Ghost, the newest occult metal group out of Sweden dropped their first release, Opus Eponymous, on the public this year. The amount of press and hype before and right after the release has been staggering and far reaching in that most metal fans have heard about this band or even seen pictures before even hearing their music. This amount of coverage just screams gimmick, which at the end this band may be, but least we forget this is a band and we should judge them on their music first and foremost.
Ghost is shrouded in secrecy; even the mention of this has the hype machine rolling in full gear, giving the public a full package of music and mystery that make have our appetites wetted even before we listen. The album opens with a nice organ piece that in the context of the band ads a truly eerie texture for Opus. “Deus Culpa” gives way to one of the catchiest songs on the release, “Con Clavi Con Dio”. This track opens with a wicked bass line that following the haunting organ is nothing short of genius in presenting their new music. On the heels of this great bass line, the guitars bring in some heavy chords and the singer nearly croons, Luuucciiiiffffer we are here. It is immediately clear that this will be no traditional black or occult metal release in the sense of brutal in your face style we are accustomed to. This is in your face but on a more melodic catchy style. The band’s use of the 70’s style hard rock/metal with a pop flair is totally unexpected but yet completely works through the entire release. Drumming, bass, guitars are all in synch and are executed flawlessly giving us a truly original and professional presentation.
Opus Eponymous boasts nine tracks in total each one as good as the next. The name-less one that sings does not have the deep, powerful, vitriolic style of singing, but rather a pleasant melodic style that accentuates the overall feel of the album, in that Vincent Price nice but utterly deadly sort of way. This subtle feel sneaks up on the listener, grabs them and pulls them in and doesn’t let go till the end. This is truly a fresh angle to deliver an album. Next to “Con Clavi Con Dio”, “Death Knell” is one of the most musically interesting tracks on the release. The opening drums and bass lines with the guitars following their pace and pitch then dropping in to a wonderful melodic chorus is unavoidably and yet darkly wonderful. The vocals on this track truly demonstrate the range and ability of whomever is delivering them. The nameless ghoul or whatever moniker is preferred conveys such emotion and conviction in delivery that we can all feel the bands total commitment to their music.
Gimmick, shtick, marketing ploy, who cares! The music of Ghost speaks for itself. The secrecy in and of itself, adds a layer of excitement and curiosity to their music, and we should say job well done. After all excitement about the music and live shows is what metal and music is all about. Opus Eponymous is a solid release with a nice breath of fresh air into the current metal genre. There use of the more 70’s style of hard rock/metal riffs and beats, works so well giving this album a superb flow without being overbearing in any one musical area.. Don’t be put off by the overly satanic lyrics, give the music a chance it has some truly awesome hooks and you may find yourself humming or singing Con Clavi Con Dio in the car on the way home.