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Opeth - Ghost Reveries CD (album) cover

GHOST REVERIES

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.24 | 1124 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neo-Romantic
5 stars Ghost Reveries is an album I listened to for the first time at the start of this year and thought to myself, "Hmm...different." Different indeed. Having only heard Still Life and Blackwater Park a handful of times up to that point, I was still relatively new to Opeth, but the new sonic texture and atmosphere with the addition of the keyboard brought a highly unexpected difference. A difference I was very happy to embrace. This album is very dark, even suffocating at times, but its power and emotion is undeniable. This album is also incredibly dense, even more so than their previous others because of the additional musical elements, the atmosphere and variety of each track, and how unapologetically thick and heavy their most energetic passages are.

So why a masterpiece? Why is an album so heavy and dense worth consideration of a rating often given to the top works of the biggest, most influential prog acts? The music is just that masterfully crafted. Track for track, there is so much focus and conviction within each passage. Because there's so much going on within each song, it also rewards repeated listens, as with the other top rated albums in Opeth's discography. But the two features that were most striking to me about this album are just how incredibly balanced it is, both in terms of the form of each individual track and the organization of the album as a whole, and how many different styles and textures the group embraced. On first listen, I'll never forget the pleasant surprise that was "Beneath the Mire" and how far set apart it was from every song I've ever heard by any group, not just Opeth. Such an original track, and even as far back as the first time I heard it, I remember thinking, "This passage is cool. I hope it doesn't overstay its welcome. If I wrote this, I'd change to something else right...now." And each time, it ended right then and changed to another mood that's just as interesting and balanced as the last. Perfect!

I'm not going to dissect each track, but I do honestly believe each one is notable for their compositional strength, technical prowess, and just how hard they hit you. The hard passages hit you strong, and the soft moments and ballads really pull at your heartstrings. "Isolation Years" is literally the best ballad I've heard up to this point. I tear up every time I hear it, regardless of where I am. Especially funny considering I'm usually working out when I listen to this album. The emotional and musical contrasts are so pronounced that you can't help but run the gamut of every possible feeling you can experience.

Each track is simply wonderful and has so much to offer. I can't overstate how incredible a listening experience this is after you've given yourself time to digest it. It may take a few listens to appreciate all its nuances and sift through its dense textures to process everything that's going on, but your diligence will be rewarded to an incomparable degree. Never judge a book by its cover, and never question a death metal group's ability to produce music that can stand alongside the big name prog groups and even eclipse either some or all of their entire discographies. A true musical achievement through and through and at the moment a top 10 selection for sure. 5 stars well deserved.

Neo-Romantic | 5/5 |

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