"Ghost Reveries" Album Review: This May Be Opeth's Best Album
The Back of the Cover for "Ghost Reveries"
Opeth is a Band that Has Been Around for Almost Three Decades
Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth has had a long career full of albums that have very long songs, lots of time changes, rough vocals, clean vocals, and catchy riffs. However, their 2005 studio album "Ghost Reveries" may be their finest album of their career and this is quite a statement considering how strong the band’s first two albums are. This statement is not set in stone because I have not yet heard any other material from this band since 2008. One thing is that none of this band's albums are bad in the literal sense and for that these guys should be considered one of the most consistent Swedish metal bands of all time.
A word of warning though as it must be said here: Opeth’s songs tend to be long, drawn out tunes that require lots of patience for many fans of the genre and I my struggle with this one myself sometimes too. Once you adjust to the length of the song and begin to see the mastery of this Swedish band, the rest is easier after that.
Two Reasons Why Ghost Reveries May be Opeth's Best Album as of 2017
Why is Ghost Reveries the most solid album in the history of Opeth?
- One of the main reasons is because the band has matured and gone away from their mostly death metal dominated vocal style that they had used in the 1990’s and they have added more clean vocal parts.
- They have even used piano in this album to their advantage to create a good new age/classical feel to the album.
Reverie/Harlequin Forest Shows the Vocal Versatility of Mikael Akerfeldt
The two part song Reverie/Harlequin Forest showcases Mikael Akerfeldt’s first real attempt at a song dominated by clean vocals and he does a good job. The song is about someone that is trying to escape the hounds that are chasing him. If he becomes cursed then everyone will see this. There is a very strong force, perhaps an unseen monster that is causing the trees of the forest to burn, creating a set of blackened ash.
A Photo That Represents the Song Ghost of Perdition
"Reverie and Harlequin Forest"
Ghost of Perdition is a Song that Really Sets the Tone for the Album
The first song called Ghost of Perdition has a riff that is slow picking style and the beginning of the song has that progressive atmosphere. The song is about a woman whose soul has been possessed and she is being told that she has to live before her death as she is destined to die young. The song has acoustic passages reminiscent of the band’s earlier days. There is lead guitar work that is influenced by 1980's Black Sabbath.
"The Baying of the Hounds"
The Baying of the Hounds: a Musical Masterpiece? Yes
The Baying of the Hounds lyrically is a song that is different from what we have seen from this band. The song is about a group of jackals just roaming around and destroying forests as they go. There is a piano part played by Swedish musician Per Wiberg which only strengthens the album musically. There are repetitions of three notes but they create a musical masterpiece in this section. It took this band over 15 years to create their best musical work but people like me are reaping the benefits of the album and using it as a coping mechanism.
Best Album by Opeth in the tenure of Peter Lindgren
Which one of these Opeth albums is the best during the time of Peter Lindgren?
Interesting Aspect About the Song Beneath the Mire
Beneath the Mire has guitar play that sounds like it is Middle Eastern in origin. If anyone can recall as far back as 1990, Pantera experimented with similar sounds for their song Primal Concrete Sledge. But 15 years later, Opeth expands on this musical theme and makes it more complex. The soft piano part combined with the guitar shows that Opeth can play more than just your standard progressive metal.
Beneath the Mire Continued Plus the Lyrical Themes of the Album
The album lyrically discusses how humans can become tormented by the voices they hear or when they have to deal with past guilt, resentments, and various emotions that they have trouble getting over. As the song comes to a close, there is a definite easy listening feel with atmospheric sounds.
Ghost of Perdition
Final Thoughts About Ghost Reveries and Peter Lindgren's Departure
Atonement is a song about a person that has finally come to terms with his past and he cannot justify the person that he had become. The person that he was before did not match his beliefs and values. Hours of Wealth is a soft song that is about someone that has found a way to rid themselves of the pain and fever that had afflicted them, yet they still feel very lonely. How can this be possible? You would think that in the context of the song, the person that is free of fever and pain would be in optimal health and happier as a result. But human life does not always have a certain pattern. The last song called Isolation Years is about a man that reads a letter written by a person named Rosemary. When she starts aching on the inside, she knows that she is in trouble because the person that she loves eventually passes away. Ghost Reveries is the most mature album in the history of Opeth. This would be the last album to have Peter Lindgren as a member of Opeth. He would leave the music business and be replaced by Fredrik Akesson.
© 2017 Ara Vahanian