Ghost brings melody, Satan on Opus Eponymous

Matthew Grant Anson's picture

Issue 19, Matthew Grant Anson, Entertainment - By Matthew Grant Anson on Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 03:40

The opening intro track on Ghost’s debut album Opus Eponymous is made up of a minute and a half of eerie, oddly beautiful organ. The closing ninth track is an instrumental that brings to mind words like epic and magnificent in equal parts and it also features some spirited organ play. What happens between these two tracks completely separates Ghost from any band to ever come out of the metal genre.

This anonymous group of Swedish gentlemen whips out a psychedelic, traditional metal album with Opus Eponymous that reeks of authenticity. The driving drums, adept riffage and melodic—yet not overbearing—vocals sound like this can be an album from the late 70s that was only recently discovered and brought to light.

While Ghost shows off an incredible knack for song writing that combines bass throb with genuine melody, what really sets the band apart are the lyrics. To put it simply, these lyrics are downright satanic. The first word bellowed on the album is “Lucifer” and every single song is related in one way or another to Satan, the Devil, blasphemy, etc.

While satanic lyrics have been an over-trodden theme in metal since the genre’s birth, they were usually seen as something that just came with the territory. Because the genre is usually so reliant on screams or other types of guttural vocals, lyrics can usually only be barely made out, if at all. Not so for Ghost. All of the vocals on Opus Eponymous are crystal clear and high up in the mix, so lyrical gems like, “this chapel of ritual/smells of dead human sacrifices/from the altar,” are impossible to ignore.

And while other Satan-obsessed bands combined their worship with decidedly grim music, Ghost’s music is honestly quite pretty. Even when Ghost is reciting a bastardized version of the “Our Father” prayer on “Ritual,” there is still a degree of melody that is impossible to wash away, even if the band wanted to. And that is where Ghost succeeds: it knows that its winning game is one that is made up of bizarre, uncomfortable combinations.

Rather than fight that, the band embraces the creepiness and pushes the limits song after song. The fact that some of the most impressive harmonies occur on the absolute most disturbing lyrics pays testament to this.

Is Ghost a heavy band? Maybe not in the traditional sense. But if every aspect of Opus Eponymous is taken into account, from the organ induced church-like atmosphere to the lyrical blasphemies, the result is incredibly overwhelming.

Opus Eponymous feels like you are locked in the Church of Satan with a choir that refuses to stop playing tunes of the Devil. Soon, you must ask yourself, which is more disturbing: the music being played, or the fact that you do not want it to stop?

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2011-02-26 15:15.

When are you going to review that other Swedish band, Abba?