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DLC Week of 5/11: Ghost and Spell

Ghost “Mary On A Cross” and Spell “Ultraviolet” are two tracks that marry menace with melody. These two bangers are sure to become go-to favorites in your library. This new DLC is debuting Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store!

Per the band Ghost’s own mythology, the song “Mary On A Cross” dates back to 1969, when that era’s version of the band – fronted by a stage-commanding clergyman known as Papa Emeritus Nihil – recorded the quasi-psychedelic pop/rock track. Cut to the 21st Century and Papa Nihil’s reappearance with Ghost, now billing himself as Papa Emeritus Zero, and “Mary On A Cross” was exhumed, remastered, and included on the 2019 single, Seven Inches of Satanic Panic. Pretty cool backstory, huh? Fascinating, to be sure, but (of course) not factual. 

What’s equally interesting – and, in this case, *true* – is that a viral version of the 2019 track breathed new life into “Mary On A Cross” in the summer of 2022, making it now Ghost’s most listened-to song (by far) with more than 320 million(!) streams on Spotify as of this writing.

Fans of Ghost know that front-man Tobias Forge (that’s “Papa Emeritus Zero” to you) has proven, time and time again, that he’s got a unique facility for partnering dark lyrical imagery with the hookiest melodies and “Mary On A Cross” is a prime example. Beginning with a slow drum-roll that segues into a bright and bouncy keyboard line supported by tasteful drum and bass, the song gathers full strength when, at the 18-second point, Forge’s clear-as-a-bell melodic vocals complete the picture. After a brief instrumental buildup, we get the first chorus at 1:21 and it’s instantly evident why this track has connected with so many listeners. “Catchy,” “accessible,” “memorable” – pick your superlative and it’s likely to apply here. 

But the twist is that Ghost wraps its saccharine melodies in ambiguously ominous lyrical content. The chorus is perhaps the most blatant example of this unique brand of bubblegum blasphemy, flirting with both sexual and Biblical tropes. “He asserts that the song is “more about friendship and how, together with someone else, you might have been something at one point and then you ended up just not being like that.”

At 1:57 we get a slithering, concise guitar lead before a protracted pre-chorus that leads to a revisit of the refrain at 2:42 with Forge’s strong vocals alone in the spotlight, save for some backing vocals and sparse guitar chords before it’s back once again to full-instrumentation for multiple interpretations of the powerful chorus before the fade-out that brings “Mary On A Cross” to its ultimate conclusion.

Confounding, contradictory, and infectiously appealing – if you don’t already have this one on your playlist, odds are you’ll be adding the track soon enough!

Ghost dove headfirst into their madcap narrative mythology with the 2019 single “Mary On A Cross” – and with over 320 million streams over on Spotify (and counting), it’s safe to say the creative decision was a sound one! Sacrilegious? Boundary-pushing? Perhaps, but the track is unquestionably catchy as all get-out. You simply can’t be “scared” of hooks this infectious! These Swedish occult rockers really caught lightning in a bottle with the track, and there’s more on the way in the form of upcoming (May 2023) LP Phantomime. Join the millions of acolytes and familiarize yourself with all of Ghost’s recorded output over at Spotify:

Additionally, you can pre-order the new album, sign up for the mailing list, and keep up to speed on the band’s upcoming 2023 tour by visiting:


Spell, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based metal/psychedelic/progressive duo made up of brothers Cam and Al Lester, has been delighting diehard fans since 1993 with their brand of hypnotic, accessible heavy rock.

From the 2022 LP, Tragic Magic, “Ultraviolet” was the radiant first single with razor-sharp hooks and songcraft steeped in the atmosphere of the arcane. Wasting no time getting things started, the track begins with heavy percussive stabs and tasty drum fills supporting some impressively complex six-string showmanship. Jagged, coruscating guitar riffs dance amidst Al’s assertive drums and Cam’s bass, while the dreamlike, delay- and reverb-rich vocals provide a mellifluous counterpart to the harsh licks. At :55 we get the first taste of the soaring, majestic refrain, bolstered by some tasteful synth work. This is some serious earworm stuff, folks. Lyrically, the track’s an epic narrative that’s probably best explained by the brothers themselves: "Ultraviolet" explores the hidden terror of forces that rule us but cannot be perceived or understood," says Spell vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Cam Mesmer. "Our world is shaped by powers that the limitations of our physical bodies prevent us from directly encountering. Will we fall victim to the lust for that which cannot be ours, or harness them to fulfill our wildest dreams?"

Heady stuff, to be sure.

But, back to the music: At the 2:48 mark begins a blistering dual guitar solo with both of the Lesters building intensity and complexity before it’s back one final time to the irresistible chorus and then the whole affair comes to an abrupt halt at 3:42. “Ultraviolet” manages to pull off a very complex feat, being simultaneously challenging and complex, while also massively accessible. This is a towering representation of an adventurous musical force at their most delightfully ferocious. Be sure to check this one out!

Ghost “Mary On A Cross” and Spell “Ultraviolet” are included in the Season 31 Pass. Grab yours today and enjoy the entire season of DLC. Both are available for $1.99 each.

  • Ghost – “Mary On A Cross”
  • Spell – “Ultraviolet”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 5/11: Ghost “Mary On A Cross” and Spell “Ultraviolet”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, May 11th.