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  • Noah Spiece

Seven Inches of Satanic Panic: Satanic rock for the last generation

Ghost, a band headed by master mind Tobias Forge, is a musical force hard to identify. Their sound evolves with each album introducing varying influences from across the rock and metal spectrum. On their most recent release, the two-song single, “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic”, their sound falls definitively under 60s-styled pop-rock that is as smooth on the ears as it is catchy.

Employing theatrics such as skeletal face paint and satanic clerical outfits, and introducing new characters as the bands lead singer on multiple releases, Ghost creates their own world and writes a story through each of their performances, music videos and albums. For example, on “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic”, Ghost rewinds time to when the band was just a fledgling rock outfit beginning their careers amidst the 60s music scene. This two-song single marked their “first release” and has now been “re-released” on September 13 this year for us to listen to on its 50th anniversary. This sort of fabricated lore and writing of their own history is what gives the band a mysterious and engaging edge as they write and release new material. It begs questions of “what else lies in their ‘past’ discography?” and “what pieces of the story are we still missing?”

The sound of the new single is on exactly point with the purported era it came from. “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic”oozes an energy from the glory days of rock and roll, mixes it with light psychedelia, and fills it with mildly satanic and wholly irreverent lyrical content. The effect is nothing less than classic magic.

Light, upbeat, and nimble electric guitars prance about, while the synth fills out the rest of the rocking vibe. But above it all is Forge’s high, youthful vocals. Hooks are the strength of “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic.” The vocals, guitars and synths all utilize brief, extremely catchy ryhthms and melodies that stay with you for hours, and keep drawing you back. Both tracks “Kiss the Go-Goat” and “Mary on a Cross” beg to be listened to over and over again. It’s like sugar. Addictive and sweet. You can’t get enough.

The single opens with track “Kiss the Go-Goat.” Oddly enough a song that sounds as if it is about kissing goats, but upon further inspection reveals a certain sexual tension between a girl and the devil. This track is the more upbeat of the two, an absolute bop of a tune hopping and bouncing through the softly driving synth and guitars and Forge’s adorably imposing vocals.

The second track, “Mary on a Cross,” displays a slightly more balladic instrumentation and vocal approach. It opens with a synth hook to carry the song through your mind for hours to come, eventually transitioning to the highlight and meat of the song: its heart-stopping chorus. This chorus is almost sublime. When it returns for a second time the guitars, synths, and drums all fall away, leaving Forge’s voice alone in its elegance. It’s nothing short of stunning, only emboldened as it builds back up with all the instruments and Forge’s voice leading the charge into the final lines of the song.

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