Loudwire.com 2016 Metal Album Of The Year—-Devin Townsend Project / Transcendence

Transcendence

Devin Garrett Townsend (born May 5, 1972) is a Canadian musician, songwriter and record producer. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist in extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad from 1994 to 2007 and has an extensive career as a solo artist.

After performing in a number of heavy metal bands in high school, Townsend was discovered by a record label in 1993 and was asked to perform lead vocals on Steve Vai‘s album Sex & Religion. After recording and touring with Vai, Townsend was discouraged by what he found in the music industry, and vented his anger on the solo album Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing released under the pseudonym Strapping Young Lad. He soon assembled a band under the name, and released the critically acclaimed City in 1997. Since then, he has released three more studio albums with Strapping Young Lad, along with solo material released under his own independent record label, HevyDevy Records.

Townsend’s solo albums, a diverse mix of hard rock, progressive metal, ambient, and new-age, have featured a varying lineup of supporting musicians. In 2002 he formed the Devin Townsend Band, a dedicated lineup which recorded and toured for two of his solo releases. In 2007, he disbanded both Strapping Young Lad and the Devin Townsend Band, taking a break from touring to spend more time with his family. After a two-year hiatus, he began recording again, and soon announced the formation of the Devin Townsend Project. The project began with a series of four albums, released from 2009 to 2011, each written in a different style, and Townsend continues to record and tour under the new moniker.

Across all his bands and projects, Townsend has released twenty-three studio albums and three live albums. Townsend’s trademark production style, featuring a heavily multitracked wall of sound, has been compared to the styles of Phil Spector and Frank Zappa. His versatile vocal delivery ranges from screaming to an opera-esque singing, and his songwriting is similarly diverse. Townsend’s musical style is rooted in metal, and his albums are written to express different aspects of his personality.

Transcendence is the seventeenth studio album by Canadian musician Devin Townsend, and the seventh album in the Devin Townsend Project series. It was released on September 9, 2016 via HevyDevy Records.

The Analysis—-

Truth—-Brilliant and bright at the onset, this will actually be my first excursion with this band. The sound, for me is rather epic and filled with all the sounds that attract me to darker musical entities. I love this thus far…it is accessible…but enough out of the mainstream to keep me interested. This is so layered and textured I can only define it as beautiful right at the beginning…..this is incredible.

Stormbending—-With a bit more of a powerful punch to the music, the vocal enters and sucks me into a pleasant vortex I never want to climb out of. This is certainly different than Strapping Young Lad….this is experimental…progressive and damn articulate. I am in love….literally amazing!

Failure—-Again with a pleasant and accessible intro, this seems to cross all genre boundary lines. This is so easy to listen to…but still maintains a perfect mix or rock and experimentation to catch everyone’s attention. the vocal is exquisite….soaring and crashing and literally becoming one with the music. This is sublime….wonderful and damn addictive.

Secret Sciences—-Bright with a layered sound of instrumentation, the guitar and the vocal enters and almost takes me out of my body. The vocal is so damn pleasant and accessible….I just keep wondering why this band is not huge all over the world. I’m not even sure you could define this music as Metal……it IS very progressive and beautiful though.

Higher—-Stark and filled with beautiful acoustic guitar and melodies that threaten to make me weep like a little girl…I am just amazed that I have not invested more time with this band. The song becomes more powerful…but never loses the beauty and construction that started the entire thing off. This is just phenomenal…I sit here in awe….

Stars—-Almost seeming to be part of the previous song, the melody line is very familiar but still utterly addictive and filled with a beautiful resonance. This is a spectacular record…a true journey through the mind of what I think must be a musical genius. I can’t understand how this got past me…..I love this man.

Transcendence—-This trio of songs fit together like a glove in a gloved hand. Epic and beautiful….the songs are like a journey through space and time…I can find no fault with anything on this release…the movements are just incredible….I love this so much…..I can’t say enough good things about the epic nature of these compositions.

Offer Your Light—-A bit more aggressive musically,  this song is much faster and soars above my head with an incredible beauty. The vocal is so superb….I can’t get over the slight aggression but the subtle beauty of the whole thing…this is a journey….fantastic and littered with enough melodies to stick in your head for days.

From The Heart—-Again….the brightness of the music threatens to bring me to tears….I have not heard such incredible beauty and meticulous song construction in a very long time. This is a huge epic track….it feels so big and large to me…I love the power chords that hearken back to power metal days of the 80’s….a melody and chorus that inspires lighters in the air….and a vocal that is so accessible it should be on radio.

Transdermal Celebration—-Amazing…..this band can even take a Ween song and turn it into something full of beauty and pleasant feelings. I intend on buying everything I can get my hands on…..I fully encourage you to do the same…..a truly beautiful journey this one.

***** [!!!!!] out of 5

 

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2015 Metal Album Of The Year—-Iron Maiden / Book Of Souls

The Book of Souls

The Book of Souls is the sixteenth studio album by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 4 September 2015. It is the band’s first studio double album, and therefore also their longest to date, with a total length of 92 minutes. Its launch and supporting tour were delayed to allow vocalist Bruce Dickinson time to recover from the removal of a cancerous tumor in early 2015.

Produced by long-time Iron Maiden collaborator Kevin Shirley, The Book of Souls was recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris from September to December 2014, which they had previously used for 2000’s Brave New World. The band wrote and immediately recorded many tracks in the studio, resulting in a spontaneous live feel. The album’s first release, “Speed of Light“, was issued as a music video on 14 August, and simultaneously as a digital download and CD single exclusive to Best Buy. In addition to being their longest studio record, it also contains the band’s longest song, “Empire of the Clouds“, at 18 minutes in length, which was also issued as a single for Record Store Day on 16 April 2016. While not a concept album, references to the soul and mortality are prominent, realized in the Maya-themed cover artwork, created by Mark Wilkinson.

The Analysis—-

Disc One:

If Eternity Should Fail—-Coming out of the darkness with an eerie hum, Dickinson emerges with a lone vocal that adds to the slow build and atmosphere of the track. I’m sure everyone had baited breath wondering how the voice would sound after the cancer battle…but it sounds better than ever. It isn’t long before the Harris bass line brings the song to life….the vocal line huge and bringing mysticism and power to the track. With a damn catchy chorus, this is classic Maiden.

Speed Of Light—-With no huge introduction this track, what you are greeted with is a huge banshee scream from Bruce that is incredible in power and volume. The musical power is incredible….the energy level very high. The prominent bass line takes a bit of a backseat on this track…allowing for a more straight forward metal track. At times, Dickinson seems to strain…but have no doubt…next to Rob Halford…..one of the best Metal singers in history. The drums are excellent on this track…as well as the barrage of guitars. This just has a HUGE sound.

The Great Unknown—-A full  return to the heavy bass line of Steve Harris, Dickinson enters with his vocal….wrapping around your brain with symbolism and mysticism. The track takes a bit to open up….slowly building with typical fanfare and anticipation. Finally the proper song commences but does not seem quit as epic as promised. I like this….it is Maiden after all…but not quite as huge as promised.The guitars are really nice on this track though….the twin attack…actually triple attack…..sounds huge.

The Red And The Black—-Seemingly to build off the previous track, the bass line that greets you is almost acoustic and Spanish in sound…for the first 20 seconds! The the galloping Maiden sound propels the song forward at a nice speed and level of anticipation. The lead from Gers is fantastic….can you say ‘glory days’? This is classic Maiden….the sound and the mood takes me back to the earlier releases.

When The River Runs Deep—-Higher in instrumental tone and straight forward right off the bat, Dickinson delivers a stellar vocal that is without fail. The mood of the track shifts and takes shape as it progresses…there are some nice double track vocals which are rare on their recordings. The ‘chorus’ has a musical downshift sound to it that makes the entire thing play a bit odd to me…but it is a welcome break…something different to provide variety.

The Book Of Souls—-Again with the Spanish flavor from the guitar intro? This track takes a bit to get going but when it does…I smile. The sound of the band is deeper and more plodding than normal. Dickinson delivers very dark lyrics….the words he writes are like a vivid picture book. The ‘chorus’is huge….offered with a catchy hook and a stellar vocal. This delivers as only a title track should. This is 100% classic Maiden! Well worth the wait.

Disc Two:

Death Or Glory—-At the onset,this track sounded a bit muddled to me…the clear and concise tones were drowned out by the deep bass tones of Harris. Dickinson delivers a vocal that lightens things up a bit and Adrian Smith adds backdrop vocals to make the song even larger. This is typical Maiden fare…..mayhem and battles and tales of adversity.

Shadows Of The Valley—-One of my favorite tracks on this release….I love the urgency of the music….it drives the song forward….line after line and word after word. The drums are incredible….I don’t think Maiden drum get enough credit…its all about Harris and Dickinson. This has nice mood shifts…the lyrics are perfect….the song has a dark edge….true Metal for me.When the band all sings together,it is a huge free for all!!!

Tears Of A Clown—-With a propulsive progressive intro, the song seems like is is dragged like a tugboat into itself. The excitement dies down a bit with the entrance of a remarkably clear vocal from Bruce. This is a nice break from the previous two tracks…this has a different sound to it…I love this song.

The Man Of Sorrows—-A soaring, almost beautiful lead guitar ushers in this track…..with the vocal following soon after…with clarity and sincerity. This is really nice…showcasing the recovered voice remarkably well. The ability to match the vocals with the music is a talent. When the song opens up a bit, it becomes even larger and darker…..even though Bruce is pushed to the back a bit…you can catch every word. The galloping Maiden sound returns and you have a full fledged classic track.

Empire Of The Clouds—-At over 18 minutes in length, this is practically a mini album in itself. This combines all of the great parts of this release and makes it into one huge song. A bit overblown but none the less epic, this is a nice ending to a superb release. Moody and full of many movements, this track plays much faster than you would imagine…despite all the musical interludes…there are few breaks…the song stands on its own two feel very well. This is moody and huge.

**** out of 5

Loudwire.com 2014 Metal Album Of The Year—-Behemoth / The Satanist

The Satanist

Behemoth is a Polish blackened death metal band from Gdańsk, formed in 1991. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish extreme metal underground.

Until the late 1990s, the band played a traditional black metal style with heathen lyrical content, but soon changed to that of occult and thelemic themes written by their lead vocalist Nergal and Krzysztof Azarewicz. With the 1999 release of Satanica, the band demonstrated their presence in the death metal scene, while retaining their own signature style characterized by the drum work of Inferno, multi-layered vocals and Middle-Eastern influences. Despite Behemoth having been labeled as death metal or thrash metal-influenced, Nergal has mentioned that he does not like the band to be labeled.

The Satanist is the tenth album by Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. The album was announced on 31 May 2013 and released on February 3, 2014 through Nuclear Blast and on February 4 in Poland via Metal Blade Records and Mystic Production, respectively. Release was preceded by digital download single “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” and 12″ EP under the same title released on December 4, 2013.

The Analysis—-

Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel—-A favorite band of mine for a very long time, there is little in my eyes these guys go ever do wrong. Nergal came back from his leukemia battle sounding huge and more possessed than ever. The music is dark, dense and layered with sounds….the voice comes at you from the dark with natural…not forced…evil overtones. This is a huge epic release…..the intro song just sets you up for the incredible journey to follow.

Furor Divinus—-Right from the onset, the sound of this track is a bit muddier and dark. The drums are incredible….the rest of the instruments all seem to play to there own song which makes this sound layered, textured and almost like pure mayhem. Meanwhile the vocal slides over the top of everything with dark and evil overtones that make you feel as if you are going mad. Stellar in every way.

Messe Noire—-With loud and raucous odes to Satan, the vocal smacks you in the face from the very first note. After the first bar or so, the song takes off at a pace that literally leaves you breathless and shaking your head in amazement. This is so dark…it’s light and intense. I love this band. Nergal has never sounded more driven or possessed by his message.

Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer—-With an actual build up to the vocal, I find myself waiting with baited breath for the mayhem to commence. Once the drums kick in at hyper drive, the vocal is right there to tell you about the glories and redeeming powers of Lucifer. Driven through this dark tunnel your mind almost begs for light….but instead you drive deeper into the tunnel….just incredible.

Amen—-Incredibly fast drums and a bass line from hell smack yo in the face from the very first notes….with a slight downshift in the music, the vocal enters and then everything kicks back p again leaving you in a trail of black dust. The puked vocal is so intense I fear I could lose my mind….but the loss would be so magnificent at the hands of this band.

The Satanist—-A bleak and dark tone introduces this track…leaving you a bit confused by the calm nature of the whole thing….although the sound is huge and epic. The plodding feel of the music is offset by incredible drums and a static lead guitar line that still leaves the mind breathless. The vocal enters and sounds less driven than anything else on this release thus far…but the sound is monstrous anyways. The ‘chorus’ of the song has a brilliant melody line that runs through it…..I am always surprised by the brilliance.

Ben Sahar—-Incredibly dark in tone and layered with a bass line melody that makes you want to sway back and forth, the kick drum hits you right in the fuckin forehead. Nergal delivers his patented vocal that magically rides over all of the noise of the instruments and tells his tale of being Satan’s ally. Monstrous and incredible.

In The Absence Ov Light—-BAM!!!!! smacked right in the forehead at the first note, the melody line that is present in this song is incredible…you can pick it up despite everything that is going on around you from the different instruments and the sewer filled vocal of Nergal. The song has downshifts….a gentle almost acoustic guitar line allows for a spoken word verse in Polish that sounds even more evil than it would in English. This is freak in fantastic.

O Father O Satan O Sun!—-Loaded with a remarkable almost accessible melody line right from the first note, this is perhaps my favorite track on this release. The song has everything that made this entire release incredible….darkness…melody…evil…..drums…..a fantastic vocal….a great higher lead guitar line. this is an epic end to a fantastic release.

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 2013 Metal Album Of The Year—-Gorguts / Colored Sands

 

Colored Sands

Gorguts is a Canadian technical death metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, formed in 1989. The band has been through many personnel changes since its inception, and its only constant member has been guitarist and vocalist Luc Lemay, who remains the primary creative force in the band. To date they have released five full-length albums and one EP. Their most recent release is the EP Pleiades’ Dust, released on May 13, 2016, which consists of a single 33-minute song about the House of Wisdom that once stood in Baghdad. Their latest full-length album Colored Sands was released in 2013 and was nominated for a Juno Award. Musically the band is known for its complex, musically dense form of technical death metal, and has become “one of the most advanced, experimental, and challenging groups in the entire genre.

Colored Sands is the fifth full-length album by technical death metal band Gorguts. It is Gorguts’ first studio album since 2001’s From Wisdom to Hate. The album features the band’s first recordings with guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston, and the band’s only recordings with drummer John Longstreth. It is a concept album based on Tibet. The album was released digitally on August 6, 2013, and the release of the CD and vinyl versions on September 3, 2013.

The Analysis—-

Le Toit Du Monde—-Powerful and driving right from the very first chord, the band delivers a different type of Death Metal than you might expect. I find the sound of the band pretty experimental…but still technically sound in the genre. The vocal is so distorted it is hard to catch a single vowel…but the music is huge and powerful…..propelling you onward and then crashing you down with a slight pleasant interlude. remarkable.

An Ocean Of Wisdom—-Little in the way of introduction, the band manages to create a literal wall of sound that wraps around your head and threatens to snap your neck. The power and the venom that is produced is just incredible. I wish the vocal was a bit more moved to he front…it seems like the drums have the spotlight….but never the less…this is huge in sound…great with tempo changes and delivered with pure brilliance.

Forgotten Arrows—-Brilliant right from the onset…clear and bright high hats on the drums….soaring guitars and an actual melody you can sink your teeth into. the vocal is as usual it seems, pushed to the very back of the mix….but musically…this track is stellar. It has a huge epic feel without the typical orchestration and string effects…..brilliant.

Colored Sands—-An actual introduction ushers in this track…..clear guitars and the lack of heavy drums form the melody line of the song that raises it’s head throughout. The song takes a bit to get going…sounding plodding and Sabbath inspired…..this track is epic…..I find no fault here…this is brilliance.

The Battle Of Chamdo—-With a marching upbeat almost orchestrated intro to the song, you wonder immediately where this is all going to go. The instrumentation is fantastic…I love the jaunty feel of the song as it progresses….the swirls of strings…the melody that sounds like a classic movie soundtrack…..this is incredible…where did all this come from?

Enemies Of Compassion—-With a full and proper return to the brutality of the band, this tracks kicks you in the fuckin face from the first chord. The rhythm section of the band is incredible…the drums and the bass line are epic. There is so much sound here….my head wants to explode….instead I just sit back and smile.

Ember’s Voice—-Continuing in an almost identical vein, this sounds like a brilliant extension of the song that was previous with added breaks. The vocal enters with possibly the most violent and aggressive moment of the release so far. I literally want to jump up and punch something…I get such energy from the music. This makes me really feel…..I love this record!!!

Absconders—-Again powerful but with a nice structure to the melody line that runs underneath all of the mayhem. This is epic in sound….the wall of noise that is created just brings a huge smile to my face…the sharp bursts of guitars….the muted disgusting vocals add to the dirtiness of it all. This is so deep and dank…but somehow so bright and fantastic. The purest form of healthy aggression.

Reduced To Silence—-I almost hate to hear this release end…but of course you can listen again and again and again. This is explosive yet pleasant…giving a nice mix of everything of the album thus far but a nice slight tempo change to bring everything to a close. When the entire band really kicks in…so do your teeth….jaw and facial bones. This is fantastic!!!

***** out of 5

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2012 Metal Album Of The Year—-Between The Buried And Me / The Parallax II: Future Sequence

The Parallax II: Future Sequence

The Parallax II: Future Sequence is the seventh studio album by American progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me, released on October 9, 2012. The album’s concept is the continuation of the band’s 2011 EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring (guitars) described it as being their favorite release up to now, being mature, dynamic, and with various metal influences from 1970’s progressive rock, to jazz and fusion. It is their longest running studio album to date.

The Analysis—-

Goodbye To Everything—-Sweeping in with a beautiful short interlude full of harmonies and melodies leads us directly into….

Astral Bodies—-The magnificent and powerful guitar chords that open up the song are like a huge wall of perpetual notion. The strains of pure Progressive Metal are all over the melody line that runs through the song. This is airy, spacey and full of an underlying aggression supplied by the bass line. The drums hit hard….the guitars are magical short bursts…then the vocal smacks you in the head with aggression and brutality. A journey all in itself…bolstered by the intermittent prog rock and clean vocals. Magnificent!

Lay Your Ghosts To Rest—-With no proper introduction, this track kicks off with a brand new aggression that still carries a bit of a prog sound thanks to the higher tuned guitars. The drums and the crunching bass line keeps everything legitimate though. This has many movements…often reminding me of the things System Of A Down did with their music. The bright and clean vocals changes the landscape…then we dive back down again….just magnificent.

Autumn—-A bit of an odd intro, as the song takes shape very slowly…all part of the ‘concept’ I suppose. The odd effects and background static are annoying after a bit….and then we magically evolve into….

Extremophile Elite—-And we are returned to the proggish feel of earlier tracks as the music hits you from all angles. The dueling vocals are intense…screaming coming at your eardrums from all directions. This is huge…aggressive….dark…..but somehow magically shiny and fresh. I truly love the clean vocal interludes……such beauty and contrast.

Parallax—-Falling back into a melodic and beautiful acoustic guitar with a spoken word intro, this interlude serves to further whatever the concept revolving around this release is all about. We are then introduced to….

Telos—-I really hate the clear lack of song separation but I suppose that is the right of the band. This may very well be the most aggressive and hard hitting track on this release. The music and the vocal are unrelenting as you get hit over the head wave after wave of aggressive explosions. Clocking in at 10 minutes in length, I feel my attention dispersing to other things. There is a sameness that I can’t escape…..but wonderfully, at times when I find myself bored to tears there are nice chord changes that snap me back and make me pay attention again.

Bloom—-With one huge sweeping movement we are right into this track….the clean vocals coming at you in a staccato fashion that brings you back to the prog feel of earlier tracks and then burst wide open again with deep screaming from the other vocalist. There is so much going on…..I can’t imagine the genius it must take to construct and apply ideas like this.

Melting City—-Everything on this release melds together from one song to the other and leaves me confused sometimes as to where I am at with the whole experience. At the onset, this offers little new to the listening experience…all seeming like a long track…the clean vocals are well placed though…breaking up the monotony and offering much needed variance.

Silent Flight Parliament—-Kicking off with huge sweeping grandiose movements, the bass guitar literally crunches in the back drop of the song. The higher tuned guitars over lay and send the track soaring up into the stratosphere with clear and crisp sounds. The entrance of the vocal brings Roger Waters to my mind…..swirling with the story and then stomped on by the screams of brutal singing that steers most of this release…but this is mixed nicely with the play of clean vocals…a favorite track of mine.

Goodbye To Everything Reprise—-And then it is all delivered in a package full circle. I don’t hate this……but I won’t listen on a habitual level to this band.

*** out of 5

 

Loudwire.com 2011 Metal Album Of The Year—-Septicflesh / The Great Mass

The Great Mass

Septicflesh (formerly known as Septic Flesh) are a Greek death metal band from Athens, founded in 1990.

The Great Mass is the eighth studio album by Greek death metal band Septicflesh. It was recorded between July–September 2010 in Devasoundz (Greece) and The Abyss (Sweden) and produced by Peter Tägtgren. The orchestration was written by Christos Antoniou and recorded by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon release, the album received critical acclaim.

The Analysis—-

The Vampire From Nazareth—-If you really enjoy the grandiosity of Symphonic Death Metal, the opening strains of this are right up your alley. This has a lot of ‘classical’ elements, but once the band and the vocal kicks in, you know this is not pretty. Brutal…full of blasting beats and incredibly dark vocals all riding over a huge grand orchestration makes for a stellar kick off.

A Great Mass Of Death—-Coming out from a fog, the music rears and smacks you right in the head as this track begins. This is huge,,,with epic strings in the background…all the while wrapped in a short circuited electric blanket that shocks your senses with the contrast of violence and beauty. Every track is a journey! The variance in the vocal…including a female back drop singer keeps things interesting and epic.

Pyramid God—-Very listener friendly right from the onset, the under lying melody line is addictive and pleasant. The vocal enters and sounds like a perverted Rammstein. The power of the instrumentation is fantastic….I love how the original melody line never leaves the song…you can always hear it playing underneath the mayhem that intermittently occurs. This is epic!

Five-Pointed Star—-You can tell…..as the intro to the song enters that this is gonna be incredible. I wish I cold catch some more of the lyrics…but that is a slight complaint to the love that I have for this record. The intensity is never underwhelmed by the slight grand sounds that play underneath the instruments. This is aggressive yet remarkably accessible to even a casual fan. A landmark recording.

Oceans Of Grey—-Almost wispy and beautiful at the onset the strings give way to the death knell and the blast of the instruments. The drums beat you upside the head…and the slight breaks in the music allow you to realize the orchestration remains through out. The song has ‘movements’ taking you here and there….female vocal interludes…but always brings you back to the power and the aggression.

The Undead Keep Dreaming—-Little in the way of orchestration at the onset, this track is a bit different than most of the tracks heard thus far. The vocal is odd…going from a groveling whisper to an accessible mantra the song leaves me a bit underwhelmed. I like the power chords of the track though….there is so much swirling around your head. This is nice…not my favorite…but by no means a waste of space.

Rising—-at the onset, this has brighter tones to the music. The lead guitars seem to move much faster and gives a melody line that is easy to follow and become addicted to. The intermittent clean vocal seems to make it even more accessible. This is a stellar track….I like the play between different styles all rolled together in one nice package. Fantastic!!!

Apocalypse—-Chaotic at the beginning…but suddenly falling away to give room to a rather nice pleasant and epic introduction to the track. The power…the huge symphonic elements are so addictive and pleasant…you can’t get the melodies out of your brain. This is incredibly well constructed music….giving you so many different elements in each song…a really talented bunch of musicians.

Mad Architect—-Sharp bursts of piano and swirls of strings introduce the song….making it all seem like a movie soundtrack. The vocal enters accompanied by a marching bass line that turns this into a battlefield scene in my brain. This is huge….magnificently built and really well delivered.

Theriantropy—-I really hate to hear this all come to an end….but you can always push replay!!! The clean vocal that introduces the track just sets us up for the onslaught that is beautifully constructed and delivered. This could have all sounded like one repetitive song…but the band constructed such a well put together release…every track is epic and it’s own adventure. A fantastic listen!

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 2010 Metal Album Of The Year—-Ghost / Opus Eponymous

Opus Eponymous

 

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“.

The Analysis—-

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