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Ghost - Opus Eponymous (Cover Artwork)

Ghost

Ghost: Opus EponymousOpus Eponymous (2010)
Rise Above Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: TheProblemWithFireTheProblemWithFire
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I was raised Catholic. My family went to mass every Sunday and I'll never forget all the standing, sitting and kneeling on stiff, wooden pews. The air would be choked with the smog of burning incense as the ornately dressed priest, his back to the congregation, recited the dead language of Latin fro.
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I was raised Catholic. My family went to mass every Sunday and I'll never forget all the standing, sitting and kneeling on stiff, wooden pews. The air would be choked with the smog of burning incense as the ornately dressed priest, his back to the congregation, recited the dead language of Latin from a thick tome placed at the altar. Though I've long since abandoned the faith, I must confess to retaining a soft spot in my little, black, heathen heart for the arcane ritual and mysticism of the old church.

I think that's partially why I find Sweden's Ghost and their debut full length, Opus Eponymous, so endearing. The intentionally irreverent '70s-inspired retro rock, chock-full of Satan worship, invokes both feelings of amusement and nostalgia. It doesn't hurt that the tunes are great, too.

Sure, Satan and metal go way back. Songs about witches, human sacrifices and the occult in general are about as old as the genre itself. However, what separates Ghost from many of their modern metal contemporaries isn't their subject matter so much as their musical approach to it. Instead of blazing tempos, crushing heaviness, and indecipherable growls, Ghost places an unabashed emphasis on melodies and memorable song structures with pop sensibilities. Cleanly-sung vocals give way to big, soaring, yet foreboding and eerie choruses. These guys have far more in common with Blue Öyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" than with the likes of anything Deicide ever did.

Opus begins with a short, ominous-sounding hymnal-like melody played on an organ and closes with a psychedelic, prog-influenced instrumental track that sounds like something culled from your dad's record collection. In the span in between, Ghost revels in all that is the unholy and profane, while sounding almost enthusiastically cheery about it: "Lucifer / We are here / For your praise / Evil one" the vocalist Papa Emeritus announces on "Con Clavi Con Dio," followed by some spooky, sinister-sounding chanting in Latin. "The Devil's power is the greatest one / When His and Hers holiest shuns the sun" he croons on "Stand by Him."

Rounding out the whole blasphemous charade are the costumes worn by Ghost in all live appearances and photo shoots: The vocalist as a skull-faced "evil" pope dressed in a black robe and hat bearing inverted crosses and the rest of the band in hooded druid robes. While I generally don't care much for bands or musicians that make it a point to dress up in costumes or as pretentious rock stars, in Ghost's case I'm willing to make an exception because the whole spectacle really ties everything together.

I'm aware that the vintage rock thing has already been overdone in some circles. And the Satan stuff, albeit as tongue-in-cheek as it is, may wear on some listeners. But as long as bands like Ghost keep churning out solid, time capsule-like, quality material that doesn't sound contrived, I'll be perfectly fine with that. Hail Satan, indeed!

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Scrosced (September 4, 2012)

Real good shit. Makes you wish Satan was real to destroy all the evil Christians out there.

theproblemwithfire (January 30, 2012)

Really? I recently saw them and thought they were great. I guess they don't move around much, but not many bands do (saw HWM the following night-again-and I thought they were boring--they essentially stood there for 35 minutes as well). The music played during the intro and outro was fitting, the atmosphere was cool and the vocalists gesturing and mannerisms fit the music perfectly. They also sounded really tight.

encorp (January 30, 2012)

I just saw these guys love.

And man, what a fucking snore it was.

Bummed, cause the record was good....

theproblemwithfire (January 29, 2012)

There are two Subhumans, too. The Pink Floyd analogy is off because Japan's Ghost won't ever be the household name like Pink Floyd.

It's weird that Sweden's Ghost went ahead with that name,; it's hard to believe they didn't research if it was taken, but I'm sure if Japan's Ghost were that upset about it, they would have taken action when these guys released their demos a couple years back. I don't really care, I just enjoy the album.

slowstupidhungry (January 28, 2012)

"There's already a band named Ghost. They're from Japan and put out a great album called Snuffbox Immanence on Drag City Records 15 years ago."

My thoughts exactly whenever I hear about someone hyping up this band. Ghost from Japan are really progressive and interesting to listen to. It's almost like if some tepid hard rock band decided to name themselves Pink Floyd in 1975.

Libra (January 27, 2012)

There's already a band named Ghost. They're from Japan and put out a great album called Snuffbox Immanence on Drag City Records 15 years ago.

Cheesetits (January 27, 2012)

Didn't think I would see this on here, loved this album, dying to see them live, they were held back the last tour with Enslaved.

thepopeofchili-town (January 27, 2012)

LOVE this record! Can't wait to see them with Mastodon in the Spring.

mightybombjack (January 27, 2012)

nemA!

flowerfeeder (January 27, 2012)

Great record.

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