OPETH — Ghost Reveries (review)

OPETH — Ghost Reveries album cover Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Opeth's third best album!

Wow, this thing is getting 5 star reviews and gushing praise from the respected prog community so I suppose I better check it out. With a renewed interest in the band, after some horrible albums, I was pleased to revisit Opeth with such a progressive album. So here are my reactions to the tracks. Okay, let's see, 'Ghost of Perdition': very dark lyrics and brutal death vocals. The cleaner vocals are well sung as always, especially "Dedicated hunter, Waits to pull us under, Rose up to its call In his arms she'd fall, Mother light received, And a faithfull servant's free". Very strong riffs that are rhythmically akin to Tool. Very heavy guitars and growls balanced with gentler vocals and acoustics. A genuine Beauty and the beast, and I love the innovative structure and killer riffing.

'The Baying of the Hounds': the gravelly vocals sound like Morbid Angel, I actually remembered parts of Sacrificial Rites which I haven't heard for about 10 years. The cleaner sections are awesome. The riff is a bit boring at first, same as other Opeth songs. Great lead break with twin guitar solos from Mikael and Fredrik. Per's chiming keyboards are a great embellishment, and Steven Wilson style vocals set off the atmosphere admirably; "Drown in the deep mire, With past desires, Beneath the mire, Drown desire now with you." Powerful song

'Beneath the Mire': continues the theme of previous lyrics. It is basically an album about the ghosts that rise after death or some such twaddle. I was never into Opeth's themes but the music more than makes up for any atheistic tendencies. Once again this begins with brutal vocals and then we have the cleaner style eventually. This seems to be a trademark of Opeths, moving from one style to another suddenly. The piano is very nice on this with gentle guitar. The actual structure is again inventive and progressive. I was expecting more brutal vocals but most of this is actually the opposite. More death metal vocals do return though. The guitar playing is incredibly complex. One of the best tracks on the album.

'Atonement': the East Indian melodies and guitars are striking. The vocals are processed through a voice vocoder that makes them sound psychedelic and phased similar to Sabbath's Planet Caravan or Beatles Blue Jay Way. I love this song and rank it among the finest the band have produced to this point. This is more like the latest Heritage's feel than anything else on the album.

'Reverie / Harlequin Forest': this is another track I heard first on the live Albert Hall DVD. It is a great track with very solid vocals from Mikael; "A trail of sickness, leading to me, If I am haunted then you will see." The melody is excellent with inspired manic drumming from Axe and complex time changes. The acoustic section is terrific, and the section at 5 minutes including wonderful melodic vocals and a divine twin guitar solo.

'Hours of Wealth': an ambient intro with Per shining bright. Gentle vocals are so peaceful here, with a sweet melody and soulful reflective lyrics; "Looking through my window, I seem to recognize, All the people passing by, But I am alone, And far from home, And nobody knows me."

'The Grand Conjuration': an unforgettable haunting melody and certainly dark brutal chorus. Great shredding lead break and crunching rhythm metrical patterns. I heard this first on the metal TV show with a bleak clip with a man tortured by a maniac and a girl disappearing down the toilet bowl. The album version is better, twice as long, more complex, and with extra lyrics.

'Isolation Years': a paean to lost love as the protagonist discovers a suicide note; "There's a sense of longing in me, As I read Rosemary's letter, Her writing's honest, Can't forget the years she's lost." The quiet atmosphere is bleak but still wreaks of beauty thanks to the pretty acoustics and sentimental melody.

There is something haunting about this album; it balances the brutality with beauty as all good Opeth albums do. This album is up there with Still Life and Damnation for my tastes. Now that I have heard all of their progressive albums I rank it as Opeth's third best (1. Heritage, 2. Damnation, 3. Ghost Reveries) - 4 stars.
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