Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Ghost - Opus Eponymous

Bears shit in the woods. Water evaporates. Metal is diverse. These are obvious statements, especially the last. Heavy music has rarely occurred in a vacuum, which is precisely why we can refer to bands as dissimilar as Priest and Suffocation as metal in the same breathe. Certainly, the generation of immediacy and technological availability has overloaded the genre with various abominations and imitations, but metal will always be diverse no matter the era.

Which is precisely what makes the anonymous Swedish phantoms of Ghost all the more perplexing. Self-described as a "devil worshiping ministry" attempting to "trick mankind that the end is ultimately a good thing", the publicized message of this diabolical enigma instantly casts reactions similar to those elicited by the likes of Gorgoroth or Marduk. The similarities abruptly end there.

Read the rest of my review after the break.

Wrongly cast as a black metal act due to their allegiances, Ghost brandish an infernal acid-rock sonic blueprint, not too dissimilar from the earliest Mercyful Fate records or the conflicting sinister catchiness of emerging Queens of the Stone Age tracks. If it weren't for the Dark One (sarcastically?) peering through the gaps between each note, the ghouls of Ghost would easily catch on with more mainstream audiences due to the allure of the melodic yet nefarious hooks. Each song carves a groove deeper into the discordant mindset they claim to be proselytizing, giving you the thought of, "maybe I can't entirely buy into the macabre silliness of the message, but goddamnit this kick ass."

This is what makes Ghost most unique. According to those who've experienced it, their live show is said to be wonderfully provocative, but even if they were to make like the most idiotic of  the real Satanists (hey, Varg!) and not tour, these Swedes would still achieve their goal; to trigger both baffled awe and astonished respect. How couldn't they? Tracks off of Opus Eponymous like "Ritual", "Stand By Him" and "Prime Mover" make it impossible to resist the call of Ghost, so why fight it? This is heavy music at it's finest... even if it's not really the heaviest of music.

- Jack

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