Ghost - Opus Eponymous Review
by Matt Hensch
Ghost had the world in their demonic hands right from the start. The group's gimmicky presence Satanic lyrics, anonymous members, ear-candy heavy metal like Mercyful Fate seducing Blue Φyster Cult, elaborate costumes, etc. became a household name for metal fans everywhere within weeks of "Opus Eponymous" rising from obscurity to a booming buzz of hype and overtly-positive press. There's no doubt the members of Ghost are geniuses; they've successfully hooked music fans worldwide with seductive metal so sweet and attractive that even metal's antagonizing counterparts will be caught in the sensually-charged choruses and swiping hooks like flies on sticky paper. "Opus Eponymous" is as trippy as it is pleasing, although it's quite surprising to me that so few people bellyache about the group's visible mixture of heavy metal and pop rock. The record is nevertheless very memorable, and getting these tunes to leave your head will be quite the daunting task once you enter the gloomy castle of Ghost.
Ghost basically uses retrogressive heavy metal fried over a coat of 70s rock ala Blue Φyster Cult, featuring piping keyboards, driving riffs, catchy choruses, and everything associated with said-identity. The guitarists groove out easy, chiming riffs like doom bands from metal's upbringing; nothing perfect, yet certainly easy to digest and good for head-bobbing. The singer's dramatic incantations are rightfully suited for the 70s-orchestrated postulate and the sing-a-long choruses that dominate "Opus Eponymous" in every way possible, although it should be noted his octaves are limited and range seldom deviating. However, his entrancing chimes grant Ghost's jamming texture with more ups than downs; his voice is purely natural in this ghostly setting despite minimal variation or enthralling qualities.
There isn't anything sophisticated or sensationally original about Ghost, but these Swedes are too charming and charismatic to ignore. Every track is memorable in its own right: "Ritual" has a stellar chorus, "Elizabeth" shines with monstrous riffs, "Genesis" explodes into a melodic solo that never rots, "Prime Mover" sounds like a Mercyful Fate reprise...the list goes on and on. Ghost gives a fantastic performance based solely on memorable moments, nothing more. In fact, it becomes quite the chore to remove "Opus Eponymous" after its been given any attention; it plants a seed which becomes a blooming incense of countless spins and addictive fun. Marketing Satan has never been so accessible!
But other factors influence the success of "Opus Eponymous" as well, such as chunky production which balances the instrumental equation, spicy keyboards that drizzle a hint of elegant lustfulness, and the drummer's mechanical percussion which keeps Ghost balanced and driven with melodic flavor. Overall, the ease and catchiness makes "Opus Eponymous" a memorable effort that grows on the listener with every listen, and while Ghost is far from original, these mysterious gentlemen know how to write captivating, enjoyable metal which swoops and swishes with so many noteworthy hooks that "Opus Eponymous" can truly defend the masses gathering around the blackened chapel in which evil dwells. Needless to say, Ghost is nothing short of incredible, both musically and conceptually.
Ghost - Opus Eponymous
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