In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
I’m not a particularly religious person. Or particularly sympathetic to religion as a whole. Okay, I’ll be honest: I’m a raving, irredeemable, godless humanist. (Not that I believe in humans all that much either, but still.) In any case, when a band releases a song called “Secular Haze,” I take note. And when it’s sung by a creepy Swedish dude wearing corpse paint and a pope’s hat with an inverted cross on it, well, you had me at “hell.”
Ghost B.C. has released such a song. “Secular Haze” is one of the many mini-masterpieces on the Scandinavian metal group’s new full-length, Infestissumam. Opening with ghoulish, gothic organs that imagine a Rosemary’s Baby-themed calliope, “Secular Haze” kicks up a foggy fugue of ’70s hard rock, melodic prog, and black-metal atmosphere. And then, with his fiendish mitre perched on his skull and his vocal cords set on Antichrist-croon, frontman Papa Emeritus II sings of atheistic rapture and occult mystique. It’s like GWAR for lapsed Catholics or dues-paying Satanists—take your pick. Me, I’m too religiously apathetic to even bother worshipping the devil. And anyway, why exert yourself when songs like “Secular Haze” make blasphemy so breezy?