Analog Adventures: Ghost Reveries
(2005, multiple reissues)
About the Artist
Opeth is a progressive metal band from Sweden. Their name translates to “City of the Moon”, which is appropriate given how otherworldly their music sounds at times. Their sound is difficult to pin down, since they incorporate aspects of death metal, jazz, and folk music into most albums, often times in the same song. The band has experienced multiple personnel changes since their formation in 1989. No original members of the band’s first lineup are still present.
The Record Itself
Ghost Reveries is a concept album that tells a story about a young man seeking redemption. The complexity of the story is matched by the composition. The album begins with a somber D minor chord progression that immediately kicks into death metal. Mikael Akerfeldt, the bands singer and guitarist, shifts between distorted death growls and clean vocals seamlessly. At first it is difficult to believe that it is the same person singing.
The inner sleeve and back cover.
The vocals are just as amazing as the music itself. The guitars, keys, and drums interlock to create a sort of symphonic sound, reminiscent of Romantic composers. Four out of eight songs run in excess of ten minutes. Each of these songs have distinct movements and le motifs that recall early passages in the song. Ghost of Perdition and The Grand Conjuration both follow a three part structure, unlike most pop songs which follow a verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus structure. This builds a sense of storytelling and a broader concept.
Is It Worth It?
The album features stunning Goth-esque art, which while minimal is quite effective at achieving the sense of atmosphere the album strives for. The 2013 reissue is a double LP, weighing in at 180 grams a piece, giving it a satisfying feel. Ghost Reveries can be purchased for about $20-25 for a used reissue on online marketplaces such as Discogs or eBay.
If you want to expand your musical palette into the world of extreme metal but don’t want to listen to blast beats and death growls the entire time, this is a good record to start with. The music lends itself more toward King Crimson than Slayer, which ultimately pays off. A gorgeous experience from beginning to end and well worth the time.
- Ghost of Perdition
- Baying of the Hounds
- The Grand Conjuration