Ghost have a wide variety of influences, which is why it’s so difficult to pigeonhole them as either a rock or a metal band. In fact, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott — who’s a self-proclaimed fan — said that their latest album Impera is “like a whole new genre of music.”
You may be wondering why anyone should care what Elliott thinks about Ghost, but Tobias Forge recently told Metal Hammer that he tried to emulate Def Leppard’s songwriting structure with Impera.
“Going into this record, I thought I would see if I could do it a little more like Def Leppard did it, where every song – especially on Pyromania or Hysteria – starts with one thing, and then there’s a verse, then there’s a pre-chorus that feels like a chorus, and then there’s another pre-chorus and another thing and finally, after like five different sections, comes the chorus, in a completely different key,” the Ghost mastermind explained.
“It’s such a riot! Every song! Even ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ is quite intelligently written. I’m not saying that as a surprise – I think they were great.”
Given Forge’s praise of Def Leppard, Metal Hammer then interviewed Elliott to see how he felt about the compliments, and whether he’s actually a fan of their music or not.
The singer recalled that he was first introduced to Ghost through guitarist Phil Collen, who described Ghost’s sound to him as “kind of Scando goth-metal but with brilliant melodies,” and Elliott was intrigued. After hearing a bit of a few of their new songs, Elliott asked Collen to send him the full album, and now it’s been his “go-to album” the last few weeks.
“I listened to it all, and I thought it was absolutely stunning. It’s like a whole new genre of music – it’s way more Toto than death metal or any of that stuff,” the vocalist expressed. “I’ve got it downloaded onto my Apple Watch so I can march away and listen to it. I’ve only got a few albums on there, and Ghost are one of them.”
While Elliott admitted he doesn’t hear a lot of similarities between Ghost and Def Leppard in the music itself, he senses that they have a similar attitude — and he appreciates that Forge admitted he liked them, rather than pretending not to while still following a similar songwriting format.
“He’s not worried about losing cred with his fans by name-checking Def Leppard,” he remarked.
Another sentiment that Forge and Elliott seem to share is their admiration for theatrical performances. A few weeks ago, the Ghost frontman declared that he’d rather be known as being more similar to Rammstein than Pearl Jam, who have a much more stripped-down style of performing as compared to the German metalheads. Elliott apparently was never down for the grunge aesthetic, either.
“Oh, I love that theatrical stuff. When I was 16 and saw Kiss Destroyer posters in Bradley‘s records in Sheffield, life-size, I went, ‘If it sounds like it looks, that’s my kind of album.’ Same with Bowie,” the Def Leppard leader remembered. “It was somebody making an effort not to look like they were roadies. That was the thing with grunge and Britpop – I could listen to the music, but they looked like they were waiting for a bus. Wearing a fucking parka onstage? No thank you.”
As for a potential collaboration with Ghost, Elliott stated that he’s up for it.
“We’re not scared of collaborating with anybody,” he enthused.