Ghost's new album Prequelle is out on June 1 and the lead single "Rats" seems to have unanimously blown everyone away. "Rats" seemed to be a direct callback to the early days of when metal was just hitting the mainstream, and specifically evokes the early career of Ozzy Osbourne in terms of riffs and general feeling.
Now Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge, better known at this point at Cardinal Copia, tells Metal Hammer that the correlation between "Rats" and early heavy metal is no coincidence. Forge says the entirety of Prequelle is heavily influenced by the passing of such rock and metal legends as Lemmy Kilmister, Ronnie James Dio, David Bowie, and Prince.
"There were a few things that I wanted to get in Prequelle that I don't think had been fleshed out yet, and had very little to do with what came before. This is a record themed with death and the impending end – even if it might just be our own – and in recent years we have seen the passing of many of our elder idols.
Ronnie James Dio was one, but I think that, especially when Lemmy [Kilmister, of Motörhead] passed away, and [David] Bowie and Prince so close to that, it affected me a lot. It feels like our parents are passing.
I think we took people like Lemmy for granted – he was going to sit at our table forever, but now, there is a chair that is loudly empty. It's definitely affected me way more than I thought it would.
It's made me want to be a little bit more attentive when it comes to trying to make sure that you're making the best of the opportunities that you have with your seniors. That is something that has affected me and this record a lot."
Forge also touches on why he chose a bit of an image switch with Cardinal Copia. He says fronting the band has Papa Emeritus IV would be "very boring" and "If I had just done that, Ghost would have gone on auto-pilot and it would have grown stale very quickly."
Ghost recently announced two arena shows for later this year and limited dates to kick off later this month.