Music News


The hard and soft sides of Opeth's dark, enveloping sound were showcased separately on its last two albums, Deliverance and Damnation. On Ghost Reveries, the band's Roadrunner debut, they've merged. Keyboardist Per Wiberg is a major presence on this record: On "The Baying of the Hounds," he slams the keys as Jon Lord did in Deep Purple three decades ago, while his soft, eerie playing on "Beneath the Mire" lends the track a horror-film atmosphere; meanwhile, his piano playing on the breathtaking "Atonement" perfectly complements the band's delicate guitar figures, creating a mood like that of David Bowie's Berlin-era albums. Reveries is occasionally hard and heavy, but the relentless intensity of Deliverance is mostly gone, replaced with a meditative gloom. The album often feels like a prog-rock suite, with tracks blending into each other. "Beneath the Mire" and "Atonement" could be two halves of one epic song. At first, lovers of the act's harder, faster material might be put off by this more subdued, melodic disc, but within a few spins, they'll realize that this is Opeth's best record yet.
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Phil Freeman
Contact: Phil Freeman