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Opeth - Ghost Reveries CD (album) cover

GHOST REVERIES

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.24 | 1135 ratings

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1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Following the release of Deliverance and Damnation, Opeth enjoyed an even bigger breakthrough, thanks to the mellow atmosphere of the latter that appealed to fans of softer prog. However, I found myself wishing that Opeth had taken the high level of songwriting and combine the two aspects of their sound to make one killer album instead of two good ones. Then Ghost Reveries came out, and it seemed as if Mikael Åkerfeldt read my mind. Ghost Reveries marks the culmination of Opeth's career so far. Mikael's voice has sounded this full since Blackwater Park, and his clean vocals have reached an haunting sound that is unparalleled on any of his previous albums, even Damnation.

The album opens with Ghost of Perdition, which replaces The Drapery Falls as the quintessential Opeth song. A misleading piano intro abruptly cuts into death grunts and heavy riffs. The movement of the song is perfect, from riffs to soft jazz with ethereal vocals, that build until the song's climax before coming back down again with one final burst of energy at the end. The Baying of the Hounds keeps the magic going, this time by showing off Per Wiberg, officially a new member and the first keyboard player to be considered a full-time member. The addition of keyboards really shows on this song, and it gives Opeth even more atmosphere (something I wouldn't have considered possible before the release of this album). Beneath the Mire sounds like an outtake from Deliverance, as it speeds along with brutal vocals and riffs. Lopez is the star player of this track with his thundering drums. Atonement is where the Damnation influence seeps in, and it provides a great contrast with the previous tracks (which seems to validate my wishes that the last two albums had been combined). It manages to be even more depressing than much of th material on Damnation, proving just how much the band has progressed.

The second half of Ghost Reveries reminds me of Blackwater Park in that it isn't as strong as the first half. Reverie/Harlequin Forest features a mismatch of music and vocals; Mikael's sings where he should grunt, and vice versa. The composition is, as always, incredible, but some tweaks to the vocal arrangements would have been welcome. Hours of Wealth follows in the same vein as Atonement, and it's the best song of the second half with it's depressing vocals and composition. The Grand Conjuaration is full of rage, and Lopez really propels this song. This song makes me wonder how Opeth will fare without him. Mikael's has a wonderful guitar solo as well. The album ends with Isolation Years, another soft track that doesn't meet the high standards set by Atonement and Hours of Wealth.

Critics hailed this release, saying how the band had matured into one of the masters of modern prog. I've never really enjoyed the use of the word mature in music. The whole point of music is conjuring the range emotions that is usually only felt in youth. This is true for every genre of music, but rock especially. Great music makes you feel young, even if you already are. However, if ever a release deserved to be called mature, it would be this. Mikael and the gang have fully realized their potential, and it seems that by splitting their sound on the last two albums they took the time to examine both aspects of their music and determine strengths and weaknesses. Still Life and Blackwater Park are still better albums, but this is the album that shows Opeth at their peak.

Grade: B+

1800iareyay | 4/5 |

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