Live albums these days seem to be rather boring and predictable, most often they tend to be greatest hits shows with versions almost identical to the studio version with the exception of a live audience. So I find it rare to lay my hands on new live releases that feels exciting and raw, you know the times when the live versions spark more than the official studio release.
2017 was a year of a few great live albums such as Paris by Rammstein, Live at the O2 Arena by Alter Bridge, Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1978 by Rush, Wembley or Bust by Jeff Lynne´s ELO, not to mention Ceremony and Devotion by Ghost.
Ghost are a band that gets bigger for each album and tour, these past two years after the release of their 3rd album "Meliora" took the band through celebration and devastation.
They won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 2016 for the song "Cirice" and gained even more fans during their 276 shows between 2015-2017. Ghost also won The Best Hard Rock/Metal album for "Meliora" at the Swedish Grammy Awards.
But it wasn´t all a party for bandleader Tobias Forge aka Papa Emeritus, in early 2017 he was sued by four former Ghost members of withholding financial information and payments to the other members. Still no settlement has been solved so Forge continues to sow his seed together with a new gang of nameless ghouls and the first testament to this new line-up is the double live album "Ceremony and devotion", recorded on their North American Popestar tour in the summer of 2017.
I went to see Ghost two times after the release of "Meliora", first as a support act to Foo Fighters in 2015 and then as a headline act on Metallsvenskan in 2016 and they were wicked both concerts.
This live album shows just what a killer band Ghost are, we get awesome versions of "Square hammer", "Cirice", "From the pinnacle to the pit", "Mummy dust", "Per Aspera Ad Inferi", "He is" and the monumental "Monstrance clock".
And these songs are just my personal faves from a 17 track album that really has no dull moments whatsoever.
The status of this band is glowing, in 2018 we can look forward a new and more dark album plus the upcoming tour called A Pale Tour Named Death. I can´t wait!