Sweden has, in my eyes, some of the best music acts these days. You’ve got Opeth, In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, Meshuggah, Pain Of Salvation; the list goes on and on. These bands, and more from the Scandinavian region, are often credited with shaping today’s metal scene. Most of the time, these bands are focused on moving forward, creating the next iconic sound. Ghost has taken the opposite approach and went back in time, forging a Satanic heavy metal album that hearkens back to the 70’s and 80’s NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). Does it work or is it too pretentious for it’s own good? Check after the jump for answer.
Kicking things off with a warm, yet oddly creepy, organ tune, ‘Opus Eponymous’ really gets things going with ‘Con Clavi Con Dio’. Starting with a thick yet articulate bass, the band blasts open with organs, crunchy guitars and harmonized, almost wailed vocals. Since the first word you hear on the album is “Lucifer!”, you kinda know what you’re getting into right away. The song is energetic and easily brings back memories of old Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.
The production of the album is very polished yet sounds like an old recording. The tones of each instrument are as vintage as they come, bringing a lot of nostalgic emotions into the mix. The bass, as stated above, is very thick yet never muddy. The guitars are panned spaciously and have just enough crunch without going into full out distortion. The drums are also mixed very well. The vocal style is what easily might throw off many a listener as they are all sung and harmonized with no growling or screaming. The extra little flourishes on the album serve great purpose by adding texture.
The album flows very naturally and rarely changes form or style. It’s also an album that with each listen more comes out. The drumming is very clever and the bassist often sticks to the bass drum, rather than constantly matching the guitarists, creating a solid foundation that is easy to nod your head to. To put it simply, it’s a joy to listen to this album.
The Final Word: With elements from Bigelf, Opeth and the early NWOBHM acts, Ghost have put out a great album in ‘Opus Eponymous’ that is as catchy as it is Satanic. Who says you can’t worship Satan without dancing a little jig here and there?