While I feel like every few months or so there’s a punk or hardcore record that really blows me away, it’s a much less common occurrence that a metal record hits me in a way that my favorites do. Luckily, the last couple of years have offered up some truly great metal records (Christian Mistress, Deathspell Omega, the Nachzehrer demo, the new Crowbar), and now my absolute favorite metal record of the last many years is seeing a North American vinyl release: Ghost’s Opus Eponymous. This is not your average Satanic metal record. While the lyrics certainly maintain an entirely antichristian focus (in an old-school devil-worshipping sacrificial altar kinda way), musically, Ghost have more in common with Blue Oyster Cult and Boston than they do with their satanic contemporaries (with a hearty helping of Mercyful Fate, of course). That’s not to say that Opus Eponymous isn’t jammed full of heavy riffing and distinctly metal grooves, but it’s their melodic, almost radio-ready delivery that sets Ghost way apart from the metal pack. Anyone I’ve played this for, from die-hard metal folks to pop punks, has been totally stoked on it. It’s a perfect execution of novel approach, great talent, and theatre—and its replayability is unbelievable. I’ll be through my third or fourth repetition before I think maybe it’s time to switch it up… which I might… maybe. The only flaw I can find is the record’s brevity, but that’s easily remedied with the repeat function. Just… fuck. Wow.
–Dave William (Rise Above)