“He Is” By Ghost: Lyrics Meaning And Interpretation

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Do you like listening to heavy metal genres? Have you heard about the band named Ghost? The article focuses on Ghost’s “He Is” song lyrics meaning. Let’s take a glance at the band’s biography first. Ghost is a rock band that came in 2006 in Linkoping, Sweden. The band plays heavy metal and hard rock music and their songs are usually about Satan. The band is made of the lead singer and songwriter Tobias Forge along with a group of ‘anonymous ghouls’ hidden in identical heavy makeup and masks.

Before the formation of Ghost, Tobias was a part of the band Repugnant, a death metal band and, Crashdiet, a sleaze metal band. The leader Tobias himself wears a mask and disguises himself as Satanic Pope. Tobias hides behind the character (Papa Emeritus) that has been changed five times so far with names-Papa Emeritus I, Papa Emeritus II, Papa Emeritus III, and Nihil. Since 2018, Forge is playing the character of Cardinal Copia.

1. Papa Emeritus was the main singer in their debut album, Opus Eponymous.

2. He was replaced in 2012 by Papa Emeritus II in their second album Infestissumam in 2015. Then his younger brother, Papa Emeritus III, became a part of the album Meliora.

3. In 2017, Papa Emeritus III was replaced in front of the public by Papa Emeritus 0 who was later named Papa Nihil. He was the ancestor of all the Papas.

4. In 2018 Cardinal Copia became the new leader.

Nameless Ghouls were supposed to be nameless, but fans provided nicknames to them. Their names were made from the symbols labeled on their costumes.

· Lead Guitar as Fire Ghoul

· Bass as Water Ghoul

· Rythym Guitar as Aether Ghoul

· Keyboards as Air Ghoul

· Drums as Earth Ghoul

Tobias Forge contacted one of his former bandmates Gustaf Lindstrom and they both started the band by recording three songs “Stand By Him“, “Prime Mover“, and “Death Knell“. The band released the three-track demo and first single titled “Elizabeth“, and slowly after, their first album Opus Eponymous. The album reached number 50 on Swedish charts. It also got a nomination for the Grammis.

Their second album was released in 2013 named Infestissumam. At that time the name of the band changed to Ghost B.C in the USA for a short period due to some legal reasons. The band faced a lot of backlash in the USA. It won the Grammis for the category Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. Ghost released their EP If You Have Ghost in 2013 which Dave Grohl had produced. Ghost’s third album named Meliora, released in 2015 bagged them a Grammy Award for their single “Cirice”. Their fourth album Preqelle, released in 2008 and their fifth album Impera released in 2022.

Before learning about Ghost’s “He Is” lyrics meaning let’s know what their music relates to. Ghost has maintained its identity anonymous. The frontmen of the group never attended any interviews. These interviews were handled by the Nameless Ghouls. Their music roots are in black metal with King Diamond and Mercyful Fate being their influence. But critics have also classified them under many other genres like arena rock, psychedelic rock, occult rock, etc. Their lyrics often have the presence of Satanic nature like the presence of the devil, the birth of Anti Christ, and so on.

What does the title mean?

The band Ghost produced the song “He Is” as the fifth track under the album Meliora, released in May 2015. As soon as Meliora was released, “He Is” became fans’ favorite track. The song is an anti-hymn but its unique choice of verses and the repetition of the title makes the song sound like a hymn. If listened to with full attention, then only thing one gets to know about the song is its devilish remarks.

A lyric video of the song was first uploaded in 2015 on YouTube on the official page of the band. The song’s music video directed by Zev Deans, released in 2017. In the video, Papa Emeritus can be seen covered with skeletal face makeup. He uses religious enacting and imagery of evangelical leaders, particularly similar to people in the Baptist position. He does some wild poses and “spiritually” pushes members of his congregation at the front of the chapel. Papa Emeritus passes a plate around and feeds something to the people present there. He baptizes women in white clothing at the end of the video.

Watching the music video one may not find anything related to the dark or the devil. The characters played were straight, but the only difference was they were all led by a person with skeletal makeup. The face-painted man evoked dark and devilish imagery. He was also the one who Baptized the women, which is creepy. Let’s look at what the Ghost’s “He Is” lyrics meaning looks like.

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Verse 1 What does it mean?

We’re standing here by the abyss

And the world is in flames

Two star-crossed lovers reaching out

To the beast with many names

Papa Emeritus III sings the part and tries to say that ‘we’ are standing near a bottomless pit watching the world in flames. He also mentions two ‘star-crossed’ lovers reaching toward the beast.

Chorus- What does it mean?

He is, He’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see

And He is insurrection, He is spite, He’s the force that made me be

He is Nostro Dispater, Nostr’Alma Mater

He is

The chorus of the song repeats the phrase ‘He is’. This may sound like a reference to the Almighty. But as it is a heavy metal band’s production, to give it Ghost’s touch, the meaning of the lyrics becomes totally different. There is the use of Latin phrases like “Nostro Dis Pater” meaning our bad father or our father of Hell and “Nostr’ Alma Mater” our nourishing mother. Here ‘he’ is probably giving a reference to Satan or maybe some other dark entity.

Verse 2- What does it mean?

We are hiding here inside a dream

And all our doubts are now destroyed

The guidance of the morning star

Will lead the way into the void

In the second verse, Papa Emeritus III writes about how the guidance of the morning star will take us into a void. He says that we all are living in a world of dreams and doubts. Here, by ‘morning star’ he refers to Satan who will bring them out of their dreams and doubts. Contrary to Christian beliefs, here Papa is suggesting to get fully destroyed by Satan or the dark entity.

Chorus- What does it mean?



He is, He’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see

And He is insurrection, He is spite, He’s the force that made me be

He is Nostro Dispater, Nostr’Alma Mater

He is

He is, He’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see

And He is insurrection, He is spite, He’s the force that made me be

He is, He’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see

And He is the disobedience that holds us together

He is Nostro Dispater, Nostr’Alma Mater

And we are falling over the precipice


The chorus then repeats with the same lines where the phrase ‘he is’ repeats, which refers to Satan. The song ends with the same chorus with just a little difference in the lyrics. Papa Emeritus says that we have no value without ‘him’. He is the disobedience we need in life and the force that holds everything together. He ends the song by saying that all of us are falling over a precipice by following Satan and that is what we all should do.


The Ghost’s “He Is” lyrics meaning provides a look of any normal hymn sung in the church. But the song is a total anti-hymn thanking Satan for providing all the imperfections that we have in us. The imperfections for which we pray to God to take them away from us. The lyrics of the song show the dismissal of Christian thoughts. This feature is something that can be seen in many of Ghost’s songs. Probably that is the reason that made the band controversial at some point. And this may also be the reason that has made He Is” lyrics meaning and the song such a hit.

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