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Opeth - Ghost Reveries CD (album) cover

GHOST REVERIES

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.24 | 1112 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Fio
5 stars Ghost Reveries is Opeth's progressive masterpiece. With this album they take everything that they have done before and elevate it to the next level and beyond. The song structures, the harmonies, the blend of clean and dirty vocals, the drumming, and the use of keyboards/mellotron have all culminated in a perfect blend that is uniquely Opeth and so much more. For long-time Opeth fans this one may be somewhat more difficult to get into. It took me nearly two years to fully realize what this album has to offer. It sat in the back of my mind as the Opeth album that I wasn't really sure if I liked it; it was too different from their past works. If you give this album the time that it deserves and explore each part to it's fullest, this album will reveal subtle touches and nuances that truly make this album Opeth's finest.

Ghost of Perdition starts of with a haunting little melody, setting the tone for the entire album, and then explodes into an enormously heavy riff with death metal vocals that are on par and perhaps better than any Mikael has done before. The acoustic part in the middle with him singing the melody is reminiscent of The Moor off of Still Life. This song is like a recap on everything that Opeth has done before, incorporating parts that they are famous for and doing them all superbly. It is the perfect intro to the album, and is probably the most accessible as well.

The Baying of the Hounds is where this album really starts to get interesting. The ominous opening chord provides an epic foundation for the following riff, and the keys playing along with the guitars start to display the direction that Opeth is going with this album. They play are very prominent part in this song and offer some excellent touches that elevate this song and the entire album to the next level. This song has some great tension building parts, and finally climaxes in a way that really brings this song together. The softer, somewhat curious, section towards the end again suggests that something heavy is coming...and Opeth delivers.

Beneath the Mire shows the listener that Opeth isn't afraid to put the mellotron at the forefront of the song. Although I was more of a fan of the sound that Opeth got out the mellotron on Damnation (probably thanks to Steven Wilson), it still sounds great in the context of the song. An extremely catchy heavy section once again displays Mikael's vocal prowess. The section that begins Decrepit body... is a brilliant piece of juxtaposition, perfectly segueing with the transition to the next riff. The outro riff has a great rhythm and the eerie guitar work and drums provide a great way to end the song. Although it is one of the shorter songs on the album (7:57 in length, average by Opeth standards), it still has much to offer.

Atonement is a softer track, with great use of keys and clean vocals. Per Wiberg plays a nice little soft solo towards the end, and this song is a nice break from the heavier sections. The 70's prog influences are rather obvious with this one. The song gives the listener some breathing room and divides up the album nicely.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest may be the greatest song that Opeth has ever produced. Every member is at his best with this one. The catchy and memorable lyrics over the heavy guitars provide a great intro to the song, and it just gets progressively heavier from there. Death metal vocals take the place of the clean vocals, and the riff is a real headbanger. The following acoustic section with drums, keys, and bass introduced later is absolutely flawless. The subsequent melody is melancholy and breathtaking, you can just feel the next riff coming. A moment of stunning contrast and beauty really shows what this band is all about. Then the song takes an almost left turn, introducing a riff that seems like the song is breaking down into insanity...and then brings it all together with the brilliant outro. This is Opeth displaying their keen sense of rhythm and is very progressive to say the least. Catchy and complex, it entices the listener to capture that elusive pattern.

Hours of Wealth is another soft track, harking back to Damnation. The clean electric and atmosphere of the mellotron introduce this song, and a great piano line along with some nice acoustic picking follows. A delicate section of Mikael singing in near a capella (with touches of keys here and there) leads into a nice bluesy solo. The way this song ends in contrast with the next song is the only part of this album that I'm not sure off.

The Grand Conjuration starts with a little riff that may be a little too abrupt in contrast with the subtle touches of the last song. However, this is a trait that is very much Opeth, and so this is nothing new for veteran Opeth fans. This song is haunting more than anything. It takes an obscure and occult atmosphere and has a rather evil vibe to it. The not-so-clean guitar part with the ominous vocal line is chilling, and is one of the best parts of the song. The song builds and builds, and then introduces the intro riff in a way that is really spectacular. We are then taken backwards through the beginning song structure, gradually retracing our steps through the riffs. Although I think this is the weakest heavy track on the album, it is still a great and haunting song. Atmosphere is what this one is really about.

Isolation Years is yet another soft track and it also closes the album. It had a somber and, well, isolated feel to it. This is definitely one of Opeth's more radio friendly tracks, but by no means is that bad. It is not an absolutely outstanding song in itself, but it closes the song in a reflective and soft toned way that allows the listener some room to reflect upon what has just entered the ears.

Ghost Reveries is by far Opeth's most progressive offering, and while others may argue its own strength within Opeth's catalogue, it is surely up there with the best. They took word progressive and stamped it firmly on this album without getting pretentious in its delivery. All of the aforementioned elements, plus the albums concept and fact that Akerfeldt used a tuning that is not typically used in metal and rock music (not to mention the complexity of the riffs themselves), is just further proof that this album is not only progressive, but a masterful and beautiful music composition.

Fio | 5/5 |

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