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GHOST recently wrapped up their tour cycle for 2015’s “Meliora” album and last year’s “Popestar” EP with a concert Saturday night (September 30) in Gothenburg that ended with singer Papa Emeritus III getting forcibly removed from the stage. A short time later, an elderly person wearing Papa-like attire of a robe and a tall pointed miter headdress, his face covered in black-and-white corpse paint, took the stage and addressed the crowd in Italian. He reportedly said (see video below): “I am Papa Emeritus Zero. The party is over and now a new era begins. The Middle Ages begin now.”

Papa Emeritus is played by GHOST lead singer and founder Tobias Forge, who is purportedly replaced by a new Papa for each GHOST album.

Forge has spent the last few weeks working on GHOST’s fourth album for a tentative April 2018 release.

He told Metal Wani earlier in the year that the disc would be “darker” than “Meliora”, “because it’s thematically set in a darker setting. ‘Meliora’ was supposed to reflect some sort of utopia/dystopia in the modern society, whereas this new one is gonna be a little bit more apocalyptic, a little bit more back to the medieval times, which, obviously, is associated with darkness. ”

He continued: “Obviously, in metal, in extreme metal, you have a myriad of records that are thematically in the Middle Ages, but the idea for this new album is to combine… So where [other] records [covering similar lyrical themes are] drowned and surrounded and drenched in death, it’s gonna be a record about survival. So that constantly working with those polar, sort of, elements is also a difference, I guess, between… If you find a black metal record that is about the Plague and the death, you will have only death — everything is just black and everything just ends black. Whereas one of my driving forces writing a record like that is to write a record about the survival of that and the prosperity.”

Forge recently revealed his identity while responding to a lawsuit filed by four former members of GHOST, who accused him of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group’s album releases and world tours.