Ghost Reveries

Written by: AP on 12/10/2005 23:34:33

Ghost Reveries is an excellent realization of the idea that is Opeth: eight painfully long, doom progressive black metal masterpieces that never seize to unveil new hidden aspects. Opeth, for me, holds the throne for one of the most instrumentally capable bands around. There's something utterly mesmerizing about the constantly diverging melodies, because frankly, they do not conform to any kind of norm. The Swedish quintet couldn't have decided on a better title for the album - ghastly, inspiring and progressive songs all the way through that cannot be the result of anything but an abstracted state of musing.

"Ghost of Perdition" is an excellent opening to the oscillating flow of riveting black metal guitar riffs and acoustic breakdowns highlighted by Mikael Åkerfeldt's clean vocals. Mikael's vocals are indeed some of the best in the genre: his ability to manipulate his voice so drastically never stops surprising. The song begins with an extremely simple, foreboding lone lead that almost immediately erupts into a nerve-shredding blend of power chords and Åkerfeldt's impressive growling. What follows is a breathtaking lead guitar from start to finish, while you wonder, "how the hell do they come up with this shit?". This general attitude is maintained throughout the album, and is heightened when the entirely acoustic, but nevertheless incredible, instrumental "Atonement" incises the album with its mellowness.

What differentiates Ghost Reveries from Opeth's other albums is the emphasis placed on clean vocals, rather than the usual growling, as acoustic guitars and clean singing are essentially what dominate this album from start to finish. The style that the album conforms to, or rather invents, cannot be described as anything other than intellectual. "Hours of Wealth" and "Isolation Years" for instance add to the album a touch of the old, two songs that combine sounds typical to Eric Clapton's music with Dream Theater's acoustic guitars. The outcome is extremely complex - pure genius progressive music to be frank.

Nonetheless, despite the masturbation of the genius of Ghost Reveries, it falls short of a straight ten score. While this album is far more accessible to an Opeth-newcomer, the hardcore Opeth fan will be left longing for the sound of songs like "Bleak" and "By the Pain I See in Others". Although this sound is recalled in the opening track and "The Baying of the Hounds", there simply isn't enough. It's like a slice of the most delicate, silky chocolate cake without the raspberry sauce - you taste, explore and almost climax. You're then left with a sense of emptiness - something just wasn't there, and you know that if only that raspberry sauce had topped this masterpiece, you would have--


Download: Ghost of Perdition, The Baying of the Hounds
For the fans of: Dream Theater, Swallow the Sun

Release date 29.09.2005
Roadrunner Records

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