Released: 2010, Rise Above Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
From Ghost’s Rise Above Records bio page:
“Ghost is the name of an anonymous devil worshipping ministry, that in order to spread its unholy gospels and, furthermore, trick mankind into believing the end is ultimately a good thing, have decided to use the ever so popular rock music medium as a way to achieve their ends.”
Dude, I’m sold. You had me at “anonymous devil worshipping ministry.” The Swedish six-piece known only as Ghost are shrouded in a veil of secrecy that even Wiki Leaks couldn’t penetrate. With the exception of the band’s front man (who performs in painted face as a kind of satanic cardinal), Ghost performs in black hoods and masks to conceal their identity. The few promo photos circulating only show said frontman, with the rest of the band confined to the shadows. Now I’ve usually got a pretty low threshold for shtick, but dammit, Ghost’s debut OPUS EPONYMOUS totally gets it right. Combining NWOBM sensibilities with psychedelia and stoner riffs, Ghost has the musical chops to back up the theatrics.
The band wraps warm, analog riffs around fat Hammond organs and classic rock harmonies to create a sound that’s both nostalgic and original in 2010. Any band that can make the lyrics “this chapel of ritual smells of dead human sacrifice” a sing-along chorus gets my vote. And that’s the thing about Ghost that’s so great – to take such subversive and generally unsociable subject matter and make it sound like a Blue Oyster Cult single is pure genius. If these guys were at all serious about their mission and their message, there just might be cause for concern…
Listening to OPUS EPONYMOUS, I was consistently reminded of old Mercyful Fate, both musically and thematically. In fact, if King Diamond and company had held on to their ‘70’s inspirations, they probably would have sounded a lot like Ghost. “Elizabeth” is a prime example of that homage – an adoration of one Ms. Elizabeth Bathory, the riff structure and vocal phrasing reminded me of listening to MELISSA on my record player for the first time. The vocals are clean and harmonious and the music does a fine job of conveying that Hammer Horror level of impending doom. Tracks like “Satan Prayer” and “Death Knell” are just as infectious, both being straightforward occult metal tunes with larger than life (death?) choruses. It’s an amazing formula.
I love this album, you should too. It’s musically smart in the way that metal should be – spooky, evil, with just a dash of “do you think these guys are serious?” Even if Ghost weren’t espousing the glories of a certain dark lord, the songs would still hold up beautifully, which should be an indication of how strong OPUS EPONYMOUS is. But the fact that they are indeed espousing the glories of a certain dark lord is pretty boss too…Physically copies of OPUS EPONYMOUS are currently only available as an import, but the album is available digitally through traditional outlets.