Ghost: Download Festival 2012

Playing Download for the second time in as many years, Ghost’s Sunday service duly delivered.

Words by Simon Hadley.

Since their 2010 debut, Opus Eponymous, Ghost hasn’t been short of followers: from James Hetfield to Phil Anselmo, the band’s uniqueness in an era of metalcore hasn’t gone unnoticed.

With only one album of material to choose from, the five Nameless Ghouls – led by their prophet, Papa Emeritus – are meticulous with their set; chopping and changing, without losing any their mystic. Making their way on stage, backed by a cathedral backdrop, there was, however, one noticeable change: black-hooded robes had been replaced by sparkling white robes – it was Sunday after all.

Despite their new white cassocks having an unfortunate KKK look about them, the crowd’s attention was solely on Papa Emeritus. Dressed in his usual cardinal attire, complete with skull mask and censer; Emeritus, like Pope Benedict XVI overlooking St Peter’s Square, is the master of all he surveys. Pausing briefly to ask the crowd if they were ready “to look into the eyes of the ‘Prime Mover’,” it is his lack of dialogue that upholds this Satanic-inspired aura – well, that and face paint.

With only nine tracks to choose from, and an eerie cover of ‘Here Comes The Sun,’ the band’s 45-minute set was probably about right, however, with new material on the way, and an ever-increasing fan base, the Jim Marshall stage beckons.