Volbeat and Ghost 1-31-22 @ The Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.

Ghost and Volbeat joined forces on tour to baptize North America to their sound. The Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah, would be the meeting place for the faithful to express their devotion on January 31, 2022. Volbeat originates from Denmark and has been belting out some amazing music for 20 years now. On the other hand, Ghost has its roots based in Sweden, and its origins go back to 2006. Both bands have garnered great success in the US, so a co-headlining tour is destined for success. 

The evening opened with the Los Angeles Satanic doo-wop band Twin Temple. Led by female vocalist Alexandra and her husband, Zachary James, on guitar, Twin Temple started the show with an on-stage blessing to Satan and then broke into “Sex Magick.” They then undressed their latest song called, “Let’s Have a Satanic Orgy.” The set was relatively short but added a new look and sound to a classically harsher version of “Satanic Music.”

After a breakdown of the Twin Temple set, Volbeat was ready to take the stage. They hit the stage with “Seal the Deal” from 2016’s Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie. They immediately broke into the Elvis-infused “Pelvis on Fire” from Rewind, Replay, Rebound with no room for chatting. As their intense set continued, they dove way back into the early days of their catalog with “Sad Man’s Tongue.” A good portion of the set was devoted to their latest release, 2021’s Servant of the Mind. The album is as heavy as any in their catalog, and one of my favorite songs from that album is “Shotgun Blues.” Another brutal song from their latest album is “The Sacred Stones.” The song was played towards the end of the set but channels Dio-era Black Sabbath and specifically “Heaven and Hell.” The song speeds up towards the end and reincarnates another Sabbath classic, “Children of the Dammed.” The whole set was full of Metallica and Sabbath-influenced riffs mixed with Rock a Billy. Piano and Saxophone were lifted out of the stage during a couple of songs, including “Die to Live.” I started the set as a fan of the band but ended the set as a Volbeat fanatic. Their intensity left me and my masked face wide-open, begging for more. 

A longer break ensued while Ghost set up a holy-inspired background with incense permeating the immediate area. The show began with “Kaisarion” from their upcoming album Impera set to release in March 2022. This was Salt Lake City’s introduction to Papa Emeritus IV. His original debut was at the end of the 2020 tour, and this was his first visit to Salt Lake City. Alongside him were several nameless ghouls in post-apocalyptic attire and masks that resembled something out of a Mad Max movie. The sermon ran through 15 songs. Some of the highlights from the show were a very intense version of the hit “Ritual.” That was followed up a couple of songs later by a masterful cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” As the show began to close, “Dance Macabre” and “Square Hammer” were the last hymns for the over two-hour gathering. Fans paid tribute to Ghost with lots of cheering, and some took it a step further and dressed as their favorite version of Papa Emeritus. By the end of the night, a simple concert had been transformed into a dark version of the Vatican.

Both bands brought their own followers that could be spotted quite easily by the apparel they embellished. Although each band’s sound was noticeably different, fans remained reverent while the other poeticized to their congregation. It would be fair to say that there would be some cross colonization of fans by the end of the night as both bands were very passionate in their performance. Don’t miss this chance to see two amazing Scandinavian bands on tour throughout the US this spring.  

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