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Opeth - Ghost Reveries (CD)

Opeth
Ghost Reveries
by Ian Kaatz at 15 August 2005, 7:54 AM

The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town, yes indeed, Opeth is back in town. Well, they are releasing a new album that is. There is no real reason to write an introduction paragraph because if you haven't heard of the mighty Opeth you must have been sleeping under a really big fricking rock. So brace yourself for Opeth in all of its glory.
Opeth actually have somewhat of a detailed background. It started out as Opeth's original singer, Daniel Isegard, was in a different band, Eruption, with Mikael and then Daniel tried to get Mikael into Opeth and all the original members left because they did not like the idea at all. They recruited a still present member by the name of Peter Lindgren. There were various member changes for bass and drums before they got a lineup to record Orchid in 1995. Touring the U.K. including one show in support of Impaled Nazarene followed after the record was released.
A couple more member changes followed and a recording of their sophomore album Morning Rise (1996) which contains the classic and truly epic song Black Rose Immortal. They then toured around Europe with Cradle of Filth and the U.K. with Morbid Angel. Then before they were going to record My Arms, Your Hearse (1998) the bassist and drummer left the band. Peter and Mikael recruited Martin Lopez (ex-Amon Amarth) on drums and Martin Mendez on bass (this lineup still is present today). Opeth did not tour in support of this album and instead focused on writing on another album, Still Life (1999) (my personal favorite). This is the first album that Mendez played bass on because he joined to close to recording time of the My Arms, Your Hearse record.
Still no touring was done but Opeth did hook up with Steve Wilson to produce what most would consider their break out album, Blackwater Park (2001). Finally some tours were in the works, first a European, then a U.S. tour and then back to Europe for festivals. Opeth decided to not really take a break, so they headed into the studio to record Deliverance (2002) and have Andy Sneap mix it, as well as Damnation (2003) with Steve Wilson at the helm. Damnation was recorded with help from Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars keyboardist). For the next year it would be back and forth between the U.S. and Europe for tours in support of both of the records. In the midst of that tour they recorded a DVD. So, what do they do? They go back out and tour some more. For a band that didn't even tour for 2 albums, they have certainly made up for it. On this tour time they took with them Moonspell and Devildriver (this tour I caught and it is tied for the best concert I have ever seen). This was followed by an Australian tour.
Mikael then began writing this album, Ghost Reveries. Then once again the touring began which was first outing of Sounds Of The Underground Tour, which just finished. Next on their plate is a European tour with Extol.
Finally to the music. Ghost Reveries has a lot to live up to because it is an Opeth release. With the first couple of spins I liked the album, especially the track Ghost Of Perdidtion which is definitely one of the stand out tracks on the album, it is also the first track on the album. I don't know what it is about the first track on albums but they are usually my favorite. Anyway, I thought the album did not quite live up to my expectations, so I put it on the back burner until today. This album totally rocks shit!! I cannot believe how much I underestimated this album. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention or what, but I just missed so much stuff. For instance, I am not a big lyric person but this album has some really interesting lyrics. Another example of my overlooking was the fourth track, Atonement. It does something no other Opeth track has done that I can recall, it incorporates somewhat of a Middle Eastern vibe to it. It sounds very cool. Though the song is a slow song, it probably could have been off Damnation. I believe it is one of the stronger songs on the album.
The Grand Conjuration, another very powerful sounding song with a rather odd time signature. For the people that were able to hear this one early on satellite radio, the quality is so much better on the album, you will guaranteed have a better appreciation for it after hearing it this way. Another addition to the fold this time is keyboardist Per Wieberg, who played on the album Damnation and is now a full time member. Let me just say this, heavy Opeth with keyboards is fricking killer, the way that keyboards are interwoven into the music is just unreal. Tickling of the ivories has gone in some past Opeth songs but never has it been more prevalent.
The album finishes up with another slow track. In my opinion there couldn't have been a better way to finish the album after getting your head smashed in by The Grand Conjuration. Mikael's voice is especially enchanting on this album. He even hits some of the highest notes he has hit on record. Granted it is not like Halford's high notes but a nice very mellow sound to it.
Also to comment on the production, it is absolutely stunning. I wasn't sure if the production could compare to Deliverance which was done by Andy Sneap. I would have to say that the production was very quality and just good if not better than Deliverance. The way that everything is layered is superb.
To conclude, this album rips, tears, shreds and is just god damn awesome. The time changes, the production, the heavy songs, the slow songs, basically everything is flawless. Though it is not their best effort, it is definitely near the top. Praise Satan for Opeth.
- Album Highlights: Ghost Of Perdition, Atonement and The Grand Conjuration.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Ghost Of Perdition
The Baying Of The Hounds
Beneath The Mire
Atonement
Reverie / Harlequin Forest
Hours Of Wealth
The Grand Conjuration
Isolation Years
Lineup:
Mikael Akerfeldt - Guitar & Vocals
Peter Lindgren - Guitar
Martin Mendez - Bass
Martin Lopez - Drums
Per Wieberg - Keyboards
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
     


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