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Gothic Metal Metal Music

[Metal/Prog] Ghost – Opus Eponymous (10th anniversary review)

This week marked the 10th anniversary release of “Opus Eponymous” from the Swedish band Ghost, which is fronted by Tobias Forge (aka Papa Emeritus). My listening to this album was in a retrospective as I was introduced to the band through their third album “Meliora” with “Cirice” four years ago. As of today, I still consider their first album as their best album. Maybe for the musical style of it, maybe from the overall atmosphere from it.
It is personally an awesome album to listen to on a regular basis. It is a 9 tracks album that is short (34 minutes shy) but nicely crafted with almost no filler. It is a festival for the hear, with this rough guitar reminding me of the early age of progressive rock, coupled with a primitive sound of a MOOG synthesizer (with primitive not being used as a pejorative connotation here, more like in the idea of the original), giving this late-70s/early-80s feels to it.
We start with “Deus Culpa” which is an church organ, which introduce us quickly to “Con Clavi Con Dio” which has this particular trance effect on me, almost psychedelic. A very good track. “Ritual”, the third track, help us to chill out while navigating through the lyrics.
Then comes the piece of resistance. My favorite track. “Elizabeth”, the fourth track. Completely devoted to tell the tale of Erzebeth Bathory, a Hungarian princess which holds on the most cruel woman from the middle-age, rivaling with Vlad “Dracul” in terms of her lust for blood, including the infamous legend (or myth) of her youth beauty perpetuated by bathing in the blood of murdered virgins. It is fast-paced, with a very complementation of the guitars and keyboards. Listening to “Elizabeth” from the original demo tape and the finished product is showing the refined product that was already there, only perfected by professional recording in a studio. We resume the trip into the darkness with “Stand by Him” and “Satan Prayer”, also very good. The seventh track, “Death Knell”, is my second track. Again, a track already present in the demo tape that was rearranged, with these Black Sabbath bells. The eight track “Prime Mover”, is another of these tracks present in their demo tape. It has this nervous and menacing guitar tones, giving this malveolent atmosphere.
“Genesis” is the closing instrumental track of the album. A bliss of primordial MOOG synthesizer coupled with excellent proggy/psychedelic rock riffs, transitioning into that synthesizer waves resulting in this absolute epic epilogue to the album, reminding me of the early days of the 80s.
If you have to get introduced to Ghost, I would certainly recommend to do it by starting with their first album, remaining at the pinnacle of my library from this band.

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Music Progressive Metal Uncategorized

Ghost – Popestar (EP)

Ghost released last week their latest EP named “Polestar”. As they have previously mentioned, this EP has followed the same track then their previous EP “If you have Ghost” and consists of covers. Their previous cover was simply serendipitous, putting a big layer of dark and heavy┬ámetal into pop songs, giving that nightmarish and horrific picture. For instance “I’m A Marionette” initially a pop-song by ABBA suddenly became a dark, nightmarish and depressing song. Or listen to “Crucified” bartering the baroque of The Army of Lovers into a mysterious and occult song with the voice of Papa Emeritus.
Altough this dark, doom and gloom is not present in the EP, being more into a progressive metal side, this second EP just reinforce one opinion I have about Ghost: these guys are like the King Midas. They transform any cover they touch into some masterpiece gold.
I will not post any track from the EP, except anything officially on Youtube.

The first track is “Square Hammer” that is the only track not being a cover. Using a thematic inspired by Fritz Lang “Metropolis” and “Nosferatu”, the title is very catchy and maybe suggest a transition of the band into a more progressive metal/rock domain but still much more enjoyable.

The second track is a cover of “Nocturnal Me” by Echo and the Bunnymen. This is the track that gave me some chills down the spine, by giving a mysterious and oppressing atmosphere that was the hallmark of their previous EP. I could even feel like the influence of Fabio Frizzi in that one. Thats in my opinion one of the best cover of that EP that overpass the original song.

The third track is certainly the most bizarre cover because of his clear deviation of the original song. If King Midas could transform some electro-poop into gold, so does Ghost. Instead of having some electro easy-listening song of the original, Ghost did some remarkable work on this one. With an opening sequence that would reminds the early work of Pink Floyd, replacing the electronic beep sounds with a dry guitar and atmospheric sounds. It gives some interesting ambient atmosphere to the song. If you have to compare to the original video, that would something you would illustrate with some kind of refined and zen environment, almost like an Apple advertisement.

The fourth song is taken from Eurythmics “Missionary Man”, giving a strong 70’s progressive rock blended with a touch of blues. It is also the least favorite one.

Finally, the last one. Maybe the most unknown except maybe by Swedes that grew in the 80’s. It is called “Bible” by Imperiet. Dont be surprised if the number of viewers on the Youtube literally explode. Thats certainly THE COVER of that EP. Ghost transformed that new-wave song into something as powerful as “He Is” from their last album “Meliora”. It is so well arranged and produced that you still have the original feel of the 80’s into that song but with the layer of progressive metal of the band. It is so good you could almost sneak it into your Sunday church and bluff the preacher on that as “He Is” was. This is where I give the genius touch to the band that somehow succeed to humanize the beast with many names.

Ghost has some bad rep among metal elitists but indeed I found the band provides this nice escape pod by nicely blending progressive metal and pop songs, transforming with their magic touch into heavy masterpiece.