Ghost – Opus Eponymous

There are a lot of new bands forming these days that are forsaking the current trends in metal and creating music that sounds like it could have been released in the 80s. Whether this is due to stagnation of the current crop of extreme metal or just a lot of nostalgic metal-heads I really couldn’t say. If asked, I would have to agree that metal needs an infusion of something to freshen it up a bit, there are far too many mediocre death and black metal bands out there stinking up the genre. Maybe, like the “Princess Bride” character Vizzini says, you have to go back to the beginning. Perhaps by going back to the roots of extreme metal it can be rebuilt fresh and new from the ground up.

I’ve heard a number of retro sounding thrash bands the last few years, that’s nothing new. But Ghost is the first one I’ve come across that does such an amazing job of channeling Mercyful Fate-styled metal. It’s uncanny. I swear they went to the King Diamond School of the Mercyful Fate and took full honors. But it’s more the atmosphere and feel of the music than the sound itself. The singer doesn’t sound particularly like King Diamond to me, but the music’s haunting melodies bring no one else to mind.

And did I mention this music is evil? It’s pure unadulterated black-hearted satanic evil…from a theatrical standpoint anyway. None of the band members give up their identity, they all hide behind make-up or a hood, which leads to speculation that they may be members of other known bands. Now I don’t put any stock in any of the satanic imagery that often accompanies heavy metal music. If anything it’s just good fun like a horror movie. So these kinds of lyrics roll off me all the time like nothing. However, hearing lyrics like these in the context of music that’s very melodic and not really all that heavy actually makes it kind of creepy. But that would be creepy like a good scary movie, not creepy like I’m a scared little girl scared of the big bad music, just wanted to make that distinction lol. I mean how creepy would it be if Britney Spears started singing satanic lyrics over her normal pop music? Yeah, I thought so.

Probably the most evil lyrics ever stuck repeating over and over in my head: “This chapel of ritual / Smells of dead human sacrifice / from the alter bed / on this night of ritual / Invoking our master / to procreate the holy bastard”. You wouldn’t think it but the chorus to “Ritual” is insidious with how it drills into your brain and puts itself on repeat.

I cannot emphasize enough how awesome I think this album is, even if it is a bit short. I hope that the breakout success they seem to be enjoying will generate a new longer album in the very near future. This stuff is like crack and I want more now! I was very disappointed that I could not attend the Maryland Deathfest to see them play recently, but I saw on the Jaxx Nightclub website they are supposed to be coming back and opening for Enslaved. If that is the case Buke and I need to get on tickets right away.