Opeth – Ghost Reveries

April 16th, 2010  |  Published in CD Reviews

]Release Date: August 30, 2005
Reviewed by Scott Olivenbaum

Death metal has a very negative stereotype. The music is loud, abrasive battering characterized by unintelligible growls about murdering your family and is played by a bunch of dorks wearing corpse paint and leather covered idiotic chrome spikes, buckles and studs.

Totally ruining that stereotype is Opeth. The groundbreaking, barrier pushing Stockholm band plays death metal like it is prog rock composed by a classical prodigy.

The majority of the vocals are powerful growls, but they are interspersed with lilting, graceful singing … and it is all from the throat of Mikael Akerfeld. Akerfeld is an unassuming, shy musical mastermind that comes out of his shell on the power of his music. Opeth is not a one-man band however, the brilliance of guitarist Peter Lindgren, bassist Martin Mendez, drummer Martin Lopez and the recently-made-official member Per Wiberg on keyboards is apparent throughout Ghost Reveries. The newest album from Opeth, Ghost Reveries has eight tracks, four of which clock in at over 10 minutes! While par for the course for the Scandic band, the long tracks are certainly not for the ADD-riddled Mtv generation. That is not to say that they cannot enjoy the album, it is a work of art that has qualities that can be appreciated by music fans of most every genre.

The songs on Ghost Reveries roam from unrelenting brutality to breathless beauty logically and often seamlessly, as most tracks by Opeth do. The new album shows an evolution in their sound, an amalgamation of the persistent death metal power of 2002’s Deliverance and the acoustical prog perfection of 2003’s Damnation.There is nothing cliché or derivative about this music; it is an exciting trip through the minds of musical masterminds that destroys stereotypical expectations of death metal music. The intensely sorrowful vocals and lyrics are starkly contrasted with stunning breakdowns. Opeth manages to pull it all off with production value that is second to none; every element is crisp and clear – whether it is the bellowing growls above charging guitars or the warm keyboard fills under the grooving bass lines.

An audiophile’s dream, Ghost Revelries is a must buy for music fans of any and every genre; it will obliterate all predetermined notions of death metal. It is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of musical genius that should rank alongside the greatest works of the 21st century when all is said and done.

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