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Ghost - Opus Eponymous

Label: Rise Above Records
Format: CD download
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8.5/ 10

Ghost (who's six members are unidentified), is the new "mystery" band on the block, and, in a good way are deceiving. I was instantly intrigued and curious just from the Hammer movie style logo and artwork. And the music, even more interesting.


Given the subject matter and their frontman's skull painted face and embroidered satanic pope robe and head dress , in sound and style Ghost by far are not Black Metal. The music is a breath of fresh air and unique to the scene, serving in direct contrast, yet complimenting, to what is expected of the genre. Blast beats, rapid fire (and more often than not, redundant) riffs, demonic vocals, and hellish orchestral elements are replaced by rock and metal guitars, straight forward drum beats, and melodic dead-pan vocals that lure you in to the occult. Also, the inclusion of that creepy organ in the background nicely sets the tone. Even when Ghost pick up the pace within a song there is nothing harsh or terribly aggressive about the music. Early Mercyful Fate ("The Beginning" album) influences songs like 'Ritual' and 'Stand By Him' within the simplicity, as well as "Melissa" in the proginess ('Elizabeth') and melodic twin guitar leads (where at times I also hear some Boston, really, no lie). Tell me the initial riff and drum beat in 'Satan Prayer' does not sound like Satyricon?

Ghost bait the (unwilling) listener with easily digestible satanic content, weaving a melodic spell that is catchy and singable . You'd never think it would work but it does. It's really the perfect lore into a lifestyle (or hobby, hahaha) of worship to the black arts.

Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/10

This enigmatic Swedish outfit is the hot property of the moment, as much for their anonymity, as the atmospheric 70s influenced, satanic hard rock. Name checks include Blue Oyster Cult ('Ritual', 'Stand By Him') and Mercyful Fate ('Elizabeth'), which ain't a bad thing in my book! At only 35 minutes, they seem to think in terms of old school vinyl days as well.

Opening with a 93-second liturgical organ solo ('Deus Culpa'), Hammond features prominently throughout the seven proper songs, with the 'Genesis' finale an instrumental. Surprising how mid-tempo and pedestrian the sound, definitely musical, with accent on the vocals. The only exception might be 'Elizabeth', which recalls King Diamond's dual vocal style, albeit without the scaling falsetto. A welcome treat for old ears, as well as newcomers. Damn shame it isn't longer!

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