When: Tue., Jan. 24, 7 p.m. 2012
In the unabashedly bombastic early days of heavy metal—back when it was unheard of for musicians to wear street clothes onstage and the reigning album-art aesthetic was "should look good painted on the side of a van"—bands so frequently bordered on self-parody that paying tribute to that period can be a tricky proposition. Because the slightest glimmer of irony or self-awareness can nudge a group into Spinal Tap territory, a common solution is to play it extra serious, dialing up the darkness and fucked-upness and steering clear of anything that smacks of camp. Sweden's Ghost are plenty dark, with explicitly satanic lyrics, but it's hard to argue they steer clear of camp: their lineup consists of five masked, black-robed hessians, identified only as Nameless Ghouls, and a guy who dresses as an evil skull-faced pope. Where so many bands obsessed with classic metal fear to tread, Ghost dive right in, going for broke with occult theatrics, ostentatious riffage, and swinging-for-the-cheap-seats melodies—in other words, the very things that brought generations of metalheads into the fold in the first place. If they give a shit whether some people might get a chuckle out of their work, they're not letting on. This is the band's first stateside tour since the release of their debut album, Opus Eponymous (Rise Above), in late 2010; an attempt this fall was derailed by visa problems. —Miles Raymer For more on Ghost, see Artist on Artist. Blood Ceremony and Ancient Vvisdom open; DJ Platz spins.