Ghost (SWE)
Ceremony and Devotion



by BlackLlama USER (48 Reviews)
December 12th, 2017 | 15 replies

Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Zoinks yo! It’s a G-g-g-Ghost!

Ghost pulls the old “swticheroo” with their nameless Ghouls and (finally) bring their road sermon to the boys and girls of the world at home. The question is, once we pull the proverbial mask off of Tobias Forge (Papa Emeritus III) are we left with the same musical bombast fans of Ghost’s live rituals have come to expect? The short answer is yes. The long answer, you meddling kids, needs a deeper look to be sure.

Ceremony and Devotion, the surprise double live LP recorded during the Popestar Tour (San Francisco if you believe Papa). 15 songs that summarize the average set list the band played during the year-long stint. A mélange primarily concocted of offerings from their latest releases including the extremely effervescent opener; Square Hammer from the Popestar EP. Notably missing are many tracks from the band’s debut Opus Eponymous. While it is a natural progression for an actively touring band to want to play newer material, I really would have liked if Genesis had replaced the sententious Devil Church or the addition of Elizabeth or Prime Mover. Alas, it was not to be; the milieu of Ceremony and Devotion centers around the last two LP’s (the aforementioned Meliora and their sophomore effort Infestissumam. When I think of a double live album done well my mind instantly veers towards Iron Maiden’s Live After Death. Ghost does not approach that lofty spectrum here, though they do flirt within a similar atmosphere.

As someone that has seen Ghost live 14 times I feel I can I can speak freely about the elephant in the room. The new Ghouls do not have as much polish as the originals. They can be as nameless as Papa Forge wants us to believe, however they are not. While I do not want to detract too many points for their playing /showmanship, they are simply not up to par with the original crew. Yes, they are quite animated live, and put on an excellent show but that matters little here, or maybe I should say "hear"? As a fan from their inception, I have always exclaimed that the bombast of a live Ghost show never translates to their studio albums. Missing is the certain aura, a vibe that comes with the bands traveling religious sermon. Some of that flows through on Ceremony and Devotion, but only in fits and spurts. The production is excellent, but almost too much so. There are times I forgot that I was listening to a live recording. This is a case where the production too closely mirrors the bands efforts in the studio. Bright lights do poke through – Cerice is a ghastly and much darker affair here. Body and Blood also shines through as a much better track live than in the studio. Others though sound as if ripped directly from the album. Maybe it is lack of crowd noise or simply too much post editing. Having experienced the band live the banter from Papa, the foibles and little flourishes are what really bring Ghost to life.

Fans anxiously await the band’s fourth LP (due in 2018) and Ceremony and Devotion does an adequate job to fill a void in the bands catalogue. Ghost is an amazing live band, and I have always been vocal that even detractors need to experience them in the flesh at least once. I will still maintain that sentiment, though this is a decent substitute, just not a perfect one. Actual rating would fall around a 3.7.

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user ratings (73)

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 12th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

It's been a while, let me know if I need to correct any grammar/spelling.

Papa Universe
December 12th 2017


14 shows?! You've seen them live 14 times?

December 12th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

Forge is still a douchebag

December 12th 2017


These guys have always failed to wow me

December 12th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

Yup, 14 times haha. First was when they opened for Mastodon and Opeth back in early 2011. Have been following them since the pre-Opus EP dropped.

December 12th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

pretty much spot on, there are some great parts here but I feel like they could have portrayed this a lot better, have a pos!

December 13th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

Damn I've seen them five times and I thought that was a lot.

This thing is banging but I might drop the rating. Like you said, the production on this thing is great. Everything is so crisp.

I didn't notice very many (if any) mistakes on the nameless ghouls part, but Papa definitely sounds a little too nasally on this thing. Still, it's a damn fine live album imo

December 13th 2017


POS for scooby doo memes

Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2017


I'd listen to this just cuz the album art

December 13th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, had no idea this was a thing, will check for sure.

"Cerise is a ghastly..." *Cirice

December 13th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

""Cerise is a ghastly..." *Cirice""

Fixed, thanks!

December 14th 2017


no "jigolo har megiddo" WTF?

December 14th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

No Elizabeth : My favorite Ghost song, so unhappy that it's been dropped from their touring set.

March 30th 2019


Album Rating: 2.5

There is Elisabeth on my version of the live. But the concert definitely lacks something.

March 5th 2022


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lol this album made me remember I really like Ghost! These dudes are ironic and self aware af lol also the sense of them always playing like if they re not giving a single shit makes it, and them, fun and kinda charming as hell.

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