Company: Metal Blade Records Release: 2011 Genre: Hard Rock Reviewer: ChaosLord
Tremendously well done
I had never heard of this band until I tuned in to "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic. Host Jim Florentine was talking about the album, "Opus Eponymous", and mentioning King Diamond and Blue Oyster Cult in the same sentence. This intrigued me so I went out and picked up this album.
Let me first say that this album is not really metal in the truest sense of the word. It's more like hard rock/70's style rock with some metal elements to it. That said, "Opus" is one of the best hard rock albums I've heard in a long time. The band is a 6 piece group, led by Papa Emeritus on the vocals and the rest of the band being referred to as Nameless Ghouls.
When I first saw a picture of the group, Emeritus being dressed like a Satanic Pope and the Ghouls in nothing but Nazgul like robes, I thought this was gonna be a rough listen, but as the opening notes of "Deus Culpa" came through my speakers, I started squirming uncomfortably due to the sheer creepiness of the keyboards. Then "Con Clavi Dio" kicked into gear and I immediately started nodding my head. Ghost definitely borrows from King Diamond and B.O.C. but also add their own flair with the extremely evil lyrics. The bass is heavy and fuzzy, especially on "Con Clavi Dio", while the drums have an almost Jazzy sort of feel to them.
Did I just say Jazz in the review of a metal album? Damn straight I did and it isn't a bad thing at all. Emeritus channels his inner King Diamond but without King's ridiculous falsetto scale. He has a little falsetto going on in "Elizabeth", a song about Countess Elizabeth Bathory, but for the most part sings with clean vocals and partially distorted spoken vocals.
Overall the album is tremendously well done. The songs all have their own feel to them and the solos bring back thoughts of a long-haired dude trying to master "Stairway" in his parent's garage. There is nothing solo-wise that would make Jimmy Page drop his guitar and walk away but they fit perfectly into each song and aren't taking away from it as a whole. "Ritual", "Elizabeth" and "Death Knell" are what I consider to be the standout tracks on the album. But as I said earlier, the entire album is damn good.
I need to give a big thanks to Jim Florentine and "That Metal Show" for talking about this enough for me to go pick it up. Hopefully, you will do the same after reading this review. I'm really looking forward to seeing what this band has to offer as they continue along (I really want to know who the lead singer is!) Go check this one out people, you won't be disappointed!
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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