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As we lovingly dubbed them earlier this week, Ghost are one of the most polarizing bands in metal history. The Swedish occult-rockers led by the inimitable Tobias Forge, and filled out by his masked associates, have become one of the biggest heavy (or perhaps heavy-adjacent) bands in the world with their peculiar blend of explicitly Satanic doom metal and delightfully theatrical, catchy and Grammy-baiting pop-rock.
Last week, the gang released a new song called "Hunter's Moon" that's featured in the Halloween Kills movie and, naturally, it's a total ass-kicker. Since their name was in the air, we asked our readers to think back and choose their favorite Ghost song of all time. As a testament to their catalog, the top five picks came from five separate releases. See the results below, ranked accordingly.
The lead single from Ghost's latest album, 2018's Prequelle, is one of their heaviest and most epically metal tracks since the band's early days. Drawing inspiration from Eighties-era Ozzy Osbourne (specifically Blizzard of Ozz's intro, "I Don't Know"), Forge wrote "Rats" with the intention of making it his go-to concert opener. With a hefty riff, beaming guitar solos and the snarling recitation of the song's titular animal during the hook, he definitely achieved his desired bombast.
"Square Hammer" is one of Ghost's most popular and commercially successful songs, but even OG fans can't deny how much of a banger this thing is. Taken from their 2016 Popestar EP, the eerie keyboard line, palm-muted guitar chugs and deceptively Satanic sing-along ("Are you ready to swear right here, right now/Before the devil") are undeniably catchy — plus, it has an incredible music video.
"Ritual" is a great song to play for someone who's never heard Ghost before. This standout from their 2010 debut, Opus Eponymous, kicks off with a Sabbath-ian doom riff that'll make any metalhead delightfully grimace, but then Forge's power-pop harmonies come in during the hook and showcase the band's signature icy-hot dynamic. Is it metal or is it straight-up rock? It's both, my friend.
From the very first chant of "Beelzebub," it's immediately clear that "Year Zero" is going to be a doozy. The second single from the band's 2013 sophomore album, Infestissumam, is one of only two Ghost songs for which Tobias Forge wasn't the principle songwriter, and its new-wavy bass line, jittery drums and space-age vocal layering gives it a unique flair within their catalog. However, once the words, "Hail Satan, welcome year zero," are sung with the help of grand choir-like harmonies, it becomes unmistakably Ghost.
"Cirice" isn't necessarily the most obvious pick for Ghost's best song, but it's objectively one of their most beloved — and deservedly so. The first taste of their 2015 LP, Meliora, hits that doomy/rocky sweet-spot that Ghost achieve during their finest moments. There's a pounding groove and a gripping vocal delivery from Forge, but there's also a smattering of haunting, John Carpenter-esque musical embellishments that make this feel like a horror soundtrack. Fitting, then, that its music video is a twist on Stephen King's classic, Carrie.