OPETH — Ghost Reveries (review)

OPETH — Ghost Reveries album cover Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Sleeper
After the disappointments of Damnation/Deliverance, Opeth needed to deliver here, at least in my eyes, and to an extent the band certainly did. Gone now is the production and occasional mellotron and guitar work of Steven Wilson but in comes the bands first full time keyboard player, in the shape of Per Wiberg. Ghost Reveries would also prove to be the final studio album that Martin Lopez will sit behind the drum kit for Opeth and the same goes for guitarist Peter Lindgren.

In the main, there are two major differences between Ghost Reveries and previous albums that the band has released. The first is the production, its immediately apparent that the crystal clear and highly defined production of the albums Still Life through to Damnation is gone in favoure of a more muddy and blurred sound to it, the instruments don't seem to quite have the individual space in the overall sound that they used to. The second is that the overall feel of the album is bizarrely far more upbeat than on any other album of theirs. Its this last change that is so perplexing because the dark, melancholic atmospheres of previous albums was their towering strength. Extreme music of this variety doesn't really work too well when you try to inject an up-beat feel to it, it would appear.

There are two problems here, though. The first being that Per Wiberg seems to be something of a none-entity, with his keyboard playing well and truly buried and contributing little to the overall sound of the album. Secondly, the tendency to extend songs past their lifetime on Deliverance has been kept here, though to not such a crippling degree. The worst offender being Reverie/Harlequin Forest as the last 4-5 minutes could have been cut down to less than 2, and The Grand Conjuration and Ghost of Perdition could have done with a little pruning as well. Having said that, this is definitely not a bad album and certainly a big improvement over the last two, with the band making full use of its trademark style of contrast. The Baying of the Hounds is an exceptional song and stands out as one of Opeths best whilst the eastern influences of Atonement make for an unusual track.

In the end, though, Opeth can, and have, done better.
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