From The Vaults

Chris Owens revisits one of the harder punk bands to come out of the hellhole that was Belfast in 1978

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Ghost | ‘Opus Eponymous’


Ghost have divided opinion and stoked arguments in recent times – strange for a band that are so fundamentally ordinary.

There’s no need to get worked up about who’s in them, how real they are, or whatever. The fact is, behind the visuals and would-be mystique lies an album that is engaging only in very rare bursts.

I find its knowing kitsch deeply off-putting not in itself, but in its almost unremarkable dullness.

A hammy, cod diabolus in musica theme runs through this hippy proto-metal, with all kinds of occult lyrics trotted out for the sake of it and nothing more.

In fact, much of it sounds like a theme tune to some children’s tv programme. It’s hard to imagine ‘Stand By Him’ in any other capacity.

‘Eliazbeth’ works because of its daintily shuffling riff. It’s one instance where the band grasp the late 60’s / early 70’s sound they’re desperately trying to capture everywhere else.

The vocals, with their weedy tone and deliberately flat production, are terribly annoying. Bands used to sing like this because they genuinely were innocent in their ways – this just sounds feigned.

The bass sounds like an elastic band, while the bass drum sounds like its being kicked with toilet rolls on the beater. I’m no fan of clean productions, but that’s not vintage, it’s just crap.

It’s an unfulfilling listen, with almost each song feeling strangely hollow in the middle. It never reaches a peak of any real kind.

In other words, a well presented triumph of style of substance, and thus an abject lesson in great marketing.

Someone somewhere is laughing ghoulishly, all the way to the bank.

2.3 / 5 - Earl Grey ::: 01/12/10
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17 Comments
  1. “Someone somewhere is laughing ghoulishly, all the way to the bank.” – That will be Rise Above.

    Good review.

  2. Eoin McLove Says:

    Saps.

  3. how come they still get a 2.3 mark then?

  4. dark stranger Says:

    2.5 is the average mark, so slightly below average seems spot on. I’ve heard the album too and genuinely couldn’t hum a riff or recite a lyric from it ten minutes after hearing it.

  5. Can we please change the marking system to binary?
    Anything more than 0 and 1 is just confusing.

  6. Era VulgaChris Says:

    Hammy cod sounds interesting.

  7. I think 2.3 is generous. Don’t know how anynoe can like this band. Not a decent riff in there at all.

  8. Can’t stop listening to this. Totally savage album. How anyone could resist the hooks is beyond me.

  9. General Lee Says:

    Bought this cd a few weeks ago after all the praise that was heaped on it on the main forum. Review is spot on. Glorified media darlings is all they are and to mention them in the same breath as Mercyful Fate is blasphemy. TBH, I think it’s shite.

  10. Worthless Recluse Says:

    This review is waaaay off as far as I’m concerned. This is one of those rare albums that I find myself having to play right through twice in a row. I can imagine someone being irked by the kitsch element or the vocals but I find it harder to understand someone not being taken in by the melodic strength, and the perfectly arranged and structured songs. And I think the production is outstanding and completely appropriate: not ‘flat’ but dry, with all the individual instruments audible.

    The “emperor’s new clothes” argument always finds a band to attach itself to, and it’s always boring and lazy, and here it fails to address the genuine enthusiasm of metal fans (as distinct from media hype) for this band. When I’m listening to this I’m not getting off on marketing, but on damn fine music, and it’s not hype that are keeping these songs stuck in my head.

  11. Have to agree with the post above. Its a fantastic album! I find myself singing the songs all day after one sitting! Whats with the whole laughing to the bank thing? A band like Ghost are really making that much money? To me it sounds like a bunch of guys who loves the old school paying homage. I think we are all aware of the whole retro throwback thing, but if its music you enjoy just because people are doing it well these days surely thats just a win to your own music taste? And not some evil conspiracy!

  12. CubeOvOdium Says:

    Agree with the last two posts,I’ve had the album for some weeks and still enjoying it after repeated plays. Caught some live fottage online and pretty impressed!

  13. CubeOvOdium Says:

    footage

  14. Ā£11.99 for the vinyl on hmv delivered

  15. Loving this album. The faux-satanic stuff is tongue in cheek im sure, some crap lyrics in there for sure! But great melodies and memorable singing. Ritual, Elizabeth and Satan Prayer are the highlights for me. The first and final tracks are very strong too. Couldn’t care less who’s in the band or not – they make decent music and will find it damn hard to follow this up i’d say. Not really a style I like so its surprised me. Love the King D influence…

  16. Its ok – had a listen to it – some catchy tunes but hardly groundbreaking and does feel there is an awful ot of michael being extracted. Ill be bored of it in a week.

  17. Spannerman Says:

    The album was a good listen with some catchy tunes, but most weren’t very memorable. This review is a bit too harsh but it’s nothing special. Also with their look and all (the band is fronted by a guy who dresses as some kind of Satanic bishop) I found the music a too light. Not exactly headbangin’ stuff.

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