Tobias Forge

Tobias Forge (Swedish pronunciation: [tʊˈbiːas ˈfɔrːɡɛ];[6] born 3 March 1981) is a Swedish singer, musician and songwriter. He is the leader of the masked rock band Ghost, performing live as their vocalist under the stage names Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia. Although they formed in 2006, his identity as the Ghost frontman was only confirmed in 2017, following a lawsuit by former members of the band due to a royalty dispute. Prior to finding success, Forge was in several other bands including Repugnant and Crashdïet under the name Mary Goore. Due to "Ghost's epic progression from underground doom favorites to an arena phenomenon" in the 2010s, Loudwire named Forge the Metal Artist of the Decade.[7]

Tobias Forge
Forge performing with Ghost in his Cardinal Copia persona at Wacken Open Air 2018
Background information
Birth nameTobias Jens Forge
Also known as
  • Leviathan
  • Kopromancer
  • Gene Walker
  • Mary Goore
  • A Ghoul Writer
  • Nameless Ghoul
  • Papa Emeritus (I, II, III, Nihil)
  • Cardinal Copia
Born (1981-03-03) 3 March 1981
Linköping, Sweden
  • Singer
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • drums
  • keyboards[5]
  • kazoo
Years active1996–present
Associated acts

Repugnant and Crashdïet

Forge was a member of the band Superior under the stage name Leviathan in 1996. Forge has fronted the Stockholm-based death metal band Repugnant since 1998, under the stage name Mary Goore. They recorded their only studio album Epitome of Darkness in 2002, but it was left unreleased when the band broke up in 2004, only being published in 2006.[8] Between 2000 and 2002, Forge was also a guitarist for glam metal band Crashdïet under the Mary Goore name. At some point he also played guitar for the punk rock band Onkel Kånkel.[9] Repugnant reunited for the Hell's Pleasure festival in 2010.

Subvision and Magna Carta Cartel

From 2002 to 2008, Forge was vocalist and guitarist of the pop rock band Subvision. The group also included future Ghost members Martin Persner and Gustaf Lindström on guitar and bass respectively.[10] They released two EPs and one album, 2006's So Far So Noir, before disbanding.

Forge, Persner and Simon Söderberg, another future Ghost member, were also members of the Linköping-based alternative rock band Magna Carta Cartel (or MCC) from 2006 to 2010.[11] He played guitar and bass with Persner and Söderberg both handling guitar and singing duties. The band went on hiatus when all three began to focus on Ghost.[12] After leaving Ghost in July 2016, Persner reformed Magna Carta Cartel.[13]


Forge has been the chief songwriter and business leader of the rock and heavy metal band Ghost since 2006, a project and role that contributed to a significant rise in his fame and popularity, following many years of involvement in other underground acts.[14] During live performances with the band, he performs as its singer, originally under the stage name Papa Emeritus, a demonic anti-pope, and now Cardinal Copia. Peter Hällje, a former bandmate of Martin Persner, claimed he designed the Papa Emeritus character in 2005, prior to the formation of Ghost. Hällje never performed as Papa Emeritus and agreed with Persner to let him use the character for his then-new band.[15] For recorded material, Forge seems to also play most of the other instruments in addition to vocals. For example, he said their 2010 debut album Opus Eponymous was recorded with a session drummer and nothing else.[5]

During a concert in the band's hometown of Linköping, Sweden in 2012, Papa Emeritus was ostensibly retired and replaced by a supposedly new vocalist, Papa Emeritus II (which was really just Forge in another costume).[16] The band's second album Infestissumam was released in 2013. Due to a legal dispute over the band's name, they were forced to release the album as Ghost B.C. in the United States.[17] For this album as well as the subsequent EP If You Have Ghost (2013), Forge performed as Papa Emeritus II. In 2015, Papa Emeritus III was introduced to coincide with the release of Meliora.[18] Papa Emeritus III was retired at the end of Ghost's 2016-2017 Popestar Tour (being physically dragged off stage at the end of the final show), and a new character, Papa Emeritus Zero (now known as Papa Nihil), was introduced immediately afterward.[19] For the band's fourth album, 2018's Prequelle, Forge adopted another new persona, Cardinal Copia.

Despite anonymity being one of Ghost's biggest themes, Forge's identity as Papa Emeritus was revealed following a lawsuit in April 2017 by former Ghost members over a royalties dispute.[20] They also claimed he was trying to transform Ghost "from a band into a solo project with hired musicians" in an "underhanded and shameless way".[21] Forge has disputed this, claiming that Ghost "was always sort of… I guess a Bathory sort of band, where there was people playing live, and the people playing live [were] not necessarily the same that played on the records."[5] Forge claimed that "no legal partnership" ever existed between the other members and himself; they were paid a fixed salary to perform and execute the band's image as he instructed as "musicians for hire."[14]

Other work

Forge, as Papa Emeritus III, appears as a guest on Candlemass' May 2018 vinyl-exclusive version of "House of Doom".[22] As Cardinal Copia he joined members of Candlemass and Vargas and Lagola for a live performance of "Enter Sandman" in front of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia of Sweden during the 14 June 2018 ceremony honoring Metallica with the Polar Music Prize.[23] Cardinal Copia also makes a featured appearance on the song "I'm Not Afraid" from Emigrate's November 2018 album A Million Degrees.[24]

Personal life

Forge is married and is the father of twins.[25] His brother Sebastian, who was thirteen years his senior, had a large influence on Tobias and introduced him to film and music such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kim Wilde, Rainbow, Kiss, and Mötley Crüe at a very young age. Sebastian died from a heart disease on 12 March 2010, the same day that Ghost released their first demo songs online.[25] Sebastian was also a published author.

Forge stated that as an adolescent he "unquestionably [threw] my hands into the hands of Satan."[25] He cited a strict stepmother, the alienation he felt at her home, and an even stricter religious schoolteacher for making him run "headfirst into the arms of the devil."[25]



  • Metamorphis (Demo, 1996)
  • Illustrare Ad Infernali (Demo, 1997)


  • Spawn of Pure Malevolence (Demo, 1999)
  • Hecatomb (EP, 1999)
  • Draped in Cerecloth (Demo, 2001)
  • Dunkel Besatthet (Split, 2002)
  • Premature Burial (EP, 2004)
  • Kaamos / Repugnant (Split, 2004)
  • Epitome of Darkness (2006)


  • Demo 1 (Demo, 2000)
  • Demo 2 (Demo, 2000)
  • Demo 3 (Demo, 2001)


  • Brilliant Music for Stupid People (EP, 2003)
  • Pearls for Pigsnawps (EP, 2003)
  • The Killing Floor E.P. (EP, 2004)
  • So Far So Noir (2006)

Magna Carta Cartel

  • Valiant Visions Dawn (EP, 2008)
  • Goodmorning Restrained (2009)



  1. "Ghost Bio". AllMusic.
  2. Lawson, Dom (11 April 2013). "Ghost: Infestissumam – review". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  3. Arnold, Neil. "GHOST - Infestissumam". Metal Forces. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  4. Roche, Jason (3 July 2017). "Iron Maiden Defy Age, Which Is Why They're Still One of Metal's Best Live Acts". LA Weekly. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  5. "TOBIAS FORGE (a.k.a. PAPA EMERITUS): 'GHOST Was Never Formed As A Band'". 22 April 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  6. "Ghost's Tobias Forge Is the Metal Artist of the Decade". Loudwire. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  7. "TOBIAS FORGE Laments Lack Of Success For Pre-GHOST Outfit REPUGNANT: 'If I Look Back On How I Did Things, It Was Unprofessional'". 27 May 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  8. "Tobias Forge - Sommar & Vinter i P1". Sveriges Radio. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  9. Ellenberger, Kurt. "Ghost of a Chance: A New Paradigm for Pop Music Success?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  10. "Ghost Unmasked: Nameless Ghoul Known as Omega Reveals His Identity, His Name Is Martin Persner". Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  11. "MCC [Magna Carta Cartel]". Facebook. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  12. Childers, Chad. "Ex-Nameless Ghoul From Ghost Identifies Self, Reveals New Band". Loudwire. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  13. "Ghost Frontman's Response Claims 'No Legal Partnership' Existed With Bandmates". Loudwire. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  14. "Mannen bakom Ghosts huvudkaraktär: "Jag är alltså den förste Papa Emeritus – inte Tobias Forge"" [The man behind the main character of Ghost: "I am thus the first Papa Emeritus - not Tobias Forge"]. BaraMetal (in Swedish). 14 June 2017.
  15. "Ghost Introduce "New" Papa Emeritus During Hometown Show… Wait, What?". Metal Insider. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  16. "Ghost B.C. Unveil 'Infestissumam' Release Date + 2013 North American Tour With Ides of Gemini". Loudwire. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  17. "Ghost Unveil 'New' Leader Papa Emeritus III". Loudwire. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  18. "Ghost's Papa Emeritus III Plays Final Show, Transition to New "Papa" Begins". Loudwire. 1 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  19. "Four Former Members of Ghost Reveal Identities, Speak Out About Lawsuit Against Tobias Forge ("Papa Emeritus")". MetalSucks. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  20. "Former GHOST Members Accuse Singer Of Trying To 'Shamelessly' Turn 'Band' Into 'Solo Project'". 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  21. "GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE To Guest On 10-Inch Vinyl Version Of CANDLEMASS's 'House Of Doom'". Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  22. "METALLICA Honored With POLAR MUSIC PRIZE; GHOST And CANDLEMASS Members Perform 'Enter Sandman'". Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  23. "Hear Ghost's Cardinal Copia Croon on Rammstein Side Project Emigrate's New Song". Revolver. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  24. Bennett, J. "Ghost: The True Story of Death, Religion and Rock & Roll Behind Metal's Strangest Band". Revolver. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
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