OPETH – Ghost Reveries

OPETH - Ghost Reveries


Release date: August 29, 2005

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When listing the scene’s most unique and original bands one cannot exclude Sweden’s Opeth. Through almost fifteen years, this quintet (used to be a quartet but Spiritual Beggars’ Pär Viberg has become a full-time member on keyboards) has brought fans a spellbinding mix of Death Metal, Jazz, Acoustic Folk Music, and Progressive Rock. Albums like My Arms Your Hearse and Still Life are downright classics, and the entirely “Jazzy” album, Damnation, really showed the diversity of these guys. Singer and lead guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt has always been considered the frontman in the band, but guitarist Peter Lindgren and the extraordinary rhythm section of Martin Lopez on drums and Martin Mendez on bass are definitely not to be forgotten. Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson has also collaborated quite a lot with Opeth through the years, but not so much this time.

“Ghost of Perdition” opens the ball and this is a trademark, majestic, and epic Opeth track. The dark riffs move around in familiar harmonic circles, but still this isn’t in any way a rip-off of earlier works. The harmonies are fresh and new, and the staccato riffing is almost Hardcore-ish.

“The Baying of the Hounds” is another awesome track, melodic and very progressive, with great use of several keyboards and organs. Åkerfeldt uses his very sad and emotional clean voice with great effect here, and the pairing of Lopez/Mendez makes the simple beat really groove. The guitar solos too are awesome on this track.

“Beneath the Mire” opens very catchy with a straight 4/4 oriental-inspired riff, before it moves onto become one of the darkest tracks on Ghost Reveries — where Åkerfeldt shows he still can growl with the best of ’em. The oriental inspiration continues in the next track, “Atonement,” which is of the calmer kind. Unfortunately, this doesn’t reach the level of the very strong opening trio. The Indian-inspired beat grooves to some extent, and the guitar theme is okay, but still this track kind of falls through. The percussion in the middle is cool, though, and, as usual, the vocals are strong.

Ghost Reveries is definitely amongst the most melodic Opeth albums, and “Reverie/Harlequin Forest” wouldn’t sound out of place on an album by either Dream Theater or Shadow Gallery. It is cool that the guys look new places for inspiration, but this isn’t good enough, plain and simple, and these two last tracks are the weakest of the album, and the weakest Opeth tracks in many years.

Luckily, things are back on track with the exceptional ballad “Hours of Wealth.” This is pure musical beauty at its finest, with emotional guitars over a Jazzy chord progression, magic organs, and awesome vocals by Åkerfeldt. Superb stuff!

“The Grand Conjuration” is (finally) another 10-minute, full-on Death Metal track. The first thing to hit you is how great it is to finally hear some real guitars again, and later the track brings more cool solos, trademark down-tuned riffing, and more very dark, emotional vocal parts. The atonal side of the band is back after some tracks rest, and Lopez can bring out his double bass drums again. The keyboards are again present, adding an almost Black Metal feel to certain parts. Whether this is a good thing or not is open to debate, but it surely gives the music a new dimension.

“Isolation Years” closes the album, and is another calm, beautiful track. As usual, the band delivers when it comes to down-tempo tracks, but although there is no doubt about the quality, and especially the chorus is very sad and beautiful, “Hours of Wealth” is still the album’s best ballad by far.

Once again, a great album, but for the first time in quite a few years, an album by these guys that contains clear down points. After three killer songs the middle, the pair of “Atonement” and “Reverie…” cannot cope with the quality, which definitely is a shame because there are plenty of highlights elsewhere, and in terms of production and playing, this is (of course) top notch. This shouldn’t stop you from buying this album, however – 55 out of its 66 minutes are top-notch material, and the strong melodic aspect can make this a good place to start when checking out Opeth for the first time.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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