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Artist on Artist: Anonymous guy in Ghost talks to the guitarist for Bible of the Devil

One of five Nameless Ghouls tells Mark Hoffmann: "'We're trying to paint a picture of the futile attempt of mankind to understand what is divine'"

  • Ester Segarra
  • Ghost

In the 15 months since the release of Ghost's debut album, Opus Eponymous (Rise Above), American fans of the Swedish metal outfit—not to be confused with the legendary Japanese psych-rock group of the same name—have been teased by YouTube evidence that the band's live shows are chock-full of high-camp occult theatrics and muscular hard rock. Unfortunately, the band's visa issues have kept most Americans from experiencing the real thing. Before embarking on a rescheduled U.S. tour, one of Ghost's five Nameless Ghouls spoke with Mark Hoffmann, guitarist for local riff slingers Bible of the Devil, whose upcoming album, For the Love of Thugs and Fools, is out April 10 on Cruz del Sur. Ghost plays Bottom Lounge on Tue 1/24; see page B13 for more. Bible of the Devil plays the Red Line Tap on Sat 1/28. —Miles Raymer

I was checking out your tour dates. You've covered a lot of ground in the last couple of years. Where would you say the band gets the best response? We've done so few headlining shows. We've done one in Stockholm, one in Berlin, one in New York, one in London. Those have been by far the best, as opposed to doing a lot of festivals.

Are you playing mostly songs from Opus Eponymous, or are you playing new material also? We're struggling with that, because right now we're in the buildup stage for the new album. It's still going to be a few months before we have a new album out. So we're debating amongst the circle leaders. We'll see.

Bible of the Devil - KICK ASS PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Kick Ass Photography
  • Bible of the Devil

With the first album there was quite a bit of acclaim. Is there any sort of apprehension about the next record and which direction it will take? I'd say that any band or any writer or any creator with half a brain and half a heart will probably at some point be judging the next creation. Obviously, we took a lot of things into consideration when we put this new album together. The whole concept of the band—the way songs are made and the songs that we wish to do—is very playful, nondogmatic. With the first record, we set out very few rules. We wanted Opus Eponymous to sound like a hi-fi production—but one recorded in 1978. And that's still the goal with this next one. I think this new one will be a bit more crystal, a bit more divine.

A lot is made of the sort of satanic undertones in your lyrics, but I've always felt like rock 'n' roll and Satan are kind of a natural pairing. What we're singing about is oppression and the small man's relationship to God and Satan—the superstition and feeblemindedness. We're trying to paint a picture of the very futile attempt of mankind to understand what actually is divine.

Onstage you guys present an almost intimidating image. It's cool. It's not ironic. It's clear what your vision is. Offstage, do you guys like to get wild and party or are you pretty straitlaced? We have this anonymity bond. We don't regularly get invites because nobody really knows who we are. I wouldn't say that we are a hundred percent clean in every aspect, but we are quite innocent in comparison to a lot of other groups that would jump at every opportunity to go nuts. We're here for something else. Some of the single guys in the band might think it's a drag, but those of us who aren't are pretty happy.

You have a strong pop sensibility that you don't normally hear in rock or metal. What bands are you guys most into? As much as people want us to be a sort of cult-rock revival band, our influences go more toward Pink Floyd, the Doors, everything from Morrissey to Glenn Danzig, from early-70s synth to 60s bubblegum pop.

The iconography of the band suggests you're into horror films. Obviously, what we're doing is a horror show. There are a lot of classic horror elements that we're trying to capture in our show, and there will be even more when we're economically able to put on the show we wish to. We're trying to paint a picture that's very similar to the one you saw in The Omen and films like that. We try not to view what we're doing as retro. We don't wish to be a stoner-rock band. There are a lot of new tricks that we need to pull out.

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