“Ghost Reveries” by Opeth

Artist: Opeth
Title: “Ghost Reveries”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/30/2005
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Rating: 8.5/10

With the release of “Ghost Reveries”, the Swedish powerhouse Opeth continue their journey in becoming one of the key leaders in the Death Metal genre. There are those that have followed Opeth since early in their career and they can clearly identify each change very succinctly. The band has trekked musically since “Blackwater Park” (which some consider their masterpiece) to “Damnation” which was met with some hesitation. On “Damnation” the band took a very abrupt turn and made the entire piece Progressive with not much Metal on it at all. This was not received well by the diehard Death heads. The record showed that the band had grown and matured over time and during this has achieved a level of transition that most other bands can only hope for. No longer simply a very good Death Metal band they have shown that all genres can be progressive if they are creative enough have the daring to try. I don’t want to lie to the audience and say I have been an Opeth fan for many years and as a matter of fact while the name is long familiar, it was not until the “Lamentations” DVD that was released early last year that I even sat down and tried to absorb what this band was all about. The DVD showcased their entire “Damnation” CD and then did some of their heavier material at the end. I listened to friends copies of “Orchid” and “Blackwater to get a better idea of where they came from. It was an interesting study.

So as I listen to this CD I have to say how very interesting it is as an overall piece of music. If you respected the band before based on their experiments you need to know that they have raised it up a notch on this album. There are moments when you would think this was a Pink Floyd CD or even something by Rush because of the varied musicianship happening all over the record. Keyboardist Per Winberg really shows his skills in all tracks and there is a lot of Mellotron happening. Now don’t get me wrong for this also has a large amount of killer Death Metal vibe to it with Michael Akerfeldt’s voice growling through the deeply Progressive melodies. However during the times when Akerfeldt sings “clean” you will be amazed at how good his voice is. He sings on an equal level of both styles throughout the CD. With Martin Mendez on bass, Peter Lindgren on guitars and Martin Lopez on drums the band really captures a great feel which requires several listens to fully appreciate. My favorite tracks are “Ghost Of Perdition”, “The Grand Conjuration” (the CDs longest track) and “Beneath The Mire” for each one affected me a certain way while listening. You need to be open minded to enjoy this record for if you expected Opeth to remain the same you are cheating yourself. This is a natural progression from “Blackwater Park” and “Damnation” and combines the best of both sides to make a new masterpiece. The CD comes with a brooding and ominous booklet filled with lyrics and eerie artwork.

This CD also comes to us courtesy of Roadrunner Records and this is the group’s first release on the label. Combining this new partnership with that continued musical advancement gives Opeth the chance to reach their largest audience yet. This transmission might have the band risking the label of sell out but fans that come off with this opinion need to realize that while we experience these songs an hour at a time or at a live show, the band lives and breathes them every second of their day. This action comes about naturally for change is a necessity of survival in most musical cases. Roadrunner might not have been the label fans expected them to be on because of the current roster, but as a label they are taking steps in their own survival by bringing Opeth to their list just as they did Nightwish. This aspect worked well for SPV Records and Metal Blade on where there are varied artist styles and each continues to strive bringing us the best Metal that they can. This CD is a recommendation for Metal fans of all genres.

Track List:
1. Ghost Of Perdition
2. The Baying Of The Hounds
3. Beneath The Mire
4. Atonement
5. Reverie/Harlequin Forest
6. Hours Of Wealth
7. The Grand Conjuration
8. Isolation Years

Official Web site: www.Opeth.com

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