Review Summary: This is a near perfect counterpart of Blackwater Park. Allow me to explain...
When I first heard of Opeth, all I knew is that they were a melodic death metal act. Come to think of it, you can easily compare this band to Tool
. What makes them the unique band we know today is the variety they have in the music they’ve written. The musicianship is also what made this band great (Mikael’s vocal range, Martin’s drumming, etc.)
. This prodigy of a band adds lighter elements to their music, such as acoustic guitar in the interludes, jazz influences, 70s progressive rock, blues and folk.
Here’s a fact: Opeth was taken from the novel Sunbird by author Wilbur Smith. It was originally spelled Opet in the book. Opet is the name of the location for an ancient empire which is translated to "City of the Moon".
Ghost Reveries is Opeth’s eighth studio album and the first album to feature Per Wilberg as a permenant member of the band. This album is based around a supernatural theme, I guess you could say. On Ghost Reveries special edition, you get a bonus DVD with a 5.1 mix of the entire soundtrack, a documentary, a music video (The Grand Conjuration)
and a bonus track (Soldier of Fortune cover song by Deep purple
The album opener, Ghost of Perdition
, leads you to a well thought-out, and, especially, well-done chain of songs that grant Opeth “Gods on Sputnik”. Per’s talent shows in this song and throughout the album. It gives ghost of perdition, the haunting feel it needed. Per mostly contributes to the more softer songs (Atonement, Hours of Wealth, Isolation Years)
. A song that this can be related to is Reverie/Harlequin Forest. That’ll be discussed later.
(In time, the hissing of her sanity
Faded out her voice and soiled her name
And like marked pages in a diary
Everything seemed clean that is unstained...)
The vocals on Baying of the Hounds
are right where they belong. Though, it may be a typical Opeth song with growls to start off and lighter singing in the middle of the song, it is still a recommended listen. This song is heavier than the opener. It has more intense growls, intense guitar shredding and so on. I recommend it for those who like death metal that’s backed with keyboards.
(His words are flies
Swarming towards the true insects
Feasting on buried dreams
And spreading decay upon your skin...)
The one track that’s faintly interesting is Beneath the Mire
. The guitars and keyboards that start playing are among the cheesy side. It captures your interest when Mikael starts growling, but fails to keep the attention of listeners with basic folkish guitars and pianos. It does get back to being heavy, but in an intension that Opeth didn’t want it to be.
(Haunted nights for halycon days
Can't sleep to the scraping of his voice
Nature's way struck grief in me
And I became a ghost in sickness...)
is the one song with the noticeable 1960’s folk inspiration. Some people find it monotonous, but I find it interesting. What makes it different from other songs on this album is that most of the songs on Ghost Reveries stretch out too long, and some of you might agree with me. At the end, there is a pause and then, guitars with different affects start to enter the scene. It’s not for a long while though.
(Cleared the fog that was veiled around me
And blurred my sights
Suddenly, I'm no longer aching
To honor my plights...)
is one of the songs that show diversity in Ghost Reveries. Why? There is more easier-to-listen singing than growling, but it is still a metal song. The acoustic in this song is well-done and some people will notice that the song changed completely after you’re about 5-7 minutes into the song. The last open-string strumming in the end is quite unneccesarry, because it drags on for a few minutes.
(A trail of sickness
Leading to me
If I am haunted
Then you will see)
Hours of Wealth
is an equivalent of Atonement and the Damnation songs. Only difference between this song and atonement is the acoustic is played much more frequently. Per’s piano potential is shown once again in this song. There is much more emotion noticed in this song. This is also a recommended listen.
(...All the people passing by
But I am alone
And far from home
And nobody knows me)
The Grand Conjuration
is the most death metalish song on Ghost Reveries. No acoustic Much, much more growling and louder guitars. This song will appeal most to death metal listeners. The only downside on this song is that it is a song that spans out too long for some people’s taste. Now, there is some some lighter singing, but only in the verses. None in the interlude at all.
(The hands of Satan
Assembling his flock
Pale horse rider
Searching the earth)
And now, the album closer (I know. Sad, ain’t it?), Isolation Years
This is the most emotional out of the three soft songs. This is still not as good as Hours of Wealth, but the musicianship is still good. Martin might not have done a mind-boggling drum beat in this song, but it still matches with the song (in fact, it’s quite easy to play on the drums)
, it also has hypnotic high-strings that’ll keep you interested in the song.
She talks about her love
And as I read
"I'll die alone"...)
Pros and Cons:
+ Excellent musicianship
+Giving Per a good role in the band
-Songs span out too long
-Possibility of being boring
And that, people, is my review. But before I wrap this up, I should show you what I recomend:
Ghost of Perdition
Hours of Wealth
Baying of the Hounds
The Grand Conjuration