Opeth
Ghost Reveries


5.0
classic

Review

by Andrew Barr (MM8) USER (65 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2006 | 79 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album shows great expansion on the barriers of metal and music in general. Every single aspect was at least good and most were phenomenal. I've truly been left in awe.

Opeth
Ghost Reveries


The Band: Mikael Akerfeldt- Vocals, guitar, additional mellotron
Peter Lindgren- Guitar
Martin Mendez- Bass
Martin Lopez- Drums, percussion
Per Wiberg- Mellotrons, organ, grand piano, electric piano

Webster’s Dictionary defines innovation as the following: The act of introducing something new. No discredit to the fine people of Webster’s Dictionary, but allow me to expand on that as the definition is somewhat vague. Innovation is reaching out and touching things that have not been touched before. It’s exploring the unknown. It’s taking the standard form of your craft and branching out to create something that no one has yet dared to fathom. In the modern world of music innovation is scarcely seen. Musicians nowa days have been tending to try and recreate the past rather than progress towards the future. Now, don’t get me wrong I love the olden days of music as much as the next guy. Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, all good stuff. But people need to accept that those days have long since passed and it’s time to make room for something new. Recently, I was pondering whether anyone would ever push the envelope and create something new rather than eloping to the sounds of the past. Considering I hadn’t heard anything truly inspiring to me in over a years time my outlook was quite bleak. “Perhaps there is truly no escaping this vicious circle of mimicry”, I thought to myself one day after looking into yet another band to find nothing new, or exciting. My hope had almost entirely dispersed when I heard word of a band that was supposedly revolutionary, unlike anything else. Of course, this had been said many times before about many different bands, so I wasn’t expecting much. Oh, the wonderful surprise I received! I’d finally found what I was looking for. Something innovative. Something unique. Something extraordinary. Something unlike anything else. I’d found Opeth.

It’s not been a fortnight since I first made contact with this band’s music, but already I’m obsessed. It’s simple brilliant, incomparable to anything else I’ve ever heard. One thing I immediately noticed about Opeth is that there music has so much dexterity and variability. In a matter of seconds a song can go from being incredibly powerful and chaotic, to soft and melodic. That might not sound like anything special, but you have to understand how big a jump in musical styling that is and just how smooth the transition is. More often than not a conversion like this would seem forced, but Opeth make it seem extremely natural. While making these transitions the music maintains a consistent, haunting sort of feel. A large part of this is due to Mikael’s voice. During the heavier parts when he’s screaming his voice can be demonic and flat out scary. In the softer parts his voice has more of an eerie ambiance. This eerie ambiance is furthered by the addition of mellotrons and piano. All of these things combined are what help give Opeth their truly unique, innovational sound.

Now you may be wondering, “What does a band with a sound this unique of a sound sing about”. Well, Ghost Reveries was originally intended to be a concept album exploring a man’s turmoil after committing matricide (the act of killing your mother). However, Mikael wanted the track Isolation Years to be included on the album despite its irrelevance to the plot. So, the album only partly embodies a concept, rather than one fully arranged in a poetic manner like previous Opeth releases such as Still Life. The album does still maintain somewhat of a storyline throughout, however. There is a reappearing notion of characters falling in and out of the Devil’s enticements. Through the first five tracks there also seems to be a steady plot, telling the tale of a man being thrown from his homestead for having occult beliefs. Eventually this character decides to sacrifice his beliefs in occultism. Needless, to say the Devil is not at all pleased by this and burns down the forest in which the man has taken refuge. Later in the album -during the track The Grand Conjuration- we learn that the man has returned to the Devil’s servitude. Certainly, this concept is not that of lyrical brilliancy, but it is definitely original and suites this albums demonic atmosphere. Not to mention with all the astonishment being served out by the instruments and vocals a not so fantastic lyrical concept can be effortlessly ignored.

Speaking of the instrumentals, let’s talk about them shall we? In a nutshell, they were stupendous. The impressive factor was unquestionably the unpredictability. The guitar seemed to have so many influences (with metal being the main influence, of course) that it’s damn near impossible to predict what you’re going to hear next. At times the guitar work could be rabid and sadistic sounding. For example in the chorus of The Grand Conjuration. At times it sounded like something you would hear in the 70’s rock era. A prime example of that being the early goings of Hours Of Wealth. Then at other times it was hard to even categorize what I was hearing. The introduction to Atonement reminded me of a level of “Spryo The Dragon” for Playstation 1, but I won’t go any further with that reference as I doubt many other people on the site are familiar with the game. Regardless of what genre of music the guitar work seemed to represent it was all well-written. Not necessarily complex, however, but always suiting the albums atmosphere. Now, let’s talk about the lead guitar work. To say this album was jam-packed with lots of “shredtacular” solos would be a lie, but it did have a good share of solos. All of which were marvelous. Most were slow and melodic. This brought a sort of peculiar climax to songs. The majority of them were more bend orientated, rather than scale orientated. This gave them a somewhat passionate feel. There’s an aspect of the solos, or the guitar work in general really, that’s difficult to describe. It gave all the guitar work a haunting vibe. It was most likely due to the guitars tone. This was one of he biggest contributors the album’s atmosphere.

There’s not a whole lot I can say for this album’s bass work. It seemed to be nonexistent. I know it’s in there, I just cannot hear it. I’m finding this to be a rather tedious thing as I scroll through some bass tabs for the album. Why? Well, I’m seeing that the bass work is really well written. So, it’s kind of frustrating to see it kept under wraps. It could have escaladed this album into further greatness, but instead contributes very little at all. It is audible for brief seconds scattered about the album. There’s really no need to point any of them out, however. It was only audible for brief 3 to 5 second stints. When I could hear it I did like what I heard. I really enjoyed Mendez’s sound. I’m not sure whether he plays with a pick, or with his fingers, but either way he manages to pull off a good wholesome sound. All in all, the lack of bass had the potential to be a devastating blow to the album. Luckily, with all the piano and mellotrons on the prowl it’s really quite easy to get by.

So, let’s talk about the piano and mellotrons. They were definitely the largest contributor to this albums atmosphere. The two previously mentioned instruments can be extremely joyous at times and utterly gloomy at others. It is not at all hard to guess how they were used in this album, is it? I always love to see additional instruments in a band. It really is wonderful to see artists branching out from the tradition guitar, bass and drums lineup. But, in some cases these additional instruments can seem like frills, kind of like they really shouldn’t be there, like the artist just threw them in the mix for flavoring. This is not at all the case with this album. The piano and mellotrons fit in perfectly, like one of the gang. What I heard from them seemed to be quite well written too.

I’m feeling the need to say more about the vocals. Mikael Akerfeldt has more vocal range that any other vocalist I’ve ever heard. At times his voice was a incredibly low scream and at others it was high pitched and clean. The pitched screams are hard to describe. I’ve never heard anyone sing in an octave that low that I can recall. His voice was lower than Oprah Winfrey’s jeans around Paris Hilton’s waste! The high pitched clean vocals were also splendid. They showed that Mikael actually has a great voice. If I wasn’t already aware of his involvement with Opeth and just heard him sing in his clean tone voice I wouldn’t have a hard time picturing him in a church quire. It was quite elegant. Overall, the vocals are yet another thing that make Opeth unlike anything else.

Lastly, I’d like to briefly mention two things: filler and production. Filler can play a monumental roll in an how enjoyable an album is. If there are three or four great songs are the rest are of a lower standard listening through the album can be a dreaded task, indeed. When listening to Ghost Reveries you needn’t worry about this. Some songs are better than others, but all are of a high-quality. Production can also play a key role in enjoying an album. If an album is overproduced it may seem cheesy, but if it’s under produced it may seem rough and difficult to listen to. Once again, worry not my friends. The production is perfect for the album. It’s not overdone, which would take away from the album’s dark sound, but it’s not at all underdone. If that were so the album would sound choppy and almost amateurish. The band managed to find a nice gray area of production, so that the album could maintain its dark feel without sounding to uneven.

Pros: Innovative
Vocals
Additional instruments
Consistent
Lyrically, somewhat solid

Cons: Would’ve been nice to hear more from the bass

Overall Rating: 5/5



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user ratings (3397)
Chart.
4.2
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other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
metallicaman8
December 23rd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It felt so good to review again. I'm somewhat pleased with this.

BTW, i'm still revewing DragonForce's Inhuman Rampage, but it won't be out till after Xmas.

EDIT: Oh, I was sketchy about giving this a 5, as I haven't been listening to it for that long yet. But I just couldn't give this album any other rating.This Message Edited On 12.23.06

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Some grammar issues and wrong word usage and such but overall it was pretty good.

But you suck for not mentioning Ghost of Perdition which is obviously Opeth's best song.

metallicaman8
December 23rd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Damn, I meant to mention that somewhere. I may edit it in later.

TojesDolan
December 23rd 2006


271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Meh, The Moor is still pretty high up there.

The other review was sufficient, but this one was very cute.

:]

northerncomfort
December 23rd 2006


106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome album, awesome band, awesome review.

For my money The Moor just wins out, but it's all amazing.

Thor
December 23rd 2006


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Leper Affinity is the best song they've made, but Ghost of Perdition is definitely up there. Reverie/Harlequin Forest is actually probably the best on the album though.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


2690 Comments


Nice triumphant return you made here. I've yet to hear this album; it remains in its packaging upstairs in my room :o
So much music to listen to!

Hatshepsut
December 23rd 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ghost of Perdition is amazing.

More than just solid lyrically.This Message Edited On 12.23.06

Ephex
December 23rd 2006


730 Comments


Not heard this album, although your review made me consider looking into it

Eliminator
December 23rd 2006


2067 Comments


Congratulations on overrating this and generally being wrong about the album.

metallicaman8
December 23rd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, my rating is 5 and yours is 3. The average rating is 4.2, so my rating is closer to the average rating. Based on the general opinions of the Sputnik population, you're wrong.This Message Edited On 12.23.06

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

overrating

Nah.

Eliminator
December 23rd 2006


2067 Comments


[quote=metallicaman8]Well, my rating is 5 and yours is 3. The average rating is 4.2, so my rating is closer to the average rating. Based on the general opinions of the Sputnik population, you're wrong.[/quote]

You forgot the part where the majority of Sputnik consists of retards with really bad opinions.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You forgot the part where the majority of Sputnik consists of retards with really bad opinions.

Yah.

metallicaman8
December 23rd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You forgot the part where the majority of Sputnik consists of retards with really bad opinions.


A person's intelligence has nothing to do with being able to appreciate good music. Also, I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a bad opinion.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A person's intelligence has nothing to do with being able to appreciate good music.

Yes it does.
Also, I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a bad opinion.

Yes there is.


Eliminator
December 23rd 2006


2067 Comments


You shouldn't deny your bad opinions.

Embrace them, my love, embrace them.

Two-Headed Boy
December 23rd 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Merry Christmas. Have some SATANIC HEATHEN MUSIC.

Good review 'n' all that shit.

Shadows
Moderator
December 23rd 2006


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You forgot the part where the majority of Sputnik consists of retards with really bad opinions.

Congratulations on acting like a pompous ass once again.

northerncomfort
December 23rd 2006


106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

If you can back an opinion up it should at least be respected. MM8 has done this fine, but you havn't eliminator. Why not write a sound off or contrary review to back up what you say?



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