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Live Reviews : Ghost and Witchgrinder @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne 22/01/2014

By on January 23, 2014

Images: John Raptis
Words: Amber Rose

Click here to view the full gallery of Ghost and Witchgrinder.

It’s not every day that I start my morning saying hello to the retired catholic priest who lives in my neighbourhood then finish it off by being in the presence of His Most Reverend Eminence Papa Emeritus II, but that’s exactly how my Wednesday panned out.

The Hifi doesn’t have the best rep as a venue, I honestly didn’t mind it. I had a dark corner to drink my wine in beforehand and a decent spot to stand to take in the show. The lighting was good and when you can feel the vibrations of the bass all the way up to your girly parts, the sound isn’t anything to complain about either.

Witchgrinder

Witchgrinder

I didn’t think I was going to like Witchgrinder, but that just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a band by their name because I really dug them. The vocalist and bass player reminded me of my dad’s friends in the 80s, which was a good thing because the guitarist reminded me of one of my exes and I needed those happy memories to balance things out. Ex doppelgangers aside, this band is a highly talented example of the calibre of music that Melbourne is delivering these days. They had a clean heavy sound with solid chords and quality riffs. Their stage presence was genuine without being arrogant, which is an attribute I very much admire in a band. It’s probably due to my decade plus background in dance, but there’s definitely something to be said for some well-synchronised head banging while playing. Call me a sucker for choreography. Witchgrinder opened with ‘I Am Animal’ which appeared to go down well with the crowd and closed out on ‘Trioxin 2-4-5’, which was my personal favourite. Having not heard of the band before and being failed by Google searches, I can’t tell you the songs that were in between those, but I can tell you that each were as great as the other. I definitely recommend seeing these guys live or picking up their CD.

Ghost

Ghost

Now for the pièce de résistance, Ghost. This band is hands down the sexiest band I’ve ever seen live, and that is a fairly tall compliment coming from me. From start to finish their show is incredibly well orchestrated. It really is an experience you completely and unintentionally get lost within. Papa Emeritus II and the Nameless Ghouls graced the stage (I use this phrase a lot but it is literally appropriate here) with ‘Infestissumam’ followed by ‘Per Aspera Ad Inferi’. The mix of Gregorian chant, pipe organ synth and traditional Scandinavian metal is utterly hypnotic. You can admire the two years Ghost spent on the architecture of their vision. It truly is like an exquisite horror movie that seduces you with its striking aesthetics, haunting melodies and evocative interchanged Catholicism. ‘Stand By Him’, ‘Ritual’, ‘Secular Haze’, ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Monstrance Clock’ were all rolled out by the Nameless Ghouls and conducted poetically by His Eminence Papa Emeritus II. It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to Ghost’s songs because they are all so well constructed and so beautifully played. I do enjoy a good cover by a good band but these guys blow every cover they do out of the water. Taking a classic like The Beatles ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and applying Ghost’s design to it is the stuff that dreams are made of. I legitimately had the eeriest most awesome dreams last night falling asleep, playing that song over and over again in my mind. Ghost’s spin on Roky Erickson’s ‘All You Need is Ghosts’ was also a delectable addition. As a devout horror enthusiast and someone who has a bizarre fascination with the ritualistic nature and sordid history of the Catholic Church, the other band I’d never heard of quickly spiked to the top position as my favourite band within minutes of their commencement. I can’t stress enough that Ghost are a band you HAVE to see live to truly absorb their essence.

I challenge you to not fall in love with this band. From costume to choreography and composition to characters, Ghost delivers the manifestation of perfection and embodies a performance that intoxicates and possesses all five of your most basic senses. Papa Emeritus II and the Nameless Ghouls are an experience you must indulge in at least once in your lifetime. They are truly a spectacular group of artists.

About

Amber has been a writer and photographer for 2020 BMX Mag, Reverb Street Press and 3DWorld. She has booked and managed hardcore bands and takes an interest in anything from hardcore to hair metal, particularly if it screams dirty Hollywood. Amber is also the author of a sex blog. You can follow her on Twitter Twitter or check out her blog.