Ghost "Square Hammer"
Writer: A Ghoul Writer
Producer: Tom Dalgety
Album: Popestar (EP)
Released: September 16, 2016
Label: Loma Vista Recordings
Genre: Alternative rock, art rock, progressive rock
Story behind the song
Ghost is easily recognizable because of its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group's six members wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is the vocalist, who wears a prosthetic face with skull face paint, appearing as what can be described as a "demonic anti-Pope".
For a better understanding of "Square Hammer," we need to go back because previous Ghost's albums established a story-line about the Anti-Christ.
On the first album "Opus Eponymous" songs refer to the advent of the Anti-Christ.
The birth and the arrival of the Anti-Christ on Earth is the main theme of the second album "Infestissumam."
The third album "Meliora" describes establishing Anti-Christ's reign on Earth.
"Square Hammer" extends the idea behind the third album. The song is proposing people to swear to the devil instead of god. This sets the notion that the devil is no longer an abstract idea, but rather is an established entity. It also introduces the idea that the devil occupies the spirit of people.
Right before the release of "Popestar" band promoted the song with a "Summoning" video, which declared the idea, that the band shouldn't be overwhelmed with their success and shouldn't forget about their main mission.
Official music video
The camera flies through a green-lit city showing the arrival of the dark entity. Papa Emeritus III takes a newspaper from a paperboy. Papa looks through the news about the Mysterious Spectre who has seized power. He also checks the press release about his role as in the first ever moving picture. The movie "Square Hammer" will be premiered at the Meliora Grand that very night. He comes out of the limo and waves to his fans. He and Nameless Ghouls enter the theater. They salute their fans and take their seats in the front row.
The movie starts with a man holding a torch amidst a gloomy and cold landscape. He discovers a secret entrance. A portcullis raises, revealing Papa Emeritus III in a role of the Mysterious Spectre. He conveys the man inside, showing him a stone sarcophagus, which starts to open. Papa Emeritus III looks surprised about this part. The projector begins to spark. A squared hammer, surrounded by electric arcs is revealed. The intertitle indicates it to be the "Square Hammer." The man picks it up as the Mysterious Spectre makes mystic passes, taking control of the Hammer's power. The Hammer glows and emits lightning.
Suddenly, the Mysterious Spectre puts his hand through the screen. Papa Emeritus III sees it but the others seem ignorant. Then the Mysterious Spectre bows and turns into a cloud of bats, which comes through the screen and chase everyone except Papa Emeritus III and the ghouls outside the theater. A phantom image of the Mysterious Spectre glows blue on the screen.
Outside, the bats ascend into the midnight sky and assemble into a giant spectre, which gets the full power. Inside the theater, the projector breaks and the film melts. Papa Emeritus III is disappointed and finally leaves. Outside, the giant figure of the Mysterious Spectre glows against the sky. A spotlight moves over it and its left eye glows. Papa Emeritus III's left eye begins to glow in answer before the end.
"Square Hammer" is the opening track of the most of recent Ghost's shows.
"Square Hammer" live at Aftershock Festival in Sacramento CA 2016.
The new lineup of Ghost has delivered its very first show in Norwich, England (March, 24).
The song is pretty fresh and it doesn't have a lot of notable covers.
Piano Cover by Piano Nico.
Acoustic cover by Marc-André Gionet.
Gear and settings
Anonymity was a major characteristic of Ghost; the members hadn't publicly revealed their names, and the group's five instrumentalists are only referred to as "Nameless Ghouls", which represent one of the five elements: fire, water, wind, earth, and ether, and wear a corresponding alchemical symbol on their instruments.
Fire / Alpha, lead guitar
Gibson RD Artist Electric Guitar
The Nameless Ghouls of Ghost have been known to carry Gibson RD's since the early days. Fire Ghoul's white guitar carries a pair of Seymour Duncan with a coil-tap switch, just like Omega Ghoul's black Gibson RD guitar.
Ether / Omega, rhythm guitar
As it was said Ether Ghoul mainly uses black Gibson RD guitar.
Omega is also known as a user of Gibson SG guitar.
Our guitars differ between what we’re touring with and what we’re recording with. At home, all the music is written on my guitar here at home, which is a regular black Gibson SG, which is highly regular. But that’s my go-to guitar, that’s my favorite guitar. And usually when we go into the studio, there’s nothing wrong with that guitar, but it tends to detune a bit too quickly. I’ve changed the screws on it, but in the studio, you want something reliable. In the studio, we tend to use one set of things and live we use Gibson RDs and those are really good for the live thing. Also, just for the coloration of the sound, we want to use different guitars in the studio.
Live at Aftershock Festival in Sacramento CA 2016.
Water Ghoul has been seen many times playing an American Special Precision Bass (UG Score 9.2) by Fender.
Amps and effects
Their amp choice didn't change too much from their previous album and the sound is mostly based on mixing Marshall, Orange and Fender amps.
... guitars went through at least one Marshall — I think there were two Plexis and at least one JCM800. There's also at least one Orange in there. And then we used a few different Fender heads, just because they produce this sort of fucked-up punk sound that is hard to get anywhere else. It's not a sound that is necessarily good on its own for metal, but it definitely adds a rattle when you mix it in. Whatever you can get out of a Marshall, if you put a Fender on top of it, like an old Twin or something, it makes it sound very … motor-esque. And then we had a few other oddballs.
Ghost emphasizes a usage of warm Mids and Treble, meaning you shouldn't be afraid to crank the Mids. So as not to drown out any tonality, tone down the Gain (and overall Overdrive + Bass for that matter), as Ghost don't rely heavily on distortion, but more on the clarity of the notes.
These are top tabs rated by the UG community:
Guitars: D standard tuning (D G C F A D)
Bass: D standard tuning (D G C F)
The song is written in D minor key.
Intro: 0:00 - 0:29
"Square Hammer" starts with the catchy main riff of the song, that is pretty fun to play and also makes for a good pick hand/fret hand coordination exercise. For the second part of the intro rhythm guitar plays power chords.
Verse 1: 0:29 - 1:00
Verses consist of simple muted power chords that have the main riff thrown in there as well.
Chorus 1: 1:00 - 1:30
The chorus is based around simple power chords as well but there are a lot of fills with vibrato being added to the riff.
Verse 2: 1:30 - 2:03
This verse and the following chorus have the same structure as previous ones and based on the same guitar lines.
Chorus 2: 2:03 - 2:35
Guitar Solo: 2:35 - 3:05
It sounds like one solo on the recording but is actually played by two guitarists, at least live.
These solos are great and really have some nice challenging licks without being overly technical. They are also quite musical as well. The first one involves using hammer-ons, vibrato, trill, bends and releases.
The second solo starts when the double-stops come in. There you need to use slides, vibrato, bend and release, and a set of quick hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Final choruses: 3:05 - 3:59
Final choruses are close the previous ones, but there is a more intensive use of power chords for the final passages.
Complete Guides to:
- Iron Maiden "The Trooper"
- Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"
- Cream "Sunshine of Your Love"
- Metallica "Master of Puppets"
- Megadeth "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due"
- Alice In Chains "Nutshell"
- Dream Theater "Pull Me Under"
- Pink Floyd "Comfortably Numb"
- Ozzy Osbourne "Mr. Crowley"
- Radiohead "Paranoid Android"