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4 stars I'm not a fan of excessive growling, and Mikael probably sings 55-65% of the time on "Ghost Reveries", but still I'm aggreivated. But I sacrifice for the sake of an improving band. "Ghost Reveries" is quite simply, an "Excellent addition to any prog music collection." They have a number of softie-songs, but the 10+ minute songs are all heavy. I think this may be my favorite Opeth album - This and Damnation, but don't worry this sounds nothing like Damnation, and that's why I like the two albums. Very balanced and well done album, I am disappointed (Unrealistic high expectations) but still shocked at how unique this album is, especially for "Metal." Perhaps the next album will be even more prog. I suggest buying this if you like "Blackwater Park" and also if you want to hear an increase in Progressiveness.
Report this review (#40409)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I admit it, I was concerned about Opeth's future, being them one of my favourite bands of all time. "Deliverance" didn't impress me so much, being a sort of sum of all they had done before, so I thought they would abandon their almost proverbial like for experimenting. But then I heard that Per Wiberg was officially in the band and I thought "So what's going to happen now???". And it happened. Oh, yes. They did it again. "Ghost reveries" brings back their will to try new sounds (Steven Wilson produces no more but his influence is always clear) and it really kills!!!! Mike's vocals are incredibly extreme in the growl parts as well as they are absolutely perfect in the clean parts. The songs come out with some incredible syncopated guitar riffs always with a background of keyboards and the result is something never heard before!!! Absolutely buy or die!!!
Report this review (#41820)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wonderful album, Opeth greatest album indeed, The atmosphere, everything it's perfect, Mikael Akerfeldt voice it's perfect in all aspects, his clean voice it's better than ever and his growls are more furious than any of their previous works, the addition of Per Wiberg was a wise decision, this guy really adds a lot to Opeth's already astonishing music, the production is top-notch one of the best productions I've heard. One of the best track is "The Baying Of The Hounds" which starts with a pretty weird (yet awesome) hammond organ, this track has it all, it has some techincal riffs, it has a beatiful acoustic section, and one of Mikael best vocals perfomance. Overall you should get this album, when it comes out, Opeth is back and proggiest than ever!!
Report this review (#41855)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I feel like a bit of a bitch for blagging a pre-release version of this album but don't worry because I will definitely be buying a real copy when it comes out. I have heard quite a few people saying that this album is good but doesn't offer much that hasn't been heard on previous albums. I think this is a very fair point and sometimes it is true, yet I am going to go against the grain and say there is a lot of new things here, I will also explain why I think this.

"Ghost Reveries" has the vocals and riffage that is most reminiscent of "My Arms, Your Hearse" and "Blackwater Park". Very dark and brutal. This album has a lot of experimental aspects on tracks like "Atonement", "The Grand Conjuration" and "The Baying of the Hounds" that is similar to some things they tried out on "Deliverance". There is also a lot of the acoustic parts that sound like "Blackwater Park" and "Damnation". "Hours of Wealth" and "Isolation Years" are complet acoustic tracks that sound like "Damnation". There is also a heavy use of keyboards/Hammonds/Mellotrons.

However, Opeth take all these aspects and make new uses for them. "The Baying of the Hounds" shows off experimental sides that are completely different to anything previous. The riffage is also new, yet still very Opeth sounding. The opening riff on "The Baying of the Hounds" is showing off some new styles and sounds like something they haven't really done before. The acoustic tracks sounds less like they are done for the hell of it and feel like they have a better placement on the album. The drum patterns on the opening track are very original for Opeth too.

"Atonement" is an amazing, mostly instrumental piece that sounds like it has invited symphonic rock into its overall prog metal feel. This is a very proggy track and shows off the amazing addition of keyboardist Per Wiberg. "The Grand Conjuration" secures the band a place for incredible drumming, best compared to "Deliverance" which had some stunning drum work on it.

"Ghost Reveries" keeps the theme of their gloomy atmosphere and ghostly lyrical and conceptual themes going that has become their trademark. This album displays more of a leaning towards black metal that hasn't been around properly since "My Arms, Your Hearse". The lyrics are less about seasons and forests and more about rituals and demons again on this album, yet there is still a feel of both parts of Opeth's sounds.

Overall this album does include all of their past trademarks, yet finds new ways to use them. There certainly is a lot of new things to hear here, which counts even more so for people who discovered this band through "Damnation" and "Blackwater Park" and haven't really ventured into their other works. This is a brilliant album indeed, perhaps not their best yet it is great to here this new venture.

Report this review (#41923)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, generally I don't review albums on first listen, but this time I am.

Now, I can see why people say they're not prog. However I still believe they are. A listen to the first minute or so of the opening track 'Ghost Of Perdition' could lead you to think 'WTF SLIPKNOT!?!' but give it some time...the track sounds very Tool-like in a lot of places and has all the traits of the previous great Opeth tracks. Opeth can do no wrong. This track makes for a very exciting listen, very strongly resembling 'The Grudge' by Tool. And yes, most of the vocals on this are in a pleasant clean voice. Which is, incidentally, very pleasant and very clear. But the mild 'cookie monster' growl can annoy many. I give this opening track a 9/10. There's even some Mellotron use at around 7:10! Whoopee!!

The Baying Of The Hounds: Taking a similar approach to the opening track, it's clear that the aim of this track is to rock. Not just rock, but to rawk. To rawk hard. And it does. Yes yes, it has the cookie monster growls, and anyone who grimaces even at the slightest mention of Dream Theater or Tool will not enjoy this at all. But the musicianship and the riffage is undeniably great, with some fantastic escalating riffs. At around 2 minutes through, the track starts to sound mildly Dream Theater-esque, but still rocks and carries on as though this track really was meant to be. On first listen this track is instantly loveable. This is either a sign of brilliant musicianship or complete lack of progressiveness. At around 3.20 the track changes to a post-rock, radiohead-esque minimalist groove. Mikael Akerfeldt's clean voice joins in with some jagged chords, generating an instantly brilliant melody. The steady bass and rhythmic drum work pound away, creating the base for this steady section. The track continues in a fantastic way with some absolutely superb acoustic work accompanied by...wait for it...Piano! Yep, Opeth are definitely expanding their timbral options. Mellotrons, Pianos, whatever comes next? The track goes into a final heavy section which is very rich in texture...thoroughly brilliant. Oh yeah, there's some more mellotron in here too. Both this and the opening track clock in at 10 and a half minutes each. They couldn't have made better use of their time. 10/10.

Beneath The Mire: Woo. This one is slightly different. Even more mellotron! Mellotron lovers delight! The entire melody line of the first minute or so is played entirely on mellotron, and this continues throughout the song. An interestingly offbeat song, with dirty vocals again, this song is not quite as appealing as the previous two, sounding more like something from a mushroomhead album. Clean vocals present too. At 3.20, we're in Radiohead mode again. But this time it sounds like we've got Eric Clapton making a guest appearance on guitar. The track becomes even more appealing now, with clean vocals and some very Hackett-esque guitar work. I tell you now, I am loving this album and this review is going to be long. I hope the next tracks are shorter...9/10 for this track.

Bloody hell, buy this album now, you've seen my words about it, I can't write that much for each song, you HAVE to hear the album. Truly amazing stuff.

Report this review (#41948)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ive been into Opeth since they put out Blackwater park... I had read a review about them in some mag and they just sounded cool...Im a 38 year old metal head....Sabbath..Maiden, Venom,Savatage.... so I was blown away by that first cd I bought...And with Damnation and Deliverance.. I was hooked...Ive never liked death metal cookie monster vocals but the way Mikael Arkerfeldt comes across is cool ...Now I have in my hands on an advanced copy of Ghost Reveries.. Im still soaking it all in....Ive only had a few days...but its good...very good... The band is as tight as ever...and evil and a progressive kinda way...with every release I keep thinking they get a bit closer to a black metal Pink Floyd....and I really feel that way really has the vibe of Blackwater Park... but with some anctient wanderings thrown in....ghosts...the occult....dark memeories... it sems like music youve never heard ...but then again its there in your brain... like a dead friend reaching out to you...Opeth stands far above the rest of metal and even the progressive scene..... Just go by it and slip into the warm bath of the darkness and beauty... Opeth...Ghost Reveries.
Report this review (#42657)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars great album i think its the best one yet actually the only song i have a problem with is ''atonement'' i dont think it has the power of the other songs but ive listened to this album 3 or 4 times already and i finished downloading it yesterday and i think i can listen to it everyday and not even get tired.''ghost of perdition'' was excellent but i was expecting this since they always start off with an heavy song on every album and baying of the hounds i thought stood out amongst the others because the music was great. really the whole album is good, i suggest you buy it..
Report this review (#42895)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before I review this album I would like to straighten one thing out, I have never been a fan of growling "cookie monster" vocals. I always considered them to be pointless and annoying, and was originally put off Opeth because of them. However, having listened to Ghost Reveries through many, many times, I just can't give this album any less than 5 stars. Many will not like the heavier parts of the music, but the album is so consistent and enthralling that I cannot ever imagine myself getting tired of it.

What makes Opeth so unique is the diversity of their music; songs will start out with heavy, unforgiving guitar riffs and harsh, evil vocals. Then suddenly, halfway through a song, the atmosphere will completely change, and we'll be greeted by soft, intricate guitar playing and some truly beautiful "clean" singing by Mikael Akerfeldt, who has an absolutely incredible voice. Hearing the huge shift in musical styles, it's almost like listening to a completely different band. I find it hard to believe that some people don't find Opeth's music to be progressive enough.

Throughout the hour of music featured on the album, there isn't a single dull moment. If I had to pick highlights though, they'd be "The Baying of the Hounds" and "Hours of Wealth". The latter contains only clean vocals, which are so beautuful that they brought tears to my eyes on my first listen (especially hearing the vocal harmonies between Akerfeldt and Wiberg).

Many won't agree that this album deserves the full 5 stars, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a lot of prog enthusiasts are completley put off by the harsh vocals in the heavier sections. However, the clean sections are so beautiful and the album so unique and varied that, in my opinion, it deserves every single point. As far as I am concerned, Ghost Reveries is a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#42896)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can easily say that this is one of the best albums I have ever heard in my life. Also I would like to say that it really is Opeth's first completely progressive album. Beyond the musical virtuosity there is an excellent occult concept album that shows how versatile this band really is. His growls may be hard to swallow for most classic prog fans, but I believe that contained within these growls is the emotion that my favorite Crimson and Yes albums can't do justice, anger. Opeth may be the most extreme progressive act on the planet considering the euphoria that surrounds a floyd inspired "Atonement", or the Clapton esque clean guitar solo at the end of "hours of wealth". The song that sets this band apart from everyone is ghost of Perdition, a song that can only be described as incredible. The Layered electric gutars, perfect accompanying keyboard as well as the menacing sonic explosions lead by the drums, creates a sound so diverse and epic in proportions that I can only compare feeling to that of the emotional journey and dramatic climax of a piano concerto a la Rachmaninov. If you can just tolerate the screams you will understand their signifcance. The only weak track here is the recently released Grand Conjuration.
Report this review (#43051)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, let me state that no one understands the signifigance of a five star review more than me: this is a rank reserved for albums that stand the test of time as absolute defining moments of their genre. Having said that, I will go on to explain why this record is not only deserving of this rating, but, I believe, will go down as one of the most important albums ever released in the sub-genre of Progressive Metal. Opeth has long been known as one of the bands that has redefined what Prog Metal has been capable of, both musically and thematically. This release raises the already high bar that had been set with the last two, Deliverance and Damnation. Every composition shows growth as a band, writing and chops wise. The sound of the band now is the next natural step in their evolution. The dicotomy of the band as realized by the last two albums has now been fully integrated into one overall sound. The addition of full time keyboardist Per Wiberg is an integral part of this change, pushing the band that once flirted with prog sensibilities into full on prog territory. Throughout the album, the band takes its signature sound, and includes shades of other giants such as TOOL, PINK FLOYD, and LED ZEPPELIN. The writing is impeccable, and the musicianship second to none: every track bristles with its own unique energy, singlehandedly dispelling the myth that Prog Metal is a genre inhabited by DREAM THEATER clones. One issue that certainly must be addressed is the vocals. Be forewarned that "cookie moster" growling does factor in, but on this album more than any other the band has recorded so far, they simply act as an accent to the heavier moments. Mikael has never sung in his "natural" voice more often, and his vocals have never felt so impassioned and, well, natural. In this day and age, it is not often that we can be in the midst of a progressive rock act at the peak of its game: most are older bands seeking to regain lost glory, or newer bands standing on the shoulders of giants and simply reworking an established sound. As I said before , I believe that this album will not only stand the test of time, but will go down in progressive rock history as a genre busting album that provided inspiration for a whole new generation of prog rock artists. This one is certainly an essential, and is deserving of a place in every progressive rock lover's collection.
Report this review (#43618)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars YES!

This is the one. This is the Opeth album that truly goes beyond their normal formula and ventures fully into prog. This is the Opeth album I've been waiting for. Ferocious, brutal, gentle, delicate, complicated, everything you oculd want it's here. Mellotron in abundance floats over every track. There are bone-crushing riffs all over the place, as well as three purely quiet tracks that could not sound better. Their creativity is superb, every song has a different feel and tone to it that makes this album NEVER get boring. The transitions between light and dark sections are more seamless than ever before, msotly because of the added amounts of clean vocals in heavier sections. Sometimes the clean vocals in heavier sections are used brilliantly (Ghosts of Perdition) and other times, not so well (Reverie/Harlequin Forest).

Opeth has never been more in touch with their proggier side. Like I said mellotron everywhere, great original compositions, long songs, astounding musicianship, flute, great harmonies, varied instruments, everything a prog song needs this album has in abundance. The vocals are the best second only to Daniel Gildenlow. Everything flows together seamlessly, and it never feels like the band struggled to think of their songs, though I'm sure they did. This feels, much like Blackwater Park, like music of the soul, that it just poured out of Opeth's minds and was perfect. This is metal for a progger, or prog for a metalhead. Opeth is by far one of the most original, creative and beautiful bands of this generation...nevermind generation, century! If you can sit down and listen to this and says it's bad, there's somethign wrogn with you. I'm sorry, no exceptions. The subtle touches, the inner beauty or brutal-ness, whatever, everything works and makes for an amazing musical experience.

Ghosts of Perdition: This song starts out with al ittle bit of piano, but quickly busts out into a heavy section with great death vocals by Mikael. The riffs here are truly heavy and awesome in every where. The drumming has gotten better and better every album, and this song shows it. At around one minute, it gets softer and we here Mikael's singing for a bit, which has never osunded better and more natural. Then we get our first taste of mellotron, seamlessly blended with heavy guitar work. Soon it gets heavy again with more singing and harmonies abound, but at around 2:30 we get a taste of the most beautiful melody every invented, with Mikael gently singing, "Higher...higher...". This goes on for awhile then we get some more heavy riffs with singing and works well. I really love the drumming here too. At 6:00 the melody andd singing here is phenomenal! At around 6:25 one of the heaviest sections on the whole album comes in, and it rocks. At 9:06, the gentle "Higher..." melody comes in again, and it always makes me kinda's that good. The song ends a little lamely, but hey, the rest of the song easily makes up for it.

The Baying of the Hounds: This starts with a great heavy riff and a really heavy section. Two minutes in, another great combo of singing, mellotron and heavy guitars is here. Quickly, some layered singing comes in with absolutely perfect harmonies comes in. A brief guitar solo. 3:20, it gets soft with some nice keyboard work. Mikael comes in with some of the best singing I've ever heard. His voice never fails to amaze me. The song is heavy for awhile after 5:30, which of course rocks. It gets soft for a bit, but ends massively heavy. Like, crushingly so. Awesome, amazing song.

Beneath The Mire: This song has a sort of Middle Eastern feel to it made by the mellotron, which really is used a lot on this song. The heavy section with distorted and acoustic guitars at around 0:45 is simply amazing, one of the best heavy sections. When Mikael starts growling, the music gets even more ferocious, and it works well. Mikael starts singing again at 2:40, which kinda works well ,but not quite as well as you'd help. First example of a big complaint I have with this album. 3:30 it goes soft with amazing vocals. The rest of thew song is pretty standard, good heavy sections and heavy mixed with clean vocals. The only thing left worth noting is the ending, which sounds like something straight off Relayer. It's definitely something new for Opeth, and caught me completely off guard.

Atonement: Ahh, my favorite light song that stretches on too long. This takes the Middle-Eastern feel of the last song and amplifies it pretty greatly. The guitarwork is truly outstanding here, Mikael's voice is quite good here, but not quite as good as the other songs. The distortion he adds kinda sounds weird. It goes on, kinda repetitive for ahwile, then busts into a new melody at around 5:00 right after some great piano work. If this song was 4:00 long, it'd be perfect. No such luck. Still amazing, however.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest: Ahh, within this song lies my chief complaint with this album. Singing where singing should not be used. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. The singing works only about 50% of the time on this song during the heavy sections. The whole song also feels kinda uninspired to me. Even the slow lighter section seems kinda dull, which hadn't happened yet on this album. 7:00 is an example of a section where death vocals should have been used but weren't. All they'd have to do would be to make everything a little more nasty and it would have been perfect...coupled with death vocals. This song kidna fades out with some odd start stop cuitar playing a la Meshuggah, but it's not too Meshuggah-esque. Not a bad song, could be better by Opeth standards.

Hours of Wealth: Another all acoustic/light song. This one drags a bit too, but it's not too bad. It mostly focuses on subtle usage of flutes, piano, mellotron and other instruments and guitar work which sounds great. Mikael's voice is much betetr here than on Atonement, although I like Atonement more altogether. The harmonies are truly inspiring on this song. It just should have stopped a little earlier. "But I'm alone...and far from home...", so beautiful.

The Grand Conjuration: Interesting song, very MAYH Opeth sound. Keyboard work is quite good. This song also truly feels like a mysterious conjuration. It's got a lot of traditional Opeth heaviness, whch is neccesarily bad, but there isn't really enough material here to justify a 10 minute song. More like 7 or so, but it's not TOO bad. There's not much to say about this song because it doesn't do that much. It is probabaly the most evil song ever, and it gets bonus points for that, heh.

Isolation Years: Sounds right off Damnation. Fairly pretty, and a good way to close the album. It's not as good as the other two light songs, but it's not bad. My least favorite track, however.

Soft sections: 9/10 Heavy sections: 8/10 (they're a LITTLE lacking on some songs) Lasting Appeal: 8/10 (If anything it's grown on me) Musicianship: 10/10 (They've gotten more and more talented every album) Creativity/Originality: 10/10 Ghosts of Perdition: 10/10 Baying of the Hounds: 10/10 Beneath The Mire: 10/10 Atonement: 9.5/10 Reverie/Harlequin Forest: 8/10 Hours of Wealth: 9.5/10 The Grand Conjuration: 8/10 Isolation Years: 7/10

9 + 8 + 8 + 10 + 9 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 9.5 + 8 + 9.5 + 8 + 7 = 116. 116/130 = 89.4 = 89/100 = 45/50 = 4.5/5. Final score: 4/5. Essential, definitely, but I can't give this a 5/5 simply because BWP is better, and in my opinion a band can only have one or two masterpieces, and this album just doesn't quite have that magic feel. It just lives up to my wildest dreams, but it's nothing unbelievable.

Report this review (#43847)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW!!! What can i say....Opeth dod it again!! They created an outstanding album that features all the elements we love from this band and also adding some new sounds. This is what a really progressive band does..... create a sound of their own and is always looking ahead for new paths to walk.This is by far the most experimental album that they have deliivered and its a trulu masterpiece. The keybords add some ineresting touches without interfearing the guitars......because after all......the Opeth escense is intact. The vocal aspect has been again improved. Steven Wilson isn´t producing on this one but you can hear his influence on Mikael's singing......more eleborated, with some arrangements and with his awesome sense of armony and intense feeling. The riffs are a little different but after a few listens you love them. Every track is excellent...on the last can hear the Damnation sound.....its good to know that they didnt loose that. Their best? I dont know........ better that deliverance i must say........and at top with still life. Its clear that the band took their time for this album......the deliverance recording experience left some lessons i must say.......because altough they released a very good album.....there was....."something" missing....on the clear vocals for example......but nothing is missing this time. Opeth did evolve without forgetting where they come from and who they are......... we applaude them!!!!! I raise my beer to say : HAIL OPETH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#44540)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is the subtle little refrains that always make an Opeth album. On repeated listens these become apparent. There are certainly cliched minor riffing interludes that seemingly go on too long but it somehow feels different. Lead breaks seem nore heacier and coherent and the bass playing cab be heard. This is of course Opeth and dullness does beckon at times. But eventually you are transported to another world. The vision of this band is fine. Despite the amazing amount of scorn downloaded on this release I think its quite remarkable in parts and also rather flawed. The keyboards can come across as clumsy and cheesy. But hey thats a minor flaw. For me the death vocals sound forced at times. They have their place, but seem well wrong at places.
Report this review (#44782)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The rating of a 5 is a heafty weight to carry; it should not be thrown around lightly. That ahving been said, I feel comfortable giving this album a 5. OPETH has almost universally been a progressive death metal band, with more emphasis on the death metal than the prog. They toyed with ideas like lengthening their songs, playing in odd times and having contrasting light and dark parts within each song (changing composition and eschewance of ABABCB structure is actually common in alot of metal). Hell, they even made a concept album. Come Blackwater Park, though, they wanted to more fully integrate a proggy sound, calling upon the help of Steve WILSON to do so (famous for his work as a member of PORCUPINE TREE). They did a great job getting more prog out, but they still had some issues to work out. Thus, when the time came for a new album, they opted for something different: A complete seperation of the ideas to develope each more fully. This resulted in the dual-relese of Deliverance (the heavy one) and Damnation (the light one), ironically titled the exact opposite of what one would hear. This gave them the tools they needed for the eventual merger of these two dieas once more, creating Ghost Reveries. This is what one should think of when they think of truly making prog metal. This isn't cheesy, overwrought guitars to sappy lyrics. This isn't a deliberate attempt to sound weird. This is the only true combination of metal and prog, conserving both parts. This is perfect.
Report this review (#44946)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Haunting - Scary - Depressing - Dark - Genius - Magical

I love it!.............Essential. Opeth's best work (which is saying a lot) Just when you think they have reached their limit......they present us with Ghost Revries.

"The Grand Conjuration" send tingles up and down my spine every time I hear it. Hell, (how fitting) the whole album does!

Essential album for those who dont mind tougher vocals. Masterpiece! They've done it again!!!

Report this review (#45092)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars There is no doubt about it. This is absolutely Opeth's most shining moment. I can name at least one thing wrong with all the past albums.

This album has no problems with it. This is Opeth, with great sound, tight playing, etc. And the acoustic passages actually work for every song!

Opening track, Ghost of Perdition is a perfect Opeth song. Kinda taking all different influences from past albums and mixing them into one. The Baying of the Hounds and the rest of the album is where you notice the differences with that and previous albums. TBOTH is totally prog, with so many time signatures and some very weird riffs in places. Beneath the Mire introduces some interesting Egyptian style riffs and melodies. This is interesting, even though it's been done a million times by a million bands, but because it's Opeth, it obviously sounds more unique. Probably the most interesting song on the album.

The 3 acoustic songs are all very well done, and, i think, better than all the Damnation songs. Since there's more use with keyboards, theres so much more things goin on. No more just guitar and vocals, or everyones playin, but the guitar is the main point. Everyone shines on the softer songs, and theres great atmosphere throughout.

Finally you have the best songs on the album. The epic Reverie/Harlequin Forest is a mammoth of a song. There's psychedelic stuff, jazz, blues, metal, acoustics, everything. Theres a lot of clean singing over the heavy parts which is usually a rarity in the past. The Grand Conjuration is probably the best song on the album. Everyone's heard this song and had a 50/50 response to it. But when you listen to the album as a , the song really grows on you. It's a much heavier and doomier song than theyve ever done. The middle section uses so many riffs and musical ideas it's unbelieveable. And they stick to a main riff for a good portion of the song, something they rarely do.

This is album is a must have. Best Opeth album ever, and not cause it's new and everyone always thinks new stuff is the best then they get over it. This is truly their MAGNUM OPUS! Maybe it used to be BP or SL or even Damnation, but this is truly it. There's no denying it.

Report this review (#45097)
Posted Thursday, September 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, they juste got BETTER and BIGGER with this release. Opeth exended their horizons. Their music is more progressive, more technical, with more elaborated structures. It also regroups pretty well some styles off other albums (some metal parts a-la Deliverance, and some acoustic "folk" parts more a-la Sill Life or MAYH). Plus, there is a consequent work on vocal melodies, and clean vocals over metal parts. Akerfeldt outdone himself on this one. Best songs imo : Ghost Of Perdition and Harlequin Forest. Album of the year ? probably.
Report this review (#45254)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the first things I noticed immediately when I started Ghost Reveries was a definite Lateralus vibe, though in a heavier context. If you like TOOL's album, then you should definitely try this one. I noticed right off in "Ghost of Perdition", the keys are used to better effect in the hard songs than they have been with previous albums; the music is no less brutal, but this enhances the atmosphere. The growling is there, but AKERFELDT also seems to be further exploring his clean vocals. MARTIN MENDEZ' bass ventures into DE FARFALLA territory here--he manages to make his bass sound fretless even though I don't believe that's what he plays. On "The Baying of the Hounds", an overdriven Hammond enhances the guitar. The brutality of Deliverance is evident in the lyrics. More of the Lateralus vibe shows up in the way the guitar is used. This was the only song I didn't find that amazing, but it was definitely solid.

"Beneath the Mire" shows the incorporation of the Middle-Eastern vibe from Damnation's "Closure" into a harder setting. I'm not quite as much of a fan of the way PER WIBERG is mixing his Mellotron (I would've put in more reverb like STEVE WILSON did on Damnation), but it's certainly not a bad idea. There also seems to be a revisiting-with harder backing-to a riff from the opening of "The Drapery Falls". There's something surprisingly bluesy in the guitar in the soft section (which revisits on "Hours of Wealth"). Some argue OPETH isn't breaking new ground.but I think the blues and the Middle Eastern work are the new contributions. There is an utterly haunting outro with an almost "Interstellar Overdrive" interlude feel with the guitar tone reminiscent of PINK FLOYD's SYD BARRETT, and the keyboard textures certainly help the impression.

"Atonement"...what can I say other than it's my favorite track on here? This is a totally new atmosphere for OPETH-almost Zen (think of the long spaces where that simple humming/buzzing is left alone), and very uplifting in its lyrics: this is someone coming around from their previous evil. It's even more strongly Middle Eastern, in a purer, even more melodic form. The only thing I don't like as much is the Farfisa-sound WIBERG uses, but it is fitting to the song because it matches with the distorted vocals. Drummer MARTIN LOPEZ takes the Arab style heard in the "Wreath" interlude on Deliverance to center stage, and it works fantastically. The best moments, though, are the gorgeous, simple, wordless unfiltered vox! Perhaps the closest comparison in the OPETH catalogue, as far as feeling, is "Epilogue" from My Arms, Your Hearse. Subtle vibraphones and pianos from WIBERG really fill the song in.well, as much as one would want to fill in such an airy, spacious piece. This and "Hours of Wealth", more than anywhere, are where OPETH most truly breaks new stylistic ground.

As for "Reverie/Harlequin Forest", I'm definitely a fan of the intro of this one. Oddly enough, your CD counter will count backwards here, perhaps to separate "Reverie" from "Harlequin Forest". It almost feels more "hard rock" than extreme metal once "Harlequin Forest" kicks in. LOPEZ is definitely in the groove here.though it almost seems to me his metal style has become a bit more simplified. The soft rolls in the interlude are great, though, so he definitely has not lost his touch! One heavy segment in this song is reminiscent of "Serenity Painted Death" on Still Life. I definitely like the acoustic interlude. There even seems like a return of the "Weakness" keys in that section as well-subtle but well-placed. Then the Lateralus influence shows up noticeably in the very outro. The final section is quite protracted, like a much softer version of the "Deliverance" outro.but then, I tend to be one of those who hears a good thing and then likes it repeated! , as far as how you get into it!

"Hours of Wealth", like "Atonement", is totally unlike anything OPETH has done, aside from a bootlegged cover of Deep Purple's "Soldier of Fortune".and maybe the vocals at the end of "To Bid You Farewell" on Morningrise, though this goes even further. I love the bluesy vocals and guitar solo, and the nearly a capella harmonies. Here the Mellotron choir and strings pick up the reverb-y, PORCUPINE TREE-like mix that I favor. PER WIBERG is at his best with that and a sad, gorgeous piano riff, and bluesy electric piano. I would go so far as to call this incredibly sparse song gospel-like. It wouldn't seem out of place to sing the lyrics of "Amazing Grace" to the last part. What's more, I'd like to make a personal note..."Hours of Wealth" is utterly chilling in these current, sad times-seems like it came straight from the Delta. Talk about a case of unfortunately suitable timing.I know I will always associate it with the disaster, even though that's not what it was intended to be. As for what OPETH intended, I think it's here to contrast with the next song.

The track "The Grand Conjuration" was officially released early, and was my first introduction to the new album. It remains my favorite of the heavy songs. WIBERG's synth here is probably put to the best effect here of any of the heavy songs, and it is utterly chilling! The overdriven Hammond serves incredibly well to add some more punch to the guitar--as if it didn't already have enough punch! The lyrics here reach a new level of brutality, too. Some might mistake them as promoting Satanism-but, while one could call these occult lyrics, I do not think they promote evil as anything good to do. Rather, it seems aimed at exposing the ugliness of such behavior-it's more like Apocalyptic imagery reminiscent of Revelation than anything. It's also evocative of the song "Blackwater Park". I love the creepy whispers, and the explosion into the heavy growling section. You'll want to crank this one.

"Isolation Years" is short but a melancholy way. The line beginning with "The years she's lost." has such sad, high vocals from AKERFELDT that are incredibly effective. The guitars blend superbly with the Mellotron here. OPETH is developing a real strength with the Damnation style, and it's good to see that continuing. Lyrically, I really like the line "The wound in me is pouring out to rest on a lover's shore". You get kind of a catharsis at the end of the song, and that's needed after what you've heard before it.

Overall, OPETH'S Ghost Reveries is a very solid album, and in some places does break new ground even if it's subtle. The rest is the good old OPETH you can always count on, and fans should appreciate it. The mix is strong, and certainly not suffering from any of the problems of Deliverance. I'd still recommend Blackwater Park or Still Life as a first album (Damnation for those not quite ready to wade into metal), but if they liked that, I'd certainly encourage getting Ghost Reveries.

Report this review (#45511)
Posted Sunday, September 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Let me start off by saying that i own every sigle Opeth album and think all of them - bar Morningrise and Damnation - are excellent, some even better than excellent. Let me also say that my name has nothing to do with this album, just to save you any confusion :P Now on with the review...

After listening through Ghost Reveries numerous times i can safely say that this is an album that makes me question where Mikael was going with it. I'm not sure whether it was the alternate tunings or the permanent addition of Per's keys, or just a new stage in writing, but whatever it was, i didn't quite work. There are moments of glory scattered throughout this album, but unfortunately they are strewn across a field of concepts that do not support them. The fluid and coherent writing of albums like Blackwater Park and Deliverance have been replaced with an almost random and inappropriate series of song structures. The case with most of the songs seems to be that they contain decent ideas, but the music does not allow these ideas to develop or even travel much farther. I often find myself thinking 'yeah, this could go somewhere' and then the song changes completely and so very unnecessarily to something completely unrelated.

Another thing that i find is missing in the album is originality. Once again, there are moments when i think 'hey this is pretty interesting', but those moments are overshadowed by the familiarality of either influence (Porcupine Tree and Tool being obvious ones) or the past (Blackwater Park, Deliverance, Damnation). I'll also say that there is a huge lack of good guitar solos. This album - moreso than any of Opeth's other heavy albums - definitely contains the most prog rock influence, but it's just not very effectively incorporated. I'm also wondering what the point of Per's role in the band is. Sure, he's there alright, but for what reason? The keyboard parts in the album are mostly un-necessary and seem to be there because they can be there, not because they need to be there. Perhaps Mike (and others?) are going through a teething stage with Per, or perhaps they really didn't need him on the album, they just wanted him. Either way, maybe they should reconsider. The only really good keyboard song is Hours of Wealth, where they do work quite well with the acoustic guitar, and they are half-decent in The Grand Conjuration, but other than that they don't serve the music as well.

All in all this is an album most Opeth fans seem to enjoy, and as i have said it does have it's good moments, but i can't say there are any songs that i personally feel like listening to over and over. Hours of Wealth is a nice little prog tribute, The Grand Conjuration harks back to the sounds of Deliverance and Blackwater Park in a (mostly) good way, and Ghost of Perdition does a worthy job of opening and sums up the album quite well - almost there, but not quite. Other than that i'm pretty much left wanting. Here's my rundown of the album: Bayong of the Hounds starts off well, but after the first few minutes the seams start to split. Atonement is an interesting song with an effective melodic hook, but i'm left with a taste of Damnation in my mouth (which, by the way, i consider to be Opeth's most boring and uninspiring work to date). Beneath The Mire is possibly the worst, most inappropriate songs on the album and one of my least favourite Opeth tracks. Reverie/Harlequin Forest again has some nice moments, but just doesn't gel together because the good stuff is surrounded by mediocre music. Hours of Wealth is a nice little song; not too original, but still nice. The Grand Conjuration is maybe the best song on the album. It has a hypnotic type feel to it that can draw you in, but sometimes i feel it can get a tad monotonous. Isolation Years, the closer, is nice enough. Again, it's quite Damnationish, but quite listenable.

Given the fact that it has some good moments in almost every song, and this is the proggiest metal album Opeth have done, i've decided to give Ghost Reveries two stars. It's really not of the standard i've come to expect from Opeth. It gives me the impression of somebody who has received a lot of wrong pieces to a jigsaw puzzle and just mashed them all together to try and create a picture anyway. A lot of people seem to like this picture - i'm not too fond of it.

Report this review (#45544)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first album by Opeth I've heard and I have to say I love it. It's just so listenable! I wasn't sure what to expect but it's like a warm bath - so comfortable and enjoyable, and an experience you want to repeat as often as possible.

I read one review that said Opeth's music is just a series of interconnected passages, alternating loud and soft, without a real symphonic overview that justifes the often ten- minute lengths of the songs. That might be so but it also might be the band's salvation. Like a train journey that offers continual scene changes without any seeming pattern, a sense emerges that the journey is nonetheless worthwhile: you pass through pleasant countryside, then grimy cityscapes - a collage of experiences that becomes in itself a unique single experience. That's my impression of this album.

I've played "Ghost Reveries" several times now, in whole and in part, and it still surprises, delights and energises me. I'm not sure exactly why, and I'm sure I could criticise it to death if I sought to analyse it closely, but I'm very glad I bought it and I know it will become a favourite. The final minute or so of "Baying of the Hounds" is worth the price of entry in itself.

Report this review (#45563)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an amazing album. I think it's their second best to Still Life, but still is a masterpiece. All the guitars are perfect and there's quite a few solos. The best part is how they have used more prog influences here than probably any other album. The usage of the keyboards is also a plus. Lots of atmosphere and a great way to accent the guitars and bass. Drums are top notch here. Everywhere there are fills and weird beats and all sorts of things. Totally recommend getting this if you havent already.

By the way, the growls (if you're into them as much) are probably the most intense theyve ever been, at least since their first album.

Report this review (#45660)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars "Ghost Reveries" is far more proggy than any thing Opeth have ever done, but have they lost their edge? No. No it doesn't. On the whole, this is a quieter effort than the Swedish masters have produced in the past - bar the band's recent entirely folk/prog rock effort, Damnation - yet Ghost Reveries still packs a hell of a lot of punch.

FIrst up is "Ghost Of Perdition", one of the two tracks leaked onto the net a few months back. Opening with ethereal guitar strumming, you'd be forgiven for expecting a "Closure" style ballad. Not so; we're suddenly blasted by a minute of Still Life-era heavy riffage. This is followed by Mikael giving more variety than we've yet heard in his vocals, leading into a melodic guitar section combining double-bass drums with some subtle mellotrons. This continues for another minute or so, until we get to the classic Opeth death-vox-meets-melodious-guitar segments we all know and love. Lopez shines on the drumming throughout the album, and this is a great kick-off point for his displayed skills, rivalling those of Sean Reinert or Dan Swano. At about 2:30, the track brings in the first quiet section of the album, which includes a rather beautiful harmony from Mikael, and brings Mendez's bass to the forefront, which is good, as I've always felt Opeth has lacked strong bass work since Morningrise. At the end of this relaxing interlude, the Gilmour-esque guitar wailing brings us back to reality, with Lopez's fills and Peter's riffs backing up another clean verse from Mikael. More nice melodies bring us to an astounding drum section, and more clean vocals, then about seven minutes in we hear Per Wiberg's mellotrons and Mikael's acoustic guitar adding life to an already pounding track. Per's keys are fairly consistent throughout the rest of the track, which ends on a heavy rendition of the song's first quiet interlude. A great start for the album, and with it's prog doom-death feel, would have felt most in place on Still Life.

The next track, "Baying Of The Hounds", begins with Deep Purple style organ riffs courtesy of Per while Mikael belts out lyrics that seem to be deliberate parodies of black metal's occult themes. This death-polka segment, almost remniscent of Finntroll, continues for about two minutes, then the organ continues while Mikael's vocals shift gears and we get some excellent harmonious verses - "you are are everything, they are nothing". Some very progressive guitar work follows, with Peter Lindgren tearing up and down the scale and switching time signatures like Buzz Osborne on crack. The next few minutes are a jazzy, subdued segment with some clean vocals and a lot of bass. This breaks into a black metal inspired epic riff, with eerie keyboards and constant double-bass kicks combined with Mikael's ever-asskicking death vocals. A Blackwater Park era segment rounds out the next few minutes, and then a quiet drum-and-acoustic section, with requisite mellotrons, jumpstarts into the song's final section - a heavy segment very, very reminiscent of My Arms Your Hearse if mixed with some Porcupine Tree style riffs (I think the mellotron and the general melody gives me this impression). That section is easily one of the best on the album. As with most Opeth tracks, "The Baying Of The Hounds" twists and turns for almost ten minutes, and ends up sounding nothing like it did in the beginning. Excellent.

Then comes "Beneath The Mire", starting with quite possibly the funkiest segment Opeth could ever produce - it sounds more like Farmakon, to be honest, who are usually like a jazzier, if less melodious clone of Opeth anyway. Mellotrons and funk drums flow behind Peter's on-off guitar riffage for about two minutes, and we then get Mikael's best heavy vocal melody of the album. A recurring blast beat from Lopez gives the edge Mikael needs here, before going into the proggy guitar and emotive, clean vocals for a while - "you'd cling to your pleasant hope, in it's twisted fascination." After this, comes Per on piano while Mikael has a short, sweet solo reminiscent of the one he gives in Porcupine Tree's "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here". Mikael switches to acoustic for a moment before leading us into the maelstrom once more - a great death scream and some inventive drumming bring us to another catchy, melodious section with heavy guitars and clean vocals. Finally, the guitars rise and fall like a tide, leading into an ending rich with off-kilter time-signatures and Pink Floyd style guitar experimentation. Another excellent song that shows the band's mature exploration of progressive themes.

The first real quiet track of the album is "Atonement", with some nice subdued drumming and synth effects alongside Mikael's skillful solo work, which is often likened to that of David Gilmour. More keyboard effects come in to play here, and bongo-style drumming that builds up to Damnation style filtered clean vocals. A mellotron-rich harmony section brings the guitars back in, and we repeat the idea for another verse or two. Before some beautiful lounge piano comes in at around four minutes. This song seems to be set up to balance Mikael and Pers and show off their respective skills. At around 5:20, the song cuts out, then comes back in after a few seconds for a soft finale that lasts a minute and feels like it was ripped straight from Damnation. Guitar and keyboard synths cease just in time to blast right into the next track - however, this makes me think that the advance copy of the album which I got may not be 100% complete, as I'd believe that this last minute should be a part of the next song, much like the first minute of "The Apostle In Triumph" was always meant to be the final minute of "Requiem". Oh well.

"Reverie / Harlequin Forest" is a roaring track, very reminiscent of Blackwater Park in it's balance of heavy and soft movements. Again the lyrics follow a dark, occult theme - "a trail of sickness leading to me, if I am haunted then you will see." One wonders if this is a concept album like My Arms Your Hearse or Still Life. I suppose when I buy a copy and read the lyrics, I'll know for sure. Anyway, the first few minutes of this song are very proggy, with clean vocals and subtle organ work. The heavy vocals come in about three minutes along, but are still clear enough to be understood. A soft segment from Mikael and Mendez follows, then both drums and bass drop away for a solo of Mikael's vocals and guitars, that gradually brings in Per's keyboards to create an eerie, atmospheric quality. Mikael's acoustic comes back, as he begins to sing about trees (guess it fits in with the title, haha) in a deeply warm and melancholic fashion. He then gets another soft guitar segment punctuated by Lopez's fills until Peter's guitar storms into the scene again. "It's all false pretension, harlequin forest, awaiting redemption for a lifetime..." Sticking to the same melody, the song grows heavy for a while and then soft again, then ends with odd time-signatures, much like the previous song. Not as memorable as the others, but still has some excellent moments, especially in terms of vocals.

Now we get to the real quiet part of the album, "Hours Of Wealth". To say this is relaxing is an understatement. If you hated Damnation, you'll loathe this track, but then again in that case you'd probably be the kind of person who thinks Cannibal Corpse is the pinnacle of music. This is probably one of the best songs on the album, and reminds me a lot of "Weakness". It's incredibly quiet, with Mikael's voice layered to provide some beautiful effects. The music is minimalist keyboard and acoustic guitar for the most part, and the lyrics continue the band's on-again-off-again themes of solitude and suicide. "Looking through my window, I seem to recognise all the people passing by. But I'm alone, and far from home... nobody knows me." A cold, distant guitar solo winds up this heartbreaking track, which feels like a somewhat calculated prequel to "Dirge For November ".

Perhaps the most epic song on the album, and surely what will become the most crowd-pleasing due to it's catchiness, it's easy to see why "The Grand Conjuration" was the first track leaked to the internet. The main riff, which is heard throughout a large majority of the track, is brutal and certainly encourages headbanging. An incredibly cool clean vocal melody drives the verses, along with "Demon Of The Fall" style whispered, filtered backing vocals, and keyboard effects bordering on electronica. The heavy vocal sections are backed with asskicking mellotrons that give a black metal feel, pounding drum fills, and Peter's soaring, gothic melodies. The buildup at around 3:45 leads on to a heavy section with some excellent double-bass drums, and also drops in some nice keyboard interludes, before soaring to a heavy section replete with more mellotrons and a filtered death scream, which heads perhaps the heaviest section on the album in terms of both music and vocals. The albums builds up - with whispering, demonic voices - to a goddamn brutal version of the opening riff, which rolls along straight to fadeout (during which Eastern-sounding drums and chants can be briefly heard). This will be a killer ending to their live sets, and may even replace "Demon Of The Fall" as their encore song if it gets received like I expect it to be.

The album closer, and shortest song on display, is a nice little quiet piece called "Isolation Years". Basically, if you like "Hours Of Wealth", you will like this one. Quiet, acoustic, with a bit more bass guitar, and more mellotrons and more emotional singing. The final synth and acoustic guitar fadeout closes the album beautifully.

Has Opeth gotten more technical and progressive? Yes, certainly. But by no means has this compromised their heaviness. And, to reverse that statement, by no means does their heaviness (or their addition to the Roadrunner Records lineup) compromise their seriousness as artists. This is an incredible band, and to be quite frank, it's those who are too dumb to realise this that like to brand Opeth as boring or weak before going and listening to their roster of generic grindcore or pathetic mallcore acts. Opeth are progressive without being wanky, and they produce doom-death without becoming a one-trick pony. And that in itself is worth enormous praise.

Mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt combinates the quiet beauty of "Damnation" with the intelligent brutality of older Opeth death prog material, takes some new colours for the whole picture and creates a piece of art, which you can maybe compare with some of Picasso's pictures in a musical sense, only much darker. The use of mellotron in some parts are interestening specially for listeners, who miss something like that in most prog metal and recent prog rock releases. What you can also hear is, that Mr.Akerfeldt's guest appearence on Porcupine Tree's "Deadwing" gave him additional inspiration, some parts (mostly acoustic) remind on some recent PT material. Camel is also like always an important influential fountain for the band sound, the flute part in "Ghost of Perdition" for example underlines that statement. The production is simply perfect, and the pretty cover art is the crowning gimmick of a masterpiece, which ANY prog listener should discover. Opeth created their most ambitious and complete sounding record with "Ghost Reveries", so a high score is the logical result. An exciting journey created by a unique geniously band!

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 93 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#45665)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Before i start i have to say i've been listening to opeth since blackwater park, damnation and deliverance, so im fairly new to them in some way. im also new to this site(heard from a friend). i have, though heard ever song by them, and i have to say this is quite possibly the worst album by them ever. I mean I wouldnt say the worst. there are some good parts that make you think they have somthing incredible coming, but when that incredible thing does happen it drops you down like you were shot. It's an ok album but not the best. Not even close. Beneath the Mire... I have to say is the worst song they have ever made. I found my self yawning while listening to that song. But what got me to become really disappointed by this album is the transitions(i dont know if i spelled that right but you know wat i mean). They happen so randomly it's like they didn't even try to make it work. It's like "hey Peter there's gonna be a transition here" "ok Mike but how are we gonna do that" "well I thought you would know" "well I dont Mike" "crap well... let's just stop the music and have a random guitar riff and just have a drum roll out of it"

Everything is soooo just wierd. The solos just don't have the punch they used to have. Although mike does to a good job at singing it just doesn't work sometimes. and I agree with reveries on what he siad totally. the pianoist just seems unnessecary you can't even hear him at times. The music is too repetitive. No orginallity. it seems like Opeth and Ptree have switch..... in some ways it's ok but in others it's not. I miss the good ol' songs of awesome solos that make you want more, beautiful transitions that send shivers up and down your spine, and vocals that make sense. In this album it seems to me the band members just did it. Didn't take time to really think of stuff that works. If you want to get in to Opeth do not and i repeat DO NOT start with this album. there are way better albums out there.

overall: Opeth is a great band i love them they excell in many aspects of music. This album had potential you can hear it trying to excape. it just can't find it's way out.

Report this review (#46365)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'd just like to say that I think this album is the product of all the good work the band have done so far. Songwriting and musicianship are maturing showing more confidence. The hard and soft styles mix brilliantly, the use of new sounds, textures and instruments is inspired. Definitely a standard has been set! 5/5
Report this review (#46762)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had really big expectations on this one, and it (almost) lived up to them. I wished and hoped for a heavy album, something in style with "Still Life", which in my opinion is the "Opeth Masterpiece" to date. Oh well, "G R" still is a darn good album. There are two things though, which I dssliked; the overusage of Per and the more maintream kind of tunes. But as I listened to the album more and more, I realized that it fits really good with the rest. Micke is a real musical marstermind and makes me proud of beeing a (partial) sweed. The final grade will be four really scary ghosts out of five possible.
Report this review (#47083)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has surpassed all my expectations.Currently touring the UK,Opeth will be hard pressed to choose which,if any, tracks to exclude from their set.If Harlequin Forest is omitted it will be a crime.This epic features clean and growling vocals and should win over any doubters.It has touches of Led Zep in it in places,it touches a few other bases during its 11 or so minutes.The whole album is full of surprises,keyboard phrasing similar to Heep in their heyday and a bluesy track showcasing excellent vocals.Do yourself a favour,give it a try.This album has convinced me Opeth are about to become big as in BIG time.
Report this review (#47701)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a band that has truly progressed without any strain whatsoever. I've been a fan since Orchid. Opeth has never let me down. Ghost Reveries definitely solidifies them as more than a metal or prog band. In my opinion Opeth is Opeth. They are one of those bands that don't need catogorization. Talent is thick and evident here, and beyond anything else they have done. I am not so much of metalhead at least not since the "My Arms, Your Hearse" release. And while my musical taste has changed throughout time, Opeth has always been an ever present force of amazement. Some critics say there is nothing really different about Ghost Reveries in comparison to the previous albums.... Well, like I had said earlier, Opeth is Opeth. They do what they do in their own way, but still experementing with different sounds, sometimes subtle, sometimes bold. This album is the best example of that. The blend of heavy agression and mellow beauty makes this their most well rounded and complete album to date. Sure, maybe it has been done before in the past but not quite this well. The increase in the talent and musicainship of these guys hits you square in the face. The percussion is mindblowing (trust me, I'm a drummer) as well as the guitar riffs and bass work. Add in some mellotron in all the right places and you've got a complete, almost perfect album. And yes, different from the others. I am not going to review each song on Ghost Reveries one by one. I suppose if there was a track that didn't fit in or impress me I would mention it. That is not the case here. This album should be reveiwed as a whole, not in sections. But everyone has an opinion, maybe I'm not very fussy. I just feel that way because of the the way these songs mesh together and flow. The growling, gutteral vocals is something not everybody enjoys. But, nonetheless Ghost Reveries is every bit as good as any "classic" album from say...Slayer, King Crimson, Pink floyd, Beatles and so on. Many people would disagree with that opinion, but the musicianship is there. So, those who judge Opeth as just a metal or a prog or black metal are way off base. They have once again created an album rich with many musical elements. You'll never hear anything like this anywhere. Opeth is a true milestone in music and should be taken seriously.
Report this review (#48421)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.6 Stars ... 5 stars if this was ''.

This is my first Opeth album.I actually dislike death metal (the growling), so this album took over five listens to sink in (I have heard this over 10 times) and get used to the growling here. The difference of this band with a typical death metal band is that Opeth is influenced by structures from prog rock songs, is very virtuosic (the drumming and guitar especially), has atmospheric and mellow musical breaks (very beautiful), and of course : they write melodies!!

Prog? Well, if you define prog as the sound you hear in the 70s, this is not prog. However, this album, like Tool's Lateralus and Radiohead's Kid A, is extremely progressive in terms of creating something new in music. This is a genre on itself .. it is like Progressive space- metal. I am happy that these musicians are getting recognition as they can give the world intelligent music, and may convert them to the beauty of progressive metal.

Ghost of Perdition begins immediately with some good times! The growling is introduced in this section. Then to my surprise, it gets acoustic and porcupine Tree-style music is played in a level of beauty that band could not achieve. The haunting melody combined with the acoustic riff is magical. Then, it starts alternating between acoustic music and heavy metal. This track is excellent!

The Baying of the Hounds starts as a death-metal track with hammond organs and contains growls like its predecessor, but later the changes occur: while it keeps having very heavy riffs, the singer performs normally without any screams. Like in all the album, Opeth's mellow sections gives me goosebumps like in Tool's, and this song is full of them!

Beneath the Mire is somewhat weaker in quality, but I still love it to Death. The best part of this song is the first half : it floors me whenever I hear those powerful guitar riffs. The middle section is soft and melodic. The song ends with powerful distorted guitar riffing and avant-garde soloing.

Atonement is a hypnotic, brilliant, melodic and beautiful song with piano, organs, mellotron, great percussion, effective haunting vocals, and a gorgeous guitar riff which I adore, though the later section is a bit unnecessary.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest is an epic that metamorphes so often in its 11 minutes that it requires multiple listens to enjoy it fully. There isn't much to say here. This is an outstanding heavy (and light) track that ends with a repetitive bizarre rhythm that is great.

Hours of Wealth is a mellow track that starts with symphonic arrangements which show how important a keyboardist is in music. The second half is dominated by Mikael's vocals and keyboard chords. A slow melodic guitar solo ends the piece. Everything about this song is great.

The Grand Conjuration is the heaviest track in the album. However, this track is one of the most accessible pieces of Opeth. The reason is that the guitar riffs are instantly likeable and the rhythm is very impressive. The song is not fast and heavy all the time. There are moments where the singer sings melodically while the electric guitar follows the melody and the percussionist plays the best possible drumline that one could ever come up with in such a situation. The choruses are extremely heavy and has a genius use of rhythm guitars.

Isolation Years is a melancholic sounding track like Hours of Wealth. It is a solid closer to a solid album, with excellent choruses that contain vocal harmonies and jazzy percussion.

1. Ghost of Perdition (10/10) 2. The Baying of the Hounds (9/10) 3. Beneath the Mire (8/10) 4. Atonement (9/10) 5. Reverie / Harlequin Forest (9.5/10) 6. Hours of Wealth (9/10) 7. The Grand Conjuration (9/10) 8. Isolation Years (9/10)

Verdict : This is a serious band that only want to create masterful metal music and never fool around with it. This is probably their best album. If you like death metal, you are missing the greatest album of that genre. If you do not like death metal, try it anyways. I do not like death metal, and I consider this the best album since 'Pink Floyd - The Wall'

My Grade : A-

Report this review (#50164)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow!! This is an amazing album. I first heard Opeth when Blackwater Park was released and i couldnt get into the vocals. But it gradually grew on me and i tought they were ok nothing special. But about a few months ago a band i was playing in wanted to cover The Drapery Falls from Blackwater Park, i had never really liked or listened to that song. But it really opened me up to Opeth and i bought some other albums and i was hooked. Then i heard they were about to release a new album. So i bought it popped it into my cd player and i was blown away by this masterpiece. This is the best album ive heard in a long time! All the tracks are really good. Some people seem to dislike The Grand Conjuration but i love it!! From the heavy Ghost of Perdition to the soft Isolation Years. 67 minutes of incredible music!!
Report this review (#50342)
Posted Friday, October 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is certainly a great album,and certainly very different from others Opeth's album. After Damnation something seems changed,three acoustic tracks on a Opeth recors it's pretty unusual (and a song like Atonement seems too much like a filler) but the final solo of Hours Of Wealth deserve the entire price of the disc,Akerfeldt's style reminds of Andrew Latimer but in a dark vein,Isolation Years it's the sad outro of the record,very emotional. The rest of the album it's very difficult to analyse,it's very similar to their previous album,we have traces of Morningrise,My Arms Your Hearse,Stll Life and Deliverance, and they are well balanced and mixed together,in the the longest track Reverie/Harlequin Forest,they explore all the sonic universe of Opeth,moment of great brutality,great acoustic pieces and melodic and growling singing at their top. The differences from a classical Opeth album are off course keyboards and also a new way to approach to melodic singing by Mikael,really emotional,but less malinconic,and by saying this I'm not saying it's better,but is really staggering at first. I think that what makes Opeth so special it's the fact that they don't need anything apart from guitars and drums to create what they've created in the past, I don't dislike keyboard on this album but simply if they were'nt there I will surely don't miss them. A part from all those things the album sounds really great,there are great moments of music,and the group's style has evolved once more,mixing Death,Thrash,70's Prog,Folk and Jazz,this is trully the best album of the year,not only in prog music. I can't listen to this record and don't think it is in fact a masterpiece,you must hear this album,it's definitely something you have to listen,and not once. The swedish act confirm themselves as one of the best group nowdays
Report this review (#51001)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the perfect marriage of prog and metal. I have been a huge Opeth fan for some time now and this album truly blows my mind. It is a real "grower" in that it has the instant appeal but after repeated listens you begin to discover all of the bits and pieces that are woven into the tapestry of sounds. As with all classic albums this album has a wonderful flow to it. The sequencing of the songs is flawless and it has that certain "x" ingredient that keeps you coming back for more. Another thing with this album are the wonderful arrangements. As is the case with many long songs, I am often left scratching my head asking "Did that really need to be 12 minutes long?". This is not the case here as each long song is well thought out and perfectly produced. The addition of keyboardist Per Wiberg was a masterstroke. He is able to create certain moods and tones that fit perfectly with the subject matter of the album. In addition to the keyboards, another big change on this album is Mr. Akerfeldt's vocal improvement. He has always been the best growler in the business but his "clean" vocals are used to much greater effect here than ever before. I really could go on and on but the bottom line is that fans of progressive music must check out this album and give it several "open minded" listenings. It is not too often that albums like this come around, so enjoy!
Report this review (#51209)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have to admit: I was a little shocked when I heard that Opeth had signed to Roadrunner Records, considering the nu-metal/metalcore crap that Roadrunner regularly releases. Then I calmed down after remembering that "Ghost Reveries" had been recorded before Opeth even had a record deal--so no one (yet) can accuse them of selling out. But maybe being on Roadrunner isn't so bad. Opeth show more talent on one album than most of Roadrunner's roster can show on three or four albums. I figured that Opeth could teach the Roadrunner bands a thing or two about music in general, and metal in particular.

I have another confession: I downloaded "Ghost Reveries" almost a full month before it was released (but I redeemed myself by buying the album when it came out). I didn't know what to expect from a band that has consistently surprised its fanbase while never descending to self-parody, like Metallica or Korn. While I do enjoy "Ghost Reveries"--the lyrics seem to echo "My Arms, Your Hearse" while the music is like "Deliverance" and "Damnation" put together. I don't think this is Opeth's greatest work. Granted, I like the chaotic vibe of the heavier songs, like "The Grand Conjuration", but the album as a whole seems to lack the direction of the previous albums. A lot of people seem to think "Ghost Reveries" is Opeth's prog-rock album, but I disagree, because Opeth has always been progressive; I think their prog-rock opus was "Blackwater Park" (which, coincidentally, is my least favorite of Opeth's albums). There are definite prog-rock influences on "Ghost Reveries" (Pink Floyd immediately comes to mind when hearing a few of the songs). "Ghost Reveries" just takes a while to sink in.

One of the things I immediately noticed was the stark contrast in nearly all elements of the music. The lyircs are dark and even Satanic at times, but much of the music is almost happy-sounding, like a heavy metal Jimi Hendrix. The softer parts in the heavier songs have taken a back seat, and Mikael Akerfeldt's vocal melodies are strange and trippy, reminding me of Tool's "Lateralus". In fact, "Ghost Reveries" is so lacking in the usual Opeth trademarks that one could even say this is an entirely different band.

I also noticed that Opeth's usual technical proficiency has taken a back seat in favor of the songs. Where "Blackwater Park" and "Deliverance" were an orgies of guitar riffage, "Ghost Reveries" is more free-form, with the guitars echoing the vocal melodies, and the guitar lines themselves are more simplistic (listen to the staccato, nu- metal riff during the chorus of "The Grand Conjuration" to hear what I mean).

"Ghost Reveries" is not a bad album by any means. It's just not a good album for first- time listeners of Opeth. This album will no doubt be enjoyed by the fans the most (I played this album for a friend and he declared that it wasn't aggressive enough for his taste, and he has a point). So first-time Opeth buyers beware. Start off with "My Arms, Your Hearse" or "Still Life" before moving on to "Ghost Reveries". You really have to understand Opeth's tendency to change stylistically in order to appreciate "Ghost Reveries" as a whole.

Report this review (#51286)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whenever Opeth releases an album, you know there's reason to be excited for the progressive/metal movement. These guys have never failed to impress those who enjoy progressive music in general.

I think Ghost Reveries sounds very much like any other Opeth album, perhaps closer in spirit to Still Life and Deliverance, but you''ll also find that the band sounds and feels rejuvenated and that they've injected a good deal of new ideas to their progressive music such as the more obvious jazz & blues elements found on this new album.

Akerfeldt has said something to the effect that the best songs are the unpredictable ones. Although I agree with him wholeheartedly, I'd have to take this idea a step further and say that for me, the best albums are often the most unpredictable ones as well. And just like each and every Opeth release that came before it, Ghost Reveries is most definitely unpredictable and conceivably more technical and fluid than ever before. Though everyone familiar with Opeth's past work won't be overly surprised with the music of Ghost Reveries as it mixes aggressive moments with acoustic passages, moving from brutal to soft atmospheric lamentations. In fact, Ghost Reveries maintains a perfect balance between the soft and heavy, the technical and melodic, the dark and atmospheric. This is basically what many have come to expect from an Opeth album.

As is almost always the case with a new Opeth release, there are often a few surprises worthy of mention and Ghost Reveries is no exception.

With Per Wiberg as their new fulltime keyboardist, this is perhaps one of the most evident new influences to the bands sound. Another obvious observation is Akerfeldt's vocals, a more equal balanced mix of clean and growling moments are found throughout the album as a whole. Also, there is an apparent general tendency to mix equal parts of heavy electric guitars and soft acoustic/keyboard moments as well.

Moving on to Martin Lopez, well, his drumwork is more technical and much more varied than ever before. His performance here is like...WOW! Martin Mendez obviously wanted to leave a lasting impression as well cause his work on bass is simply phenomenal. Forget that all but 2 songs were written in open tuning, something that Akerfeldt and Lindgren had not done on past recordings cause this met that the solos had to be done in open tuning as well. So, if Akerfeldt and Lindgren could not rely on past licks or solos for inspiration.that obviously resulted in some interesting and refreshing guitar work from this highly skilled duo. I assure you, that if Akerfeldt and Lindgren's guitar work doesn't impress you, then Mendez and Lopez's rhythm work will surely have you turning your head at every change of pace.

I have no intention of doing a song by song review, but I do want to point out a few brilliant moments and some of the highlight's for me. You know, the things you should check out or definitely listen for...

1. Be prepared for a most fascinating listening experience during "The Baying of the Hounds." Now let me try to explain why? The destructive energy one usually feels when listening to this track will appear to subside around you during the more aggressive violent musical moments. Conversely, when the music is less complicated and technical yet heavy and methodical, you'll feel like ripping and tearing apart everything around you. The softer moments allow the listener the time required to grasp this very odd and unique musical experience. I don't know if the band deliberately had this in mind but the results are truly original.

2. Do take notice of Lindgren and Akerfeldt's harrowing guitar work on "Reverie/Harlequin Forest."

3. I must also point out the truly magnificent images invoked by Akerfeldt's lyrics and music on "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" which for me, is the best damn track on the album.

4. Akerfeldt's vocals, Martin Lopez's drum work and Martin Mendez's bass work on "The Grand Conjuration" and "Ghost of Perdition."

5. Per Wiberg's keyboard work and Lindgren/Akerfeldt's acoustic guitar work and blues solo on "Hours of Wealth."

On a final note, I was reminded of Tool at certain moments during "Ghost of Perdition", and Deep Purple on "The Baying of the Hounds." I don't know if they'll ever admit being inspired or influenced in some way by them, but certainly these two tracks gave me much pleasure and were very enjoyable moments just the same.

Highly recommended album, intelligent music for progressive metal lovers of all ages, only those suffering from chronic allergic reactions to progressive death metal should stay far away from Ghost Reveries.

Report this review (#52017)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Its great to hear a band evolve into something REALLY special.

Opeth has evolved and proggresed into one AMAZING band. This may be their best effort.

At times this album is HEAVY- oh so heavy....and other times the music is chilled and relaxing.

The blend of these two musical styles makes for a unique, interesting sound.

The sound- the quallity of this album is perfect- the bass- guitars, vocals- man- if you have a good system- crank this mother up.

Great lyrics- haunting!

Music- wow- these guys can play- many diff. time signatures.

This album rocks! 9/10

Report this review (#52875)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars After the wonderful Damnation they came with this. garbage. This is the most weird CD I ever heard. Decent music mixed with the worse putrefied vocals you can ever expect from a band. The vocals are so annoying that I just could not finish listening to the songs. I just hope this is not a new trend in terms of "prog". It surprises me how many fans gave 5 stars to this cd. I only gave 1 star because I can't give ZERO ! Can someone sing along?
Report this review (#54550)
Posted Thursday, November 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Opeth's latest album should not be one that created controversy between unconditional fans as it seams to this outside observer that it is very much the continuity of their career and presents tracks from all of their periods. The opener clearly reminds you of their first albums and the other tracks all having many moments that would make them approach groups like Arena if it was not for the gruesome gory vocals popping up here and there. It is also quite to me that the band's roots are more into the 70's metal than in the 80's NWOBHMB which is why this band appeals more to me than many similar groups. Should any of the older progheads want to investigate prog-metal as a genre, this album might be a fitting crash course or at least one of the first stages on the Prog Metal in 20 Lessons manual, although I am sure many prog metalheads beg to differ.

Opeth is clearly one of the better bands in this genre (at least in this reviewer's eyes), even prompting me to rent the Cd from the library and review it although the genre in itself is not (by far), his favourite style of music.

Report this review (#55622)
Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the very good album. I think i haven't heard like this album recent months... I think Opeth is Opeth... They have done very perfect album... They're very good at music and lyrics... This album makes me very different emotions. Sometimes i feel angry, sometimes sad... "Ghost Reveries" is perfect... Especially "The Grand Conjuration, Atonement, The Baying of the Hounds" are really good songs. But other songs are really good too. I think this album deserve to 5 like other Opeth albums... Nobody should discuss the Opeth. I think they will be music God...

Report this review (#56225)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Excellent!! I was very curious to know what kind of album Opeth could release this time! I must admit I was a little bit sceptic. I like "Damnation" album but I was afraid that Opeth continue in the same musical direction. And my fears disappeared when I listened this fabulous "Ghost Reveries". It's a very good mix between "Deliverance" and "Damnation", as good as "Blackwater Park" maybe better! It is not my preferred album but I think it's the best album composed by Opeth! As usual, artwork is perfect. Divine!!
Report this review (#56466)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I first got hooked on Opeth when i picked up Blackwater Park a little while back. i was completely blown away by this "death metal/prog" coming out of my speakers and very soon after that made another purchase. Still Life. Once again i was amazed. so naturally when Opeth put out a new album (with some pretty cool cover art i might add) i had to buy it. Well driving home from the store i popped it in and turned up the volume. Bad idea. the first song Ghost of Perdition nearly blew my ears off, first in a bad way (i think my ears are still ringing) then in a good way as after i turned it down i heard the "awesomeness". the same was true for most of the rest of the CD and i was once again hooked by the majesty of Opeth. and now, ill get on with it...

Ghost of perdition: As i was saying, a sweet song and my favorite on the disc.The short and mellow yet menacing guitar intro quickly leads into crushing guitar and death metal vocals done opeth style. very nice. this heavyness, for lack of a better word, flows nicly into the mellow part of the song which is very catchy and gets stuck in my head every time. the rest of the song is very nice with a beautiful accoustic section begining at around 2:45. top notch song writing and execution.10/10

Baying of the Hounds: Damn good song. i really liked the keyboard (is that an organ?) coupled with the guitar. the growled heavy sections at the begining ar'nt my favorite, but the clean vocals mare than make up for that. from "everything you believed is a lie..." on, the Baying of the hounds is an excellent song.10/10

Beneath the Mire: Great song although not up to par with the previous two. The intro gets boring after a while but it picks up the pace and quickly gets a lot better. harsh, smooth, gutteral, angelic, it is very typical Opeth and very good.9/10

Atonement: Very very nice song. beautifully done. The vocals are pretty interesting and once again Akerfeltd shows his incredible talent. its a track to kick back and read to, or do some Yoga while your at it.9/10

Reverie / Harlequin Forest: Not a BAD song by any meens, and in fact if done by pretty much any other band, it would be a great song. Unfortunatly Opeth does it. It doesnt flow very well with most of teh album and at times gets, dare i say it, borring. 7/10. like i said, not bad, just not Great.

Hours of Wealth: Very nicely done. different style than most of their other stuff, but sounds like it would fit nicely on damnation. 8.5/10

The Grand Conjuration: Fantastic song. the haunting, ghost like vocals and guitar that follow the intro is some of my favortite opeth to date. the growled sections could use some work i think, but overall its a wonderfull song. neat little solo, leads into some more growling that also need some work. In that, however, lies the only problem with this song. complex and beautiful. 9/10

Isolation Years: Amazing. I really love this song. Beautiful beyond my words which do it no justice.... yeah just listen to the song please... 10/10

In all.. Great.. but not a masterpiece. Ill leave that label for Blackwater Park. However, THis disc more than lives up to expectations and sounds very experimental, which i like, and includes all the aspects that make Opeth Opeth. Bravo boys

Report this review (#57358)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
3 stars First off, I don't think this album is a masterpiece. It's certainly not a bad album but I don't think it matches the quality of Blackwater Park, Still Life or Deliverance. It does have its exciting moments such as the end of "The Baying of the Hounds" and the start of "The Grand Conjuration" but it also has many sections which I find a bit dull. I was hoping that the addition of keyboards to the band would give the band a fuller sound than it does.

The album is certainly progressive. You have death metal vocals side-by-side with soft ballad sections but sometimes I don't think it flows very well. The album is interesting and progressive but for me it lacks the consistency of the older albums.

Report this review (#57365)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I listened to this album for the first time I thought what have I bought now? As previous previewers wrote before I am not a great fan of growling or what ever they call it. But the growling doesn't last to long and will be varied by a beautiful sensitive voice of the same man who does the growling!? Mikael Åkerfeldt, yes that's the name this man listens to. Quite a genius if you ask me. Dispite of the growling (however I begin to like it, the more I listen to this album) "Ghost Reveries" will serve you real nice compositions with quite complex rithems and tempo changes. With some sensitive songs like "Isolation years" and some real delicate passages in other parts of the album, mixed with heavy music and the growling makes this a recording really pleassent to listen to.
Report this review (#59006)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I agree with Alex Castro review, I don´t like these pseudo intellectual bands. This must get away from such a kind of style as a progressive music. This is not a progressive, it´s just the average death metal with disgusting mix of rough, boring parties and pseudo melodies and atmospheres. This band is far, far away from the true artistic progressive music... so affected, insincere and overemphasize... 2 satrs only for the effort but nothing else.
Report this review (#61506)
Posted Saturday, December 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Don't judge me and thing that I am just some punk who gives 5 star reviews to everything... I'm not. Just the thing is that I don't feel that 4 stars and under, in general, deserve THAT much of my attention. Anyway... tot he point. Opeth's Ghost Reveries is probably one of THE best album, in my opinion, that were made after the year 2000. Almost definately the best in Prog Metal, anyway. Transatlantic's Bridge Across Forever and almost all The Mars Volta stuff I like better, however. But what I am saying is that this album knocks my socks off. I listened to Blackwater Park and this back to back as a new comer to Opeth's music and, whereas Blackwater didn't really impress me too much (maybe only a 3-4 star album) this album got me soooo outrageously excited and I was eager to hear the next track and the track after. Also, Ghost Reveries ends very well... and aren't endings everything after all? The only weak track, I think, is Atonement; but the term 'weak' is only to mean it isn't the most awesome display of Metal in the world. Conceptually I see the complete relevance in this track, as well as all the other ones. And, as a whole, the album comes together nicely and I doubt any other Prog Metal band could have done better. Awesome at it's awesome-est. An easy 4.75 stars. I hope to see more and possibley better stuff from Opeth in the future. Definately a recently discovered favorite.
Report this review (#65433)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Take the best heavy parts from Deliverance and the best mellow parts from Damnation and you get this wonderful Ghost Reveries. I think it's the first effort from Opeth where the threatening music and the relaxing one blend really smoothly, with extreme vocals not too overused (and that's a good thing).

"Ghost Of Perdition" is awesome. Mid paced riffs, mellotron, acoustic interludes, even clean singing on heavy parts. "The Baying Of The Hounds" has a great intro and a catchy melody, and the extreme singing really fits well here (the little piano interlude is nice too). "Beneath The Mire" is short for a classic Opeth song (under 8 minutes heh), and it has a very long intro too, with mellotron and folkish type of music. "Atonement" is fantastic: a pure Damnation-like mellow track. There comes the centerpiece of the album: the short instrumental "Reverie" (in the vein of "Requiem") introduces the awesome "Harlequin Forest" (the "forest metal" Opeth is back yeah...) - starts heavy but with great clean vocals before the first growls appear, but the mix clean/extreme vocals works really well here (a bit like on "Moonlapse vertigo"), then it's really emotional again with all clean voice before ending in a classic soft paced/growls style like on old songs ("twilight is my robe" or "night and the silent water" for example). Then comes the shock: "Hours Of Wealth" feel like it isn't Opeth playing, but Depeche Mode! It had a very Martin Gore style of emotion, with frail voice and minimal instrumentation. "The Grand Conjuration" is the heaviest track on the album and the weakest: it sounds too much like a "Deliverance" part II. And what a way to end the album: the beautiful ballad "Isolation Years", very emotional again.

Rating: 90/100

Report this review (#65973)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For a very long time i was a growling-vocal-hater...i couldn't even stand hearing one short song which contained this singing technique,it was unbeareable to me, till i heard opeth's "the drapery falls"...this song was not unbeareable at all, in fact, it was awesome! so by listening to more of their material i become one of their potential fans, and now i can listen to growling vocals with no problems at all...and while listening to this band, i used to think "blackwater park" was their greatest work, that they couldn't get any better...i was surely wrong. "Ghost Reveries" is a truly amazing album, surely opeth's best one with "Blackwater park" and, maybe, "Damnation". It has everything a good progressive album should have: attitude, melody, instrumental parts, feeling, incredible drumming and, at least, one metal ballad. if you listen to this you won't get dissapointed at all.

"Ghost of Perdition" is a true progressive epic song, one of my favorites from the album. it starts with some dirty-effect keyboard playing and jumps right into really brutal death metal, showing you how the album is going to be from a start. it changes a lot through the whole song, and minute 3' is truly beatutiful. And how could i forget the instrumental part from minute 4:30' to 6' aproximately : incredible feeling.although, maybe, the song has too much different parts and is a bit too long.but, apart from that is truly amazing. 9/10

"The Baying of the Hounds" starts really death-metalish, since the previous track has already put you in the correct climax.this song has really incredible instrumental parts, with lots of chromatisms and the synthetizer has much more participation than in the previous track.Although it isn't an amazing track, it is really good. 8/10

"Beneath The Mire" has the best intro of the whole album. distorted guitars playing over a violin sample which is really simphonic (yeah, symphonyc opeth!), and these violins keep appearing through the son...althoug the orchestration is not incredible, it's really effective. from minute 1:40' to 2:30' aproximately the song goes totally black metal, to then transform into a melodic metal song with harmonized guitars which remember very much of iron maiden. a sudden change towards a part with lots of feeling which includes clean guitars and a piano, which really get it working...the following guitar solo is really good, and prepares the scene for the return of dark atmospheres and growling vocals, while the drums play amazingly and the whole song sounds power metalish...i don't know what else to say...this is my second favorite song from this album, it's great...10/10

"Atonement" is one of those songs which makes me ask myself "¿how much open-minded can these guys be?!"...instrumental parts with oriental influences and lots of sinthetisers create a fantastic oriental atmosphere...the lyrics sound very calming, while the drummer leaves the drums and goes over the percussion elements...this song is truly mystical, it has a great feeling overall and it's very different from the rest of the record...9/10 (only because it's a little too long)

"Reverie - Harlequin Forest" : this is it, the albums greatest track, and maybe one of opeth's best (competes with "the drapery falls" for me)...the beggining is sublime, the drumming is unbelievable, the lyrics are scaring and mikael sings like he has never done before...the riffs are really catchy and the song has really great rythm. the growling at minute 2:30' tells you "now the song is going brutal", but concludes in an acustic guitar at minute 3:30' which has a lot of melody...then the orchestration is reduced to the organ, which is then joined by a gothic acustic guitar creating a chilly atmosphere, and the song is unpredictable...the "harlequin forest" begins and reminds the listener of "damnation" in every way. this song has really good guitar solos which , although really non-technical, are amazing and show how much opeth's solos are alike to floyd's ones. the song keeps going in the form of a metal ballad for the rest of track with some heavier parts, until death metal gets in once more. this track is excellent, it shows what a great moment the band is going through...10/10

the quieter part of the album begins with "Hours of wealth", a great atmosphere and lots of changes through these song make it really interesting to hear...the lyrics remind of pop music in the way they are sang,and the guitar reminds of slow blues songs...akerdfelt simply shines in this track. 8/10

"The Grand Conjuration". the albums second epic. amazing drumming once more, there's no doubt that martin lopez knows what he's doing...great atmosphere, the song is really interesting, and has a great mystic, which is a little scary because of it's darkness...great solos, the guitar is great, although the track is a little boring by times, so it's an 8/10.

"Isolation Years" : what a way to close a record!! great atmosphere, great lyrics once more, and the hammond organ does a great job...the song is really good and doesn't bore because of not being too long...9/10

well, anyone who wants to start listening to opeth, this is the record you should listen won't get disappointed at all...

Report this review (#67116)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unbelievable masterpiece. Opeth have six great long-playing records (My arms, Your hearse, Still Life, Blackwater Park, Deliverance, Damnation and this one). In this last creation, Akerfeldt has get compose eight intrincated songs with wonderful melodies, cyclone-riffs and metaphorical lirics about life and death. But now, the quartet are five, with the incorporation of Per Wiberg on keyboards. In one hand, I want to emphasize about three fantastic and complex songs: Ghost of Perdition, Harlequin Forest and The Baying of the Hounds. On the other side, Hours of Wealth, a real perdition blues. The Grand Conjuration is a powerful song to stage. Opeth are the main and isolated metal band in the whole world, of course.
Report this review (#67662)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not Opeth's best album but a solid one none the less. I like to think of this as a transition album, because the addition of keyboards becoming a more relevant part of the music. Wiberg's use of keys can get a little boring over the long haul, it works well for a few songs, but overall he makes very little progress in his style throughout the album. I think Opeth has a bright future with the addition of keys to the mix though, and I think this album is how they are bridging the gap between old and new style, adding keys slowly(progressively) before they go and fully experiment further with this new style. Within the next 2 or 3 albums I think Opeth will have mastered this new style and be back atop the prog pantheon.
Report this review (#70403)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, I'm not a death metal fan (Deicide or Cannibal Corpse are unlistenable) but this album is excellent. It's my first Opeth album. This band is the strangest band I have ever heard. All the musicians are very good (specially the drummer Martin Lopez). Mikael Akerfeldt is amazing. I don't know how this guy can make growling vocals (when he do that it sounds like a monster) and beautiful clean vocals. It's incredible!!. And this band has a special sound (by the way the album has a very good production) that can make everybody like them.

Ghost of Perdition: this song starts with acoustic guitar but quickly it gets into a killer riff and death metal part with growling vocals (mindblowing!!). After a few minutes the music stops and we got Mikael's clean vocals with acoustic guitar: "Winding ever higher......" After that the song gets heavy again but with clean vocals this time and goes on with clean vocals. Then the growling style comes again (yeah!!!) with an acoustic part in the middle. That section finishes with a progressive style (very good!) and then Mikael sings again: "higher........." and the song ends with Dream Theater style. Very good composition!!! Excellent track!!! Maybe the best of this album.

The Baying of the Hounds: this one starts like a death metal song with an excellent riff guitar with growling vocals (it rocks!!!). After a few minutes the melody changes and sounds very progressive (typical progressive metal sound) and Mikael sings clean on this part. Then the guitar solo comes. After that the song gets depressing I think with Wiberg's keyboard and Mikael vocals come again with clean style (he sings very good on this part). The death vocals come and then the song torns very quiet with nice work of acoustic guitar (and depressing too!!). But suddenly you hear Mikael's growling with a very killer riff and the song ends heavily.............Wow!!!!!!!!!!

Beneath the Mire: this is a very good track. The guitar riff is very good and Per Wiberg makes a great job here. It starts heavy and then it gets into a very good soft and acoustic part. Then it gets heavy again and it ends like this with an excellent guitar solo. The ending is very strange but amazing, anyway.

Atonement: the first quiet track of the album. I like the melody of this song very much, it's a little complex. This song it's a bit repetitive. There isn't much to say in this one. I'ts just a good acoustic song, with simple drumming and percussion and normal clean vocals by Akerfeldt.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest: very nice one!! This song has everything. I think it's perfect to discover Opeth. It has an introduction. It starts heavy with a powerful riff and clean vocals. Then the growling vocals enter and it comes a riff that blows my mind, yeah!!!!! Let's headbanging!!!!!! After that the song turns clean, acoustic and depressing. Mikael did a great job on this one. His singing is excellent. It ends heavy and very progressive. Excellent track.

Hours of Wealth: beautiful track. On this song you can realize that Mikael is one the best singers on the prog metal genre. The melody it's beautiful, the keyboards did a great job here (the acoustic guitar too). Then Mikael starts singing and you start travelling in a quiet world (???????). The "blues"solo at the end is very good. Another excellent track.

The Grand Conjuration: aaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!!! This can be the moment of the show where everyone is jumping. It's a strange heavy track with some clean parts but........... you know what I mean. It has a guitar solo a la Petrucci or Romeo. It's a little diabolical, you can also realize. It has a part that you feel it's very Dream Theater. And before the end, you can hardly hear Akerfeldt doing...... satanic vocals but I don't know what is he saying. Anyway it's a very good track.

Isolation Years: this is the "weak" track of the album I think. It's like Hours of Wealth. Very quiet with very good vocals and nice acoustic guitar work.

This album is a very good place to start with the band in my opinion and an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#71789)
Posted Sunday, March 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first contact with Opeth was with the albums "Deliverance" and "Damnation", but those albums didn`t do it for me. So when "Ghost Reveries" was released it didn`t paid my attention at first. When I finally got hold of a copy and listened to it I felt that there was something there that I really liked. The contrast between the brutal progressiv deathmetal and the beautiful soft acoustic parts. The more I listened to it, the more I got stuck to it. Now I have been listening to the album more or less constantly the last sixth months and it still gets better and better. This album opened up my eyes for Opeth and I immediatly got hold of "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park", and after that I was totally blown away by this genius band. I believe that Opeth plays a more complex structured music than what the great Dream Theater perform. I just can`t understand how anyone can write this complex long and totally awesome songs. How you can get away with a mix of brutal death metal, jazzinfluences, acoustic parts and progressiv metal/rock, is just fantastic The opener "Ghost of Perdition" is one of the best songs ever. The riffs are just brutal and the contrast with the soft acoustic parts and the beautiful song makes this something out of the ordinary. I just can`t go inte detail with every song because its to much elements and complex structures to analyze. Give this album a couple of listenings and you will understand what I mean! One of the best albums ever!!! Mikael Åkerfeldt is a genius, no doubt about that. Buy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#77096)
Posted Thursday, May 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have been a long time Opeth fan, Opeth was my gateway into the amazing world of prog. This latest album is definately the most progressive album they have released and I love the direction they took on this album. Vocalist/ Guitarist Mikael akerfeldt has significantly improved his soft vocals, and his death metal vocals are more bizarre and dark than ever. The entire album is filled with beautiful melodies. Whenver I introduce Opeth to one of my friends, I tell them that they must listen repeatedly for sometime; Opeth gradually grows on you and your eyes are opened to the genius that is Opeth. I am a metalhead, so death metal vocals are actually a big plus for me, I see them as another instrument that yields the power to convey extreme aggression and emotion. Opeth signed on Per Wiberg as the band keyboardist, this is the first album that the band has had a keyboardist officially part of the band. I have a feeling the next album will further utilize the keyboards into the music, although on this album the keys really added so much. Opeth is truly an experience for any prog-head out there; I love Opeth because they aren't some generic metal band, they consistently produce beautiful, emotional music that touches my heart and soul each time I listen to them. They have truly been a huge influence upon me. I know the biggest concern for most progheads is the death metal vocals, however I feel that they can been taken as a wild tool that makes the album even more progressive/ experimental. Irregardless, Opeth has always managed to have a balance of beauty and brutality, Mikaels soft vocals (which take up a majority of the album) are absolutely heavenly. The guitar work is phenomenal on this album, its just filled with so many great melodies and harmonies. I just can't put this album down, I keep comming back it. Any prog fan should definately check Opeth out.
Report this review (#77612)
Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ghost Reveries is probably one of Opeth's top albums. Any fan of progressive music should enjoy this album. Sure Mikael uses "death vocals" on most of the songs, but you need to look further than that. The musicianship in Opeth is incredible! Every instrument is flawless, and has its own unique style. Ghost Reveries is a far cry from Damnation, their last album, but shouldn't be looked down upon. Still Life is the only other album that could rank higher than GR, which tells me that Mikael can still write great music. Hopefully their next release is even better!
Report this review (#77681)
Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great Opeth album, I give it 4 stars. First Ghost of Perdition shows the typical Opeth´s song with the diabolical Michael Akerfeldt voice and the rageous riff guitars. It´s value the rhytm changes achieved by this melodocal and rocker song. Second, The Baying of the Hounds in the same way of the first song has a powerful scream voice and a complete mixture of technical to interprete or play the music acccords and notes. Beneath the Mire has a beautiful acoustic performance of keyboard together the sadness of its lyrical voice. Atonement is an amazing bittersuite that open the door to entrance in Reverie/Harlequin Forest, for me the best song of this album, very progressive in rhytms and sounds, solid band´s amalgamate. Hours of Wealth, continue the transe to The Grand Conjuration a strong song located at the deepest Opeth´s musical roots. Finally Isolation years a short an emotional theme. i must say to every listener in this prog review that perhaps this album does not requiere any keyboardist because I think the piano and organ lost among the others instruments. It could be more intentional to project the atmospheres in all songs as now Richard Barbieri does in Porcupine tree....but "Ghost Reveries" never wil be a bad or bored album.
Report this review (#78719)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album, I listen to this at least twice a week. My only concern is that now Opeth might exclude some of their more folkish parts or songs, to throw in a more keyboard led melody, and their folkish parts or songs are really what I most enjoy in their songs.

Although I do prefer Blackwater Park and Damnation to this I am still surprised that with a new member in the band the band did not change the direction of their music that much. In fact, the keyboards add a lot of atmosphere to the album and allows Opeth to express new feelings through the addition of keyboards. It's great, but I still prefer the more folkish tunes.

Highlights are: Atonement Beneath the Mire Baying of the Hounds.

I still wouldn't recommend this who doesn't like progmetal, but there will come a day when Mikael might just give up completely that aggressive side and find there's other ways of expressing himself that might be even better than growling.

Report this review (#79779)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ghost Reveries

This is eight studio album from Opeth and was released in 2005.

Just a little bit of story from me. This album is really my first Opeth album and I was introduced on a forum board, most people talked about this band and about how great this band is. Moreover, they always talked about Ghost Reveries, which then I bought. Then I went to my room, rip the songs to the computer and start listening to it (the first song). Well, I was astonished because with the name "Ghost Reveries", the songs must be hard and heavy, but it starts with mellow guitar intro and I was thinking to stop the player. After that, I was dumbfounded because of the death metal vocal sound, which at that time, I really hate death metal. But then, lately, after I listen to the songs every time I can, the album is really amazing!!

This album was intended to be a concept album, which means has story, one story behind it. The story is about a man's turmoil after killing his own mother. However, Mikael Akerfeldt chose to include a song, Isolation Years, into the album, which creates the songs are not continuous. Also, it such a shame that this album is Martin Lopez's last album with Opeth.

Ghost Of Perdition - Starts off with slow guitar intro, really tricked me at the first time I bought this album : ) Then it follows by crazy (positive) death metal sound and heavy guitar riff with non-stop double pedal drum section. The vocal sound changes at the third verse, "Devil cracked the carthly shell foretold she was the one." After that, death metal again, followed by mellow slow vocal and guitar riffs, really beautiful.

The Baying Of The Hounds - Heavy guitar and keyboard riff for the intro then straight to vocal. The best guitar part is at 2:50 minute, just beautiful, dark but beautiful. The song slows down at 3:19, but the drum part still played, along with slow guitar keyboard line. As well with slow vocal section, "drown in the deep mire." At 6:50 the guitar solo starts, really good solo, just perfect and fits with the song itself. After that the song slows down again before it finishes in heavy dark style. Beneath The Mire - The intro is a solo drum section, more like rock slow drum section, then guitar rhythm starts along with slow keyboard lines. The whole intro is really good, not too heavy but not too mellow, just great. Starting at 2:24, the stereo sound mix starts, its like goes left to right and left, somewhat great, follows with guitar solo. The song then slows down with very mellow guitar spot and groovy drum section with deep vocal sound. The climax of the song is when Mikael screams after the solo section. The ending of the song is somewhat strange with unusual keyboard synth.

Atonement - Again, slow guitar intro with also slow drum riffs. The vocal sound starts with deep heavy and strange sound effect creates a dark ambience. Moreover, the song is really mellow, if you want to compare with the other songs in the album. The song is also considered a short song, just about 5 minutes.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest - My favorite song in the album, really great song!! I love it that sometimes I jump off to this track : ). Well the song starts with heavy metal guitar riff and nice vocal sound, "into the trees.", very dynamic tone, great! The song really represents Mikael Akerfeldt sound besides his dark death metal style. The best part for me is at 2:54, when the guitar sound is just from the left speaker then it continues just like as usual, really great composition, and its just after the death metal sound. The rest of the song is just beautiful, not too death metal but not too slow.

Hours Of Wealth - A somewhat slow song, very much like Atonement. The song consists somewhat blues melodic guitar style and slow keyboard rhythm style. This is probably the mellowest song in the album, since it has no drum section whatsoever.

The Grand Conjuration - The intro is like, umm, Strange Déjà vu by Dream Theater, in my opinion. After a short break with Hours Of Wealth, a dark, heavy song starts. In fact, I think this is the only dark song which doesn't have any break or mellow part at all. In other words, the song is very ultimate heavy metal throughout the song. The drum sections are very dynamic with heavy guitar riffs.

Isolation Years - Just like I mentioned above, this is the song which doesn't connected with the rest of the songs (if the album is a concept album). The song is somewhat a short song, just about 4 minutes. And just like Hours Of Wrath, the song is rather mellow and slow, but it has drum sections.

I give four stars, it is because this album is one of the best albums I have. This album is also the first Opeth album for me. However, just like I mentioned before, death metal style is not my favorite, but it really opens my mind to other style of music.

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#80268)
Posted Saturday, June 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE greatest album from Opeth ever. If the band continues with this tendensy I would be more than happy. They haven't done an album of this sort, maybe ''Deliverance'' was something towards this great mood and feeling that this album gives.

''Ghost reveries'' was in fact my first album from Opeth. I read many reviews that said it to be excellent, so I got it. When I first listened to it it shocked me and I thought it was awful and funny. But still I gave it a try and let it play while I was doing other stuff. In one moment, during Atonement or Harlequin Forest I think, I could find the drumming rhythm quite interesting and enyoyable. But The Grand Conjuration spooked me out and left a feeling that this music was just rubbish. I didn't like Opeth and thought it quite weird. Still I gave it another try listening to it with more attention lieing on my sofa and not being bothered by anyone or anything else. I was simply amazed... It got me in a sort of meditative state of mind. It was nirvana. Everything about it was excellent. With more listens to it the more I found interesting, amazing details and places in the composition of this virtuoso. Listening to Opeth was a never before met experience for me. The atmosphere was incredably unique and powerful. Thoroughly enjoyable. When having it listened, I was in a calm and euphoric mood. I didn't want to move any way. Like in a strange narcose I saw the world about me. All was very clear to me.

An awsome experiance from an awsome album from an awsome band.A sort of experiance followed with every listen for two months. Even still now I find the album enjoyable and simply a masterpiece of music.

This review can seem quite funny and weird but it's all sincere. ''Ghost reveries'' is one of the albums that changed my life.

A great album and truly the most progressive one I have met.

Report this review (#81052)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good stuff. Just bought this CD a couple days ago, and I cannot stop listening to it. I was never a huge fan of growling vocals (although I liked how Akerfeldt used them in Ayreon), but they work so well here. The atmosphere in these songs is amazing. It is at times delicate, furious, twisted, sickening, gruesome, beautiful, haunting, surprising and frightening. It's not as technical as, say, Death, but it's much more listenable. Taking cues from Tool, Dream Theater and Death, Ghost Reveries is definitely one of the best CDs Opeth has produced. There's much more diversity here than on your typical Death Metal album. Songs are long and winding, filled to the brim with texture and emotion. I can't believe I had so much trouble getting into this band.

A lil' breakdown:

-Ghost of Perdition: A great opening to the album. Cool intro, and some great moments that follow. About a minute in, there is a really catchy Tool-like part ("Devil cracked the earthly shell...") that helped to do away with some of my preconceptions of this band. The acoustic bits that follow are equally great in their haunting beauty.

-The Baying of the Hounds: I love this one. I was surprised to hear the use of a hammond in this, but it sounds great. Some very Ayreon/Dream Theater-type stuff in here. Later on, there are also some very Tool-ish sections, although to be honest, it loses some steam fairly early on in the track.

-Beneath the Mire: Very catchy. And surprisingly melodic later-on. Great little guitar solo unison in this one. Nice use of piano as well. Certainly not the best track on here, but decent enough.

-Atonement: More Tool influence abounds. Nice track.

-Reverie/Harlequin Forest: One of the best songs on here. Love the lyrics.

-Hours of Wealth: I dunno why, but this one reminds me of video game music. Not such a bad thing.

-The Grand Conjuration: Great track, but the music video is atrocious. Glad I don't have to watch it everytime I listen to this one. Heavy stuff, kinda chilling. I like it, although it's definitely not perfect.

-Isolation Years: Good ending track. Very Dream Theater-ish in my opinion.

At this point, it's easy to tell that Opeth is starting to taking their music in new directions. Songs have much less bite to them and more ambience/keyboard dependence takes the edge off of songs that otherwise had the potential to be real butt-kickers. It's still great music, but Ghost Reveries just doesn't have the energy that Opeth's previous efforts had.


Report this review (#81428)
Posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars What? I'm not giving this album 5 stars!? Yea, I'm not, because this album isn't worthy of five stars. Opeth is an outstanding band, but the material here is not there best work, and while many of the songs are quite a progression from some of there previous work, some of the tracks are well, bland.

Even the heavier songs have a general blandness to them. I'd say your best bet is to listen to the first three songs on the album, those being the the best. The album is very listenable, but its not anything outstanding, except for Baying of the Hounds. Opeth disappointed me here, with what I would consider a progression from previous work, but a progression made half way, like they weren't able to make the whole step, so instead you get something done half way. That fulls step may never be realized though, as unfortunately, with the departure of Lopez, this might be Opeth's last good work. Axenrot is not a drummer with prog on his mind.

Report this review (#82632)
Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Forget about this album, ...

...if you don't like growling vocal! My advice is: go to the nearby CD shop and buy any CD of band under death metal category, bring it home and spin the CD many times. Oh yes, you will find heavy growling vocal but keep going with spinning the CD. You don't need to enjoy, just spin! After couple of spin, then try this Opeth "Ghost Reveries" album. How would you feel? Better? Worse? Or same? Well, my point is simple: it's a great fallacy to pass this album for only one reason of growling vocal style. Bear with me is you can stand still with this style of singing you will find a full joy of Opeth music! If you compare the singing style of this album by any other Death Metal band, this is much much softer and you still might be able to enjoy it.

As a matter of fact, this album offers you a rich texture of progressive metal music in its own unique style which no other band compares with it. The music of Opeth gives you sense of balanced between heavy side of progressive metal with outburst guitar riffs and choral arrangement and ambient style which is usually characterized by guitar fills. It's for me really engaging the mind. This CD has been with me for months but I just did not have a sufficient time to really enjoy it until last week. Once I spun it back, I kept repeating the spin couple of times and it's probably ten times (or more) overall. Every time I spin it, it always be in its entirety - yes, I could not afford to press "Stop" button at my CD player. It's so enjoyable, I can tell you!

The first two tracks "Ghost of Perdition" (10:29) and "The Baying of the Hounds" (10:41) are basically heavy ones with heavy guitar riffs and growl voice line. There are a lot of surprises from mellow to heavy guitar riffs and also there are many segments which serve as musical break - be it a silent break with mere guitar fills or some with percussions and other instruments like keyboard / mellotron. I even enjoy the growling part because typically it is followed with long sustain music and long growling. It's really nice and fits in with Mikael Åkerfeldt voice characteristics. One unique strength of the band is the musical break with acoustic guitar work and vocal line.

Oh man ... "Beneath the Mire" (7:57) really killed me the first time I listened to it. It's so unique as since the beginning there is a great combination of eastern music nuance and music riffs which project gothic nuance. It starts off basically with a simple drum beats followed with keyboard sounds that resemble eastern music and it's very nice. As usual the music flows in heavy mode but still with the ambient sound. This song sounds to me very thematic with long instrumental piece followed with powerful growl. What a great shot!

"Atonement" (6:28) brings the music into slower pace with some texture of dance music accentuated with eastern sound keyboard work at the background. "Reverie / Harlequin Forest" (11:39) starts with a medium tempo music with some guitar riffs and "normal" singing style. This track seems to be an accessible one; there is some growling but to me is really nice. "Hours of Wealth" (5:20) is an absolute break from heavy music as this comprises guitar fills in a mellow style plus some soft keyboard and great voice line. "The Grand Conjuration" (10:21) brings the music into heavy style with energetic beat and powerful keyboard and guitar work. The album concludes with a sweet "Isolation Years" (3:51) in mellow and melodic style. I can hear strong mellotron sound.

This is definitely an excellent addition to any prog music collection. I even tend to give it a five star rating but I want to give it sometime for me to crystallize my final rating. For the time being, let's just put four stars. Highly Recommended!

Life without music is a mistake. Music without progressive is a fatal tragedy!

Yours progressively, GW

Report this review (#83116)
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth had left me bedazzled after being introduced to them two years ago. Therefore I wondered when the next album would come and what it would be like, for their last two albums were so unlike each other, yet both were awesome in their own way. Ghost Reveries didn't disappoint either, on the contrary it was even better. What sets it apart from its predecessors is the fact that Opeth as a band and as persons have gone through some changes after releasing Damnation. That is apparent in the sound of this record. Although the themes are similar to the ones found on Blackwater Park, Deliverance and Damnation, everything sounds enhanced and improved. All the three aforementioned albums, as great as they were, had their flaws. Ghost Reveries has none.

The biggest difference that you notice about this album are the keyboards. They have been used before on their albums, but not so prominently. And it is a change that is welcome. Per Wiberg's keys adds more depth to Opeth's sound and without them this album wouldn't sound as great. Specially "The Baying of the Hounds", "Beneath the Mire" and "Hours of Wealth", where Wiberg is everpresent and enhances the already incredible music and atmosphere. Another asset of this recording is Martin Mendez's bass. Mikael was right when he said that this album contains his best playing yet. His jazzy playing gives an interesting contrast to the otherwise mostly heavy music. The guitar solos are as good as they can be and the singing is top notch, both growls and clean vocals. Åkerfeldt sets a new standard for himself as singer on the closing "Isolation Years" and also his bluesy voice in "Hours of Wealth" is quite new. "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" is perhaps the best collective performance here, with some gorgeous and melancholic passages that recall the moments of "Morningrise". "The Grand Conjuration" is possibly Opeth's heaviest song yet, but it's done in such a manner that listening to it feels like watching a first class horror film. "Ghost of Perdition" and "Baying of the Hounds" are prog/death metal pearls and belong to the band's greatest achievements. "Beneath the Mire" has a really atmospheric intro with Oriental-sounding keyboard melody which then dissolves into a dreamy and dark passage before the odd first vers begins. It is the most experimental track here, along with "Atonement", which continues and expands on the Oriental sound. After 5 minutes, it fades out with a truly interesting outro. "Hours of Wealth" has an incredible intro and some nice bluesy guitar workout from Mikael, I believe. And the closing ballad is simply breathtakingly beautiful. Their best since "Face of Melinda".

So, what else is there to say? A milestone album that everyone can get into, unlike Deliverance and Blackwater Park, which were too unabashedly dark and heavy. This is the true soul of the prog metal and a lesson to all how it should be done. Once again, Opeth prove that death metal can be poignant and have a listening value. There is no topping this. Good luck with your next album guys!

Report this review (#83127)
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars My brother discovered this band the past year, by this site. I expected Opeth to be another 'so called prog', but not prog Death Metal band, but I was wrong !! I never could imagine Death Metal and Prog together !! But also this has 'gothic' and experimental music, with some Pink Floyd influences too. So, Opeth has an unique sound: the use of clean - (Cookie Monster) raw vocals, all by Akerfeldt, and the acoustic transitions combined with metal parts, sometimes all in the same song. The growls do not bother me (despite of I love classic Prog too), maybe because now I'm more habitual with my brother's music (Black/Death Metal). And "Ghost Reveries" itself has an special sound; I don't know how to explain it, but it's true. If the Cookie Monster vocals are a problem to you, please don't buy this album. It's nice to listen to this album on a rainy or claudy day (specially by night), because of its dark and sad atmospheres. I love the combination here between heavy and soft parts. I'll take my time and will make a description track by track:

The album starts with the kick ass "Ghost Of Perdition". That song title could suggest me another uninnovating Death Metal band; but it's completely the opposite. This opener has a duration of 10:29. On the first seconds, an acoustic guitar plays a couple of notes, and then the band explodes with the heavy guitars and Cookie Monster voice: "Ghost of murder !! ...". "Woah!", I said to myself, "This is strong!" On the first minutes of this song, I can hear sophisticated bases that give even more power to Mikael's growls. Then comes another heavy part with more percussion, and the clean and relatively catchy voice enters: "Devil cracked the earthly shell ...". The song goes on with different parts and well done bases. The keyboards here give a more dramatic tone to the song. I must say that on "Ghost Reveries" aren't choruses. From a moment to another, the song calms down and a depressive part comes (with clean vocals, obviously): "Road into the dark unaware, winding ever higher". It has nice acoustic guitars and a mini solo that fits well with the part. The music turns hard again, with more prescence of clean vocals, but then, surprisingly, the monster comes again: "Ghost of perdition !! ...". The solo is very good, with no shredding excess. Excellent opener to the disc !!

The follower track is "The Baying Of The Hounds". Another long song (10:49). The opening riff kicks ass !! Very simple but extremely effective. When the vocals enter: "I hear the baying of the hounds !!...", I just can't stop headbanging !! Then, it turns more dramatic, with clean vocals again. Very good quiet part, with a kind of 'suspended' piano on it. Again another good, solo, followed by another acoustic relaxing part, that depresses me a lot, but it's beautiful ... One more time, the monster comes again: "Urghhh!!" ... Very good song !!

"Beneath The Mire" is the next song. Starts with a very Dream Theater (?) influenced intro. Even the keyboards seem like are being played by Kevin Moore !! This song is like the two I described above, with heavy - quiet transitions. Excellent solo in the middle and the one in the end is superb !! There is an experimental part in the end.

I have to calm down a little, so the comes "Atonement", the first totally quiet song on the album, again with some experimentation and obviously here clean vocals. The guitar melody that is repeated along the song is so beautiful.

Then comes "Reverie / Harlequin Forest", the longest song of the CD (11:39). This song gives me a kind of gothic and cold feeling. Again another Floydian (?) melody: "A trail of sickness leading to me ...", wich is used as a mini chorus. After the second one I can hear the growl of the beast that advances what will come next, haven't you guessed yet ? The acoustic part á la Opeth in the middle of the song is very nice. The riff repeated around the 8th minute is a good demostration that actually, there are more renovating riffs to discover. And the intrincated part on the end (á la DT) surprised me, and is repeated constantly up to the song finishes.

After "Reverie / Harlequin Forest", surely you'll need to relax ... so comes the acoustic "Hours Of Wealth". The more melodic side of Opeth is here, making a lot of enjoyable melodies. Now I can hear the piano !! Akerfeldt does his best vocal performance on this song (no growls). The solo is nice and Gilmour - influenced, evidently. Just beautiful ...

"The Grand Conjuration" with another killer riff, in which is based a big part of the song. Then enter the suspense clean vocals: "Majesty, faithfull me ...". I was surprised by the only fast solo on the album, which is here. After some growls, the music calms down ... but then "Aaaaarrrrrrgggghhhh !!" (sometimes the use of growls makes me laugh, really). The main riff is repeated from 7 up to the song finishes.

To close the album, comes "Isolation Years", another beautiful acoustic song. Great vocals here. A big feeling of loneliness catches me, with the beautiful chorus ... very good closing.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any Prog music collection. If you don't pay attention to the growls, you'll like this a lot. It's a great effort by Opeth, with tons of creativity. As Gatot says, highly recommended !!

Rating: 4.0/5

Report this review (#83144)
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth is one of the most interesting bands, without a doubt. They create a mix between Melodic Death Metal & Progressive Rock, forgoes & breaks it's own records on their 8th album, and provides a very polished album, without the virginity that was symboled on the previous albums.

"Ghost Reveries" is a very live & flowing album, and also more progressive & tricky than it's "old brothers", even though it's stay loyal to the genre of the band. There is also a very important reference to the 70's & 80's. In an untypical move, Opeth have left their spontaneous way of recording their previous albums, and - suprisingly - did few rehearsals before they entering the studio. The result is clear: If "Damnation" was too soft, "Still Life" was a bit boring, and you could felt the roughness on "Deliverance", "Ghost Reveries" provides mind creativity, spiced with a lot of smells & colors, exactly in the right balance. In that case, Death metal fans will like this album, and even the alternative fans will find their taste.

One of the best album tracks is "Ghost Of Perdition" - few gentle chords moments before were going straight to the doom. The stroking darkness, The blinding sharpness & the profusionist theatricality that this song has to offer, makes it one of the most suprising & exciting tracks. After a stormy exposition that gives a chased feeling, and the song breaks in a minor melody and enters a great phase with the mature & touching voice of Mikael Åkerfeldt. Suddenly, it seems like a whole choir of sad ghosts accompanies him when he sings deeply. Another track i liked is the finale of the album, "Isolation Years" - which is more of a gentle finish with a lot of sadness & melancholic music, a taste of far nostalgia that is perpetuated in a letter.

The desicion of Opeth to sign on "Roadrunner", that is connected to many new-metal/industrial bands, made many people wonder about the future of Opeth. But don't worry, the move to new label didn't change the spirit of the band. On the contrary, it seems like Opeth have just matured since their new connection. "Ghost Reveries" has a profusion of sounds, a classic lyrics, and the shouts of Åkerfeldt has a new quality and deep tone. The guitars are set on diferent tuning (Open Tuning) which made the work more challenging and complex. The joint of Per Wiberg (The Keyboardist) which accompanied them on "Damnation" tour adds a new dark atmosphere.

"Ghost Reveries" had the honor of being called the death-metals "Dark Side Of The Moon". It is known for it's musical richness, when never stops surprising and changing, it symbols the two sides of the band (the heavy one, and the melodic one). This is a true winter album makes you miss to the summer days when the soul is chased by ghosts. 4 stars.

Report this review (#83813)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Ghost Reveries" greatly disturbed me when I first heard it; very soon after I began to really like this type of prog Death-metal, but nowadays I find it too loud and unhappy. It is plainly too dark and depressing for me, I don't see the point of listening to such dreary, death evoking music. The album art is again very depressing and freaky and how 'bout the CD, Coal black. Opening the CD booklet you get more images of demons, skeletons and ghosts, things that really deter me from such music. "Ghost Reveries" was a pretty successful album and I think it got to about number 30 in Australia and in the 60's in the US and UK.

Now the actual music of "Ghost Reveries" is quite complex for a Death-Metal album and Opeth have some good quality guitar playing on the album, not just run of the mill metal riffs. They also tune their guitars up or down to get different sounds out of them. I can't say I like any of the songs all that much, the skin peeling lyrics and such annoy me. Also the problem with death growls are that they are impossible to understand, and when reading the lyrics from the CD booklet you see even more how dreadfully dreary they are. If I had to name one okay song I would say Reverie/ Harlequin Forest.

1.Ghost of Perdition (2/5) 2.The Baying of the Hounds (2/5) 3.Beneath the Mire (2/5) 4.Atonement (2/5) 5.Reverie/ Harlequin Forest (3/5) 6.Hours of Wealth (2/5) 7.The Grand Conjuration (2/5) 8.Isolation Years (2/5) Total = 17 divided by 8 (number of songs) = 2.1 = 2 stars Collectors/fans only

I'm not going to give "Ghost Reveries" 1 star because there are at least a few good musical passages which count as something. Other than that "Ghost Reveries" is a poor album in my mind and serves only to create unhappiness for listeners. This much is true for me; every time I listen to it I become very depressed and soon put on something like jolly like Jethro Tull or Yes. But when you think about it all prog isn't that happy a genre (excluding Jethro Tull.) I suppose major metal heads would enjoy this album so I recommend it to such people. And also I don't write this review as a hate message directed at any persons, I'm just voicing my opinion.

Report this review (#85165)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is an album I heard a little hype about, so I decided to give it a try.

The album opens with "Ghost Of Perdition" which is probably the best song on the album. Straight away you can hear the aggressive growling vocals and these switch to soft ambient singing. These parts of the song seperate it from something a Death Metal band would do. Some 70's style guitar work is audable.

"The Baying Of The Hounds" is a song that flows along nicely and changes tempo frequently. It's quite similar to the first track but has more of a grove feel to it, despite the growling vocals.

"Beneath The Mire" is quite different from the first two tracks and doesn't really sound like it's going anywhere. It's only when the vocals change to soft singing and the proggy solos kick in that the song begins to pick up.

"Atonement" sounds like something that's come out of Ancient Egypt when it begins. It's a softer song and sounds a lot more calm than the rest of the album. It's like a section of ambience from the previous tracks.

"Reverie / Harlequin Forest" begins with a depressing style of singing and the guitar backs this mood up. Again, the song continues with the growling vocals and sounds lost.

"Hours Of Wealth" is a nice mellow song which is out of place with the rest of the album, but since a lot of the album reminds of death and suffering, this is a nice change. It's beautiful in comparison to the other songs on the record.

"The Grand Conjuration" is another mess of growling, drumming and thrashing guitars.

"Isolation" is another mellow track which seperates itself from the heavier parts of the album and end the album on a lighter note.

--- [2/5]

The mix between beautiful mellow compositions and death metal roars doesn't go well together in this album. The metal fans would want to hear more of the latter, and prog fans of the former. Although some of the heavier tracks are epic and stand out, more of them just sound messy and disturbing.

Report this review (#87302)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Without a doubt some progressive Swedish this at a golden time, are symphonic bands, neon, RIO, Avant, metaleros, without a doubt something considerable for a so small country, great part of this clear this in the elaborated diffusion more and we are honest to that they are good, in this occasion was desired to me to know OPETH, I must say that in many occasions ground not to let to me influence by the paginas Web, but is that in each place that visited it appeared this band like one of the best ones within the average progressive metal, but something that I take to listen this band is that it said that was a band is denomination Death Progressive Metal, that without a doubt often already turns out annoying to classify to the bands, but in this occasion I create I are mistaken, that many will not be according to my classification but by the sounds and the variants I would only place it like Progressive Metal, without a doubt what but she enjoys is those change of being able, smooth and energetic, sometimes both, but in if I am very a well obtained mixture, in the metalero aspect are good but in the calm aspect I create are better. This disc is exquisite so that those changes are so radical that they bring to you of above underneath a way that does not embarrass to you rather or if, the fact is that this disc first that I know the grouping, in general it is a very good disc more than what could think of this band that borders that there are good music and musicians in Sweden, clear that they appear in this album two Latin names, is a disc full of dark details produced very well and with a disc recorded in HDCD, the personal esteem much the recordings of high fidelity, that all the bands cannot have it by production cost and the standards that are due to cover but would please me that all the bands recorded in this format, the sound is the same one of a metalera band, but with the difference of this it is that it has passages and well obtained very sober tonalities and, very recommendable if you are not of which they hate to the Death Metal.
Report this review (#88654)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars In Ghost Reveries Opeth tryed to perspective a new direction. It was achieved mostly by adding a keyboard member to the band. The keyboard textures gave the chance to create new scenarios. The sound gets even more heavy and clean here, particularly the guitar riffs, resembling (in sound, not in creativity) those seen in modern nu-metal bands. New sonorities were explored as in "Atonement", whose guitar patterns taste like an east european sonority. Opeth continue faithful to themselves, making once the usual 10- minute-like complex song structures. Tracks evolute, transition in transition, in the usual natural way, flowing between heavy guitar riffs, growls, memorable choruses, and moments of accustic peaceful serenity.

Best tracks are the first, "Ghost of Perdition", and "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" whose incountable complex variations would turn this review unreadable. They use the formula said above, as usual in Opeth's sonority. "The Grand Conjuration" is the single of the album, the most commercial of the badge, while having a great rythmic section does not sound to impressive at all. "Hours of Health" and "Isolation Years" are great accoustic tracks, in the way of those made in Damnation, but with the keyboard textures.

Overall, a good album, does not disappoint and it is a step further in the evolution of Opeth's sound. Nevertheless, the work does dot reach the emotional sensibility perfection seen in past works such as Still Life or Blackwater Park.

Report this review (#103763)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got this album about a week ago and I love it. It's my first Opeth album and it definately wont be my last. The opener alone was worth the $15. Almost every song goes through several changes and moods and tells the very dark story. The death metal vocals sound great and add a lot of energy to the loud parts of songs. The normal singing is also great. I can't think of anything wrong with this album. If you're not bothered by the screams, then you should buy this album and you wont be sorry.
Report this review (#104099)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was never happy with this album. I really like Damnation, Still Life, Orchid and Blackwater Park. This album is not progressive but regressive. I don't like the death metal moments with growling vocals. That is nothing new. Some tracks I think were ment to be the new Tool. It didn't work out. Back to metal is not the right way for Opeth I think. But what do I know? I was listening metal for only 5 years. Too much death metal. As a prog album it's not too good. Only two stars (for prog fans).
Report this review (#104290)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars To date this is the only Opeth work I own. I'm am not a fan of death metal in the least. However when Akerfeldt swicthes over to his more melodic voice they are transformed beyond belief and that's when they work best for me.

There's deifintely enough in this for me to continue to play it (but not review it on a track by track basis, but I suspect Damnation will be the Opeth album for me, if Ican ever obtain a copy (I tried several times unsuccessfully this year).

Report this review (#105154)
Posted Monday, January 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I feel like this needs to be said. Many people gave a bad rating to this (and perhaps other) albums as they said it was "too weird", or occassionally dischordant, or switched from soft to hard (and vice versa) rather suddenly. I mean absolutely no disrespect, but what would one expect from a prog metal band? I would certainly expect no less.

If you have an open mind and appreciate progressive music, you will love this album. If you don't like growling, maybe give it an attempt, because once you get used to it you'll find that it adds a whole new level of intensity and enjoyment. This is exactly what happened with me. Cheers!

Report this review (#109392)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth can´t write a bad album. They start as a swedish death metal band, and now they are the face of prog music in extreme metal. Well, Sweden is a great cradle of prog metal: Opeth, Meshuggah, Burst, Cult Of Luna..but Opeth are, with no doubt, the greatest prog extreme band in metal. I have all Opeth´s albums, and I always was a fan. Because they always gave me what I want in music: power, melody, prog vibe, nice songs. And if Deliverance was a great strong album with heavy riffs, and Damnation was a beautiful album with some lovely songs, Ghost Reveries is a mix of both. And more..always more. The album starts with a strong vibe and a powerfull riff,and ends with a nice melody. And this is what we love in Opeth: the variety. In Ghost Reveries, when they want to be heavy, they are heavy as hell, when they want to be melodic, they sound like heaven, and they can be all of this in the same song ("Ghost of Perdition"). And to help in this permanent evolution, Per Winberg give some of the most beatiful keyboards in metal. We´re not talking about Stratovarius or Rhapsody keybords..we´re talking about Zeppelin, Purple, Floyd.. Ghost Reveries, is the best Opeth album so least, until their next masterpiece.
Report this review (#110967)
Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ghost Reveries was my first introduction to Opeth, and boy, what an introduction. Like every Opeth album, Ghost Reveries takes time and repeated listening to fully appreciate, this isn't music that immediately jumps out at you, it reveals its beauty and intricacies with every subsequent listening, and thus has great longevity. Opeth's music matures with time, like a fine vintage wine...anyway, this latest offering has all the hallmarks of a great Opeth album - Mikael Akerfelds extroadinary growling and clean singing vocals (in the field of progressive metal the only two other vocalists on the same level for me are Maynard James Keenan and Daniel Gildenlow), excellent musianship and virtuosity, a stark and beautiful contrast between savage death metal and gentle acoustic interludes, huge towering riffs, and typically epic songs that regularly stretch over ten minutes. Ghost of Perdition is the opening song, and it sets a precedent for the rest of the album - a melancholic single chords drifts ominously for only a few seconds before there's an explosion of ferocious death metal, accompanied by Mikael's bowel-churning growls that can peel paint off cars, which typically macabre lyrics. The song constantly evolves and mutates throughout its epic duration, and theres a distinct Tool influence around a minute or two in, i was left thinking `hey, this sounds an awful lot like The Grudge..', which is cool, since The Grudge is an awesome song anyway, so who cares? Ghost of Perdition really is one of the best opening songs i've ever listened to, and is right up there in terms of quality to other Opeth greats like The Drapery Falls. Marvellous darling! The Baying of the Hounds is up next, and commences with a rollicking, meaty riff thats rather catchy, it follows the standard Opeth pattern, but there's some lovely vocal melodies a few minutes in when Mikael switches to his ever-improving clean voice. The `quiet' parts of this song are longer than those in the previous one, but that only serves to strengthen the brutal climax when it arrives. Another Opeth classic. `Beneath The Mire' opens with a funky carnival esques tune, and alternates between sections of guitar driven metal. Vocals kick in around 3 minutes if i recall correctly. There's an awesome guitar solo somewhere near the end, i can't remember where exactly, but its damn good. Not quite as monumental as the two previos tracks, both in terms of quality and length, but still great. After the strength of the previous three songs, you really don't want a respite from all the death metal ferocity, you just want Opeth to bludgeon you into submission with another classic 10 minute belter, but they give you one anyway, and this is where the album comes apart slightly. `Atonement' pales in comparison to the epics that preceded it, and its rather quite boring. Although its only 5 minutes, which is pretty short for an Opeth song, it seems to drag on for too long. There's middle eatern-tinged riffs and processed vocals, but nothing that really stands out. Thankfully they redeem themselves quickly with the next movement, `Harlequin Forest'. The focus shifts from growling to clean singing, which is always welcome, since Akerfeltd's got one of the most beautiful natural voices in the whole of the prog genre. At 11 minutes the song never drops below utterly stunning...ness. Although the end is a slight dissapointment, it kinda fades out without much of an impact and desevred more of a sonic punch, it still owns your ass, and is probably the best song on the album, with ghost of perdition a close second. SUBLIME! `Hours of Wealth begins with a wonderfully wintery, delicate feel, complete with what sounds like snow bells...alright! Effortlessly segues into Mikael's always evocative clean singing. This is what Atonement should have been. Excellent! I never grew to like The Grand Conjoration, it just seemed a bit too hammer horror for my tastes, with the cheesy symphonic stuff and the death metal cliche satan lyrics. Not a fan. `Isolation years' ends the album, and what a splendid way to end!!!! A lovely sweet riff washes over Akerfeltd's typically thoughtful and poignant lyrics about lost love. beautiful. So to conclude, Opeth have outdone themselves once again with another sterling effort, producing an immediate classic, and one of my all time favourite albums. Highly recommended to all fans of Death Metal, prog metal, or just metal in general. A contender for title of best Opeth album, along with Blackwater Park, and a stunning addition to their formidable catalogue. How they keep producing such consistently brilliant albums on such a consistent basis is a testament to their greatness. get it now, you heathen.
Report this review (#111157)
Posted Friday, February 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars To me Ghost Reveries is the most progressive record that Opeth has come up with! After working with Steven Wilson on their last three records they really got the taste for making progressive metal! Their music matured even more and got even more melodic containing loads of keyboards and mellotron. They even hired a new band member (playing keyboards) turning this album in a progressive metal masterpiece.

The album consists out of 8 tracks that last an average of 8:00 minutes each. Typical Opeth album so far you could say. But now lets discuss the album.

The opening track Ghost of Perdition starts out quiet for about 7 seconds after which you will find yourself falling off any chair you were sitting on. Mikael's growls kick in and the music blasts you away. After 1:00 minute we get some great drumming followed by Mikael's clean vocals sounding better than ever. After this we get some growling again until the 2:30 time mark. Here Mikael's voice gets pseudo heavenly (very atmospheric part) and this is interrupted by even better drumming than the part I mentioned earlier. WOW! The singing after this part has some great melody and the variation in this song is great to make it all complete. This song is pretty much a good representative for the entire album.

The Baying of the Hounds also kicks in with some heavy growling until 01:50 when we hear some great guitar riffs and Mikael displays his beautiful clean vocals again in a very catchy part. From 03:15 the song changes quite a bit and we get a beautiful instrumental part with great keyboards and bells. Mikael continues to sing with clean vocals again until the next instrumental part after which we hear some more of his growling. Me not being a fan of "grunts & growl" can even appreciate it in the way Opeth does it. Combined with great instrumentation, melodies and tempo shifts in one song it makes the whole very complex and interesting to listen to.

Beneath the Mire is another great song and I especially like the instrumental part that starts around 03:25 followed by another nice clean vocal part that goes : Lost love of the heart in a holocaust scene memory

Atonement is a nice mellow song where Mikael sings with a soft voice and the music has some Arabic touch to it. Very catchy ending.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest also starts out rather heavy and the change to mellow instrumental piece happens around 03:30 followed by some more wonderful clean vocals. The song really seems to change around the 05:00 time mark, so I guess that's where Harlequin Forest would start? I especially like the dreamy catchy instrumental guitar chorus if you like, which reminds me quite a bit of the Damnation album. Great stuff!

Hours of Wealth starts out as a good instrumental track where after 2 minutes we get some delicate singing. Very mellow track that also could have been on Damnation as well.

The Grand Conjuration probably is the heaviest track of this album and probably my least favourite track.

Fortunately the album "closure" is the wonderful mellow track Isolation Years which also could have been easily a track on the Damnation album. This track is simply beautiful!

Probably, together with "Still Life" and "Damnation" my favourite Opeth album!

Definitely a step forward for Opeth! 4.5 stars

Report this review (#111561)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely amazing. This was the first I ever heard of Opeth, and even now I find it to be one of (if not) their best CD. Now, just to start things off:

Before Opeth, long long ago, I could not stand any sort of growling or screaming. I found it extremely distasteful and just annoying. It should also be noted that it took me a very long time to get used to Opeth's growling.

Now why is it that Opeth was the first band with screaming/growling I could stand? Well, maybe it's the beautiful soft breaks in many of their heavy songs. Maybe it's the huge dynamic range the band shows. Maybe it's the awesome heavy riffs. Maybe it's that Opeth has a sound that no other band really has. Or it could be I love the sound quality of this album. Actually, I think its all of those (in fact, it is!).

The first song of Opeth's I ever really heard was "Beneath the Mire". I enjoyed the groove of the song and the beautiful middle section, so I decided to get the whole CD (even though I couldn't quite stand the growling yet). I was very surprised by what I heard.

"Ghost of Perdition" scared me at first. Well, not scared, but i was...greatly surprised. It's got some great singing parts in it (I love the section 'Devil cracked the earthly shell, foretold she was the one...') and also some great riffs. "The Baying of the Hounds" is one of the best on this CD. Starts heavy, gets soft, gets heavy, gets soft again, and heavy. The best part is that it flows ever so perfectly. It's very entertaining while maintaining musicality. "Beneath the Mire" as I said earlier has that cool groove and nice middle section.

"Atonement" is kind of an experiment for the band. I really enjoy its hypnotizing sounds and nice, though short, melodies. "Harlequin Forest" is definitely my favorite song on this album. I love the singing and the cool heavy riffs, though the real reason this song stands out is the perfectly melodic acoustic middle section. "Hours of Wealth" continues with soft sounds, the keys really add a lot to this song.

"The Grand Conjuration" is a song that I could never really get into as much as the rest. The sound here is more modernized, if that is the correct term, than the rest of Opeths sound, and it does not fit in as well. "Isolation Years" is the only song on this album that is not a part of the concept (it is actually a concept album except for this one song). Still a great soft song. Again I love the keys.

So if you're one of those people who just can't listen to an album with screaming, just try to approach this album with an open mind. I did that and now it's my favorite album. Definitely a masterpiece.

Report this review (#115176)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Step in the right Direction

Where "Ghost Reveries" differs from much on offer in the realms of Prog Metal, is the organic and spontaneous feel given to the composition by judicious use and re-use of existing thematic material - and avoiding the traps of going off at ludicrous tangents by considerately using material that provides a true contrast, as opposed to yet another riff.

And so it is that "Ghost of Perdition" gives us the first glimpse of this truly progressive style, with only a few minor hiccups.

The opening is a rather nice mellow guitar that suddenly explodes into a Doom style riff, although somewhat elongated and stretched in time, with vocals that, while appropriate in style, don't seem quite "right" (whatever right is - you just feel it) - too comic book for my tastes. This has nothing at all to do with the "growling" style in itself, which has been used to great effect by other bands, but the manner in which Akerfeldt uses them here.

This is followed by a kind of quasi-funky bouncy riff, over which the flat vocals appear. Fortunately, the riff is engaging enough to distract from the vocals, which are just there - the lyrics aren't coloured in any way by the music, so we take them to be there because a song needs lyrics - and they are repeated, which kinda emphasises this.

A flurry of related and developing rifferama follows this, and takes us to the A section - the growling vocals, which are difficult to make out. Just as well, really, as when you know what they are, you wonder why the vocal tone was necessary - it seems to have been used more to underline the feeling of different tonal colours in the section than to drive the lyrics forward.

A new, lighter idea follows, more smoothly than it has any right to really, and emphasises the progressive feel of the piece well by some excellent word colouring on "winding ever higher".

The riff that follows is derived from the first and second - a nice piece of development - although the vocals don't really add much except a rhythmic counterpoint. In keeping with the soft/loud sections structure, this is stripped back, then built up to a more intense section with processed vocals.

What follows is a nice surprise, texturally - the Mellotrons are brought forwards for some nice tonal colours, but then it goes a little Pete Tong - there are vertical "splats" in the riffs that follow, not the nice crunchy and squishy parts, but the sudden moments of discomfort and utter wrongness that tantalisingly drift into and out of view. This would be a fine section to the song if it wasn't for those.

More development of thematic material follows, implying a relatively complex structure to the song - but with still too much emphasis on individual sections for me to consider full-blown Prog.

Nonetheless, there is much intelligent thematic development, so a Prog Metal song it is - and a really good one it would be, with decent lyrics and vocals.

The Hammond on "The Baying of the Hounds" gives a creepy Uriah Heep goes Death Metal flavour - which, again, really is rather good. The vocals fit perfectly - somehow the comic book aspect is not so apparent here as elsewhere. The lyrics are a cut above the average Death Metal band - but still a little 6th-form. As before, in the melodic section that follows, the melodies are flat and uninteresting - and at some points, the words seem crowbarred in, as if to underline their insignificance in the song.

However, the instrumental section that follows is texturally fabulous - a crunching, dischordant guitar idea gives way to... if can imagine, for a moment, Gentle Giant with only the fundamental notes left in, you'll get an idea of the overall texture. An atmospheric vocal section then chips in, followed by a more intense riff section.


The sections thing is rearing its head again - and the feel of a "one-trick pony" would be stronger if it wasn't for the fact that Opeth create such interesting riffs and ambient ideas.

The guitar solo is surprisingly Spinal Tap - I've got to plug this one again for Uriah Heep fans ;0).

What follows the guitar solo is a bunch of interesting ideas strung together very well, and followed up by a quite surprising return to the verse, and a pointless-seeming instrumental break which lets down the overall quality of this piece - which otherwise would be higher.

It's good to hear so much Mellotron, and you can't have enough of the riff to "Kashmir", especially when it's 'Tronned up to the max. Opeth drop this before it feels like a rip- off, and plunge into a rather mushy sound - the mire?

The lyrics don't really suit the vocals, although the vocals do suit the music - Akerfeldt really needs to work on balancing it out, in my opinion - and this album certainly shows a great deal of potential.

And so the album goes on really - after a while, a certain sameness begins to creep in because of the overuse of the same techniques in every song, and the lack of colouration in the music to provide any kind of emphasis to the lyrics - which are the album's weak point anyway, so maybe the band were wise to do it this way.

The rest of the album does have its moments - the intro to "Atonement", for example (although it does sound a little derived at times - Within You Without You, Eat That Phone Book and more!), the riffing to "Reverie" is among the most spontaneous and inventive I have heard of late, with great energy, "Hours of Wealth" is extremely derivative, especially in the "Shine On" guitar, but an unexpected find on a Prog Metal album, "The Grand Conjoration" has some great riffs and superb textures, and works quite well as the album's overall climax, while "Isolation Years" rounds it all off with the prescribed cool-down.

All in all, a very well balanced album - although the majority of the compositional fireworks seems to be concentrated in the first two tracks, and the remainder are essentially more of the same with less attention to detail - what would be a good collection of songs, if the vocals were up to snuff, in a logical order that reflects the ordering in the composition of the pieces themselves. I'm not at all keen on the vocals - the "Growling" style is an approximation of what it could be, and the "melodic" vocals are flat (in style - vocal correction software is an amazing thing) for the main part, with a few notable exceptions.

However, this album pans out to be something worthy of the name Progressive Metal, with real artistry in composition, in the first couple of tracks particularly, despite the somewhat derived feel of much of it, and occasional "glitches", especially in the realms of harmonic progression.

If this review was based on "Ghost of Perdition", then it would achieve an Excellent addition rating - and I would strongly recommend both this track and "The Baying of the Hounds" to any fan of Prog Rock that wants to hear some decent Prog Metal - and expects to hear Metal, not some cacophonous approximation.

Very nearly 4 stars - it just didn't hold my interest for long enough. But there's still a way to go before Opeth catch up with Gentle Giant as composers.

Report this review (#116857)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have a hard time placing my thumb on what I should rate this. The music is sooooo good, but the growling is sooooo obnoxious that it makes it hard to make it through a song. Right now, this is a review from someone who loves the heavy stuff, but not the growling death metal vocals. So first lets look at this musically shall we. Musically this is a great CD with awsome movements, awsome riffs, awsome riffs, and incredible power in the songs. The guitar work, and drum work are superb along with the other instruments. These guys know what they're doing! And if this whole CD was an instrumental it'd be tempting to almost give it a 5/5 star reward. It's deep, dark, acousticly deadly, and to top it off for any metal fan, hard! But now we have to talk about the vocals. I love the soft side of Mikael. absolutely incredible. When he sings on Ayreon's The Human Equation it's absolutely to die for! Just for one problem, his other side, which aslo makes Day Twelve: trauma one of my least favorites.... he has this low grunting growling that me being someone quite sensitive to that style don't like. I understand that what he does is talentfilled and unique, but when it comes down to style, I don't care if it's hard, I just can't get into it. These guys aren't the only ones, I find myself having troubles getting into Devin Townsend, Diabolical Masquerade, and Orhpaned Land. So right now I stand on a 3 star rating, or maybe even a 4 star rating. It's totally on prefrence. I'd recommend this album to anyone looking for a good listen and can stand the low grunting noises, and anyone who doesn't like the low growling noises will probably find it okay much like myself. Listening to the song enjoying the soft melodious tunes of Mikael and the band till he starts growling, then it's either fast foward or skip to the next song.... if I'm really not up for surviving the next few mintues of it. Now, Ghost of Perdition is a brilliant song, so isThe Grand Conjurgation. And the Atonement and Isolation Years are the greatest dark, melencholy slow songs ever! Isolation Years is one of my favorite slows ever! Briar is pretty nifty too. So I'm going to have to say that because the musicianship is brilliant I'm going to bump it up to a 4 star rating just for such awsome workmanship. If you love the growling stuff, then read all the 5 and 6 star ratings! This one is probably more for those who have troubles getting into the growling... no joke. Good job Opeth, and thank you for entertaining the death metal fans with something musically inspired on the genious levels!
Report this review (#118238)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had been waiting anxiously for this album for ages. Ahh, when I listened to it for the first time I was immediately relieved. The wait hadn't been for nothing. I liked it from the outset. As I listened from beginning till end I was pleased and delighted with the proggishness of this album. Opeth had taken a change towards more progressive music. I still liked the heaviness of the old albums, but this felt so polished and perfect that I couldn't madly enjoy it. In retrospect, this still is not my favourite Opeth record, mainly because I had grown into the Blackwater Park era, but I'm sure fans of prog who are not worried about growls will fall in love with this album. It really is quite a masterpiece, with very few letdowns.

1. Ghost of Perdition: There's nothing that can really describe how effective this intro is. The album opens up with four clean guitar chords, and your first expectation is nothing like what you get. A blasting riff breaks your head apart as soon as these chords fade out, and we are treated to the ugly side of Opeth. I mean, the heavy side, the real heavy side. The riff is huge, magnificent. An organ helps in the background. We are not immediately treated to what Per can do - till now he is sort of kept under wraps. At 1:05 you get the perfect change. Clean vocals kick in, perfectly tuned. You'll hear more of Per here. The intro riff kicks in again, this time leading out into a clean section with acoustic guitars. This part is beautiful, perfectly showcasing the subtlety of Opeth's music and Mike's soulful singing. The changes are perfect, riffs flowing perfectly without any disjointedness. Octave intervals kick in at around five minutes, providing us with some of the laidbackness of previous Opeth albums. This album is in general more present than the previous releases, making less use of atmospheric reverb. More perfect transitions at around 7 minutes. A bluesy solo at 8 minutes shows us how much the musicianship of Opeth has improved over the years, being delivered perfectly. The song ends with drawn out vocal notes over a very proggish sounding riff, with the organ giving it that vintage kind of feel. Great masterpiece. [9+]

2. The Baying of the Hounds: A very vintage prog intro. Per's playing is showcased a little bit here. Dissonant chords are blended in spectacularly with the melodic structure. Syncopated riffs are very common here. The only real gripe with this song is the happy sounding vocal line at around 2 minutes. I just didn't expect it, and it never grew on me. A great break at 3:15. Here you get kick drum played with bass. The bass sounds almost like an extension to the kick drum sound. I think the kick was tuned especially for this part and gating/compression used to blend the sounds as perfectly as they are. Atmospheric keys keep the air interesting. Intriguing guitar chords also make sure you never get bored here. Distant vocals kick in. The transition to the heavy riff at around 5:25 displays Mike's talent at songwriting. Another well done solo here. A change back into acoustic heaven gives quite a welcome breath of fresh air before the final plunge. Dissonant riffs never felt so melodic. Great song. [9]

3. Beneath the Mire: A heavily organ-ridden intro, with a vintage rockish sound to it. Octave intervals greet us with the older atmospheric Opeth style. The song kicks in with a blast at around 1:42, with Mike letting loose a demonic growled line. This section is very dynamic. There are quite some transitions, with the music flowing flawlessly, and Mike going back to clean vocals. A jazzy interlude at around 3:45 sounds very inspiring and fresh. Per and Mike play lead side by side, a great new touch that Opeth obviously never tried before. An acoustic break leads into an evil sounding riff. A sweeping solo during the 6th minute, probably done by Peter, leads into a soundscapish outro with guitar doodling and atmospheric synth. [8+]

4. Atonement: I tend to skip this song. Not that it is not good, but it is rather more of an interlude and somehow I got tired of it quite quickly. An eastern guitar tune kicks in, backed by the organ. There are quite some spacey effects here. After some time percussions fade in, with Mike's voice quite heavily modulated. Very spacey indeed, almost psychadelic. It is also quite repetitive. Some reversed piano notes make for an interesting conclusion. Nothing spectacular here. [7]

5. Reverie - Harlequin Forest: Reverie is actually usually played with Atonement, but since my CD player starts counting negative time to the fifth track I think it should be reviewed with Harlequin Forest. There is not much to be said about it, except that it is a very relaxing interlude preceding the other masterpiece of the album. Very well done there. A lone guitar kicks in, immediately backed up by the other instruments. Great vocal melodies here. Melancholic guitar leads sound on each side at a time, leading to more of Mike's haunting vocals. There is quite some ambience in the background helping the flow of them music, and perfect use of the organ is made. A welcome acoustic transition at around 3:30, leading to some interesting harmonic guitar intervals with vocals only. This section is very ambient and quiet, and the bass takes quite some space. Beautiful guitar harmony at the 6 minute mark, the kind that you can easily sing to. This part leads back into the heavy riffing. The ending is spectacular, bringing back to mind the polyrhythm section at the end of Deliverance. The riffs leading up to this riff are also nothing short of amazing. A very short breath of fresh air at around 9:00 before the syncopated riffing starts. A very reverb-ridden guitar line whines in the background as the fore guitar thuds to one of the most interesting beats I ever heard, with the synth ambience growing in volume to the end. The tightness of this band is amazing. Amazing. [9+]

6. Hours of Wealth: A clean guitar intro with synth, leading to a washed out instrumental acoustic section before everything quietens down quickly and the singing starts. The vocals sound sad and beautiful. This is emotional singing at its best. Emotional yet far from cheesy. The occasional backing is very well done. A softly driven electric solo keeps things subtle before the evil track to follow. Well done. [8]

7. The Grand Conjuration: When this song leaked out, people started crying "sell out". This, coupled with the worry that Opeth had signed up with Roadrunner Records and were going to sell us out, led me to some worry. This song, though surely not one of their greatest, is not the worst either, and makes for a great song live. This is a very heavy and evil track, probably the most evil since Demon of the Fall. Mike's vocals are modulated, and ghostly whispers are all over the place. You could say that it is the most mainstream in the whole album, in fact being released as a single. A ripping guitar solo at about 3:30 showcases Mike's technical talent. Overall, this is quite a repetitive track, and could get slightly boring after several listens. Nevertheless, I love the evil atmosphere and effects. [7]

8. Isolation Years: This closing track is really a jewel. Saintly clean electric arpeggios start in the 5/8 signature. A sweet guitar lead keeps things warm and moving. And then the vocals come up. These vocals are so sad and grieved. A haunting synth line backs the melody, with soft drumming keeping the pace. The twice repeated refrain is nothing short of memorable. If I have a negative comment about this, it is that the end comes a bit too soon. Beautiful song. [8+]

We are really left wanting more. This is not going to happen till later this year (2007), and with Opeth having lost two of its members recently (Peter having just left earlier this week), people are again starting to worry about the upcoming release. We will see whether Opeth will live up to our expectations or not sooner or later, and I hope I'll eventually return to this review with a smile. OVERALL, 8.4

P.S. I wish I could give it a half star extra. Though not my perfect album, I think this is really a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#122909)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth is probably the most talented and original sounding bands out there today. This album shows that not only does progressive music has a future, but it very likely is the future of rock music.

What you have hear is a perfect combination of new and old styles of progressive rock and death metal music. It had been something they had been experimenting with since their first album Orchid, but I think they really perfected it with this one.

Prevalent instruments include guitars of all types including beautiful acoustic guitar playing and heavy and impressive electric guitar playing. The vocals are spot on, and it always amazes me how Mike can switch seamlessly between his grunting death metal voice, and his angelic clean sounding vioce. The drumming and bass playing are top notch, proving that this rhythm section is definitely one of the best out there. But the most notable addition is that of the keyboards playing a more prominent role.

You will hear mellotrons mix guitars beautifully and used in ways very similar to King Crimson and early Genesis. There are also some synth and organ sounds throughout this album, to give it an earrie and medieval gothic feel. It sounds kind of like Old School symphonic progressive rock, but with a much more modern recording quality and style of death metal. You can clearly hear a strong influence of classical music on some of these epics, particularly on Reverie.

The changing dynamics are also very impressive. You will have to listen to this cd very loud, because you will want to hear every nuance of the quiet sections, and will feel the needed to be fully eviscerated by the heavier sections.

These guys have gone way beyond Tool in their epic orchestrations, and have surpassed them as the current masters of progressive metal.

Report this review (#125258)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Ghost Reveries" is my favorite album from Opeth and it also their most mature album also. In this review I'm going to be going over each song briefly.

"Ghost of Perdition" has to be my favorite Opeth song; it's heavy, mellow, experimental, and has many new elements in it. 5/5 stars.

"The Baying of the Hounds" took me a while to get used to since it just seemed like another Opeth song, but this song (once you listen to it a couple of times) grows on you. 4/5 stars.

"Beneath the Mire" is another great song with an awesome build up to the vocals, doesn't really sound too similar to other Opeth stuff I've heard (though I may be ignorant to say this)...5/5

Up to the third song there has been regular singing and death growls/grunts, but now in this next song "Atonement" there is only regular singing. This song is not heavy at all like the first 3, they really experiment with their sound here. Some of the vocals remind of The Beatles "Blue Jay Lane", but from the vocals it goes into an instrumedly. There's even bangos. 5/5

"Reverie / Harlequin Forest" has a really cool intro and beginning; the beginning has no death growls, only regular singing until the vocalist decides to throw some in...The song builds up from a swift riff to a heavy death metal piece then to something mellow and all over the place...The song gets long and dry after a couple times of listening to it. 4/5 stars.

"Hours of Wealth" sounds like something off of the "Damnation" album. It's a decent song to settle off the dust in the album. I guess I'll give it a 4/5, but I'm just being nice...

Just when you think the album is going to take a turn for the mellow stuff it goes the other way! This song "The Grand Conjuration", (though very long) is a great listen. Starts off heavy, dies down to mellowness, then slaps you in the face with the harshest death metal growl on the album. He says: "The eyes of the devil, fixed on the sinner". A bit satanic, but as an unpracticing Christian, I don't mind...All in all a really heavy song with many progressive elements. 5/5 stars.

"Isolation Years" along with "Hours of Wealth" didn't really impress me since we've all heard the same mellowness on "Damnation", but for what it's worth 4/5 stars since they did a good job on all these tracks mellow or soft.

Best songs: Ghost of Perdition, The Grand Conjuration, Beneath the Mire.

The rest of the song are great, but nothing as impressive as these 3 to me.

4.5 stars to "Ghost Reveries" as it is Opeth's most matured album with "Everything in its Right Place".

Report this review (#126691)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is great, and I love listening to it, but it's not their best work. I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars because I believe it is good, but only essential to people who like this sub-genre of prog-metal, not necessarily any prog music collection. If you want to listen to Opeth's best heavy stuff listen to Still Life or Blackwater Park. If your into mellow stuff or accessible to both heavy and mellow stuff check out Damnation.

Ghost of Perdition 3/5 Heavy stuff. Baying of the hounds: 3/5 Heavy stuff. Beneath the Mire: 4/5 Awesome. Atonement 4/5 Experimental. Reverie/Harq 3/5 A great effort. Hours of Wealth 4/5 Mellow awesomeness. The Grand Conj 3/5 Great rhythm, but not their best AT ALL. Isolated Years 4/5 More mellow awesomeness.

All in all a good album, this album sounds different, but even with that factor into play their past stuff was better. I'm beginning to think that Roadrunner records effected their release since "The Grand Conjuration" was released as a single. Roadrunner records has many bands such as slipknot, and other crap that fits that heavy clique...

Report this review (#128888)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good old Progressive death metal, and no one gives it to us quite like Opeth. This album was a kind of back to mono album for the group, not to metallish, and not to sentimental. There are many great moments in this album that are just awe inspiring, and there are some that are a bit ugly. Anyway here is my review.

Ghost of Perdition- A very harsh song, a very harsh good song. Everything clicks here, but the thing that will always stand out to me is the guitar tone. Yes, very nerdy, but electric and acoustic I cannot get over how beautiful it sounds, Without the amazing quality of the dual guitars, the song's quality would drop immensely. Akerfeldts vocals are angry/ harsh to pretty/ melancholic throughout the ten minutes this song is going, except near the end when he does a voice over, I think this shows the amount Steven Wilson has influenced him. If I were to turn on the song right at that point, I could thing it was a Porcupine tree song. 5/5

The Baying of the hounds- A bit more violent then the last song, but good. I could use a couple more soft parts and take a break from all the growling. The solo is excellent though. 4/5

Beneath the Mire- The order has been Well leveled, harsher, now it's rediculusly fast and way too much growling. The drums are very nice but besides that, this song is way to dark and death metalish. 2.5/5

Atonement- Very nice song a good breather from all the growling and relentless thrashing and shredding. Beautiful electric piano, cool distorted vocals, and awesome guitar harmonies. The guitar sol is superb, both Akerfeldt and Lindgren are just amazing! 4.5/5

Reverie/ Harlequin forest- Awesome song, the first song over seven minutes that doesnt start with growling, Just beautiful vocals and guitar. Of course this all changes, but after one stanza of growling, it goes into a typical Opeth acoustic passage. The only problems with this song is that the lyrics are pretty stupid, I dont even know what he's talking about. And the ending riff drags on for about three minutes, quite dumb. 4/5

Hours of wealth- A bit more sentimental and heartfelt than Atonement, otherwise the same thing. 4.5/5

The grand conjuration- The single of the album, and my favorite track! Complete controlled rage from start to finish! The drums are amazing and the guitar solo just as well!This is a very angry song, and kinda taps on the subject of satan which is kind of a turn off, but oh well the muzac is awesome. Towards the second have of the song it starts getting experimental, with little breaks and pauses, just to explode into more rage and screams/growls. Nothing to complain about! 5/5

Isolation years- I guess this song is part of the concept that fell apart and never was really rebuilt. just like Atonement and hours of wealth. 4/5

Uggghhh, I do plan on rewriting this eventually, but since I reviewed this album, I really have found some flaws in it, and will bump it down to a three star. I may even further degrade it to a two star, but more listens needed.

Report this review (#128976)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This was originally going to be a concept album as Mikael says "The idea was to base all the songs on the different stages of demonic possession. Not like Linda Blair, but on the main characters false belief of being possessed and how everything/everyone turns against him. It started great but then I wrote the lyrics for "Isolation Years" which didn't have anything to do with the concept in any way. Yet I was so happy with that one that I decided to scrap the idea of the concept in favour of this one lyric". One big lineup addition is Per Wiberg formally from the band SPIRITUAL BEGGARS playing keys, organ and mellotron.The other difference for me is that Mikael's clean vocals sound different. Most say it's better, but I prefer his clean vocals from "Damnation". In the liner notes Mikael thanks among others PAATOS, ANEKDOTEN, Steven Wilson, Reine Fiske, Mike Portnoy & DREAM THEATER and Arjen Lucassen. And he thanks his "heroes" Andy Latimer, Ritchie Blackmore, David Gilmour and Steven Wilson(again).

"Ghost Of Perdition" takes all of 7 seconds to become crushingly heavy with death vocals. Clean vocals and some amazing drumming arrive as this contrast continues. It's almost like a dream before 3 minutes. I love the guitar 8 minutes in that recalls "Damnation". "The Baying Of The Hounds" features some good organ as the sound is heavy with death vocals, just not as heavy as the first song. Clean vocals 2 minutes in while a couple of minutes later i'm thinking of "Damnation" again. Some blistering guitar 7 minutes in while a flood of mellotron rolls in before 9 minutes. More heaviness to follow. "Beneath The Mire" has Eastern sounding keys with a waltz-like rhythm for almost 2 minutes. And check out the mellotron !An incredible section 3 minutes in with clean vocals and amazing guitar.The song almost stops as a nice laid back passage follows. Heaviness with clean and death vocals follow.

"Atonement" is a mellow song with a cool guitar melody that is repeated. Reserved vocals,mellotron and tablas all make for a good song. "Reverie / Harlequin Forest" features more hammond organ and mellotron.The first 2 1/2 minutes are like a breath of fresh air, and then were hit with death vocals.This is an amazing song ! Another "Damnation" reference before 5 minutes. Death vocals are back before 9 minutes. "Hours Of Wealth" features beautiful guitar melodies with mellotron and vocals for 2 1/2 minutes. The rest of the song isn't nearly as good though. "The Grand Conjuration" features TOOL-like drumming to open and mellotron. Vocals are great, sort of haunting. These are contrasted with death vocals throughout. I love the drumming ! This is my favourite song on the album. "Isolation Years" is a mellow tune with meaningful lyrics.

Another great record by OPETH but this one for me is a step below "Still Life", "Blackwater Park" and "Damnation". 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#132357)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
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+

Report this review (#133665)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pleeeeease don't thoat Mr. Mikael Åkerfeldt!!! Why does this guy keeps throating when he has one of the best clean vocals in the progressive metal scene?? Well I like Opeth but I can't hear an intere album because of the excessive throat. Depending on the taste of every person off course. But in this album Åkerfeldt cuse more racionally throat voice. The Grand conjuration makes the perfect combination between clean and throat. Harlequim Forest what an awsome song with a clean start!! The balance between heavy and soft in this album is espectacular! I think there is much to talk about this album. One of the best heavy progressive albuns that I ever heard!
Report this review (#134358)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ghost Reveries:

Is one of my all time favorite Prog Metal Albums! I've listened to it so many times that I'm tired of it, but if you really want to know what's up with this album, read the following review. Took a long time, but there was nothing better to do...

"Ghost of Perdition": A Strong opener for Ghost Reveries. This song has great progressions along with showing many aspects of Opeth. Features Death Metal vocals, clean vocals, and steel guitar. 4/5 Stars.

"The Baying of The Hounds": Starts off on a different note than most Opeth songs. A solid metal song that progresses with Mikeal's clean voices. Great use of the sound texture. Per's addition on keyboards fits quite well also. And as always Opeth's drummer keeps the song going strong the whole way through. Parts of this song sounds like previous works, but gets back on track with the original sound of the song. And if you open your ears hard enough you'll find a great bass riff towards the end. The song ends the way it began, but just on a stronger note. All in all this is a solid song that proves to be more progressive than previous works. 4/5 Stars.

"Beneath The Mire": Is my personal favorite though I'm not going to let this effect my rating. The song in generally is cool and catchy especially with the Mellotrone mellotroned all the way up. In the beginning the guitars kind of go to a repetitive mode like BWP, but then slams you back with the mellotrones and then the awesome opening growl. This song is definetly more on the metal side, and is a really awesome metal song, but not really progressive...The mellow section is solid, but nothing that blows you away. After that the song gets kind of pointless. The beginning of this song was awesome even though it wasn't really progressive, and towards the middle it was just solid metal, and as for the end....just kind of went its own way in a different direction. 3/5 Stars.

"Atonement": The beginning reminds me of The Beatles "Blue Jay Way" in a way. Kind of has a Neo/retro/psychedelic sound. The effect used on Mikeal's voice is cool, but is a little misused in my opinion. The effect (used on Mikeal's voice)reminds me of the effect used at the beginning of "Cicatriz Esp" by The Mars Volta if you catch my drift. The song itself is experimental considering that it's Opeth. The guitar riff is quite dilibrate, but fitting along with the synths. By the time the song cuts off and starts again you wouldn't care if it actually ended... Another good solid Opeth song 3/5 Stars.

"Reverie/Harlequin Forest": Great opening vocal/riff, gets kind of repetitive though. Once the growls came in I didn't care for it because they seemed a bit misplaced and misused. The growls throughout this album are quite superb as a whole. The clean vocal part is also a bit misplaced though it goes into a little section about trees....Nothing really progressive;;;; repetitive, misplaced, and sometimes even boring. But even so, Opeth has a way to keep you listening regardless. If you've listening to this album a little bit or a moderate bit, none of the music really gets old, but if you've listened to it for like 40 times like me you'll begin to notice everything that is good and bad about this album. This album takes some time to get EVERYthing. I say this regarding this song because it took me a while to notice the flaws in it. The growls towards the end of the song are again misplaced. 2/5 Stars, I can see how some people see this as a masterpiece, as Opeth does a really good job at putting everything together. Just look deeper than that...Not to mention the ending of this song is really repetitive. Again, 2/5 Stars.

"Hours of Wealth": A nice clean intro, this song is more on the "Damnation" side. The synths and piano really add a fullness to the sound as before this it would've been straight up acoustic guitar and bland piano. Great clean depressing vocals followed along with a "Floydian" guitar solo. The song is a nice mellow prequisete to "The Grand Conjuration". On BWP the prequisete to Blackwater Park was the bland "Patterns in the Ivy", "Hours of Wealth" is definitely a good step forward. 3/5 Stars.

"The Grand Conjuration": Has a great beginning, though it is nothing special or quite progressive. The following guitar riffs (along with the rest of the song) are repetitive, but catchy. This song was their single as it proved to appeal more to the mainstream audience. The clean vocals are a great build up to the following breathtaking growl (which is also foreshadowed). The song is quite cool, but nowhere prog. Just a FYI, this song is satanic if you didn't already put it together with the name of the song. I personally don't mind, but just a heads up. Towards the end of the song it concludes (vocally) with the general same clean vocals it started with. Following that there's the same repetitive guitar riff you started hearing like 10 mins. ago...3/5 Stars.

"Isolated Years": Settles the album down to its end. It also sounds like something off of "Damnation". The depressing clean vocals fit superbly with the song and the albums' conclusion. A little bit repetitive, but not as overdone as "Reverie/Harlequin Forest". 3/5 Stars, a great ending that left me wanting more honestly.

This album is a must if your into extreme metal such as black metal, death metal, etc...(Or if you don't mind the Growls) As far as a person into prog metal, not so much. Again, this is one of my favorite prog metal albums and my favorite from Opeth. This is a huge step forward from Deliverance and even Blackwater Park in my opinion; as I can't even listen to these 2 ablums straight through.

3 Stars.

Report this review (#135417)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth's latest studio album once again showcases the bands fantastic ability to blend folk and metal passages into surprisingly deep, indulgent, progressive epics.

Ghost Reveries was my first experience of Opeth and in many ways I'm glad. This album is a great introduction to the band as it is so typical of their sound. Also if you're new to Opeth or have'nt heard them properly before, do NOT be put off by the fact they are classed as death metal. I usually don't like gothic metal very much - not being a goth myself - however Opeth is one of my favourite bands, alongside Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and Muse. Just listen to their music with an open mind. It will grow on you.

If you're already a fan, and let's face it if you're reading this you probably are then you will instantly love this album. While not quite as good as blackwater park or still life there's still plenty to love about this album. My personal favourites are Reverie, The Baying of the Hounds and Atonement. Iscolation Years is also a good song.

Overall this album is a must-have for all of you Opeth fans out there, so less time reading while you could be out buying this album!!

Report this review (#137090)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth is a Swedish death metal band that throughout it's career has incorporated many style and reached the level of progressive rock. Their latest album is entitled "Ghost Reveries" and was released by Roadrunner Records. Opeth's contract with the label is suggestive for the commercial potential of the group. I am not saying Opeth went mainstream, I am just assuming their music has been receiving more interest from rock audiences around the world. This last release is basically a death metal musical masterpiece that develops using psychedelic and folk influences, achieving an occult atmosphere that represents the lyrical context of the record. Unlike most progressive rock bands and artists, the music of Opeth consists of several anticalophilic principles derived from doom metal and death metal. The album inspires a bleak mood supported by a mystic atmosphere that darkly and smoothly touches the listener's ears and heart. Each note is a desperate hellish scream interpreted brutally or softly, but equally disturbing. The spirituality of the message is obvious and remarkably subtle which gives a relaxing self abandoning feeling that reverberates throughout 60 minutes of music listening. The rhythm is mind abusing because of it's relentless oscillation between brutal death metal and jazz/folk, but in the same time fascinating, leaving behind one thought:can music inspire so many feeling simultaneously?. YES it can. Mikael Akerfeldt is an extraordinary vocal being able to easily switch from brutal death "grunting" to melodic and clean singing, technique generally used by doom/death metal vocals in the 90's and by metalcore singers after 2000. The two guitars do not respect the general pattern used in metal. There is no solo guitar and no rhythm guitar, both of them climbing and descending alternatively , creating once again that typical Opeth sound marked by tension and grief. Each song is special in it's own way although they can be classified within two two categories: the first and most encountered is the one regarding the high intensity and the second one represents the songs based on classical rock and dark ambient. In conclusion, I cannot add anything but the fact that Opeth have breached news limits with Ghost Reveries and I am very excited about the new album which will probably be released in 2008.
Report this review (#140345)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars Another magnificent release which, despite its explosive intro and heavy sonic assault, is remarkably approachable, and shows that the band is further mastering their iconic blend of heavy/soft dynamics. "Ghost Reveries" contains everything Opeth fans love, this time adding more dedicated keyboard textures and intricate songwriting to the epic metal tapestry; Per Wiberg is a welcome addition to the lineup. The songs are an even balance of soft/heavy, more so than ever before, and perhaps most of all... they are actually catchy; the listener will likely have be singing hooks long after hearing them. Moods range from a delightful, eerie paranoia (such as in "Grand Conjuration"), melancholic blues, and of course the band's powerful (and dexterous) melodic metal.

A perfect place to begin for those interested in discovering one of the coolest metal bands around-- the enjoyment of heavy/dark music is essential, but I heartily encourage those who "dislike" death metal to give Opeth a try... you won't be disappointed!

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#142555)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although I might like some other Opeth albums more, this one has a special place since it was my introduction to this great band. This album is filled with strong songs, and I wouldn't call any of them bad, although i wouldn't say it is a masterpiece, as it has its flaws. "Ghost Reveries" is full of what we've come to love about Opeth, that wonderful juxtaposition of heavy death metal passages and haunting acoustic passages featuring clean vocals. This is also Opeth's first album with a full time keyboardist, and it does make a difference. I think the keyboards are especially useful in making the clean passages that much more haunting. Highlights of the album are "Reverie/Harlequin Forest", "The Baying of the Hounds", and "Ghost of Perdition".
Report this review (#143738)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not the faultless masterpiece 'Blackwater Park' is, but an essential album nonetheless.

After a start reminiscent of 'Deliverance', OPETH prove within three minutes that this album is a step up from their 2003/3 recordings. 'Ghost of Perdition' has a memorable descending three-note hook that binds the song together, making it an excellent composition. 'The Baying of the Hounds' is even better, opening with a storming, abrasive riff and complex rhythms - actually, this would have been a better opener for the album, as it nails down this album's personality much better than 'Ghost' does. The quiet section, reporting for duty at precisely the right moment, after three minutes of sonic terror, is beautiful. I'd so missed the integration of light and darkness characteristic of 'Blackwater Park'. This is a song worthy of that album.

I must admit a sentimental partiality for the retro synth at the beginning of 'Beneath the Mire'. Redolent of LED ZEPPELIN's 'Kashmir', it imparts a stirring exotic vibe and brings to our attention something that has been nagging at us since the album started: OPETH is no longer a four-piece, they have added a keyboard player, which finally gives us an excuse to call them 'prog' (despite the fact they have been playing progressive rock since day one).

'Atonement' is the most convincing 'half-way' song OPETH have done to this point. It has a magical melody and would be the highlight of any album upon which it appeared. AKERFELDT's love of CAMEL comes through clearly here. And it appears at exactly the right moment of the album.

'Harlequin Forest' is a slow burner, working into an excellent track - takes its time, though. The last three minutes are worth waiting for. It is followed by 'Hours of Wealth', the most minimal song of any length OPETH have done. Then the drama-laden 'The Grand Conjuration', which makes a great feast at the single-length five minutes or at the album-length ten. Riff-laden, keyboard-limned, drum-hammered, weighty and portentious, this track is a perfect summary of OPETH. Play this to the few doubters who claim OPETH isn't progressive. 'Isolation Years' concludes the album with yet more pastoral beauty.

After the debacle of 2002/3 and the divided albums, it's wonderful to have this talented and creative metal band back at top form.

Report this review (#148124)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In short, with Ghost Reveries Opeth have released their best album to date, even surpassing the superb Blackwater Park. The quality of the music here is some of the best youâ??ll ever hear in the Progressive Metal Genre. But what makes Opeth so good is their extremely effective use of light and shade where they can go from the most brutal Metal riff to an acoustic interlude with effortless flow. Okay, so many Prog Metal bands do this but few do it as well as Opeth. They were originally a Death Metal band but even on earlier releases still displayed Progressive elements to their music and particularly from their Still Life album onwards have displayed strong melodic sensibilities. Opeth are able to pull this off so well because they are also fantastic musicians, not a weak link is present in the line up on this album and they have added another string to their bow with the addition of Keyboard player Per Wilberg who favours 70's Keyboards like Melotrons and Organs as well as Piano. Mikael Akerfeldt uses Death Metal growls when he sings for fifty percent of the time. It's a shame as when he chooses to sing properly he has an excellent melodic voice and should make more use of it.

The album opens with perhaps the two finest compositions the band have ever written. Ghost of Perdition and Baying of the Hounds display every element of the Opeth sound. The former opens with the most brutal riff and through the course of the song goes through all the aforementioned time and mood changes. Particularly impressive is Drummer Martin Lopez' playing. He is so much more than a Metal Drummer. Sure, he has all the fast double bass drum rolls off to a fine art but also plays with such dexterity and subtlety when called for. Baying of the Hounds displays similar qualities and the opening riff bears more than a passing resemblance to Uriah Heep. It's also worth mentioning that whilst many Metal orientated guitarists go for a blur of notes at the expense of melody in their solos, Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren go for the latter, which is far more pleasing.

Beneath the Mire opens with riff bearing a slight resemblance to Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. Particularly effective is the more laid back mid section with some excellent subtle playing from all which is followed by the Indian flavoured Atonement giving the album yet another dynamic and musical shift.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest brings us back to full power and is another album highlight featuring minimal use of Death Metal growls which is a good thing as they are replaced by some of Akerfeld's best vocals on the album and a syncopated end section which must have took a bit of practising to perfect.

It is usual to have a mellow interlude or two on an Opeth album and we get that here with Hours of Wealth and album closer Isolation Years, the former being particularly good but between them we get the excellent The Grand Conjuration. An excellent riff, Drum pattern featuring rolling Bass Drums and haunting Keyboard textures open this track with all the usual Opeth trademarks present throughout the song. Great stuff!

Musically I would award this album 5 stars but some of the songs would work better without the death metal growls.

Report this review (#148786)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth are one of the greatest metal bands ever. They are brutally heavy, but still have elements of jazz, classical and even folk in their sound. This album should be more highly rated than Still Life, but I suppose with great albums come a great amount of haters. Ghost of Perdition and The Grand Conjuration are definitive slices of this album and contain many memorable parts. The distinctive thing about Opeth is that they stress melodies over riffs. The music is intensely heavy, but flowingly melodic at the same time. There are riffage parts, but after them it always goes back into some intensely intricate melody. There are solos as well, but not a great deal. Atonement is another highlight, and in my opinion their best slower track yet. Again, the melodies are so clear and flowing. The lyrics also (moon is high, and my skin is peeling) are very well done. All in all, one of the best releases of 2005 and one of the top metal albums of the decade. Probably Opeth's best album to date.
Report this review (#150548)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was sceptical at first.The term Prog Death Metal dont seem possible.Opeth makes it work.The brutal music and vocals goes great with the softer stuff.I have always thought the best prog has light and dark atmospheres and Opeth carries it to the extreme.Sweden,Norway and Finland put out some fine Metal of all kinds and it dosnt suprise me that they would find a way to make cookie monster vocals work for me.The secret is they dont use them all the time.
Report this review (#161437)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars one of THE best Opeth albums by far. listen to ghost of perdition and try and look me in and the eye and tell me its not brilliant. this album from beginning to end pushes the boundaries of every genre it touches from loud to soft from chaotic to soothing they do every and do it perfectly. A++
Report this review (#161950)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first Opeth album I ever bought. I think it should be noted that when I held the SE copy of this album in my hands in the store, debating whether or not to slam my money down for the purchase, at the time the only Opeth song I had heard I didn't like, and as far as I was concered, they were just another growl-driven crushing death metal band with nothing original to offer, but knowing that they were associated with Porcupine Tree, one of my favorite bands ever, I decided to give them a real chance, and I bought the album. Damn, was that the right decision!

I felt like I should point that out, so that anyone who may have disliked Opeth upon first listen in the past vould possibly be encouraged by my story to go out on a limb and give the band another go!

First, let me just say how amazing the Special Edition packaging is. I know that Roadrunner records are notorious for re-releasing their band's albums unneccesarily, but in this particular case, the extra couple of bucks on the price tag is justified. It comes with a beautiful booklet with liner notes talking about the original (but ultimately abandoned) occult concepts behind the record, how the record label change was going to have no effect on the band's overall progression, and it even explains why the cover of ''Soldier of Fortune'' is present on this special edition (Deep Purple apparently is a huge influence on Opeth, along with Steven Wilson's work. Needless to say that knowledge had me feeling much more comfortable with the band now).

GHOST REVERIES is a fantastic album, and it proves that Opeth is truly a prog rock band, not a tech/extreme death metal band, not really. There are so many different genres to be found here (Jazz, Rock, Alternative, Death Metal, Acoustic, Space-rock, etc.). Too many to fit Opeth in such a stifling category of Death Metal.

Ghost of Perdition. It starts off with the typical cookie-craving growls I was anticipating, and frankly I am not too impressed usually by this sort of thing. I mean, I love it in any other context, but when it comes to prog, I expect more/ A band like Meshuggah's lead singer has a much more appealing 'yell- scream' quality to his voice, but the low, gravelly grunts I heard at the beginning of this song sounded to me like any other death metal band. But I stuck with it and decided to listen to the whole song before I made a judgement call. Smart move, because once the action slowed down and I heard the colourful rhythm guitar work come into play, I realized that this band actually liked to leave space, not just stay aggressive all the time. So I was relieved a bit by this, and then when Mike came in with his first bout of clean singing, I knew I was in for a great ride. Something else I noticed was how clearly I could hear the intricacies of the music and all of its layers. The instruments, including the distorted guitars, were very clear and apparent, showing that this band could also actually play. Around two minutes and thirty-five seconds in to the fray, and everything slows down and starts over with a completely different approach: acoustic guitar work. Never before had I heard something quite like this done. The heavy action stopped completely in its tracks and made room for this truly beautiful interlude of clean musical work. Absolutely amazing, I remember being very impressed by that.

Now, some people seem to not be able to see how this band and Porcupine Tree are alike. ''Well, one is death metal, the other is prog rock''. Wrong, my friend, wrong. Here is a perfect example where you will see just how close to PT Opeth can sound. A moment here when Mikael Åkerfeldt does a vocal flourish merely by humming a haunting tune is very reminiscent of the song ''Lips of Ashes'' by Steve Wilson and company, as is the melodic clean guitar solo that follows, If one listens to that moment of ''Ghost of Perdition'' and truly cannot see the connection, then they never will. However, in my mind the similarities are very distinct, just not all the time. But when Porcupine Tree gets heavy, or Opeth gets softer, both bands share common ground, which by the way is a good aspect of both acts. Needless to day by this point I was hooked completely by how successfully Opeth had managed to frankenstein such polor opposing genres (Acoustic and Death Metal). Honestly, I was impressed beyond words by that. Alot of bands attempt to do this, and don't succeed, but Opeth passed the test with flying colours. It is official: they have talent.

At 04:54, a solo and riff combination thunders in almost like a bennediction, and the emotion is so strong in the music. Truly. So far I had been pissed off, calmed down, fustrated again, and then incredibly uplifted all within just the first song! Oh yes, this was proving to be quite the wise purchase, indeed. The line ''Ghost of Perdition!'' is barked out by Åkerfeldt again in his growl voice, but see, this time it was different; I knew he could do so much more with his amazing voice by now that I no longer minded this side of him, because it is indeed only one side of him. Then before I knew it, the acoustic guitar and electric guitar were playing alongside of one another (Another Porcupine Tree trait). Another brillant but not showy solo, then at 08:26, one of the coolest heavy guitar riffs to hit my ears in a long, long time. Luckily this riff replayes several times until nine minutes in, then the acoustic guitar busts in again, reprising Åkerfeldt's meloding humming in the background with echo. Really great work in keeping this very diverse and far-reaching track feeling whole and consise. By the end of it all, I could still see thw whole shape, and none of it seemed convoluted at all. Wow, unbelievable.

''The Baying of the Hounds''. Kind of the same opening as the song that preceeded it, but I wasn't worried about that, because had every song that followed gone along the exact same path as ''Ghost of Perdition'', I would have still been a happy man, that first track was just that good. Happily, however, each track that followed it on the album would rpove to stand alone in their own individual greatness. How this band has managed to elude my ears for so long, I will never know, but never again! At around 01:05, Mikael sings some truly catchy, 'hum-along' notes, while still not sacrificing originality for commerciality, and by three minutes in, the progressive elements show through brightly and majestically, with odd time signatures and mellotrons-a-plenty.

The song then becomes very quiet, and by the four minute mark, the song has become much more Jazzy, which is great! So, Åkerfeldt's diction doesn't differentiate between soft and hard 's' and the word 'desire' is pronounced incorrectly, I guess the obsessive compulsive one within me could potentially get slightly annoyed by this, but it's ridiculous in the long run, because the vocal performance, especially at that particular moment, is breathtakingly beautiful. Back to the growling again, then we hear some truly head-bang-worthy guitar riffage, soon followed up by an otherwordly solo courtosy of dear Mikael. Oh my God! Then at 07:27, absolutely dazzling acoustic guitar playing takes the song in a completely new direction all over again, sealing the deal as a prog track yet a second time this record? Can all of the song really be as equally fresh and new as these first two? The answer is yes! Also, some great keyboard work in this particular section. One last blast of heavy metal stylings before the track ends.

''Beneath the Mire''. Haha, well, the riff here sounds very familiar (''Kashmir'', anyone?), but the keys in the background and the originallity to follow redeems that very quickly for me. The first of what you could really call the 'short' songs on the record, and even that is stretching it. To be honest, the track doesn't go anywhere different until around two minutes and fourty seconds in, but I suppose that is soon enough. The riffing is still the same, though, but the singing style changes. However, at three eleven, a huge change happens with some awesome guitar soloing. But at 03:23, the biggest change of all occures, and the song instantaniousely becomes a blues/jazz song, with some truly spine-tingling minor notes being peing played on piano and clean guitar. Ultimately, though, a great mystifying electric guitar solo comes into play and once again keeps the whole track feeling like the same song and not just bits and pieces from different ones. In the end, it all comes back around to the heavy side, and by five minutes, we have come all the way around the musical spectrum and landed back where we began at the song's opening. Seems to me that Opeth is very good at taking the listener through mini-adventures musically as many times as possible each song without losing structure, and they once again succeeded here. Ooooooh, a great guitar solo followed by some Meshuggah-esque riffing at 06:48. Ah, yeah, that's what I like! Give me those catchy but difficult guitar chords combos! Haha, Marz Volta-ish bass and guitar doodling can be heard in the background now, not to mention some more great 'tron work. A seemless segue leads us into the next song.

''Atonement''. The opening riff is Space-rock if I have ever heard it! Psychedelic to its fullest, and I relish every second. Bongos now, eh? Oh, and old-fasioned vocal distortion? On a death metal record?! Nah. On a prog rock record? Absolutely! At a minute fourty-five, more Porcupine Tree similarites, and awesome vocal work from Mr. Mikael Åkerfeldt. It's more of the same until around four-and-a-half minutes when piano work comes into play, adding a very tastey flavor to the whole thing. I absolutely die of listening opleasure as the track ends abrubtly with some great synthed piano keys running together to produce a very chillingly wonderful sound. Very difficult to explain in writing, you're just going to have to listen for yourself to understand fully what I mean.

''Reverie/Harlequin Forest''. This is by far my favorite track on the entire album. Why? Because unlike the tracks that preceeded it, this one doesn't go in a different direction and back again only one, but twice, possibly even thrice. Still yet, it manages to stay a completely wonderful, mesmerizing song! I truly could never describe it well enough to do it justice, so all you have to know is this: It features some of the best acoustic guitar playing I have ever heard. Ever. I'm talking about something that rivals even Michael Hedges. Don't believe me? Listen for yourself. Oh, and as for the heavy parts? Superb as well. The most Meshuggah-esqu riff is at the end of this song. Odd time signatures, really, really catchy structure. I love playing along to that part of the song, trying to keep up with the complex but oh-so-sweet sounding rhythm guitar! The clean vocal work is also the best on the album along with anything and everything else. This song is perfect. I has no flaws. Seriousely. So how can I justifiably and correctly review a flawless song? What is the need? Just . . . haha, listen to the song for yourself. After a few intense listens you will know exactly what I mean. Perfect. Perfect. PERFECT!

''Hours of Wealth''. I LOVE this song! It is the bluesiest track on GHOST REVERIES, and the guitar solo featured here is just stunning. Amazing work that truly shows what all these guys can do. And apparently they can do anything, an assumption that I would consider not too far from the truth. They certainly show more versatility than any other artist on this site I have listened to yet. If that isn't progressive, I would love to know what is.

''The Grand Conjuration''. Well, this is the single form the album, but offers so much more the radio edited mutant that most of us heard before buying the real thing. Starts off with some brutal guitar playing, then it quiets down, and we hear Mikael singing some awesomely evil tunes, soon followed by a great heavy riff that I just love playng myself, because of how simply yet powerfull it is. Once again, the voice is growling here. The problems I have with this particualr song is that for one thing, it goes on way too long without changing anything up. It is probably the weakest track in this regard. Secondly, the main solo in the song is fabulous, but after that everything else feels a little too bland and frankly boring. Had the the track been shortened a bit (but NOT in the fashion the single edit was) and the solo come in later, along with some style switches along the way, it could have been just as good as the other tracks.

''Isolation Years''. Ahhhh, another great acoustic song! Just what we need to close the album with. I love singing along to this beautiful yet haunting chorus that Mikael has dreamt up. And once again, the clean guitar playing is probably even more impressive and intricate than the distorted guitar work. Quite impressive, coming from simply a 'death metal' band, wouldn't you say?

''Soldure of Fortune''. Only available on the special edition (along with a very cool DVD that gives some great background on the band not to mention behind the scenes of this particular studio release, band member interviews, and much, much more! Get this version if you can!), this song I felt was worthy of a mention. It is a pretty good cover, I guess. I mean, I have never heard the original Deep Purple song (I know, I know. I'm hopeless), but I loved what I heard. It clearly isn't an Opeth original, because the time signature, structure and overall vocal style is too straightforawrd based on the eight preceeding tracks I had just listened to, but noetheless, this is a very good song, and possibly an even better album closer than ''Isolation Years''. So please, do yourself a favor and get tis album, and hopefully you can get the Special Edition of it, because the extra expense is actually worth it this time!

Final verdict: I am impressed! I never knew Opeth would be one of my favorite bands, but now it is beginning to appear thwat way, and that is just fine with me. Mikael Åkerfeldt, like Steve Wilson, is the mastermind and clear leader of his band. Not only does he come up with most of the concepts himself, but he contributes the most to the songwriting process, since the man can obviousely play anything he can think up. True talent, there, my friends. Observe it, appreciate it, because there aren't many people quite as talented as this around. When one finds it, especially if it is present in a genre as pretentious and self-indulgant as prog rock, it must be praised and complimented. So that is what I am doing, I am praising Opeth at great length, here, because I think they have something that most other bands-- of any genre, mnd you --will never even come close to obtaining. Now, that is something worth listening to! 4.5 Stars!

Report this review (#162949)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars This is just another great Opeth's record!

Since the marvellous Still Life, Opeth has managed to release a bunch of incredible albums... Deliverance is still my favourite one, but I must say Ghost Reveries is maybe the most complete album they have released (maybe Watershed will surpase it in variety and quality?) Nevertheless, is not their best in my opinion.

The Per Wiberg's contribution made the Opeth's music going a step further, giving the songs even more personality and new textures... You have only to hear the great ambience of songs like The Baying of the Hounds and Atonement... This man is a master in the keys. Not only in the playing. His best is giving a deep feeling to the songs, and sounding always perfect and in the right place every moment... I am a big fan of Spiritual Beggars too, and when I heard about this man joining Opeth, I could only agree!

Apart of the keyboards, when you hear Ghost Reveries after all the other Opeth's albums, you notice this is a more diversified one... Maybe their most luminous album, and along with Damantion, the most 70's influenced Akerfeldt's work. The psychedelic elements of Beneath the Mire, the mellow parts of Ghost of Perdition, the whole Atonement act... Per Wiberg's keys also help to create this proper and original retro ambient mixed with the usual Opeth's technical death metal.

The musicians also bright specially here... The Martín Méndez bass shines in every track. I really love his work on Beneath the Mire (although I consider this song is not so good like the rest...) Martín López made his best work here, without a doubt... Both in the hard and mellow parts he shines in every minute. His drums playing is so full of details... It's a real pleasure to hear this really talented man here. And so good is hearing the Akerfeldt's improving on vocals... The growls are so good as always. But his clear voice is in Ghost Reveries better than ever... So this great musicians's playing along with the outstanding quality of the music, make Ghost Reveries a true pleasure to the ears!

Despite this amount of good facts, the quality of the album is not so homogene... Beneath the Mire is under the great level of the fist two tracks. Is not bad, specially the acoustic section, but not so great. And although Atonement manages to recover some of the outstanding quality of the beginning with its 70's psychedelic feeling, it doesn't comes back completely to Harlequin Forest, another classic from this album. But then, Hours of Wealth push the album down again... I think that Opeth was not really inspired with the acoustic tracks here! They are good, bot not so great like in Damnation. Also the acoustic sound is not so good, not so direct...

Best songs: Ghost of Perdition (of course... The best song of the album. I specially love the drums and the great guitar riffs), The Baying of the Hounds (the most progressive track of the album... A variated and complex song), Harlequin Forest (it includes the best acoustic part of the album in my opinion...) and The Grand Conjuration (a bit repetitive... But really catchy, with another bunch of great riffs... This song is perfect to be played live! I loved it when I saw Opeth live in Madrid...)

Conclusion: this is one of the best Opeth's albums... They have maybe 4 or 5 albums that could be considered masterpieces... And Ghost Reveries is one of them. Not so hard than Deliverance, even more diverse than Blackwater Park, with the same feeling than Damnation, more surprising than Still Life... This album is just another step further in one of the most exciting and incredible metal acts of the last years. I can't give it five stars because it has some weak moments, specially Beneath the Mire and Hours of Wealth... And I consider than the acoustic sound is not so brilliant as it was with Steve Wilson on production. But I strongly recommend this album to every lover of the good music, and specially to the prog metal fans, because Ghost Reveries is simply one of the best prog metal releases of the new millennium!

My rating: ****

Report this review (#169504)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ghost Reveries, or Ghost Revieweries. I fail.


Ghost Of Perdition, is easily, the best Opeth track ever recorded. It's nothing short of beautiful. It starts off almost immediately with a heavy hitting guitar riff, but then eventually morphs into this folky, harmonic little section. This song is music at its best. Best song on the album. (10/10)

The Baying Of The Hounds starts off right after Ghost Of Perdition ends. This song is a little more 70's prog influenced. Organs, rock oriented drums. Great song, but it drags on a little too long. (8/10)

Beneath The Mire is sort of a pointless track for me. It seems to go nowhere. (6/10)

Atonement is an amazing track reminiscient of Within You off of Sgt Pepper. It's very trippy and the guitar playing and singing are fantastic. I love the ending segue into Reverie/Harlequin Forest. (9/10)

Reverie/Harlequin Forest is just jaw dropping. The beginning is wonderful and it continues to amaze me to this day. The vocals are perfect and everything else is. The lyrics are compelling too. The ending is my favorite on the album. (9.5/10)

Hours Of Wealth, is a short little segue into an epic song. It reminds a little of something I'd hear on a Genesis record. It's very beautiful. (9/10)

The Grand Conjuration, is a mediocre metal song. I didn't find it interesting in the least and it sounds like a crappier version of Porcelain Heart. (5/10)

Isolation Years is very good, the guitar line at the beginning is very soothing. That's about it. (8/10)

Overall this album wasn't too bad. The writing was good, but it's missing something. 3.5 stars, but I'll round it off to 4.

Report this review (#174134)
Posted Monday, June 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A gem in Opeth's diskography

Ghost Reveries, released in 2005, was my first Opeth album. I read about it and was very interested in this sort of music. Of course, I was shocked by these furious growls but I got used to it. At first, I only listened to the ballads (Hours of Wealth and Isolations Years) because I couldn't stand the other tracks. Then I discovered the other songs and yeah they are really great. The first song, Ghost of Perdition, is the best song. It starts quiet with wierd guitar sounds and then the apocalypse breaks loose. The next songs are a bit weaker but still good. Atonement is another highlight. It has a nice arabic feeling in it. The next song, Reverie- Harlequin Forest, starts a bit weak with a lot of repititve parts but has a beautiful, melodic mid-part. Hours of Wealth is a quite nice ballad. The Grand Conjuration is another long song with 10 minutes. I don't like it much but I can't really explain why. In my opinion, it's the weakest song here. The last song, Isolation Years, is again a beautiful masterpiece. Mikael Akerfeldt shows how great he can sing.

All in all, one of the best album by Opeth.

Report this review (#175857)
Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth is an underrated band, nowadays. Mikael Akerfeldt probably is one of the best metal composers ever (yes, that's true) and he is constantly criticized and accused of selling out - first because of the Damnation album and then because of the signing with Roadrunner; he is criticized because all Opeth songs are too complex and disjointed; he is criticized because Opeth is now loved by the same boys and girls that scream "Metal!" when listening to Avenged Sevenfold. "It's boring" says the common metalhead, when someone says that Opeth is great.

This, my friends, is probably the biggest injustice ever committed within the metal circles, as unjust as all the critics Metallica got after releasing the (great) Load album. First of all, Opeth isn't a commercial band. I feel like my stomach is burning when someone says that. The music Opeth produces is unique. It can be pretty aggressive, very mellow or a mix of both. After all, all this mix of styles is a true trademark of progressive music.. why people call the band sell-outs when they compose gorgeous breakdowns inside the songs is beyond me.

Yes, this is the problem: the breakdowns. If Opeth songs didn't have breakdowns, they would now be a pretty common Swedish death metal band, probably still an underground act, lost between all the other ones, in Sweden. In the beginning, Opeth was a death metal band, that incorporated some mellow elements. Now, the band is a progressive metal band with death metal elements, since there are LOTS of clean parts and calm songs on this album, much more than on, for example My Arms, Your Hearse. This transformation began with Blackwater Park, when Akerfeldt really learnt how to use his clean voice (mainly thanks to the vocal lessons given by his friend, Steven Wilson), but it's on Damnation that the frontman really acknowledges that the band CAN compose some very touching and beautiful stuff. So, Ghost Reveries contains lots of clean parts and its successor, Watershed, even contains more, but that's another story.

The inclusion of Per Wiberg in the band was extremely important to this record, too. Damnation had some nice keyboard lines that brought something new to the band's sound. Akerfeldt certainly noticed this, since the next step he made was to hire a keyboardist and, oh my God, that was the best thing he has done in a long, long time. I mean, after seven albums full of long (yes, very LONG) songs, it's hard to find fresh and new ideas. So, I applaud the addition of Per and this album definitely shows that the keyboard is an instrument that perfectly fits the band's sound and style. Atonement is the perfect example of that, being the fourth track and the first totally calm one. The melancholic vocal performance of an emotional Akerfeldt is perfectly complemented by the soft and uplifting playing of Wiberg - the melodies blend in together perfectly. The keyboard solo in the end of the song is also remarkable. In fact, this track carries an arabian or oriental atmosphere, since all the melodies are very reminiscent of the national music of those places.

This is, as I've already said, the first calm song of the record. The other ones are the excellent Hours of Wealth and the closer Isolation Years, the latter being the only tune that doesn't speak about the concept of the album (which consists of a strange occult-themed story, that talks about a guy that is possessed by a malefic entity, if I'm not wrong). Those two songs also feature some of the best Mikael's vocal performances ever. He has improved a lot, from the almost monotonous (but still beautiful) performance on Morningrise to the terrific (in a good way, obviously) one on Damnation. On Ghost Reveries he reaches his peak, clean voice-wise. His growls sound a bit more forced here than on, say, My Arms, Your Hearse (after all he is older now) but this album is, vocally, EXCELLENT, in every sense of the word.

The first track, Ghost of Perdition is a perfect way to begin the record. Some soft notes are played firstly and then the tune turns into a crushing example of how Mikael's growls are powerful. This song possibly has some of the best transitions ever by any band - I mean, the calm sections don't sound out of place between the aggressive ones, everything is flowing with harmony and beauty. The drum work is absolutely astounding, lots of double-bass, ghost notes and such. Martin Lopez was SICK during the recording of the album, he had some kind of blood disorder; still, he probably delivers the best performance of his career - original, creative, complex yet perfectly fitting the music, every beat and pattern is a priceless example of the talent of this fantastic musician. The Grand Conjuration is an example of how the drumming is so good, I mean, Lopez doesn't try anything ultra-technical there, but the drum work sounds so EVIL, if you know what I mean.

That track (which was also the single of the record) features some guitar solos too, which isn't a common thing on Opeth songs. Mikael and Peter, however, filled many of Deliverance's songs with solos and they do the same here; they are not brilliant (since when the guitar solos are the best points of Opeth's music?), but they are still enjoyable and add some "metal feeling" to the songs (metal wouldn't be metal without solos, right?). The guitar riffs remain very similar to the ones featured on the other albums of the band; The Baying of the Hounds probably is the best song of the bunch riff-wise, mainly thanks to the explosive beginning. It also has a fantastic middle section (that "beneath the... deep mire" part is astounding). After The Baying of the Hounds, there is Beneath the Mire, the third track of the record and the only low point of it too, since it is arguably the worst tune of the bunch. I hate the beginning, with that strange keyboard riff and the rest of the song doesn't help either: in fact, I can't remember anything about the song (and I heard it a couple of times!) other than the horrid beginning. But, hey, who's complaining, every album has its flaws!

Harlequin Forest is the fifth track and the longest one. It has a small intro, called Reverie, consisting on the repetition of some guitar lines. I hate repetition, but Reverie sounds great anyways, it kind of builds the atmosphere to Harlequin Forest, which begins with a drum fill and Mikael singing "Into the trees...". This beginning sounds great, it's like we really are beginning a journey into a mysterious forest, it's really epic, a thing that isn't common on other Opeth songs, since the band composes many long songs but few of them can really be considered "epic". The song then progresses to a relatively heavy part, dominated by the unconventional drum beats of Martin Lopez; this section ends with an absolutely gorgeous breakdown, very jazzy and relaxing (Opeth would later, with Watershed, build more jazzy breakdowns, like the one on Lotus Eater and Hessian Peel). After that, we are led to the only big flaw of the tune: the outro, which is excessively repetitive, being almost two minutes long. I mean, there are good outros, like the one on Deliverance's title track, but this one is kind of... weak. Nevertheless, I really like this song.

Another key factor that makes Ghost Reveries what it is, is the top notch production, one of the best I've ever heard. All the instruments are audible (the bass is a bit low, however) and the album has a powerful sound, with the guitars assuming, obviously, the biggest role. The keyboards aren't too loud, but they are still there, very audible, also assuming an important role on the record, giving, as I've already said, a fresher and warmer atmosphere to the album. The drums sound great too, we finally hear clearly Martin's bass drums, yay!

Concluding, this album is a MASTERPIECE. Sure there are some low points, but the record sounds great individually and as a whole (and bear in mind that it's hard to make albums, clocking in at around 70 minutes, that sound very well as a whole). This record deserves to be placed among all the other metal classics, Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, Powerslave, ...And Justice For All, Images and Words, Awaken the Guardian, Slowly We Rot - yes, Ghost Reveries deserves to be placed between them. I hope that, in the future, people will begin to stop with the stupid criticism and take the time to listen to this album and understand why it is so beautiful, solid and brilliant at the same time. From the gorgeous Hours of Wealth to the aggression of The Baying of the Hounds, to the complexity of the middle section of Harlequin Forest to the evil atmosphere of The Grand Conjuration, almost every moment of this piece is amazing in it's own way. This is possibly the best and the most consistent album Opeth ever made.

One last note to the special edition of the record: I would strongly recommend to get that version instead of the normal version, since it comes with an interesting DVD, featuring the making-of of the album and the (crappy) music video of The Grand Conjuration. It also contains an extended booklet, with some nice pictures and drawings and liner notes, written by Mikael Akerfeldt. There is also a bonus track, a Deep Purple cover, called Soldier of Fortune. While I haven't heard the original, I think this song completely fits the record, being stunningly beautiful, thanks to Akerfeldt's vocal approach. An interesting fact about the song, is that Lopez already left the band when it was recorded, so the drums are played by Martin Axenrot, his replacement (and what a replacement, indeed!).

Best Moments of the CD (chosen ALMOST randomly): -the "aaaaaaaah" part on Ghost of Perdition. -the beginning of The Baying of the Hounds. -the beginning and keyboard solo of Atonement. -the creepy guitar lines of Reverie. -the whole jazzy middle section of Harlequin Forest. -the "Looking to my window... I seem to recognize... All the people passing by... But I'm alone and far from home..." part of Hours of Wealth. -the beginning and outro of The Grand Conjuration.

I just don't give away 5 stars frequently, so this piece is a MUST-HAVE. This will possibly remain as my second favourite metal album ever, behind the unbeatable Powerslave. Highly recommended, but if you don't like progressive music, don't torture yourself with this "piece of pompous crap". Anyways, FANTASTIC record.

Report this review (#176667)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the disappointments of Damnation/Deliverance, Opeth needed to deliver here, at least in my eyes, and to an extent the band certainly did. Gone now is the production and occasional mellotron and guitar work of Steven Wilson but in comes the bands first full time keyboard player, in the shape of Per Wiberg. Ghost Reveries would also prove to be the final time that Martin Lopez will sit behind the drum kit on an Opeth album.

In the main, there are two major differences between Ghost Reveries and previous albums that the band has previously released. The first is the production, its immediately apparent that the crystal clear and highly defined production of the albums Still Life through to Damnation is gone in favour of a more muddy and blurred sound to it, the instruments don't seem to quite have the individual space in the overall sound that they used to. The second is that the overall feel of the album is bizarrely far more upbeat than on any other album of theirs. Its this last change that is so perplexing because the dark, melancholic atmospheres of previous albums was their towering strength. Extreme music of this variety doesn't really work to well when you try to inject an up-beat feel to it, it would appear.

There are two problems here, though. The first being that Per Wiberg seems to be something of a none-entity, with his keyboard playing well and truly buried and contributing little to the overall sound of the album. Secondly, the tendency to extend songs past their lifetime on Deliverance has been kept here, though to not such a crippling degree. The worst offender being Reverie/Harlequin Forest as the last 4-5 minutes could have been cut down to less than 2, and The Grand Conjuration and Ghost of Perdition could have done with a little pruning as well. Having said that, this is definitely not a bad album and certainly a big improvement over the last two, with the band making full use of its trademark style of contrast. The Baying of the Hounds is exceptional song and stands out as one of Opeths best whilst the eastern influences of Atonement make for an unusual track.

In the end, though, Opeth can and have done better, 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#179970)
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The inclusion of a keyboardist into their ranks is exactly what Opeth needed, I have to say.

Before Ghost Reveries, their sound was a bit stale, inexplicably flat. Just a bit monotonous, though without this album I couldn't have said why. Per Wiberg jumps onto the scene here, adding the sonic backdrops that Opeth deserves. Suddenly there are more flavors to Opeth than just the sour taste of old, sad rust, which isn't a bad sort of vibe, just a bit much to hang on to for seven albums.

The music is more lively, too. The heavy parts play heavy like you would expect, but they also start adding speed--and adrenaline. No longer just a sense of fear or doom, but a sense of thrilling fear, of intriguing menace. Hard to explain, but the difference to me is quite clear between this album and the ones before it. The overall production and sound quality is rounder, fuller, more full of life, if you will, though still retaining that ideal of death metal.

Also of note is, in the vein somewhat of Damnation, the presence of three completely clean-vocals mellow tracks (Atonement, Hours of Wealth, and Isolation Years). The rest of the tracks feature some measure of growling and grunting. This album also marks the first (and I guess last) album where Martin Lopez's drums strike me as interesting and creative. Fans have long sworn by the man, but only here do I find his rhythm work worthy of extra notice. The band still keeps the bass prominent in the mix, filtering out some of the domination of the guitars to add in the keyboards.

And in the end, the balance works great. This is a very good starting point for someone interested in Opeth, and a must have for anyone who is enjoying the band to much of a degree at all.

Report this review (#184031)
Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me a wile, but i finally saw the light

Though not being the first Opeth album i ever listened, Ghost Reveries was, in fact, the first Opeth album i ever bought, probably sometime between November and December of 07. Since the time i bought it i liked the album but i was not able to enjoy it completely probably because i was not mature enough in prog rock and in progressive metal (specially in the extreme session of progressive metal), so it was recently that i finally realized how good this album really was.

In that maturing process was very important to listen carefully to all Opeth's discography, so i could realize their stylistic evolution. For example, though this album is still very heavy and have the guttural vocals that characterizes Opeth, Steven Wilson's influence was very deep in Mikael Åkerfeldt and that caused: the appearance of another one musician in Opeth's line-up (Per Wiberg, who would tackle the keyboard duties) and increased complexion in Opeth's music, most notably using the keyboards to build a harmonic base, better balance in the songs (the heavy songs have more calm or increased usage of acoustic instruments and with the soft songs the opposite happens) and, due to the two previous features listed, the orchestration in general became more complex.

This album is, also, the first album Opeth released without any special guest since Still Life, back in 1999. So, Ghost Reveries symbolizes some kind of rebirth, after being six years making albums with Steven Wilson.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

This album have some musical differences from its predecessors that must be pointed out. The most important is the inclusion of keyboards in Opeth's music, as i said before. The keyboards, apart from making the harmonic base, also makes the music thicker, in the lack of a better term. Also their music is noticeably more ethereal and moody, heading every time more towards progressive rock than to extreme metal.

As always, the instrumental work is wonderful: both guitars work perfectly as a team, just like the whole band that, though being reasonably independent among themselves (the only exception being the keyboards, who supports the whole band), work perfectly well together.

Grade and Final Thoughts

It almost took me a year, but i finally saw that this album is really, really good and deserves the masterpiece grade and the significant improvements listed in my review support my decision. A great album indeed.

Report this review (#184918)
Posted Monday, October 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Talking about Opeth is talking about constant evolution. Yes, it's true; they have been faithful to their primary style, which is of course, Death Metal soaked with tech/progressive structures and sounds. But it was the thirst of new sounds that led these Swedish guys to hire Steven Wilson as a producer and recorded 3 albums with him: "Blackwater Park", "Deliverance" and "Damnation", this last one released on 2003. Even though, Opeth had a very distinctive style by then, they needed to move on, so they could really take off. And I think they finally did it with "Ghost Reveries".

After that, once again they entered the studio, this time Jens Bogren was the man in charge of the recording sessions. So, why did I even mention Steven Wilson? 'Cause he marked some kind of an Era. 'Cause the Opeth/Wilson formula worked both ways. It did affected Wilson's further works with Porcupine Tree, as he adopted a heavier sound, not as heavy as Opeth, but heavy indeed; and it also affected the last 2 Opeth releases: this one and their last one, "Watershed". They both fed back from each other in a very positive way.

The thing that made this album so special was the balance of subtlety and aggressiveness. Through the whole album we can sense the powerful Heavy Metal riffs penetrating our ears and right after, an acoustic passage or a keyboard break join the blend to make it a tasty experience; finding in "Ghost of Perdition" one of their career's peak. We can also remark the powerful "Baying of the Hounds" chaining itself with softer pieces like the beautiful "Hours of Wealth", "Isolation Years" or "Atonement", where we can notice the Camelian influence, which gets a little stronger on "Watershed".

My rating: 4 Stars. 4 ½ Stars really.

Reason of my rating:

I really see Opeth as one of today's headliners of the Progressive Metal Scene, also one of the innovators in the specific terms of the Tech/Extreme Prog Metal. They found on this album their real own style, where they can move on any direction they want. Why not 5 Stars? I know this is only the beginning; they've got a lot of cool thing coming.

Report this review (#185590)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ghost Reveries has to be my favorite Opeth album. One of the best Death and Progressive metal albums ever made; it combines atmosphere with Extreme Death Metal perfectly. Mikael Akerfeldt has finally developed his gutteral vocals to mere perfection and clean vocals to the same standard. The riffs have evolved and the melodies matured.

The album begins with a ten-minute grinder, Ghost of Perdition. A great opening for the album and introduce the music concepts behind it. The rest of the album flows with seven more songs varying from lengths of eleven minutes to three minutes. The songs have different styles driving them, some from a Porcupine Tree sound like Atonement, others of a largely Death metal root like The Grand Conjuration. Though Death metal, experimental and acoustic themes occur regularly throughout the album. The Death metal sound lies mainly in the central use of riffs, the vocals, and dissonance, but not the mainstay of their writing, constant use of slow, melodic sections and clean vocals are prominent idea. As a whole, it is not driven by technical ability, but rather, driven by virtuoso writing and use of atmosphere. The riffs used in this album are what truly separate Opeth from conventional Death Metal riffs and musical design, though to the great contrast of melodic and atmospheric qualities breaks the mold of conventional Extreme Prog Metal.

This album IS a must have for anyone looking to have a complete Prog collection. Let alone Opeth is one of the most definitive bands in the Prog metal genre, the perfection of this album demands respect and at least some interest from Proggers across the board.

Report this review (#186556)
Posted Tuesday, October 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
3 stars A very good album from the best prog metal band of our day.

Recognised as Opeth's best album by some, a great effort by most, Ghost Reveries is arguably the band's proggiest effort to date. Personally, I don't think it quite touches the standard of the classics Still Life, MAYH, Morningrise and Blackwater Park, but it is pretty good to say the least and entertaining throughout. The only thing that lets it down however are three tracks which I don't find are at the standard of the rest: these three tracks are Baying of the Hounds, Atonement and Isolation Years. The rest of them though are quite brilliant.

Of the good tracks, which are what I'm about to focus on, I would say that Ghost of Perdition and The Grand Conjuration are my favourites, for the simple reason that they are the most interesting to me. Ghost of Perdition is quite possibly one of Opeth's best songs, and is the standout track of the album. It goes through many phases of which include bonecrunching riffs, breathtaking drumming from Martin Lopez, a beautiful quiet section towards the middle, complex songwriting, Mikael Akefeldt's deepest growling and overall a perfect contrast of brutality and melody. The Grand Conjuration is a harder rocker and is great to play loud. Only one word can describe this piece: brutal. All the way through almost, and it is pretty damn strange at best. My favourite part of this song is the break after the quite section with the guitar fading into an aggressive riff. This also contains one of Akefeldt's fastest guitar solos and is fantastic to listen to all the way through if you love prog metal like myself.

The remaining standout tracks are not too shoddy themselves. Beneath the Mire introduces us to a middle-eastern feel with a kickass, yet simplistic, drum beat. This is the proggiest effort off the album by a narrow margin, and includes a very symphonic middle section. Reverie/Harlequin Forest is a brilliant song which is divided into two parts. The first is a standard hard rocker with majoritively clean vocals and some lyrics that deserve a mention. The second has a rather obvious Pink Floyd touch to it and a superb ending that sound reminiscently, as mentioned before, of Meshuggah with the yes, it is in 4/4, but you just try and keep in time with it approach that was seen before in the ending of Deliverance. Hours of Wealth is a beautiful ballad which is pure melody. Tasteful is the perfect word to describe this effort, and even though it is one of the only Opeth songs that lacks drums, it is by no means boring. The middle build up is simply brilliant and the finale guitar solo rises the hairs on the back of my neck.

The other three tracks that i don't care much for are not by no means poor. I simply just don't like them. No use asking me to explain myself, but they just don't float my boat. End of story.

Overall an excellent album. However, because they don't touch the standard of the classics, I am forced to give it a ranking lower than 4 stars. But it is too good for 2 stars by a mile. So 3 stars it is, i think that is justice in my eyes. If it were a 10 star rating system i would give it 7, but unfortunately it isn't. Good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#187736)
Posted Sunday, November 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Ghost Reveries' - Opeth (9.5/10)

At first spin of this album, I was quite taken aback by it's unique blend of heaviness and progression. However, I wasn't quite in love with it just yet... In fact, it took me almost a year and a half to completely let the album sink in, long after Opeth had become one of my favourite bands, and I was an owner of a considerable portion of their repetoire. Then one day, I decided to take it back out and give it another few listens. To say I was 'blown away' is only the beginning. From then on, 'Ghost Reveries' has since become one of my favourite albums of all time, and arguably my most enjoyed Opeth release yet.

This album has everything that could be asked for in a Progressive Death Metal release... There is a sufficient level of weirdness to maintain interest for many, many listens, and there are parts that can only be described as earth-shatteringly heavy. However, despite these heavy leanings, Akerfeldt still manages to sneak in some more mellow, melodic ballads (such as the vocally powerful 'Hours Of Wealth' and the ever beautiful 'Isolation Years') into the album's tapestry.

'Ghost Reveries' has very few, if any 'boring' moments. The result of which is an album that is in no way a chore to listen to from start to finish. Songs like the grandiose 'Ghost of Perdition' and the depressingly romantic 'Isolation Years' stood out for me as being truly worthy of brilliance.

A great album to start your Opeth fanhood with, and one of the few modern classics of metal.

Report this review (#204912)
Posted Monday, March 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Prototypical Opeth..this is the one to buy first

My advice to start here may sound strange as I have already rated two Opeth albums masterpieces over this one and may add another (Still Life). But this album is the balance point where you get much of the best of the band in its many aspects. Many point to Blackwater Park as THE Opeth album, but I actually like this one better. The high points are higher, the track order is better, and there are fewer lulls. And unlike some albums, this one deserves a track by track description.

Ghost of Perdition - This is Opeth in a song, probably their best ever and certainly top three. It contains Mikael's perfected growls, harmony vocals, folky acoustic guitars, multiple 3-time melodic riffs and of course crushing death metal syncopation. It's a true prog epic, in that there are many different sections that weave in and out with clear purpose and intention. Where many bands have chord beds for improvisational solos, this song is obviously carefully composed. One of the best headbanging moments of all time (the "Devil cracked the earthly got to live before you die young" section) appears early in two repetitions, and is never seen again. That's songwriting maturity. Rather than milking a good riff, this section serves a purpose within the whole song and nothing more. The solo is relatively brief and simple, and again, is perfectly placed. If you wanted one song to exemplify the entire genre (Prog Death Metal), this is it. 11/10

Baying of the Hounds - This song pushes things further into adventurous territory, opening with a riff more grooving than is typically heard in an Opeth song. Along with plenty of storytelling done in dragonvoice (a frequent but strange Opeth element) this song brings in various keyboard sounds from vibes to mellotron to strings. This song doesn't pull you in like the opener, but it has some great sections, and multiple monster riffs. Akerfeldt also begins to introduce some serious dissonance, prog sound, and weirdness that will fuel Watershed (esp Lotus Eater). 8/10

Beneath the Mire - Opening with a simple groove, a staccato guitar riff backing a violin key melody takes into a slide-y section a little reminiscent of Drapery Falls, but thicker. Harsh vocals enter, as melodic as they can be, breaking through the thick layers at just the right time. Multiple solos also punctuate this piece, and while none are as memorable as track 1's guitar break, they are perfectly placed. This song is a good example of apparent harsh breaks in the music actually making melodic and thematic sense. It takes multiple listens, but is worth the effort. I especially like the classically proggy outro. 7/10

Atonement - This is a mid-tempo song with clean electrics and plenty of keyboards, effected vocals, strummy guitars and a fairly straightforward lead over some laid-back drums in four. The 70's prog influences allow the repetitiveness of the song to stand-up, but is a let-up in creativity. Not as poor as the closer, but a still a little weak. 6/10

Reverie / Harlequin Forest - The most epic song on an album with several epic-length pieces. This one has some great moments and some overlong sections, but the overall structure is that of classic prog, a multi-section narrative with a unified theme. Much of the storytelling here is done in a low clean voice, with good melodic content which maintains the listeners interest well. When the growls come in (8:30 is a great example), they make sense and contribute to the song. 7/10

Hours of Wealth - The best quiet piece of the album, this song contains both clean electric and acoustic guitar, mellotron and does evoke Damnation to some extent. However, it's actually a little quicker and, if possible, warmer than the chill of Opeth's all-clean album. There are near a capella parts with just keys, nice harmonies, a tasty solo in Akerfeldt's jazz-bluesy style. A very nice transition piece, though certainly not a highlight in itself. 7/10

The Grand Conjuration - The album closes in more listener-friendly fashion, first heavy and then light. This song, which was not surprisingly chosen for a video, is based around a simple 3 note/chord pattern that gets varied and twisted in many different forms, but provides a very simple anchor that makes this song much easier to understand on first listen. Similarly, the light whispered vocals, slow addition of instruments and angry chorus border on formulaic. Interestingly, this light touch hides the fact that this song has the most blackened lyrics of the album. The guitar solo section has a fairly straight tapping section and more standard metal sound than Mikael usually employs. At midpoint, the song shifts to a much more proggy section starting with keys and then hitting full blast death metal. This song is a live favorite and it's easy to see why. It pulls you in easy, slowly grows and then releases energy in a sweet angry release. The outro, a return to the main theme, is probably not needed, and seems a little too long. It does work well in the live setting and had it been the end to the entire album (it should have been), I would have also agreed with the choice. 8/10

Isolation Years - the low point of the album for me. Many fans lump Opeth's clean vocal / guitar works into a Damnation bin, but they actually vary widely in quality, adventurousness, melody, and emotion. This one is perhaps the weakest of the entire catalog. The lyrics, the melody, the harmonic structure are simple-minded (almost pop), somewhat repetitive, and seem out of place on an Opeth record. The vocals are well performed but the songwriting is below the band's standard. For me, a disappointing close to a strong record. 4/10

So we have a masterpiece song, one throwaway, and a variety of 6-8/10 songs showcasing the different faces of the band well. Again, I think this is a perfect introduction to the band, perhaps the best example of their typical sounds. The following album, Watershed, is moving in a new direction, Damnation is the equivalent of a side project between Steven Wilson and Akerfeldt, and other works are simply more uneven than this record. Not a masterpiece, but very good extreme prog metal.

Report this review (#207467)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#210617)
Posted Monday, April 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first Opeth album, and I was wholly unprepared for the ride I was about to be taken on when the first melancholic chords of Ghost of Perdition came at me. How something so explosive and brutal can be so beautiful and harmonic is just unbelievable.

First thing that surprised me about this album was the growling. I hate growling. But, then again, what Åkerfeldt does isn't really growling, but rather singing with a distorted voice. Before I had heard his growling, I thought of growling as either the sound of a screaming cookie monster or an asthmatic having a coughing fit. With Åkerfeldt it's none of that though. His growling is a diabolical as can be, yet you can hear what he's singing at the same time. Growling for growling's sake is awful, but when growling can actually convey a message and lyrics, it's a great mood-setting tool.

It's not just the growling that holds an "above-the-rest" quality; the instruments are played with incredible timing and perfection as well, and the mixing and sound quality is as good as can be. The decision to include keyboardist Per Wiberg is also a great move forwards for the band, adding another layer of harmony to the plethora of layers already there.

This album is very dark and depressive, and it let's all of that out in the explosive moments that interchange with the melancholic and often acoustic parts. You can say the whole feel of the album is that of built-up and released rage and sadness.

I can't find anything to complain about really, this is just an amazing album.

Report this review (#216209)
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth and the mysticism of dance...

Dancing fitfully under the ethereal stars, this album is a more balanced affair than their previous efforts. Calling out like progressive mesh of Deliverance and Damnation, this is one of Opeth's most whole works.

The songs have more focus on the "softer" moments, than before, but the death metal seems to be made more progressive and skillfully written, where I found them to be somewhat lacking in the past. Mikael pulls no punches in his magnificent vocal delivery, and each song has several highly worthwhile musical ideas that are explored thoroughly. Most of the songs follow a mammoth and unpredictable way of mixing hard edged death metal, with powerful death roars, and a more psychedelic/electrocustic rock with softer and more warm singing.

The album begins with an unassuming minor key piano line, before it erupts into a brutal swaying track. Ghost Of Perdition, in the 10 minutes, offers so many amazing sounds, that it stays highly evocative the entire trip through. The Baying Of The Hounds follows suit, but in a more symphonic manner. this features a good deal of keyboard work interspersed alongside the thick guitars and guttural roars.

Truly, Opeth keep amazing, as they don't ever seem to stagnate, but continue to release high quality material that feels as if it could only be Opeth. Beneath The Mire has perhaps the most overtly ghoulish atmosphere. The opening melody is trance inducing in its Gothic splendor. Through this disc, I found that as they put more emphasis on softer arrangements than before, that more compositional care was taken with the death metal sections, which I feel adds needed balance between the two opposing, but highly complimentary styles.

Atonement is simply stunning. This is the most psychedelic track these talented individuals have performed, and it screams summer of (evil) love. Opeth always wore their influences rather honorably, as they never delve into stiff repetition of past greatness, and are still able to admirably release high wuality and original material of their own creation. Indeed, there is a staggering amount of honestly worthwhile diversity, within, and this serves extremely well to make for a hybrid and intriguing atmosphere.

Harlequin follows suit of the mammoth mini epics, only with much more focus on the lighter side. It is followed by Hours Of Wealth, which is beautiful. Passionate restraint is captured elegantly, to provide the listener with the prettiest on record moment. The Grand Conjuration returns to knotty structures in towering defiance. Isolation Years closes with a melancholic tear.

The beauty and rage Opeth are able to masterfully cull is astounding, and this keeps them as forerunners of experimental and adventurous progressive music, with a high factor for emotional attachment and build up, Opeth have shown me why I love music so much, once again.

Best Moment - Most all of it, but Atonement is unexpected brilliance

Worst Moment - The silence after it is all over

***** Reverent stars

Report this review (#219948)
Posted Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is Opeth's masterpiece and as said by songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt, the first album without any "holes". It is also a great starting point, along with Damnation, for new Opeth listeners. This is the final Opeth album with drummer Martin Lopez and guitarist Peter Lindgren.

As promised by Mikael, the album starts heavy with Ghost of Perdition. With the first few chords struck, you might be lulled into believing that the album is starting with a ballad or one of their lighter songs. The guttural vocals and heavy riffing that immediately follow, disprove any such notion. The track soars "higher" and higher with solos, vocal hooks, and the deep growls and haunting riffs that we have all come to know and love with Opeth

The second track, The Baying of the Hounds, is the weakest of the heavy tracks on the album, but is still a great song by any standards.

The third track opens with a mellotron melody that it could have done without, but is excellent afterward. There is also a possible reference to Dream Theater's masterpiece "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory" in the line "Lost. love. of the heart in a holocaust scene memory".

Atonement is a great clean track about coming to terms with one's self. It includes some cool drumming, distorted vocals and a beautiful closing piece.

Reverie/Harlequin Forest is probably the standout track of the album. The album switches from heavy riffing to beautiful acoustic passages and closes with an instrumental similar to the ending of A Fair Judgement from Deliverance.

Hours of Wealth is a beautiful clean track. Unlike many Opeth songs, you can appreciate it on the first listen. The track combines clean electric guitars, acoustic, and a piano melody that is followed by standout vocals by Mr Akelfeldt with some mellotron in the background, and closes out with a nice solo.

The Grand Conjuration is the only single of the album. The single is a cut down version of the song, which suits it just fine, because the song is longer than it needs to be. It is still an enjoyable track with a slightly disturbing video with a couple of sexy ladies :)

The album closes with a sad, melodramatic track called 'Isolation Years'. It is about a letter written by an old woman whose lover died many years ago, and realizes that she will die alone. The vocals are clean in this track and is accompanied by a simple melody.

This is a must listen for Opeth fans, progressive metal and death metal fans alike. The following album, Watershed, is a great album but not a masterpiece, but these guys are human afterall.

Report this review (#226551)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Well it seems that, two years earlier, I was too pessimistic about Opeth's future. Akerfelt must have found a new treasure box of fabulous riffs and serves them hot and spicy in a stellar 60 minute journey right through the heart of magic metal land. (Excuse me for the somewhat exuberant style here; I just thought I needed something to fit the music).

We can regret that it lacks the unmatched atmosphere of Opeth's early years, as both the frost bitten gloom of the early albums and the haunted angst of Still Life and Blackwater Park are no more, but the musicality and song quality are unbelievably high throughout. With this album Opeth has created another best rock album ever. It's unfair just how good this band is.

Report this review (#236691)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first Opeth CD Review, where to start? Well my youngest son got me into these in the past six months - listening to them while helping him with the dishes after dinner ! Well this CD is a real mixed bag of total-thrash metal with the death-metal growling that is good for getting boy- band fans diving for cover and soft melodic mellotron and classical guitar duets. None of the tracks achieve epic length but four are 10 minutes plus, and these longer compositions are the backbone of the CD, lots of good heavy riffing with melodic interludes. The album could do with a few more guitar solo's but there are a few good fret moments in "Beneath the Mire", "The Baying of the Hounds" and "The Grand conjuration". I'm lucky in that I like very thrashy technical metal AND melodic progressive rock, thus tracks like "Atomement" appeal to me even though this is a lighter track full of good Mellotron and classical guitar. This is one of my favourites on this CD along with "Beneath the Mire". A good solid technical effort with lots of good moments to take you through the whole CD, 3.95 stars rounded up to FOUR!
Report this review (#243469)
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars Ghost Reveries was my first Opeth album, and I really can't imagine a better way to get into the music of Opeth. This album is much more melodic than the previous releases of Opeth. Many melodic passages can be heard throughout the album. Also, Ghost Reveries combines the heavy growls and death metal riffs with softer music, which clearly is influenced by the 70's prog bands. This album might as well be Opeth's most progressive up to date.

The album starts out with the heavy growls of "Ghost Of Perdition", a very diverse and progressive song. The sng takes us through many changes and passages, and really is a brilliant piece of music. The second song on the album, "The Baying Of The Hounds" starts out, just like the opener, very loud. Heavy growls and distorted riffs make this song one of the most striking songs I know. The song has a softer middle section though, but after about six minutes becomes just as powerful as the way it starts. "The Grand Conjuration" is another heavy song, though it is much less good than the previous two. It still is very enjoyable though.

The album has several softer songs, like Hours Of Wealth and Isolation years. The songs give the album some nice atmosphere, and make the album a very diverse thing. Another soft, atmospheric song is Atonement, of which the final minute is called "Reverie". Though the final minute is included in track 4, your CD player will tell you it's track 5 already. "Harlequin Forest" is probably my favorite Opeth track ever. The song starts out hauntingly powerful, though nowhere as loud as "Ghost Of Perdition". The second half is much more melodic though, and really is brilliant. Another great song is "Beneath The Mire". It opens with an eastern riff, but soon turns into a heavy masterpiece in the vein of "Baying Of The Hounds".

Ghost Reveries is a brilliant album, but I don't think it really is a masterpiece. The album definitely is worth four stars, but it just comes a very slight bit short to get five stars. Songs like "Baying Of The Hounds" and "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" are among the very best of Opeth though.

Report this review (#250290)
Posted Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ghost Reveries is the eigth full-length studio album by Swedish progressive death metal act Opeth. Opeth had signed to Roadrunner Records before recording Ghost Reveries and thereby taken another step forward in their career. There´s been a change in the lineup as keyboard player Per Wiberg is now a member of the band. The use of mellotron and organ on the Damnation (2003) album was obviously something main composer Mikael Åkerfeldt wanted to explore even further.

The music on the album is unmistakably the sound of Opeth. Mid-paced crushingly heavy yet clever riffing, acoustic sections, growling and clean vocals and as usual some complex song structures. The addition of keyboards was something I feared when I heard about it the first time. I´ve always enjoyed that Opeth´s sound didn´t feature keyboards and I was afraid how the outcome would be. As it turns out Per Wiberg´s playing is very tasteful and his use of vintage keyboards actually gives Opeth´s sound yet another dimension ( who would have thought that, that was possible?). The album is 66:46 minutes long and features 8 songs ( the special edition also features the Deep Purple cover Soldier of Fortune). 4 of the songs exceed the 10 minute mark. There´s a couple of new features on Ghost Reveries that Opeth haven´t tried before in the psychadelic tinged Atonement. A song it´s taken me quite some time to appreciate. After some time I´ve begun to really enjoy the variation it brings to the album. An album that was already the most varied album by Opeth up until then. Hours of Wealth and the beautiful almost ballad type track Isolation Years also really stick out. The main attraction on the album is the 5 longer tracks though and they are of a very high quality. Ghost of Perdition which starts the album is a strong track. The Baying of the Hounds and Beneath the Mire are also crushingly heavy yet varied and complex in structure. The same can be said about Reverie / Harlequin Forest which features lots of progressive sections and quite a lot of clean vocal sections. The Grand Conjuration is the most heavy and brutal track on the album and it´s also the track that´s taken me the longest to appreciate. Not because it´s too brutal but it´s the only track that doesn´t feature extensive clean singing and for a long time I felt it wasn´t varied enough. It´s still my least favorite track on Ghost Reveries but I´ve come to appreciate it more with time.

The production on the album is clean and enjoyable. Heavy yet well defined.

Opeth´s albums are like long adventurous journeys for me and it´s taken a couple of years for me to be able to review Ghost Reveries. I´m glad I gave it time because the album has grown on me in those years to a point where it´s one of my favorites by the band. While still maintaining their unique signature sound Opeth have succeeded in expanding the bounderies of their style again. Ghost Reveries is a masterpiece in my book and fully deserves a 5 star rating.

Report this review (#252303)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After an entire discography that seemed to be growing increasingly better with each release, Opeth finally went and created their masterpiece, "Ghost Reveries" define everything that Opeth has been and is about. Reaching the peak of their incredible song writing and execution, there isn't much to comment on this album that hasn't either been mentioned by others here or is apparent on the first listen of this album. In either case you will most likely know if you will love the music from the first song alone.

"Ghost Reveries" goes even deeper into Mikael Åkerfeldt's progressive past and some might argue that it for this reason isn't comparable to "Still Life" which showcased more of the true progressive death metal aspects of their music, I for one disagree with this. Where "Still Life" is as important and masterfully played as this one, it lacked the vision to fully emerge from its sub genre. Yes, it was genre defining, perhaps even the finest of its genre, but to me it never moved so far away from its ancestry to be considered a masterpiece on its own merit. This is what "Ghost Reveries" is, their step away from their roots and finally into completely uncharted territory.

It all sounds very much like Opeth, or if you are unfamiliar with the name; melancholic death metal with passages of acoustic guitars and wonderful softer vocals by Mr. Åkerfeldt all wrapped into influences of progressive rock. With the addition of a keyboard player and the choice to even further emphasize the vocal harmonies Steven Wilson helped Åkerfeldt utilize in their previous releases, their music takes an even more prominent swing towards something fresh. The album works as a concept album and stays consistent lyrically and thematically almost all through, although I'm unsure to which degree as the songs are very strong as stand alone as well.

This sadly marked the end for Opeth as it was when Martin Lopez and Peter Lindgren left the band shortly after the release. Apparently there had been creative differences and some dependence issues with Lopez and he left the band to pursue his own musical projects. Losing such a forceful presence in the rhythm-section is a hard blow to the band and the replacement Martin Axenrot, who also appears on this album's 9th track, can hardly be said to bring as much creativity and diversity as the Latin influenced drumming of Lopez.

A masterpiece of modern metal and progressive music both. A must have for any serious music collector.


Report this review (#252470)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, I may have said that Still Life is my favourtie all time Opeth album, but to be honest, after hearing this album again, I have to again consider this album. I can't really choose between them, but I have to admit, there was a certain quality to Still Life that I still love, and since it was my first Opeth album, it will probabbly always be favoured.

This album is just as good I believe. The songs are absoulte progtastic, the growls are some of the best I've ever heard, the lyrics are incredibly poetic, the artwork is amazing, the songs are kickass and catchy...could you really want more?

This also sadly was the last album to feature the classic Opeth line up, and even with added key player Per Wiberg.

This album seems to have a concept, dealing with someones mother, ghosts, cults, Satan himself, trees, dogs and forests. I can't really piece one together, it is still a bit ambigous.

This song also deals with 4 epic songs. If anything, they stand out amongst the others, but the other songs are amazing too, it's just these 4 songs are beyond compare.

1. Ghost Of Perdition - The intro is quite scary, especially when this is one of the first ever Opeth songs you ever hear. The rest of the song is a mammoth, with lovely melodies, scary growls, amazing musicianship, and even some remerable catchy segments. Also a proud welcoming for the use of organs and mellotrons in death metal, who knew that they work so good together.

2. The Baying Of Hounds - Apparently Mike Portnoy says that this song is, "one of the greatest metal songs ever made," and I kind of agree with him. This song (like my other choice for the greatest metal song...Machine Head's Imperium) takes all the things about metal which makes it such a good genre, melody, power, brutallity and at times beauty. A force to be reckoned with.

3. Beneath The Mire - The intro of this song is very kickass. The organ does make the riff seem bery eerie and cold. A perfectly composed piece of music, with enough to keep you interested for 8 minutes.

4. Atonement - A more droney song that reminds me of Weakness from Damnation. Very effective, indeed.

5. Reverie/Harlequin Forest - This song only gets better with every listen. The power of this song mixed with clean vocals is very effective (almost as effective as blast beats with clean vocals, like in The Lotus Eater). This song is so dramatic and the lyrics are very desricptive and taught me alot I didn't know about trees. The end is incredibly amazing as well.

6. Hours Of Wealth - A more laidback song. Takes you down before being punished by the next song.

7. The Grand Conjuration - The first ever song I had ever heard by Opeth. The music video for this song is very good, very scary and very perverted. This song does have an almost seance like vibe to it, which is perfectly moved by the vocals. The main riff is also a great riff. Classic song, and very different than what is expected off of Opeth.

8. Isolation Years - A beautifull ballad. Mabye a song that didnt make on to Damnation.

CONCLUSION: Buy both this album and Still Life...and then the 3 albums in between them. Those albums are Opeth in their prime. Although the first and last are the majour landmarks.

Report this review (#264131)
Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars I have to admit that this specific kind of grawling vocals sounds like a joke for the first 10 seconds to my ears. After that they become unbearable and make me wonder how come a dexterous musician came out with this idea of "singing" in the first place. I was thinking of somehow, separating the music from the vocals and giving the average of two different ratings but, I decided to take what my ears receive as a whole. I trully respect the vertict of the prog friends that gave high ratings to this album, but I cannot enjoy or focus on the music of this album when something so annoying is going on at the same time.
Report this review (#267523)
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Too much of a good thing?

No doubt a fantastic metal album, and it's hands down my favorite out of Opeth's discography, with Still Life just a baby step behind. I've always felt that the lengths of the tracks on this album are the only thing preventing me from giving it a full five-star rating. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with longer songs by any means, and often I think it makes for more interesting music, but at certain points on Ghost Reveries it can feel like a test of one's endurance.

For one, the album comes pretty damn close to filling a standard CD to its capacity. So if you pop the album in and listen to the whole thing in one sitting you're going to be listening to Opeth for more than an hour. In addition, half of the album's tracks enter into the double digits. Not to mention the level of cohesion throughout some of the album's tracks, which can at times make it difficult for me to make it all the way through the album.

That is not to say that this is by any means a bad album. In fact, it's a really great metal album and has a lot of really memorable moments throughout. I can't help but find myself wishing it were a little bit shorter, however.

Report this review (#270294)
Posted Sunday, March 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Ghost Reveries was another important milestone for Opeth that showed that the band could write and record great music even without the help of masterminds like Steve Wilson. This is unfortunately the only strong point that I can think of about the album since I've never really been a big fan of its sound.

I had huge expectations on this album due to the massive success it became here in Sweden by reaching the top ten position on the album charts. This had probably more to do with the marketing that was done by Roadrunner Records than any particular doing on band's part. Still it was great to finally see Opeth get the royal treatment they deserved making them the second biggest Swedish metal band after In Flames. My first reaction upon hearing the actual album wasn't as pleasant as I have expected it to be, still I continued listening to it for a few more weeks after which I came to the conclusion that something just wasn't right here.

The album begins with the excellent Ghost Of Perdition which puts the album in the right gear for the rest of the journey but that's where it all comes to a halt. The next section of the album is just nothing more than just an average effort from the band that might have been saved by better production but the dull Roadrunner Records sound mixing just slaughters it for me. It's only when the material finally begins to shine with the introduction of Reverie/Harlequin Forest that I can see beyond those flaws and actually enjoy what I'm hearing. The remaining 20 minutes of Ghost Reveries are very atmospheric and end the record on a high note but doesn't really make up for the dull production. It's like, if I wanted to listen to Dream Theater or Slipknot then I'd listen to those artists so why does Roadrunner Records have to make everything sound so generic and compressed?

If you're not as sensitive to the production of this recording then I'm sure that you'll enjoy it a great deal more since the music featured here is definitely among the best that Mikael Åkerfeldt and the band have ever conceived. Still I have to follow my gut feeling and award Ghost Reveries no more than the good, but non-essential rating.

***** star songs: Reverie/Harlequin Forest (11:39)

**** star songs: Ghost of Perdition (10:29) Hours Of Wealth (5:20) The Grand Conjuration (10:21) Isolation Years (3:51)

*** star songs: The Baying Of The Hounds (10:41) Beneath The Mire (7:57) Atonement (6:28)

Report this review (#282815)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first OPETH album, I was recommended them by a friend and this was the cheapest cd at the time of buying it (the special edition that came out a year later) and they quickly became my favorite band, so now finally deciding to actually write a review and thought i'd start at GHOST REVERIES, to start off the cover of the special edition is kinda basic but i do like the look and feel of it (its slightly odd to comment on how it feels but hey). The actual cover (which is on the front of the manual) is very nice the smokie candle and the shadowy figure near the window. I like the artist Travis Smith's work its always very nice, as all of Opeth's artwork stuff is very aesthetically pleasing if not in a strange eerie way.

GHOST OF PERDITION, starts of quiet and they the growls begin, I like the drumming on this song by the great Martin Lopez, Mikael's vocals are as always really well done, the transition between growls and clean vocals are really nice. 4 stars

THE BAYING OF THE HOUNDS, quickly goes into the riff and the drums etc. follow its lead seemingly continues on from the prevoius song with this almost a concept album, album. I prefer this song to the last, maybe its just because of the lyrics i like when it first goes into the mellower part, also like the quiet keyboard and soft drums mixed with the soft overtones of the vocals, which continues onto the heavy part which is very nice. 5 stars

BENEATH THE MIRE, continues with the masterful playing this band can pull it together and make magic happen. The story continues and the fantastic vocals as always. 5 stars

ATONEMENT, this lovely song is the best of the three mellow songs (at least in my opinion, not until recently have I begun to appreciate it) a tasty riff, sometimes odd distorted vocals and soft drumming. 5 stars

REVERIE/HARLEQUIN FOREST, is my favorite Opeth song. From the ending of ATONEMENT it really sets up for this wonderful song which superb throughout. From beginning to end I love this song, everything about it screams brilliance. 5 Stars

HOURS OF WEALTH, a soft guitar song (i'm not sure if it's mikael or peter who does it but its really nice to say the least) with clean vocals from michael, a nice stop gap to the next song. 4 stars

THE GRAND CONJURATION, a quite heavy song, probably my least favorite on the album but i do love the guitars on this song and that weird interlude near the beginning is very nice. 4 stars

ISOLATION YEARS, if i'm honest this song didn't impress me at first but after a couple of listens i learned to like it. A sombre melancholy way to end an excellent album, with its quiet guitars, mellow keyboards and sad vocals. 4 stars

SOLDIER OF FORTUNE, a cover song (originally wrote and performed by Deep Purple) which in my opinion I prefer over the original but its not one of the best songs on the album, then again its only on the special edition. 3 stars

The special edition also comes with a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album which is really crisp and clear and adds a little more to the music, i recommend listening to it this way unless you can't, the normal mix is excellent anyway. Also a video of The Grand Conjuration, which is okay and a documentary of what happened during the recording of the album, which is quite intresting and worth a watch.

Report this review (#284590)
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This is obviously a talented band. A very talented band. They can play rings around most metal bands that I've heard. And they can create some very complex prog. However, listening to Mikael Åkerfeldt throw up in his throat is not something I prefer to listen to. I suppose that if it was only done occasionally, it might have a more jarring effect, but about half the vocals are belched out in this fashion. It comes across as immature. Ooooooohhhh, how satanic these guys are.

Grow up. I wouldn't ever think of playing this mess for any adult listeners. And it's too bad. If it wasn't only aimed at fifteen year old boys, I'd probably like this album a lot.

Report this review (#296769)
Posted Monday, August 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars More accessible Opeth

It was very difficult for me to rate that album. I really love it. I listen to it very often and it never gets boring, yet I don't think it is a masterpiece like STILL LIFE or MY ARMS YOUR HEARSE.

GHOST REVERIES is transitional record, which place itself between old (good) Opeth and new one (poor - Watershed). Asked about my love to Opeth I usually answer, that their music was always intriguing, fresh and progressive, but the emotions and specific atmosphere are why this band stands out from mass of other rock bands.

The album sounds different. Taking into consideration their previous releases, in term of sound this one is nearest to BLACKWATER PARK. Production is clear and precise, basses are deep and trebles are distinct and ear-friendly. The most conspicuous thing is of course presence of keyboard. Fortunately, Per Wiberg is fantastic keyboard player and his playing perfectly suits the atmosphere of the record.

The atmosphere itself is easier to define than ever before, which is my first objection. In large measure it's because of keyboards but the main reason is composition. Mikael Akerfeldt decided that there would be kind of ghost/gothic/oneiric feel about it. I don't mean it is banal but it is definitely less unique than before. GHOST REVERIES is also more technical and a bit less emotion provoking than, for example, STILL LIFE. Still, the transitions and twists which are in abundance there, are absolutely fantastic.

Great album from Opeth, but partially devoid of these breathtaking passion and magic which caused tears of emotion while listening to previous albums. It is still much better than their latest record though, which is almost completely bereft of these features.


Report this review (#306955)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album simply put, is brilliant. by far and away the best album opeth have put together its even better than Blackwater Park in my opinion. if you are a fan of this type of music and havent took the time to listen to this album, DO! you wont be dissapointed. Ghost of Perdition, 10/10 Baying of the Hounds, 9/10 Beneath the Mire, 9/10 Atonement, 8/10 Reverie / Harlequin Forest, 10/10 Hours of Wealth, 7/10 The Grand conjuration, 8/10 Isolation Years, 6/10 Overall this album deserves 5 stars, easily in my top 5 albums of all time, and like i said definetely Opeths best studio-length album. If you dont own this album go and buy it!
Report this review (#307851)
Posted Monday, November 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth is one of the most highly regarded metal bands of all time. They have radically changed the genre since they've been around making albums. "Ghost Reveries" is one of their latest albums, released after the two big masterpieces, "Still Life" in 1999, which was the perfect definition of a death metal album widely veiled with progressive, and 2001's "Blackwater Park", their most accessible and solid album, keeping the heavy riffs and the prog influences. "Ghost Reveries" is the perfect follow up to BP; Saying this, I can add that this album is one of the best and most solid Opeth albums.

Akerfeldt and his band bring everything they had put up so far to a new, more advanced level, and in every way they try to bring everything up a notch under every point of view. All the heavy riffs are heavier than the ones from the past, all the softer songs have never been softer, the experimentation is used much more frequently, sometimes even utilizing some unusual instruments, bringing up the shadows of Pink Floyd, King Crimson and such. With all this put together, you can't expect anything else but a brilliant album. Almost everything about this is great, the songwriting, the musicianship (I never noticed it before, but that Martin Lopez can really bang the drums), the at times quirky arrangements in the middle of the songs.

Stylistically, this is the most representative album by the band, the album that perfectly synthesizes their sound. The violent and strong riffs are enriched by Akerfeldt's amazing growl vocals, the more melodic parts are beautifully dressed with clean vocals, the instrumental parts very open, like I mentioned earlier to experimentation and progressive influenced. Almost all the songs, except the two soft ballads, are long, from six to ten minutes, and all of these have, even though each one is extremely unique, a very similar song structure. "Ghost Of Perdition" is very possibly my favorite Opeth song, the ten minute track opener, which is always able to surprise and move, regardless of the completely different moods that form this song. "The Baying Of The Hounds" is another ambitious song, with the most experimental part in the middle of the track. "The Grand Conjuration" is a grandiose and spooky masterpiece that will soon become an Opeth classic, "Reverie" is the longest song, probably the most ambitious song, thanks to the many calmer parts. "Atonement" a tense but somewhat beautiful with always in the air a tragic sense of loss and resign. All these songs are compositions that, if you appreciate any type of metal, will sink in you subconscious, to never be forgotten.

"Ghost Reveries" is one of Opeth's greatest and most original albums, a major piece in their highly praised discography.

Report this review (#423398)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Opeth's third best album!

Wow, this thing is getting 5 star reviews and gushing praise from the respected prog community so I suppose I better check it out. With a renewed interest in the band, after some horrible albums, I was pleased to revisit Opeth with such a progressive album. So here are my reactions to the tracks. Okay, let's see, 'Ghost of Perdition': very dark lyrics and brutal death vocals. The cleaner vocals are well sung as always, especially "Dedicated hunter, Waits to pull us under, Rose up to its call In his arms she'd fall, Mother light received, And a faithfull servant's free". Very strong riffs that are rhythmically akin to Tool. Very heavy guitars and growls balanced with gentler vocals and acoustics. A genuine Beauty and the beast, and I love the innovative structure and killer riffing.

'The Baying of the Hounds': the gravelly vocals sound like Morbid Angel, I actually remembered parts of Sacrificial Rites which I haven't heard for about 10 years. The cleaner sections are awesome. The riff is a bit boring at first, same as other Opeth songs. Great lead break with twin guitar solos from Mikael and Fredrik. Per's chiming keyboards are a great embellishment, and Steven Wilson style vocals set off the atmosphere admirably; "Drown in the deep mire, With past desires, Beneath the mire, Drown desire now with you." Powerful song

'Beneath the Mire': continues the theme of previous lyrics. It is basically an album about the ghosts that rise after death or some such twaddle. I was never into Opeth's themes but the music more than makes up for any atheistic tendencies. Once again this begins with brutal vocals and then we have the cleaner style eventually. This seems to be a trademark of Opeths, moving from one style to another suddenly. The piano is very nice on this with gentle guitar. The actual structure is again inventive and progressive. I was expecting more brutal vocals but most of this is actually the opposite. More death metal vocals do return though. The guitar playing is incredibly complex. One of the best tracks on the album.

'Atonement': the East Indian melodies and guitars are striking. The vocals are processed through a voice vocoder that makes them sound psychedelic and phased similar to Sabbath's Planet Caravan or Beatles Blue Jay Way. I love this song and rank it among the finest the band have produced to this point. This is more like the latest Heritage's feel than anything else on the album.

'Reverie / Harlequin Forest': this is another track I heard first on the live Albert Hall DVD. It is a great track with very solid vocals from Mikael; "A trail of sickness, leading to me, If I am haunted then you will see." The melody is excellent with inspired manic drumming from Axe and complex time changes. The acoustic section is terrific, and the section at 5 minutes including wonderful melodic vocals and a divine twin guitar solo.

'Hours of Wealth': an ambient intro with Per shining bright. Gentle vocals are so peaceful here, with a sweet melody and soulful reflective lyrics; "Looking through my window, I seem to recognize, All the people passing by, But I am alone, And far from home, And nobody knows me."

'The Grand Conjuration': an unforgettable haunting melody and certainly dark brutal chorus. Great shredding lead break and crunching rhythm metrical patterns. I heard this first on the metal TV show with a bleak clip with a man tortured by a maniac and a girl disappearing down the toilet bowl. The album version is better, twice as long, more complex, and with extra lyrics.

'Isolation Years': a paean to lost love as the protagonist discovers a suicide note; "There's a sense of longing in me, As I read Rosemary's letter, Her writing's honest, Can't forget the years she's lost." The quiet atmosphere is bleak but still wreaks of beauty thanks to the pretty acoustics and sentimental melody.

There is something haunting about this album; it balances the brutality with beauty as all good Opeth albums do. This album is up there with Still Life and Damnation for my tastes. Now that I have heard all of their progressive albums I rank it as Opeth's third best (1. Heritage, 2. Damnation, 3. Ghost Reveries) - 4 stars.

Report this review (#547435)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opeth and me don't get along, despite the fact that I've given them more chances than usual. With so many prog and metal fans lauding their work, I keep feeling as though I should give them another spin, but each time they just leave me cold again.

Ghost Reveries is a case in point, an album which I can't deny is well-performed but at the same time doesn't speak to me on any level. It doesn't really establish any sort of atmosphere or convey to me any sort of emotion, or even particularly impress me technically speaking. I can't rate it too low because I can't really put my finger on any blatant flaws, but I can't give it one of the higher ratings because I can't find any particular strengths either.

Report this review (#772155)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first "new to me" Opeth CD after getting into them, so it might have been easy to overrate it a bit as I was still in the honeymoon discovery phase when discovering them, but having giving this several full listens recently, I can testify that this is still a magnificent record, one that is aging very well.

Being someone who is generally not a fan of growls, I can see how they can be a turnoff for many, but for me, the music and all of the other aspects they bring to the table are so damn good, that I have no problem dealing with the growling passages. They provide a nice contrast and the dynamics are thus more prevalent, since they are in the vocals, not just the music.

Regarding the content on Ghost Reveries, it is mostly all tops. Ghost of Perdition and The Baying of the Hounds are two of their best metal tunes ever, Harlequin Forest is a great burner, featuring a little bit of everything, and Hours of Wealth and Isolation Years are positively two terrific mellow tunes. The other remaining songs are all very solid as well. All in all, this is a top tier Opeth record; not quite as great as Still Life, but in the conversation for 2nd best.

Report this review (#802209)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
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" 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.

Report this review (#968401)
Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opeth's eighth album is the last with Lindgren and Lopez in the lineup and, just as any Opeth album, an impressively crafted, multicoloured beast. Songs are even more diverse here than on previous offerings, vocals are great (growls at least), and the richness of musical ideas floors the listener. At the same time, however, the flow of ideas appears much less organic and consistent than on earlier albums and the atmosphere of the songs strikes me as much less compelling. Together with its successor "Watershed" one can regard "Ghost Reveries" as a milestone in the transition period that would ultimately lead to the new Opeth ? more magnificent than ever ? that confronts us in the marvelous masterpieces "Heritage" and "Pale Communion".

"Ghost of Perdition" opens the album in an instantly recognisable way with a short sequence of arpeggio chords on the keyboard before Mikael's growls enter over pummeling drums and accompanying guitars. While this song has many strong moments (such as the return of the "Ghost of Perdition" line late in the song) and great diversity, I do not find it comparable in terms of sheer intensity of affects and emotions to their most haunting earlier offerings, in particular not as compared to the magnificent "Still Life". One of the main reasons for this may be the comparatively slow riffs and melody lines over mid-paced drumming (e.g. the passage after the five minutes mark on "Ghost of Perdition", the one around the six minutes mark in "Baying of the Hounds" and the one around the one minute mark in "Beneath the Mire"), which I do not find very exciting. "Beneath the Mire" is perhaps the most diverse song here, before "Atonement" showcases the band on an unexpected ? but welcome ? psychedelic note. On the second side of the album I would recommend in particular the calmer and shorter songs, in particular the introvert "Hours of Wealth". All in all, this is a rewarding listen, but certainly not among those Opeth records that I hold in highest regard.

Report this review (#983601)
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This an excellent album that really got me into OPETH. Initially I tried "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" but found it hard to grasp this type of music. I used to find the death growls to be distasteful, but after "Ghost Reveries", I've come to really appreciate them. A few of my favorite songs below:

"Ghost of Perdition" in my opinion is the best track on the album. 10+ minutes of great riffs, good vocals (the part about 6 minutes in is awesome). Surprisingly, I find Akerfeldt's clean vocals on this song (and the album in general) to be phenomenal, likewise with his growls. The acoustic parts are peaceful yet haunting, creates a very interesting mood for the song.

"Beneath the Mire" has a very catchy keyboard / guitar riff throughout the song. Nice calm section about midway through the song, features clean vocals, creative solos, and acoustics. Serves as a nice break from the insanity that preceded it. A heavy solo follows and ends with a haunting passage.

"Hours of Wealth" is a superb ballad / softer song of sorts. This song is a testament to how good Akerfeldt's clean vocals are, and showcases a side of OPETH that I really like. The clean guitar riffs and solos are definitely a nice touch for the album. Overall a very nice peaceful song with an eerie mood.

"The Grand Conjuration" is a very heavy song, probably the heaviest on the album. The main riff has an interesting rhythm and is catchy. The solo around 3:25 with the main riff in the background makes this an amazing song. This song probably has the most death growls on it, at least some of the better ones.

All of the other songs are really good as well. "Ghost Reveries" is definitely one of OPETH's best and serves as a gateway to their other albums like it did for me. I highly recommend it to anyone, this is some phenomenal music and it might get you into a new genre.

Report this review (#1058645)
Posted Friday, October 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's not much I can add to descriptions of Opeth, which is one of the more popular bands out there and the standard bearer for progressive extreme metal. Well, Opeth start with the basic foundation of dense death metal and enrich it with acoustics, folk, melancholic atmospheres, middle eastern polyrhythms, classisist rock and even jazz (and two of their albums, Damnation and Heritage, are not metal at all). But I would like to comment on Ghost Reveries, which are not revolutionary for Opeth, but my favorite album from Mikael Akerfeldt. It has the best production, sound, vocals (both growls and clean) and the most progressive structures. Not just a folk insert in the middle of a death song. One could even call it the most accessible album, if you can get past the growls. A rare example when the best all-around album is also the most accessible.
Report this review (#1064320)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first extreme metal album I listened to and it was really like a smash in my head! Before that my only approaches of heavy stuff had been with bands like Mr. Bungle or Naked City, bands who have some metal influences. Opeth delivers an album of an incredible and fascinating alchemy. One of the strengths of the band is to have reinvented itself with each new release. On Ghost Reveries they develop their style in a particularly true prog metal direction and they create the perfect symbiosis between these two genres. This album is perhaps less aggressive than others like Blackwater Park or Deliverance but more melodic than ever. Indeed Opeth adds new atmospheres and pictures to its poetic painting: Ghost Reveries makes us enter in manors haunted by ghosts and memories... step into paths lost in dark and foggy woods... It's also the first time Opeth has its own keyboard player: the honourable Per Wiberg. In general I think the keyboards in prog metal have a tendency to be ugly (without being disturbing), yet here they instantly find their place and... how heavy they are! The Hammond of Baying of The Hounds or the Mellotron of Beaneath The Mire testify it. There's even a psychedelic song, named Atonement, with Eastern heady sounds, that is as original as well integrated on a death metal album. Akerfeldt's singing is full of emotions, magnificent, very efficient in both clear voice and growl. Opeth proves again its great wealth and its undeniable quality of composition (tortuous riffs, complex structures, inventive bridges, consistency of the whole album,...). So I think Ghost Reveries is essential to each and every progger, especially if metal is a bit foreign to you.
Report this review (#1120922)
Posted Sunday, January 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars I first encountered Opeth quite a few years ago, through their album Still Life. I was enthralled by the album cover, and decided that I wanted to hear the music that potentially warranted the artwork. I wasn't shocked by what I heard, since I had heard descriptions of what the music sounds like, but I did really enjoy it. However, Opeth is something that I simply can't listen to often. I do, though, acknowledge their abilities.

Ghost Reveries is an album that I checked shortly thereafter, and I found it to have some fairly nice songs. Yet like other Opeth albums, I grew fairly tired of it, and I cannot listen to it the whole way through. Many of the sections within the songs are very nice to listen to, and are fairly brilliantly written and arranged. However, Opeth's style is something that I cannot listen to much of at the same time.

I know that this album is well-written and is great for fans of the genre (which I'm not necessarily one of), and for those reasons I believe it merits a 3 out of 5 stars from me, because my personal tastes come in the way of my enjoyment of the album.

Report this review (#1286315)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ghost Reveries is in my humble opinion an essential album in the Opeth catalog. This was the first album to break my preconceived notions of extreme-style vocals. At the time I was rather squeemish to anything resembling the metalcore style I'd grown the loathe. But when I was lent this album by a friend I found it impossible to ignore the melodic bombast and the dynamics within a song, let alone across the length of the album. This is one of those experiences that changed the way I listen to music, at least in terms of being less snobbish in regard to extreme music

The track 'Ghost of Perdition' opens the album with a few clean chords being strummed leading to a wall of distorted guitar and Mikael Akerfeldt's signature growl. Really hits you in the face. This song maintains a heavy feel while shifting abruptly to gorgeous harmonized vocal pieces sung over immaculately picked acoustic arpeggios. This song entertains a drama that builds through poly-rhythmic grooves and mighty Hammond organ to a satisfying crescendo at the very end. A classic melodic-metal epic. 'The Baying of the Hounds' takes the heaviness up just one more notch and drives headlong into a real headbanger. Organs are prominent on this track as well, beefing up the attack of the guitar. This track takes its detour into the quiet and gentle, great bass pulse, only to let the tension build again into an even heavier headbanging groove. 'Beneath the Mire' is definitely the oddball on this album, opening with an almost evil carnival keyboard intro. I like the lyrics of this piece, it almost reads like someone fighting with an impending demonic possession, eventually succumbing to the entity. There's also a great guitar and keyboard unison solo that's quite impressive.

'Atonement' is quite a change of pace, harking back to the sound of the album, 'Damnation'. This track has a middle-eastern feel with sitars buzzing throughout, hand drumming and soaring choruses of "Ahhhh". The track finishes off where the next track means to notate, 'Reverie' refers to the strumming chords and soft ascending keys that closes off 'Atonement'. 'Harlequin Forest' is one my favorite lyrically penned Opeth songs, and even for it's length takes quite the dynamic journey. The heavy approach as the death metal vocals kick in is juxtaposed by a beautiful 12-string strumming section. 'Hours of Wealth' is the second song to take a breath. It takes it's time building a melancholy instrumentally, and then Mikael sings over this mellotron chorus of flutes and Rhodes keys. The song closes with a mournfully painful guitar solo that feels like it has so much to say.

The album's apex, 'The Grand Conjuration' grabs you right by the throat, gets your attention and then drags you slowly passed this persistent thump of bass drum and jangly keys before once again grasping your neck. Opeth is known for milking a riff to really develop a mood and this song is a great example. The heavy parts aren't really all that heavy, but are given that impression by how they are being built up. 'Isolation Years' may be the prettiest song off the whole album. The narrative is very depressing, with crying guitar leads flying over these mournful lyrics. 'Soldier of Fortune' is an excellent cover of the Deep Purple piece taken from a live recording including Opeth's then to be permanent drummer Martin Axenrot, and is a great addition that fits the feel of the album's mellower peices.

In my opinion 'Ghost Reveries' sits as Opeth's magnum opus, not at all to discredit their work to follow, but this album encapsulates that signature Opeth melodic death metal sound. The composition of these songs is stellar, varied and progressive but all the while hooking your attention. It may not be extreme enough for some, but then I don't believe it's supposed to be. If I were to suggest an album to break through a fellow music enthusiasts extreme vocal disdain I would likely choose this album.


Report this review (#1318497)
Posted Monday, December 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has already been reviewed a lot and it's a good thing to see Opeth getting the attention they deserve. Although I am not a fan of the growling vocals, everything else about the band is awesome and I really can overlook it when the vocals have that growling sound because the rest of the music is top notch heavy progressive metal of the highest caliber. And Mikael's voice is actually excellent when he sings normally. I know it adds to the evil aspect of the music that the band focuses on, but, as the band has discovered with the almost simultaneous release of the companion albums "Deliverance" and "Damnation" (one very heavy and one mellow), music doesn't have to be loud to be evil.

The release of those albums was an excellent way to hear both sides of Opeth. But in this album, the best of both worlds come together. They have mixed sounds before, but this time around, in this album, it seems more natural and not as choppy as when it has been done before. Now, when the moods shift within a song, which is often on this album, it flows easily from one section to the next. The band has obviously perfected it's sound for this album. One of the reasons for the better transitions on this release is that the songs on this one were created outside of the studio and perfected and practiced before recording them. This method has definitely improved the overall sound of the band.

The sound of this album really varies a lot. You get hard and extremely heavy passages that are black metal and other sections that are more black-folk sounding with acoustic instruments. Ok, so far that sounds like the last few albums for Opeth. This time, like I said before, the transitions are better. But the other factor is that now they are utilizing and experimenting with other instrumentation and more keyboards, and it is done tastefully. One excellent example of this is in "Baying of the Hounds" which is also the most progressive of the tracks with ever changing rhythms, patterns and moods. But the softer sections include amazing sounds which are unlike anything the band has done before, and they do them well. It even approaches a light jazz fusion feel, but remains loyal to a great progressive sound with excellent dynamics.

The overall feel of the album is a great balance of harsh and soft, a lot of extremities, but now they also cover territory in between the extremes. This is a well-produced effort, as most of Opeth's albums are, but it is also very tastefully done and the musicianship is some of the best. Many compare the sound here to Tool, but the real comparison with Tool comes in the structure of the songs, being mostly long epics with many movements, changing melodies and great dynamics. The individual songs are quite elaborate. Opeth does have their own unique sound which is obviously different than Tool, and both bands do what they do in the best manner possible. The comparison is a great one, but, it's all in the structure and not so much the sound. Opeth has more black metal leanings making their music, overall, more harsh. But those quieter passages, which are very abundant on this album, are simply beautiful especially when contrasted with the harshness. And the experimentation and exploration into new sounds for the band is exciting making for a lot more variety in the music and more territory to explore. At the time, this was the best Opeth album to date for sure. 5 stars.

Report this review (#1393983)
Posted Saturday, April 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ghost Reveries turned ten years old recently, and it holds up as a unique experience and a masterpiece of progressive metal. An expansion upon the trademark sound presented in Blackwater Park, Opeth bring in new influences, hire a keyboardist, and step up their songwriting game. The result is a rather eclectic, atmospherically dark, and intense album ' intense in the ways of technicality, intense in composition without sounding cluttered, intense in experimentation, intense in energy, and above all, intense in ambition.

Initially intended to be another concept album, Ghost Reveries has something to do with a man who kills his mother, and Satan is involved because gotta love those metal stereotypes. The idea wasn't fully carried through with, resulting in the 'concept' being no more than the repetition of a few words and phrases scattered throughout the songs (e.g. 'the hounds' and 'the mire' are repeated often during GR). Either way, the common words and lyrical themes create a unifying effect, helping to hold together an album that is already quite cohesive.

More importantly, the instrumentation is fantastic, Akerfeldt's vocals a classic mix between clean singing and growls; neither of them have downhill after fifteen years. Martin Lopez's versatile drumming never ceases to amaze as he works in excellent fills, rapid double bass, and engaging, original beats. The inclusion of ethnic drums in the album's middle songs signifies just another influence in this incredibly diverse album. Ghost Reveries is teeming with great riffs, from the slow, soothing bass groove of Atonement, to the vicious, heavy assaults found during brief straight-up death metal portions of the longer songs, and The Grand Conjuration's plain evil main riff. The keyboards add a new dimension to Opeth's sound and provide more options for the band, notably that weird but catchy, enjoyable riff at the beginning of Beneath the Mire. The guitar solos are well-performed, technical, and impressive, though they tend to slide under the radar, not being the focal points of the songs.

The main appeal of Ghost Reveries is of course the songwriting. The five long/heavy songs rely not only the previously established interplay between death metal and acoustic passages, but span the gap between the two, while including other influences as well. The soft parts don't always revert to acoustic guitars as done on previous albums; often they simply drop to quieter volumes, with some even containing hints of jazz. Songs such as the first two tracks are wildly unpredictable as Opeth fit more changes and variety into songs of ten minutes. Baying of the Hounds starts heavy, goes down, comes back up, enters an acoustic break, and then ends heavy, and I won't even try to describe the structure of Ghost of Perdition. The transitions are seamless and come so often that the songs never get boring. Though a few of these songs seem anticlimactic (specifically Beneath the Mire and Harlequin Forest), it truly is in the journey, not the destination, and the dramatic, heavy Grand Conjuration provides enough of a peak to close the album (with Isolation Years akin to a short coda).

The soft songs on this album may not be as well-loved as others the band has written, though they fit on the album better. Atonement is a good track, providing a much-needed break for calmness following the heavy first three songs. The haunting chorus riff and beautiful piano solo simply make the song. Isolation Years is a mournful, ballad, and even the album's weakest offering, Hours of Wealth, has a gorgeous beginning and is very much emotionally charged.

Opeth's songwriting and instrumentation peaked here. Ghost Reveries is flawless.

Report this review (#1468374)
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first Opeth acquisition was "Heritage" which I really admired for its bold take on retro-prog. But I knew this was not the Opeth known to most and I stepped in a got "Blackwater Park" and "Still Life". Thanks to these two albums, I started to enjoy and even appreciate death growl vocals. Then came "Pale Communion" and now I had two albums by the old Opeth and two by the new. It was time to reach in between and bring home "Ghost Reveries".

Now while the newer albums impressed me for their creative arrangements and explorative song construct, the older albums had a rich power with blast beats, ominous riffs and those vocals that could give Beelzebub the shivers. Though the old albums included some acoustic guitar, piano, and clean vocals, I often felt there was still such an extreme between the light and the heavy dark. How did Opeth make such a huge transition in style and sound from way back then to now? Yes, I heard about "Damnation" but that was more toward the "Heritage" extreme (maybe?) and not so much the middle ground between the two. But "Ghost Reveries" answers my question.

The opening track "Ghost of Perdition" is essentially one of Opeth's intense and dark death metal songs but blends in clean vocals and softer parts in a more natural way that flows well with the music and doesn't seem so obviously placed as an opposite extreme to the heavy side.

"The Baying of the Hounds" carries this thread by adding something typical from the old albums in the slower clean vocals segment but I feel there is a clear understanding within the band of how to shift from gruff and heavy to clean and slow to acoustic much more naturally. Overall I feel the musical creativity is on the rise and the band want to expand further than they went with "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park". Furthermore, the guitar sound in the heavier parts seems rich and bottom heavy (perhaps thanks to the bass and production) and Åkerfeldt's vocals are as earthshaking as ever. You'll also notice the use of Mellotron in the "Baying" and if not then certainly at the beginning of "Beneath the Mire".

It's here in this third track that I feel the progressive death metal act known as Opeth are really building on what they had been developing. The exercise with "Damnation" must have taught them a lot about how to expand their non-death metal capabilities and develop the heavier parts as well.

"Atonement" avoids any metal contact entirely and could have been a precursor to "Pale Communion". Notice the hand drums which will show up more on "Heritage" and "Pale Communion". In particular, I find the percussion section is a key factor in the development of the band's newer sound as it's the drumming on "Heritage" that especially caught my attention.

Then follows "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" which returns us to the explosive metal sound but with clean vocals. There's an awesome riff that comes in shortly after the death vocals start. Both "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" have one song with a killer riff that I love to hear and on this album that one riff for me is here in this song. This song (or song pair) is so far the most varied track on the album and though it doesn't resemble anything from "Heritage" in rhythm and is too heavy at times to be like that future album, this track really sees Opeth taking their music to new heights, blending a bit of everything they've been working on so far (as far as I can tell and I've since acquired "Orchid" and "My Arms Your Hearse" as well).

The track list continues with the very beautiful "Hours of Wealth" including some soothing acoustic guitar, piano, and Mellotron, perhaps a highlight in Opeth's softer side so far. By now, Åkerfeldt and company are showing how capable they are of stretching out and away from their heavy dark side, though at this point they haven't really reached the point that "Heritage" would find them at. The latter half of the song is comprised of clean electric guitar and vocals, and it is here where I feel the album has shown its first weak moment.

Not a big deal though as the song is followed by the monster track "The Grand Conjuring". I get the shivers every time this song begins. For me, this is where Opeth have pulled it all together into one phenomenal song. The Mellotron, acoustic guitar, and hand drums appear alongside the crushing death metal side, at times in tandem, at other times they are there to enhance the tense and brooding atmosphere of the quieter but dark moments. This quickly became one of my favourite Opeth tracks.

The album closes with "Isolation Years", the shortest track at just under four minutes. It's another slow and clean number with some surprisingly beautiful vocal melodies from Åkerfeldt. Not a highlight but not a weak point either.

I have to say that this must be my favourite Opeth record so far. I love the heaviness of the older albums but sometimes find the overall atmosphere miring. The newer albums have more texture, flavour, and interest but don't have that awesome heaviness. This album does very well to capture what it sounds like Opeth was striving to become while also hinting at the future to come.

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Posted Saturday, February 13, 2016 | Review Permalink

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