Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Countdown Day 12 - Opus Eponymous (2010)

Eerie Evan here with yet another Halloween countdown post. From the frost-bitten lands of Sweden, comes Ghost with their debut album Opus Eponymous. When I first encountered Ghost, it was entirely by chance. They were the opening act of a Mastodon/Opeth double header, and I was more excited about seeing the them rather than Ghost. In fact, I'd never heard of them. I didn't expect much, but boy, was I wrong.

Fog machines basked the stage as dim green lights gave an eerie glow to the set. Papa Emeritus I, dressed like an unholy cardinal swung a thurible as he came onto stage. His nameless flock of ghouls shuffled behind him, heads bowed in piety as organ music piped through the speakers. Silently, without saying a word, they took to their instruments, as Emeritus I approached the microphone stand. "Greetings to the Body of Christ...we are Ghost." Emeritus spoke with a voice that sounded like if Vincent Price and the Cryptkeeper had a love child. The yells of the crowd were silenced as Emeritus raised his hands. A nameless ghoul strummed a power chord off of a guitar, another snapped the snare drum twice.


Emeritus leaned in, addressing the audience. We were hooked. "Let us begin our Ritual." Before I left that evening, I purchased both a Ghost shirt and their album. To make a point, I almost never spend money at concerts beyond buying tickets.



Opus Eponymous
was my first album purchase in years, and it has a solid place in my collection. Visuals aside, they resemble something like Blue Oyster Occult or Mercyful Fate as far as musical comparisons, but that in itself would be limiting. Instead, I'll just say that they resemble the metal of the late 70s or early 80s during the "Satanic Panic" with driving riffs, catchy choruses and even keyboard work. The vocals have an aetheric, unearthly quality to them (appropriate, given their name!), which is a nice change of pace given the either Death Growly or Screamy kinds of vocals that metal tends to pin itself today with the desire for louder and harsher music.

The production is just right as well, as it's not too quite, but neither is it loud. Instead, it is at a happy medium. I was pleasantly surprised in particular when I could hear the bass. Lyrically, the music displays a songwriter's obsession with Satan, which is something that would annoy me if they weren't self-aware of their image. This is what gives Ghost it's undeniable charm. It knows that it is the music that your mom worried about you listening too when you were growing up. This tongue and cheek wink and a nod to that goat footed horned guy is honestly too funny to take with any seriousness.

What would this LP go perfectly with? Well, if you feel like popping in a copy of Castlevania for the NES, this is your soundtrack to slaying Dracula. If you'd like a change of pace from the current metal trends, Ghost is your ticket. An album link lies below. Until next time kiddies.


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