Sound — 8
Opeth are recognised as a band who are always pushing themselves forward and progressing their music all the time, while keeping their unique and recogniseable sound. The addition of a keyboardist to the band really seemed a natural progression for the band, and it's worked quite well. The opening track, Ghost Of Perdition showcases this quite well, the keyboards giving a haunting backing to the softer parts of the track. There's still room for improvement though, as I feel the keyboards are at the moment mostly providing this backing noise which, while very effective, leaves you with the general impression that there could've been more. The keyboards do take the lead at several points during Beneath the Mire, which is something I would love to hear more of in the future. The keyboards work well, but could still be better, Opeth are still an ever-growing band, now more than ever, so it should be interesting to see where they take this. A further layer to their already multi-faceted music can only be a good thing.
The guitars on this album are just as good as on their previous albums, still continuing to make the transitions between heavy-as-hell riffs and slow, haunting melodies perfectly. As far as guitars go Opeth have pretty much stuck with what they do best, making these transitions and keeping the listener captivated in their playing. The album features predominantly the kick-ass heavier side of Opeth interspersed with moments demonstrating the beautifully constructed softer side, in a similar way to the Deliverance album. Hours of Wealth, Isolation Years and Atonement are the softest tracks on the album, and fit in perfectly with the much heavier tracks, so there's no disappointment for fans of either their heavier sound or the much softer, fascinating music they create. The album progresses from both the Deliverance and Damnation albums pretty much equally.
In conclusion, I'd say Opeth have really pushed some boundaries with this album while keeping their own unmistakeable style intact, something they have consistently done with each album, but this one stands out a little more due to a brand new member of the band. It's still captivating, more importantly it's still very much Opeth, but there is a little room for growth in respect to the keyboards. While the keyboardist does a brilliant job, I think it will take time to become fully integrated into the band. Not yet perfect but still a sign of great things to come.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this album are very dark and thoughtful, this time dealing with a great many occult images and acting as a perfect reflection on the album's title. A number of songs consider ghosts, demons, the devil etc. as lyrical topics. However once again what impresses most upon the listner is Mikael Akerfeldt's vocal talents. His gentler vocals are fantastic on this album, at times reduced to almost a whisper during The Grand Conjuration, and fitting in brilliantly with the soft side of the tracks. But as always his trademark growls and roars on this album really stand out. My favourite thing about Akerfeldt as a vocalist is his ability to mix the soft and heavy vocals together without any difficulty or awkwardness, which when you consider the nature of their guitar playing fits together with the music excellently. The lyrics compliment the sound of the keyboard and the guitars very well, with the music quite often reflecting the mood created by the words in every single track. The two parts work together equally to create very dark, brooding songs as well as more violent and tormented-sounding music. Once again the lyrics and vocals represent Opeth very well, and Akerfeldt is one of the most unique-sounding and creative vocalists in modern music. No complaints whatsoever.
Overall Impression — 10
Opeth have progressed with this album alot. Their creativity has always been one of the most impressive things about the band, and Ghost Reveries shows their creativity in almost every area of music-making, while offering long-time fans some very new and refreshing ideas. I haven't admittedly been an Opeth fan for long but have recently got myself all their albums. with each one I listened to, I found it difficult to see how they could possibly improve, but every single time they have done exactly that. This is no exception. A genuinely captivating album, enthralling from beginning to end, bearing all the marks which Opeth are reknowned and loved for. There really is something for everybody on this album, and if you're an Opeth fan you'll love it.