Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ghost - "Opus Eponymous"

Ghost's debut album "Opus Eponymous" was unleashed to the world in the early months of 2011, and upon first listen, this reviewer wasnt very impressed. But as months went on and buzz about the band started to grow, I gave more and more listens via Youtube and watched more than a handful of live performances and each time they grew on me more and more and I found myself humming the catchy vocal and guitar lines after I was done listening. So I finally decided to get the album, and if it has left my stereo at all in the past few weeks, it hasnt been for very long. This band bares influence in the likes of Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate. The Fate comparison doesnt stop with musical influence. Their vocalist "The Ghoul with no name" stalks the stage during their live performances adorned with creepy skull faced makeup and dressed in full garb to resemble a satanic version of the pope himself.(Wonder if this review is gonna get me some more flyers from the Fellowship Tract League?). The guitarists, bassist, drummer and keyboard player all perform wearing druid robes with huge hoods and their faces totally hidden from view. But while the theatrics are really cool, it is my humble opinion that their stage show is only the proverbial icing on baphomet's birthday cake. All of the satan praising compositions contained within this album are well written, solid Hard Rock/Heavy Metal songs. The guitars are crunchy and hard hitting, but not too heavily overdriven in the distortion department. This band have a knack for making themselves sound like a vintage act, almost as if they stepped out of a time machine in 1981 to do the dark lord's bidding! The Ghoul does a great job of using his voice to weave great unforgettable vocal melodies over the bands heavy, luciferian dirges and lyrically, the band makes no bones about their loyalty to the "Horned One" as evidenced in songs like "Satan Prayer", "Con Clavi Con Dio" and "Stand By Him". The keyboards add a demented horror flick-like vibe to the songs "Prime Mover" and "Death Knell". The band does their best to evoke mental images of what a true Black Mass experience would be like in my personal favorite track "Ritual" with it's crunchy main riff that calls to mind the Mercyful Fate classic "A Dangerous Meeting". "Elizabeth" tells the story of a woman who most of us Metalheads should be familiar with by now, Elizabeth Bathory, the demented countess who killed young virgins and bathed in their blood in an effort to keep herself looking young. The seething instrumental "Genesis" closes out "Opus Eponymous" with heavy riffs, lead guitar harmonies and a keyboard piece that wont leave your memory once you've given it a listen. Overall "Opus Eponymous" is a solid debut album and I look forward to the next Ghost offering. This CD deserves a place in every old school fan's collection. If you've had it with boring deathcore clones and feel you may lose your lunch if you gotta listen to another group of kids wearing skinny jeans play 75 breakdowns in a row, then Ghost should provide you with a breath of fresh air straight from the bowels of hell!

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