Ghost

Opus Eponymous

01. Deus Culpa
02. Con Clavi Con Dio
03. Ritual
04. Elizabeth
05. Stand By Him
06. Satan Prayer
07. Death Knell
08. Prime Mover
09. Genesis

[Rise Above | 10/18/10]

Ghost are kind of peculiar. Hailing from the (arguable) Metal Mecca that is Sweden, Ghost offer a throwback to the early days of metal and hard rock along the lines of Black Sabbath with a classic rock sense of melodic catchiness. Not only that, the band is overtly trying to spread Satan’s gospel. Think Cheap Trick + Black Sabbath + Satan. To add to this peculiarity, the members of Ghost wish to remain anonymous. I’m not entirely sure if they’re serious or if this approach is done in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but Ghost deliver a much well received debut album in Opus Eponymous.

Described elsewhere as Scooby Doom, (I don’t remember the source of this apt description, sorry!) Ghost’s blending of classic rock melodies (a-la Boston or the aforementioned Cheap Trick) with proto/early metal psychedelic doom atmosphere and occult lyrics approach dangerously on the air of novelty. Looking over the album’s lyrical content, this is probably the epitome of heavy metal lyricism; “Ritual,” the most memorable song on the album, will have you singing along about human sacrifice. The lyrics of “Death Knell,” another highlight, includes the chorus, “Six, six, six. Receive the beast of evil!” sung in a soothing and melodic tone. It’s quite bonkers if you think about this dichotomy of Satanic and evil combined with poppy melodies.

But it’s just too goddamn fun to write off as a mere novelty act. This album encapsulates the essence of classic/proto-metal in a way I’ve personally never heard before. Despite Ghost’s overt cheesiness, they manage to write some authentically fun and catchy tunes that fans of heavy music everywhere should enjoy in some capacity. It’s really quite a brilliant approach at bringing back that classic sound for a new generation of listeners. Hell, my mother enjoyed the Ghost songs I played for her.

The album’s shining moment lies in the instrumental outro “Genesis,” which showcases the instrumental talents of the cloaked and anonymous band members with guitar riffs and swirling synth lines arranged with a progressive feel that ultimately leads to an acoustic outro. I couldn’t imagine a better ending. On the flipside, the intro track “Deus Culpa” is a basic organ intro that feels unnecessary to the flow of the album.

The album is quite short, almost approaching 35 minutes in length. This is both to the benefit of the album itself and to the chagrin of many listeners. The album feels short, but I can’t help but feel that Ghost would have too hard of a time to stretch time out anymore without having to resort to filler, and some songs are close to giving off that feeling as it is. Opus Eponymous is quite a good start, but I have a feeling that despite the album’s title, their best work is yet to come—assuming they ever put a second release out. Hopefully they do, as this retro sound definitely has its place and offers a damn good time. That said, Hail Satan!

Ghost – Opus Eponymous gets…

4/5

- JR