Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2008. In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7″ vinyl titled “Elizabeth“, and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and increased their popularity significantly. Their second album and major label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden, and won the Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora, in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, “Cirice“, earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.
Ghost is easily recognizable because of its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is the vocalist, who wears a prosthetic face with skull face paint, appearing as what can be described as a “demonic anti-Pope”. Each album cycle has brought about a change in the band’s appearance. The vocalist is always portrayed as the same archetype character, but has slight appearance changes and even personality traits are altered from former versions. The band members’ true identities are kept anonymous, as their actual names have not been publicly disclosed. The vocalist calls himself Papa Emeritus, and the musicians are referred to only as Nameless Ghouls.
Opus Eponymous (Latin for the self-titled work) is the debut studio album by the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost. It was released on October 18, 2010, on the independent record label Rise Above. It was released in North America on January 18, 2011, and in Japan on April 6, 2011. The album was recorded in the band’s hometown and produced by Gene Walker. Opus Eponymous was nominated for a Grammis Award. The Japanese release contains an additional bonus track: a cover of the Beatles‘ “Here Comes the Sun“.
Deus Culpa—-A huge grand entrance from the band…full of organ style Church music that takes you back to the early Sunday Mornings where you found yourself where you did not want to be….grand and inspired.
Con Clavi Con Dio—-Moving from one mood to the other, I was not quite sure what I was listening to when I first heard this band. It is always grouped in the ‘Heavy Metal’ genre, but falls in to so many other groups as well. The bass lines throughout this track are incredible…the vocal is almost too pleasant as you hear very scary lyrics set to a damn pleasant back set. This is a contradiction….but a pretty damn pleasant one.
Ritual—-Delivering a stronger musical backbone at the onset, the vocal enters and is so damn nice you almost are taken aback…..the lyrics themselves…filled with dark imagery….but delivered with a harmony and pleasant style. This is such a contradiction to all of my senses….but having grown along with the band…I realize now it was nothing surprising…this is classic Ghost…..brilliant.
Elizabeth—-Beginning a bit more aggressive, with a nice heavy bass line, the vocal belies all understanding. This is so pleasant and acceptable to my senses, I instantly fall in love with this all over gain. This is brilliant in construction, delivery and composition. One of my very favorite bands….it is sometimes difficult to take the dark lyrics seriously with the nice delivery….but in a way that makes it all the darker.
Stand By Him—-Really nice drums and percussion kick this off…the vocal enters and has a slight evil tinge to it that I rather like. The words that are delivered are crystal clear and perfect in comprehension. This is huge…I love the almost choir of voices that accompany the song….the tempo changes that lead to a slight mania…then the instant decline…..this is magical.
Satan Prayer—-As we have come to accept and embrace this band in the US, we realize they are never going to become the definition of proper Heavy Metal…..but if you study the lyrical content of the band…they are more Metal than most bands out there today. This song is brilliant….somewhat pleasant and sedate in instrumentation, the words paint such a contrasting picture that you wonder where all of these ideas come from. This is brilliant! I love this song….I like to listen to it very, very loud.
Death Knell—-A bit ominous at the onset…the drums seem to be so in the front of the mix. The vocal enters with words that can’t even be found on a King Diamond record…but delivered in a style that would land them on Top Of The Pops…..[Imagine That!!!!]. The slow and seductive quality to the song is instantly attractive. I love this….the world was turned on its head by this band.
Prime Mover—-Sounding really crisp at the onset, the guitars are bright and loaded with a bit of aggression not yet heard. The drums come out of the din at you…followed by a huge finessed bass line that gives body to the whole thing. This is spectacular. The vocal is bright and sunny….delivered in a sing song type of way that makes you feel nice unless you really listen to the words. This is just a brilliant band….a brilliant concept.
Genesis—-An odd intro introduces the final track on the proper release…but what else would you expect. The sounds come at you and grow and grow…with intermittent crashes of bass guitar and heavy drums. This has a huge buildup….and then everything seems to come together in a perfect synchronicity of majesty……this is brilliant. Melodic….contagious and so damn pleasant….you want to start the entire journey all over again. Just incredible.
Here Comes The Sun [Japaneses Pressing ]—-By now….famous for the cover versions they are always releasing, this does nothing to fall short of the majesty and brilliance of the band. This is huge…well constructed and delivered…perfect harmonies fill the space…and I want to hear The Beatles…this is just fantastic.
***** out of 5