Review score: 80%
Review Date: July 2013
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
Really guys, you’re going with THAT as your first album title? Right from the start the funny is there for all to see. The history of rock and metal is chock full of eponymous first albums, so why not echo that with a pun and call your first album Opus Eponymous Question is, are Ghost being respectful to the spectre of rock past, being derivative, or simply demonstrating their wit?
So, first impressions – what sub-genre is this then? The track list on Opus Eponymous bears more than a passing resemblance to the something Mercyful Fate would release, and this band of anonymous Swedes with their undead religious costumes and corpse painted Papa Emeritus crank that expectation up to eleven.
And yet the musical ethos revealed during those few first minutes of listening echoes back to the spirit of Demon’s first album, Night of the Demon, which I wrote about recently. By that I mean of course Ghost create the anticipation of hardcore death metal or modern grinding psychedelic doomrock and then surprise us with a blast of melodic retro splendour.
The album starts with the ominously titled track Deus Culpa. With a title like that I was expecting a King Diamond-esque chant, not a short churchy keyboard solo. Sounds a bit like the late, great Jon Lord exploring for a suitable sound before he came up that Speed King intro of his. A clever way to kick of the album.
Clean and gentle sounding intro, then a decent if skinny latte hard rock riff / keyboard meld, and Papa Emeritus’ mild and inoffensive singing. Yes, that’s right, proper Seventies style singing in a modern rock song! Contrast all this with a theme about sacrificing people to the Big Bad. No emo screamo here, we get harmony instead. A great single. Rock Hard Reviews says- listen to Ritual. If it’s your thing then you’re gonna love the whole album.
Dark and creepy, that’s the atmosphere here. Well, let’s be honest, you could say that about the whole album. Heck, elsewhere Ghost even manage to cover the Beatles and Abba no less, and make then sound even spooky. Elizabeth was originally a single from Ghost. Lyrics are full of Countess Bathory horror, and the musical melodies linger in your head after listening.
Ghost take the Black Sabbath sound and mix in a full on cliche dark satanic theme to produce a heavier sounding riff on Prime Mover. Whilst the lyrical theme reminded me somewhat of King Diamond’s Abigail, the drumming was so good here I could have been listening to the ghost of Cozy Powell banging the skins, and when the track gets into full swing the keyboard / guitar combo work oh so well. Prime Mover is a bit of an air-puncher in its sparse and sporadic crunchier moments, which contrast to the harmony of the chorus.
I’m simply gonna refer to Ghost as ‘hard rock’, but today I’m of a mind to continue calling them Ghost and not Ghost B.C.
Opus Eponymous is a surprisingly good album, and makes for interesting listening. This whole ‘anonymous ghouls’ thing adds a bit to the mystique. (Just who is that mild mannered guitarist? Penry? Could be!)
Ghost are purveyors of that melodic old fashioned hard rock which is having a bit of a comeback these days. Imagine a buttery melting of Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath Lite, mix in half a dozen random Seventies rock acts, add a hint of King Diamond after filtering out the falsetto, simmer, et voila... Opus Eponymous!
Track List (may vary)
- Deus Culpa
- Con Clavi Con Dio
- Stand By Him
- Satan Prayer
- Death Knell
- Prime Mover