Ghost – Opus Eponymous
Release: 2010Oct18 (EU) / 2011Jan18 (US)
Label: Rise Above Records
Heavy metal is a genre that often dives into myths, nightmares and horror. Those dives sometimes end up as belly-flops, but Ghost use a deadly combination of skull masks, doom and occult imagery to concoct perfect potions of Satanic spells. Not to be confused with the Japanese progressive rock outfit, this Swedish orchestra has a sound all their own—clearly influenced by 70s doom metal fused with pop harmonies and catchy tunes. Rumours claim that they are a witch cult living deep in Sweden’s forests, and no one seems to know their real names.
The album opens with a organ tone in Deus Culpa which sets the atmosphere; I can almost smell the pine trees and see the aurora borealis dancing across the darkened northern skies. Ghost then lets it rip with the wonderfully groovy “Con Clavi Con Dio” and the opening line “Lucifer/We are here/For your praise”. They have no illusions about their path.
I love the omnipresent doom still lit by dawn’s light, sharing a musical bond with fellow countrymen, Witchcraft. An obvious love of Black Sabbath and their followers is present, filtered through the folk music of Swedish history with church bells and classical arrangements. But don’t let me fool you, Opus Eponymous is doom metal from start to end. The band weaves a demonic tapestry with deceptively infectious vocal harmonies that ring sweet in my ears. I love the way Ghost sounds soothing and menacing at the same time. “Elizabeth” gallops out of the speakers while nodding to Countess Bathory; “Satan Prayer” is an ominous homage to their shadowy master; and “Death Knell” invokes the number of the beast.
Opus Eponymous is rather short, but that doesn’t matter—better to pare down than pad out. Ghost is a band with plenty of tricks up their Satanic robes. Anton LaVey would be proud.
1. Deus Culpa
2. Con Clavi Con Dio
5. Stand By Him
6. Satan Prayer
7. Death Knell
8. Prime Mover