Opus Eponymous (Latin for the self-titled work) is the debut album by Swedish heavy metal band Ghost, released on October 18, 2010. An unnamed member said that it was the song "Stand By Him" that heralded the start of the band; "while being together in another band, Ghost started when I played a riff to everybody else. I said that this is probably the most heavy metal riff that has ever existed. Then I showed them the opening riff to “Stand By Him.” When the chorus came to me, it haunted my dreams. Every time I picked up the guitar, I ended up playing that progression, and when I fit the words in, it seemed to cry out for a Satanically-oriented lyric. This was in 2006. When we came up with the name Ghost, it seemed only natural to build on the foundation of this heavy imagery. Within that concept we were able to combine our love of horror films, and of course, the traditions of Scandinavian metal."
Over the following four years Ghost would play and perfect these songs, but it wasn’t until October of 2010 that they would decide to record them, Opus was recorded in a basement studio in the band's hometown of Linköping. When asked about their sound, and how despite they having formed in the 00’s, they sound like a 70’s band, one Nameless Ghoul said “We did the whole thing with a standard Gibson SG, which is why a lot of the guitars sound more traditionally metal. We played everything through an Orange Thunderverb 50. To get a real Seventies vibe, we backed up the gain as much as possible without losing the tone or the sustain. We found that the midrange was really important as well. That's why we used Orange amps.” Opus is the only Ghost album to not get a gold certification as of April 2016.
The one single released from Opus Eponymous was Elizabeth, a theme written song about the most prolific female serial killer of all time: Elizabeth Bathory; of whom boasted the murder of over 650 young women, who she would murder then bathe in the blood of. Pretty metal if you ask me. The song is written in ‘praise’ of her actions. “Her pact with Satan, Her disposal of mankind, Her acts of cruelty and her lust for blood, Makes her one of us.” Implying that they have a bond with her via their mutual love for Satan. This is one of Ghost’s best songs musically, as was typical of this album though the lyrics are a tad gimmicky, it wasn’t until their follow up album -Infestissumam - that lyrical strength really was truly gained for Ghost. However Elizabeth still definitely stands out as the best track on the album, it was with this song that they gained some mainstream notice and started to garner themselves a steady fan base.
A personal favorite off Opus is one of the most pro-Satan track on the album, ‘Ritual’, which is a song devoted to the rebirth of Satan (or technically the creation of the anti-christ). Part of the main chorus is the lines “On this night of ritual. Invoking our master, to procreate the unholy bastard.” Literally the song is supposed to be a cult like anthem to get Satan to have a son to bring about the end of the world. Without listening to the words, the song could pass off as just a 70’s classic rock song, something your grandpa would crank in his car and something the stoner kids in your high school would have worshiped. The illusion would be broken though when the breakdown that is a mockery of the Lords Prayer, “Our father, who art in hell. Unhallowed be thy name. Cursed be the sons and daughters of thine nemesis whom are to blame. Thy kingdom come. Nema.” is heard. On a personal note, several of my staunch Christian family members have all mistaken this song as a Christian Rock song, to which I endlessly find hilarious.
The most intriguing song on the whole album was never released in the US or even Europe. It was only on the Japanese release. It is a cover of The Beatles most famous track, Here Comes The Sun, to which they somehow twisted to make sound like a dark and demented song. It is in this that the talent of Papa and The Nameless Ghouls really shine. In an interview one of the Nameless Ghouls stated that he had always been a fan of The Beatles and that it just seemed natural that they would choose to cover them on their first album. Lyrically the song stays the same as how George Harrison wrote it. That is the only thing that stayed the same on it. The tempo, octave range and all around sound of the song is entirely different, making it only lyrically similar to the original. Some would say that doing as such is sacrilege, no one should change a classic like that, but with Ghost, they beat to the drum of sacrilegious acts and it’s doing rather well for them.
The weakest of all of Ghost’s albums, Opus has yet to be certified by any international certification system and despite being a good album, the writing depended too much on gimmick and fell flat on the publics ears; however, had not been for Ghost getting noticed with this album we never would have gotten to experience the more mature and fantastic writing of the Ghoul who writes all their songs. Before checking out Opus, I would strongly suggest looking into Infestissumam and/or Meliora to get a better taste of Ghost, then maybe come and listen to Opus if you believe Ghost is truly for you.
If you like what you hear, be sure to check out all of the music this Grammy Award winning band holds today, and head on over to their official website! Ghost will be going out on tour this week, and will stay on tour through May 22. They will also be performing at many festivals here in the US, and in Europe over the summer. The American festivals start at the end of this month and go through May, so they happen mostly through the diration of their tour. They will be performing at 98 Rockfest, Fort Rock, Welcome To Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, 98.9 The Rock's Rockfest, Northern Invasion, Rock On The Range and Rock N' Derby. As previously stated, head on over to Ghost's official website for more information!
Also, while you're checking all things Ghost out, please be sure to read all of our reviews for Ghost! This review completed Ghost's discography for us! Linked below are all of the reviews on the website for Ghost's work.
Written by Coby Andrews
Infestissumam - Meliora
All reviews have the date they were written, the album title, and the band's name, with the exception of Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace and Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin. Those dates were guessed at, as they were written well before the website began.