination. This behavior began to turn Tobias off religion. Then, influenced by the behavior of his step-mother, who lived in a different house with his father and behaved in the same way as his teacher, Tobias became increasingly distant from the Christian religion.

Tobias Forge started to make death metal when he was 13 years old. He started playing instruments and writing his own songs. Before forming Ghost, He was involved in several bands. One of the notable bands he was a part of was “Repugnant,” a Swedish death metal band formed in 1998.

Forge performed under the stage name “Mary Goore” during his time with Repugnant. While Repugnant did not achieve the same level of success as Ghost, it was an important stepping stone in Tobias Forge’s musical career.

Until 2006 Tobias had gained experience with many bands and in 2006 he decided to form Ghost.

Tobias Forge is the person behind the characters Papa Emeritus I (2010-2012), Papa Emeritus II (2012-2015), Papa Emeritus III (2015-2017), Papa Emeritus IV (2020-present) and Papa Emeritus Cardinal Copia – (2018-2020).

Tobias Forge unmasked
Tobias Forge unmasked

Papa Nihil (2018–2020)

Papa Nihil, also known as the “Saxophone Ghoul,” made his first notable appearance during Ghost’s “Popestar” tour in 2016. He is portrayed as an elderly, decrepit figure, often seen with a skull-faced mask and adorned in papal vestments. What sets him apart from the other Nameless Ghouls in the band is his unusual instrument of choice – the saxophone.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Papa Nihil is the ongoing speculation about his identity. While Ghost’s mastermind, Tobias Forge, has portrayed Papa Emeritus and other characters, he’s never confirmed whether he is also the man behind Papa Nihil. Some fans speculate that the character might represent a past Papa Emeritus, while others believe Papa Nihil could be a separate entity entirely.The ambiguity surrounding Papa Nihil’s identity adds a layer of mystique to Ghost’s elaborate mythos.

Papa Nihil’s real name is unknown.

Papa Nihil
Photo: Tom Delgado

Nameless Ghouls – Unmasked

Ghost members’ names and faces were revealed in 2017:

In April 2017, some names were made public on the Internet by former band member Simon Söderberg. Here are the names and faces of the Nameless Ghouls:

  • Simon Söderberg (Alpha)
  • Per Eriksson (Fire)
  • Martin Persner (Omega, 2010-2016)
Per Eriksson (Fire)

Per Eriksson, also known as “Sodomizer,” is one of the Nameless Ghouls. He was born on April 2, 1981 in Falun, Sweden.

He joined Ghost as a live guitarist in 2015 and became a Nameless Ghoul. Before he joined Ghost, he was a member of the bands Bloodbath and Katatonia

Per Eriksson (Fire)
Per Eriksson (Fire). unmasked
Simon Söderberg (Alpha)

In 2017, the shroud of anonymity began to lift as some of the Nameless Ghouls, including Simon Söderberg, revealed their identities. Alpha’s unmasking allowed fans to put a face to the music they had grown to love.

Unfortunately, the unveiling of Alpha’s identity coincided with a legal dispute between Simon Söderberg and the band’s frontman, Tobias Forge, who portrays the various incarnations of Papa Emeritus. Söderberg and other former Nameless Ghouls sued Forge over issues related to royalties and band ownership.

Due to the lack of evidence, the Linköping court has now dismissed the case. As a direct consequence, Forge’s former bandmates have to pay the legal costs of their ex-boss in the amount of 1.3 million Swedish kronor. The amount corresponds to about 127000 euros.

Simon Söderberg (Alpha)
Simon Söderberg (Alpha)
Martin Persner (Omega)

Martin Persner, known by his stage name “Omega,” was one of the original members of the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost. He played guitar in the band and was an integral part of Ghost’s early years. Omega joined Ghost when the band was first formed in 2008.

Martin Persner left Ghost in 2016. His departure marked a significant change in the band’s lineup.

Martin Persner’s decision to leave Ghost was influenced by several factors, including creative differences and the desire to pursue other musical projects. After leaving Ghost, he went on to form a new band called “Magna Carta Cartel” and continued his musical career outside of the Ghost persona.

In an interview, Martin Persner talked about his decision and said:

“Hi. My name is Martin, and I’ve been a part of the rock band Ghost for 7 years. Some of you people know me as Omega, or Quintessence, or A Nameless Ghoul…. Since of July last year, 2016 that is, I am no longer part of Ghost, as some of you have noticed. Reasons why… we’ll take at another date.”
Martin Persner, Ghost
Martin Persner, Ghost

All Ghost members

In May 2022, during the Imperator through Europe, tour photographer Ryan Chang posted a crew photo online showing all crew and tour members – in addition to the entire unmasked Ghost band, also the support bands Twin Temple and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. Accordingly, the Nameless Ghouls consist of the following musicians:

  • Cos Sylvan (Rain)
  • Hayden Scott (Mountain)
  • Jutty Taylor (Swiss/Multi)
  • Laura Scarborough (Cirrus/ Tall)
  • Mad Gallica (Cumulus / Curvy)
  • Sophie Amelkin (Sunshine)
All Ghost members
Photo: Ryan Chang

Ghost’s Discography

Ghost released 5 albums o far. Here are the albums by Ghost:

Opus Eponymous – 2010: A Dark Ritual Begins

In 2009, a demo recording featuring three self-produced songs and a 7-inch vinyl single titled “Elizabeth” and “Death Knell” was released through the German record label Iron Pegasus Records. Subsequently, on October 18, 2010, the debut album “Opus Eponymous” was released in Europe.

Ghost’s debut album, “Opus Eponymous,” burst onto the scene in 2010, shrouded in anonymity. The record, often referred to as their “Black Mass,” set the stage for what would become Ghost’s signature blend of ominous lyrics and catchy melodies. Songs like “Ritual” and “Elizabeth” introduced us to the unholy liturgy of Papa Emeritus and the Nameless Ghouls.

The album comprises nine songs, including two instrumental pieces, among them the four previously released tracks, which appeared in a reworked form.

In North America, the album was released on January 18, 2011, through Metal Blade Records, while in Japan, it came out on April 6 through Trooper Entertainment, featuring a cover version of The Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun” as a bonus track.

Prior to the album’s release, the band garnered attention for their complete anonymity and their decision to abstain from interviews or photoshoots.


Opus Eponymous album cover
“Opus Eponymous” – album cover

Infestissumam – 2013: The Rise of the Antichrist

In 2013, Ghost unleashed “Infestissumam,” a grandiose follow-up that elevated their theatricality to new heights. This album delved deeper into themes of the occult and featured tracks like “Year Zero” and “Secular Haze,” showcasing Ghost’s ability to craft both sinister anthems and eerie ballads.

Musically speaking, “Infestissumam” is an impressive continuation of Ghost’s characteristic sound. The songs on this album are simultaneously catchy and dark. Tracks like “Year Zero” and “Secular Haze” perfectly capture the band’s mysterious atmosphere. Ghost masterfully combines captivating melodies with devilishly dark lyrics, giving the album a unique allure.

A significant part of Ghost’s appeal lies in their ability to approach the occult and the Satanic in a provocative yet intelligent manner. The lyrics of “Infestissumam” are filled with allusions to religion, sin, and the darker aspects of life. This has led the band to admiration and controversy, further solidifying their position as one of the most polarizing bands in the modern music scene.

“Infestissumam” is undoubtedly a milestone in Ghost’s career.

"Infestissumam" album cover
“Infestissumam” – album cover

Meliora – 2015: The Birth of Papa Emeritus III

Meliora” is Ghost’s third studio album and was released in 2015. The title “Meliora” is Latin for “better” or “improved,” signifying a pursuit of enhancement. In many ways, the album represents an artistic and musical improvement compared to the band’s previous works.

From a musical perspective, “Meliora” is a sensory delight. The songs on this album are masterfully arranged, featuring a blend of dark and catchy melodies. Tracks like “Cirice” and “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” are examples of Ghost’s ability to create earworms that simultaneously embed themselves in your memory and create a dark atmosphere.

Lyrically, “Meliora” delves deep into the occult and satanic themes that define Ghost. The lyrics skillfully play with religious symbols and metaphysical ideas, often infused with ironic yet dark poetry. This contributes to the mysterious and provocative nature of Ghost.

“Meliora” marked a pivotal moment in Ghost’s career. With the introduction of Papa Emeritus III, the band delivered an opus that garnered widespread acclaim. This album spawned the Grammy Award-winning hit “Cirice, as well as other gems like “He Is” and “From the Pinnacle to the Pit.”

Meliora album cover
“Meliora” – album cover

Prequelle – 2018 : The Plague and the Persona

Prequelle” is a celebration for metal enthusiasts. The songs are skillfully arranged with powerful riffs, melodic hooks, and epic refrains. Tracks like “Rats” and “Dance Macabre” are catchy yet dark, showing the theatrical essence of Ghost perfectly.

Lyrically, “Prequelle” delves deep into themes of death, plague, and apocalypse. The lyrics are often metaphorical and symbolic, raising questions about the fate of humanity. This adds a certain depth and complexity to the album.

Ghost’s fourth studio album, “Prequelle,” offered a fresh narrative twist, centered around themes of the bubonic plague and the persona of Papa Nihil. Tracks like “Rats” and “Dance Macabre” showcased Ghost’s knack for crafting infectious hooks while maintaining their dark and enigmatic aura.

Prequelle - album cover
“Prequelle” – album cover

Impera – 2022: The Enigma Continues

Ghost’s fifth studio album, “Impera,” was released in 2022.

According to Tobias Forge, “Impera” delves into the rise and fall of great empires and the perpetual cycle of these historical processes. However, as the album progresses, it doesn’t always remain as specific as in the track “Kaisarion,” which alludes to Cleopatra’s offspring.

The subsequent track, “Spillways,” addresses the manifold seductions of sweet power in a somewhat more general language. Above all, it provides the necessary moments of release, something that Ghost has not denied itself since “Meliora.” It’s noteworthy how, during the days of “Opus Eponymous,” occasional catchy melodies emerged from the doom-heavy mix – and today, it’s essentially the opposite.

Impera - album cover
“Impera” – album cover

The best songs of Ghost

Let us explore the best songs by Ghost and highlight their remarkable achievements.

Here are the best songs of Ghost:

“Square Hammer”

“Square Hammer” is a true masterpiece and one of Ghost’s biggest hits. The song was released in 2016. It reached the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart, catapulting Ghost into the mainstream rock scene.


“Cirice” is another song that underscores Ghost’s success. It won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016 and became an anthem for fans around the world.


“Rats” is a dynamic song from their album “Prequelle.” It received high praise from critics and gained significant popularity.

“He Is”

“He Is” is a more subdued song by Ghost, creating an emotive atmosphere. This track demonstrates the band’s melodic depth and has been regarded by many as one of their most moving songs.

“Year Zero”

“Year Zero” is a prime example of Ghost’s fascination with occult and satanic themes. The song pays homage to the dark and mysterious and has been considered one of their most significant tracks.

All of these songs were performed live by Ghost. There are also songs that Ghost has never played live.

Ghost’s Achievements

Over the years, Ghost has achieved an impressive array of successes. In addition to the Grammy awards mentioned earlier, they have secured numerous chart placements, including top 10 positions on the Billboard 200 chart. They have also built a dedicated following and are renowned for their breathtaking live performances.


What is your favorite album and song ny Ghost? Let us know in the comments!

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