Ghost’s Tobias Forge on His Death Metal Band Failing to Make It Big: ‘It Broke My Heart’

Tobias Forge: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi, CC BY-SA 4.0,, Wikimedia Commons
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Despite fronting one of the biggest bands in heavy metal, Tobias Forge of Sweden’s Ghost still laments that his old death metal band never took off the way he hoped it would.

Prior to his days fronting the massive band, Forge played guitar and sang in the death metal band Repugnant. While Repugnant played very solid 80s-era death metal, the band struggled to break out in any meaningful way.

In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Forge reflects on his time in Repugnant and says it “broke [his] heart” that the band never made it as big as he hoped it would become. Per Forge, there was a desire to make Repugnant work and tour in support of Slayer, but he says the band was “painfully out of touch” with what was going on in the ’90s metal scene.

Reflecting on Repugnant’s failure, Forge shares:

“I learned the hard way in the late 90s that wanting to play 80s-inspired death metal with my band Repugnant was painfully out of touch with what was going on at the time. It broke my heart; I wanted us to be signed to Roadrunner and support Slayer. That never happened, unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately, as it kept me grounded for a few more years and if those things had happened maybe I wouldn’t be here today.”

Forge adds there was a brief time when he thought Repugnant was going to make it big – however, things fell apart for the band.

“Repugnant had a close shave with success. We signed to the [Dutch] label Hammerheart, which at the time felt like we’d made it because the first thing they did was take us out on our first tour, supporting the American band Macabre. They were a favourite band of ours – still are, and whenever we play Chicago they come to the shows – and at that point it felt like we might be going somewhere, but we quickly parted ways with Hammerheart because we couldn’t agree. It felt like our chance and we’d blown it.”

The other day we shared a video featuring Forge playing in Repugnant. Compared to what Forge sounds like in Ghost, it’s quite shocking to hear the frontman shred away on guitar and unleash sick death metal vocals.

Would Repugnant be better received today? Hard to say. Check out the full interview here.