Friday, August 12, 2011

road therapy / ghost

Opus Eponymous
2010 / Rise Above

Not much road therapy lately, not because I haven't been driving, but because it's been mostly new, unreleased or just-released stuff bringing the noise to my car, like Today Is The Day, Ancient VVisdom, Wolves In The Throne Room or William Elliott Whitmore, and that's not much fun discussing here. Not only most of you are still unfamiliar with those records, but I've reviewed them for several magazines, so I feel like I've said my piece about them for now.

Anyway, Ghost. This one you'll all be familiar with, whether you like it nor not. Overhyped by many, subsequently detested by others, the impact it has had since its release is undeniable. My first reaction when I got the promo was to stay away from it, the instant impression I got was of a gimmicky bunch trying to get on the occult rock bandwagon by aping Mercyful Fate and suchlike. But I listened to it, eventually. I had to grudgingly admit I found a couple of songs quite fun. So I listened to it again. And that's how it gets you. You really can't help but feel its charm once the hooks comfortably sink into your brain. It's 'Ritual' and 'Elizabeth' that first get to you, but soon you start discovering all the delightful little touches in all the others and that's it, you're irretrievably lost to the Ghost cause.

Eventually, it gets too much, of course. It's only eight songs, and when you've listened to them eight million times each, you need a break, and I eventually left 'Opus Eponymous' aside for a few months. The definitive confirmation that it's indeed a great record, even with the benefit of hindsight, has come this year, in three parts. First, it was seeing them live at Roadburn and realizing they're an incredibly tight and powerful live band, always one of the best measures of credibility in my books. Then, upon arriving in Iceland, my buddy Gisli had the album playing in his car (some Icelandic road therapy there!) and I enjoyed it tremendously after not having listened to it for ages, Roadburn aside, and was surprised at how much I felt like listening to it again once I got home. And now, the final confirmation, bringing it to my car nearly a year later, After all the hype, all the magazine covers, after all the crazy guessing of who is in the band (everyone knows by now who the vocalist is, at least), it's the perfect time to re-evaluate it, and it still holds up remarkably well. Especially as a driving album - the best ones are usually the ones you can sing along to, and there's not better singalong album than this one, so it's been spinning tons again. Until I get sick of falsettoing hear our Satan praaaayer all over again, at least.


  1. I live in sewer of repugnant death metal and haven't even heard these guys yet. Who's the vocalist?

  2. Their Portal-meets-American-Pyscho-era-Misfits aesthetic is kind of cool, though.