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So Ghost are a band from Sweden whose members are not named, all pictures of them they are cloaked and masked, with the exception of what can only be described as a satanic priest. Oh and they play 70's inspired psychadelic doom metal. What's not to like?
It's odd to review a band without mentioning names of the members yet one listen to Opus Eponymous and I totally forgot the mystery shrouding the band. From strange organ opener Deus Culpa into the opening bass of Con Clavi Con Dio it is quite obvious where Ghost have their influences, part Blue Öyster Cult, part Sabbath and equally part Pagan Altar. Ghost are really the most cult band you'll hear this year and they do it without as much as a single scream or growl. Rather the vocals featured are far more reminicent to that of Eric Bloom than Ozzy Osbourne with a definate nod to doom and with lyrics verging on the border of cheesy the band retain their seriousness with tracks like Elizabeth, yes it's another song above Bathory, yet with each track Ghost have carved perfectly catchy choruses whilst retaining a threateningly dark mood, in fact it actually seems they believe what they are singing.
The guitar work is incredible, just like Pagan Altar blend nwobhm and doom together Ghost take the formula one step further and include that eerie psychadelic sound with Ritual laced with haunting melodies, both guitar and organ. There's a huge ode to Candlemass on the most doom inflused track Death Knell with very downtuned and slow almost sludge parts.
It's not just the guitar that makes the album so well done musically, the bass and drums are far above competant, rather on album closer and instrumental track Genesis showcasing how all members of the band, whoever they may be, are perhaps gifted with talents from the horned one.
Cheesy devil worshiping or genuine cult metal? I'm sure that Ghost will be desputed for a long time about this, yet as far as great debuts are concerned Ghost may have just taken the biscuit in 2010. May there be more satanic hymns from Ghost.