Opeth - Ghost Reveries
Roadrunner Records
Opeth Metal
8 songs ()
Release year: 2005
Opeth, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Jason
Album of the year

It’s been 2 years since the musical geniuses that call themselves Opeth introduced us to the hard-hitting Deliverance and the psychedelic induced sounds Damnation. Ghost Reveries is the 8th addition to the bands’ brilliant discography, and although it may be reasonable for one to assume that after 7 brilliant albums sooner or later the music should become lackluster or deviate very drastically, think again. Opeth are one of the few bands that have stood the test of time successfully, delivering quality releases consistently and each bearing a distinct mood and color, but after an incomparable album like Damnation, along with the various changes in the Opeth camp such as the addition of Per Wiberg on the keyboards and a record deal with the American and un-Opeth-like Roadrunner Records, who knew what to expect? Ladies and gentlemen, not only are Opeth back with yet another spectacular album, but they are back with an album that expands the boundaries of an already vast and signature sound. Nothing used to bug me more than to hear people proclaim that Opeth are nothing more than a death metal band with acoustic guitars, because though they may be right in principle, this opinion is fairly naïve since it ignores the obvious deep melodies, emotions and moods that are essentially the root of this band’s music. Critics should beware this time around because they are in store for something that is fairly unconventional when compared to classic Opeth. The addition of Per Wiberg truly made a big impact on the way the band sounds, and therefore the most obvious thing that one will notice is the profound abundance of eerie and psychedelic keyboards that compliment the profound acoustic melodies and death metal growls. This is without a doubt the most obvious change in the Opeth sound, but in addition to this, one will notice that Mikael Åkerfeldt has become more comfortable with his clean vocals, experimenting with different sounds and melodies, and that the darker and heavier sounds of Blackwater Park and Deliverance have been downplayed resulting in a crispier sound closer Morningrise and Still Life. Nonetheless, comparisons aside, Ghost Reveries is a masterful piece of music and without a doubt my album of the year.

Despite the fact that I’d listened to the readily available sample of The Grand Conjuration on the internet a few weeks back, I still didn’t know what to expect from the other tunes. The Grand Conjuration is indeed a true killer, but nevertheless I hoped that the sample wouldn’t be the highlight of the album and that there would be more surprises in store. My hopes turned to reality the moment the sounds of Ghost of Perdition emanated through my speakers and that euphoric feeling you get from listening to a great track for the first time quickly came over me. No lengthy introduction composed of acoustics or ambient sounds on this one folks; contrary to what I expected, Ghost of Perdition is a heavier track that quickly erupts into a flurry of aggressive growls and heavy guitars. The track begins great and with a fairly traditional sound, but after the one minute mark things get really different and the listener is presented with the first of many off-beat and progressive moments laden with keyboards. During this first progressive interlude the harsh vocals are traded for what I believe to be the most amazing and original clean vocals Mikael has ever sung – resembling something like a lyrical doo-wop that oddly seems to fit the fairly brutal nature of the tune. Ghost of Perdition is in my opinion the highlight of the album because of the seamless balance of musical styles and the flawless transitions that sew them together. One second listeners will be serenaded with deep acoustic melodies accompanied by the subtle sounds of Mr.Wiberg, and the next Mikael will be massacring the airwaves with brutal palmed riffs screaming “Ghost of Perdition!!!” at the top of his lungs. An utterly stellar track to say the least, but not the last.

The moment The Baying of the Hounds rolls around, it becomes clear that the psychedelic sounds which are prominent throughout the album likely bear heavy influence from classics such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Uriah Heep. The track kicks off right away without sparing a moment, complete with heavy guitars and powerful keyboards that for some reason remind me of those in Deep Purple’s classic tune Highway Star. The energetic introduction is short-lived as the song quickly branches off into a multitude of different rhythms and styles that interchange endlessly for approximately ten and a half minutes. Every single track on this album, including The Baying of the Hounds, does bear some calmer moments – a few of these calmer moments even resemble some instances older albums such as Morningrise and My Arms Your Hearse, but the vast majority of them are extremely different an incomparable to one another.

The three shortest tracks on the album are also the same tracks that aren’t host to any furious riffs or ferocious growls. Atonement is the forth track on the album and is definitely the most psychedelic song due to its smooth and Jazzy tone reminiscent of music by Acid-Jazzers St-Germain. This track is probably the most un-Opeth-like tune on the album, but is captivating nonetheless as you can’t help but immerse yourself in the wealth of soothing harmonies accompanied by a distinct riff that sounds like it was made to played on the sitar rather than the guitar. Another calm track is the one titled Hours of Wealth, which is a melancholic, vocal-oriented track and is exactly what you would get if you mixed the calmest parts of Morningrise along with serene Blues music – Not a track that will spin all the time, but amazing nonetheless and one that will definitely be played on long evening car rides.

Just like I mentioned in my review for Morningrise, and now stands even more so for Ghost Reveries, describing Opeth tracks in detail is similar to putting a painting in words: they are both so rich with information that describing them in words accurately is nearly impossible. What makes Ghost Reveries so great is Opeth’s ability to weave a musical tapestry that is sewn together seamlessly with different genres and styles without making listeners questions the band’s Metal-ness. Opeth are unquestionably a metal band, and their ability to create music that bears such a high degree of depth and breadth,while still staying metal at heart is a feat worth infinite praise. Keep up the good work guys.

Killing Songs :
Every second of it
Jason quoted 98 / 100
Jeff quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Opeth that we have reviewed:
Opeth - Sorceress reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Opeth - Pale Communion reviewed by Goat and quoted 95 / 100
Opeth - Heritage reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 95 / 100
Opeth - Orchid reviewed by James and quoted 79 / 100
Opeth - Watershed reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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