Image via allmusic.com
Release Date: October 18, 2010
Label: Rise Above, Metal Blade, Trooper Entertainment
Producer: Gene Walker
Personnel: Papa Emeritus (vocals), Nameless Ghouls(lead guitar, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, drums)
Before Papa Emeritus III and Papa Emeritus II, Papa Emeritus was still among the living on his musical journey alongside the nameless ghouls, telling his story of the anti-Christ and preparing the earth for his arrival. Not exactly a happy story, but it’s theirs, so I’ll let them tell it. The title of the album, Opus Epynomous is Latin for “the self-titled work”. I did some digging on the meaning of a few of their songs to help confirm my suspicions of their overtly-Satanic story and found no surprises there. Delving into the song titles and lyrics isn’t the point of this review; it’s the music and the distinct sound Ghost produces.
Ghost has produced some mega, metal hits with the likes of “Cirice” and “Square Hammer”, but even before then, they were creating music that was quite unique. Their studio effort Meliora gained traction for them commercially, but it was the more simplistic, stripped down sound in Opus Eponymous that laid the ground work for their success.
The bluesy, psychedelic sound on some of their tracks caught my ear and had me wanting more. Their musical chops are quite good and their take on the metal genre is quite uncommon. Honestly, I don’t think they can be lumped into one genre. Ghost seems to be a hodge podge of psychedelic rock, blues, traditional rock ‘n roll, and heavy metal. I’d like to think of their music as a melting pot that is hard to pinpoint, but is almost always good. Now for Opus Eponymous!
The album takes off ominously with “Deus Culpa”: a somber, organ solo. Ghost had once used this to kick off their live shows in order to get things rolling on a dark note. The second song; however, does not maintain the slower pace from the first track, but instead picks things up with an upbeat bass intro. “Con Clavi Con Dio” is the first time we hear Papa Emeritus sing as he chants “Lucifer!” It’s no secret Ghost was and is still into anti-religious themes. Despite their music being rather accessible, their lyrics definitely play to a certain musical taste.
Not to be outdone by “Con Clavi Con Dio”, “Ritual”, the album’s third track begins with some slick guitar picking, leading into the meat of the song including heavy riffs and bass lines. Stepping aside from the psychedelic side and busting out some heavy metal, Ghost shows off their musical diversity here. Personally, this is my favorite on the album and one of my favorite Ghost songs period. The verses are purposeful musically, and the chorus is quite memorable. Ghost has a way of putting together great melodies that just work, and “Ritual” delivers. To top things off, a guitar solo is added to please the metal fans.
The metal sound continues with “Elizabeth and “Stand By Him”, and I didn’t have a problem with that at all. Ghost’s take on metal is a stripped down sound that reminds me of a three piece band like Black Sabbath, yet they have five musicians (or ghouls) backing up Papa Emeritus. This isn’t a knock on them; I just found this album to be a musical effort by Ghost without too many frills in the studio. With the musical writing skills these guys possess, no thrills are necessary!
With regard to “Stand By Him”, a nameless ghoul had stated that the riff on the song’s intro “is the most heavy metal riff that has ever existed.” Now I thought it was pretty strong, but I’m not quite sure it was that heavy. You should listen to it and decide for yourself. Anyway, “Stand By Him” continues their dark, lyrical theme coupled with a good amount of heavy metal – a winning combination for Ghost.
Image via hiddenjams.com
(Papa Emeritus accompanied by the Nameless Ghouls)
With the likes of “Death Knell” and “Prime Mover”, not much changes with their strong bass play, simple drum beat, and solid guitar riffs – all backing up Papa Emeritus’ powerful, cutting vocals.
Capping off the album is “Genesis”…an odd place for sure to have a track called Genesis, but like some of their metal counterparts, Ghost treats us to an instrumental. I wouldn’t say it’s on the level of Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu”, but it’s confirmation that the nameless ghouls sound good even without a lead vocalist, and I believe was an excellent choice to close out the album.
Something I immensely enjoyed from Meliora was Ghost’s use of the keyboards and organ, and to my delight, they use it here on Opus Eponymous. The inclusion of the keyboards and organ lends itself to that psychedelic vibe permeating throughout the album’s entirety.
Based off of the overall strength of this their first effort in Opus Eponymous, I look forward to listening to and reviewing Infestissumam. I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I had writing it.
I’m going to give Opus Eponymous a 78%.