OPUS EPONYMOUS - Ghost
LABEL: Rise Above Records
TRACK LISTING: Deus Culpa, Con Clavi Con Dio, Ritual, Elizabeth, Stand By Him, Satan Prayer, Death Knell, Prime Mover, Genesis
IMPRESSIONS: What a scary bunch of Swedes! Much has been made about this anonymous band's Satanic credentials; whereas other bands might merely play at Satanism, this "group of nameless ghouls" may actually walk the walk. I don't really care either way because the music on this album is such a catchy batch of 70's-sounding prog metal with more hooks than Col. Henry Blake's fishing cap. No less a personage than the Hetfield himself touts the band as his new favourite and wore a Ghost t-shirt at the "Big 4" concert in Sweden. Not really a "heavy" metal album, comparisons have been made to Mercyful Fate and a strong influence by Blue Oyster Cult (particularly evident on the chorus to "Ritual"). "Death Knell" sounds like Blue Oyster Cult and the Moody Blues had a satanic love child. "Satan Prayer" is a devil-hymn whose melody is so pop-masterful that it sounds like something you'd get if the Beach Boys had sold their souls to the Devil! Then there's the frequent use of the same "haunted house" organ which Vic Mizzy used to score "THE GHOST & MR. CHICKEN and an album cover which recalls the artwork for Tobe Hooper's TV mini-series "SALEM'S LOT". How could you not love this album?!? The "Hail Satan" angle somehow doesn't seem gimmicky but instead comes over as sorta sincere while at the same time there's nothing remotely scary or unsettling about this album because it's just so poppy, melodic and fun. It's more like a Halloween party than a black mass. I really don't know how an album can sound sincerely satanic and like it's taking the piss all at the same time? But I know I like it. Blogcritic Chris Beaumont said "There are moments where the music reminded me visually of The Blind Dead films. Odd, I know, but there it is." There, I think, is the crux; OPUS EPONYMOUS is completely Satanic in the way that Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY is - only for the entertainment value. I still don't know. Their matter-of-fact lyrics sound like they could very well be praising Satan while they paradoxically sound so darn wholesome in their vocal harmonies; maybe that's the tip-off that sneaky old Lucifer is definitely involved, eh? Wow, what a complex album for a straightforward dumb ole metal album.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Con Clavi Con Dio, Ritual, Elizabeth, Stand By Him, Satan Prayer, Death Knell, Genesis
BONUS TRACKS: Here Comes the Sun (only available on the Japanese version)
FACT SHEET: OPUS EPONYMOUS is Ghost's first album. Ghost is a band from Stockholm, Sweden whose members are not credited on the album and who wear masks and costumes when performing; this has led to widespread speculation that the members are really practicing Satanists who wish their identities to remain concealed. The lead singer (sometimes referred to as Papa Emeritus) wears a skull mask and a cardinal's robes while the rest of the band appears wearing hooded, monk-like robes. The rumour on the street is that there could be members of Watain and Repugnant involved. The song "Elizabeth" is about the fabled "Bloody Countess" Elizabeth Bathory.