Review Summary: It seems as though Opus Eponymous was a missing recording from 1978, and it is now seeing the light of day in 2010 (Europe) 2011 (North America).
This is not true at all, but you must admit that this sounds exactly like an album that would have come out in the late 70s or early 80s because of it's heavy influences revolving around bands such Mercyful Fate, Witchfinder General, a hint of Black Sabbath, and Blue Oyster Cult. With these influences, they combine a great retro band that should shock and excite fans of old school metal. Hailing from the Stockholm, Sweden region, Ghost came to fruition in 2008 by a bunch of nameless Ghouls that wanted to spread the message of Satan himself. In fact, they say that Satan inspires the riffs, lyrics, and overall them of the album, Opus Eponymous.
The album starts off with a short instrumental lead by what sounds like an organ, "Deus Culpa," which creates an image of Satan's children congregating into the circle to start the black mass; a perfect way to begin a 1970s prog record. "Deus Culpa" leads into "Con Clavi Con Dio" with some thundering bass and riffs that shine the likes of Witchfinder General and Black Sabbath. Lyrical themes are drenched with the summoning of Satan, performing rituals, giving props to Elizabeth Bathory, witchcraft, giving birth to the devil, and everything evil. One of the strongest aspects of this album are the vocals, they are clean, crisp, and to add, the vocal harmonies are eerie, cheesy, and beautiful; this makes a great sing-a-long album by the way. Turn to one of the standout tracks, "Ritual," to provide vocal harmonies of cheese and beauty that sound straight out of a Blue Oyster Cult album.
"This chapel of ritual
Smells of dead human sacrifices
From the altar bed
On this night of ritual
Invocing our master
To procreate the unholy bastard"
Another positive note is the heavy use of the organ throughout the record, whether they are in the background, or the centerpiece of the song, they really lay out the atmosphere from what makes this record so magical. An example of this would be in the song, "Death Knell," the organ provides a scary, horror movie-esque landscape in the pre-chorus/chorus, and at the end of the song, Ghost not only pays homage to some Slayer riffs, but King Diamond himself. Then again, there are many elements on this record that pay a ton of respect to King Diamond and the rest of Mercyful Fate. "Elizabeth" could have been a lost Mercyful Fate song that featured a guest appearance from the Blue Oyster Cult camp; the main riff, the verses, the vocal pattern, the guitar solo and the way it was recorded screams Mercyful Fate, and it is fantastic. The album closer, "Genesis," is an instrumental that gives everyone a taste of what may come next for Ghost. Once again, just like the opener, it is a perfect way to end a 1970s prog record. It is epic, uplifting, beautiful, horrific, and leaves you wanting more.
Ghost is carrying the torch that King Diamond bestowed to us long ago (lyrical themes, songwriting, presentation of the material, the logo for the band), and also presenting a fresh sound that embodies the sounds of the late 70s and early 80s of yesterday. No band has incorporated it like this yet and have done it so well. Yes, we hear tons of bands that are influenced by older bands, but their ability to mix the styles of Mercyful Fate and Blue Oyster Cult matched with their songwriting skills, it is a monumental time to relive the past and worship Satan at the same time.
"Oh Rebel Cheif, destroyer of the Earth, rise from precipice through birth."