This Ghost fan is slightly perplexed by the timeline for the single “Dance Macabre.”
May 18, 2018: The band Ghost releases an Instagram video for the song “Dance Macabre.” The video features special guest appearances from Sister Imperator, Phil Anselmo, and Kirk Hammett (just to name a few). This Instagram video showed the wide variety of celebrities that support and endorse Ghost. (A slap in the face to those who were suing Tobias Forge.) Stars are seen jamming and dancing to the song. It wasn’t necessarily a Ghost masterpiece. But after the huge kerfuffle that was the “He Is” video, it was better than nothing.
June 1, 2018: Ghost releases their newest album Prequelle. To date, the album has seen two successful singles: “Rats” and “Dance Macabre.” The new material is eagerly consumed by rabid fans. Combined with the first leg of the Rats! On the Road tour, Ghost was increasingly popular. The first single “Rats” was seeing massive airplay.
August 23, 2018: A new rendition of “Dance Macabre” is released. This stylized version is remixed by Carpenter Brut. The video features a piece of typical Ghost artwork animated with a swinging disc ball serving as a thurible. Not up to the normal standards of Ghost, but it appeared to be channeling ABBA and the disco so fans consumed it.
October 17, 2018: Ghost releases yet another official video of “Dance Macabre.” This video, directed by Zev Deans, is well-timed as it drew attention away from the long-awaited trial verdict. This video rang truer to the Ghost aesthetic. Producing a backstory to the whole Papa Nil-Sister Imperator love story, this video really is a Prequelle to the fable that created Ghost. The appearance of a Riff Raff-character at the beginning and choreographed dancers make an interesting combination of “Thriller” meets Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The actor chosen to play a young Papa Nil bears a strong resemblance to Tobias Forge–causing many fans to do a double take. (But did we really think Tobias Forge would appear unmasked in a video?)
The long-speculated plague doctor masks finally make their debut in the video as a ritualistic sacrifice takes places before a walking Baphomet.
Forge continues to put Easter Eggs in all of his works to keep fans interested.
Thoughts: The video isn’t bad. It isn’t great either. The premise is clear; Ghost is setting the stage for the backstory of the relationship between Sister Imperator and Papa Nil. References to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and The Rocky Horror Picture Show are apparent, but what direction is this band going?
Tobias Forge has stated that he wants Ghost to become a rock opera and this video is a step in that direction. Unlike videos for “Secular Haze” and “Cirice,” there is a clear vision. But is this vision clear to the fans?
Overall: The video is fun. It tells a story, makes you chuckle, and has numerous points of discussion. From symbolism to character arcs, it has great commercial value. But with so many other great songs on Prequelle, why is “Dance Macabre” getting three videos? And three videos over a five-month period? Why not capitalize off some of the heavier songs like “Faith” or the ballad-y wonders like “Life Eternal”? This album is a commercial success and has the ability to bring more non-fans into the arena of the devout. Tobias Forge needs to take a look at his work, embrace it, and move forward… before fans become jaded.
The remaining question is still: Why three videos?