Ghost Reveries seizes the progressive rock gauntlet. Opeths Mikael Åkerfeldt still periodically loses his black metal bleat Baying of the Hounds begins with a fit of rage. But the album is actually pretty tame, with its animalistic, gloomy side, layers of acoustic guitar and cathedral organ, and stretches of stilted rock introspection that can only be described as Queensrÿchian (e.g. harmonized guitars and epic plod of Reverie/ Harlequin Forest).This makes sense, since both groups look back to heavyweights like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin as well as a legion of prog rock obscurities. But Opeth has looked beyond the black metal boundaries of its Scandinavian peers ever since 2001s Blackwater Park, and Reveries is the ultimate expression of that. Its murky din gets sliced by Åkerfeldts bludgeoning rasp or the occasional blast-beat; however, shimmer is more often the overwhelming factor, setting up the frilly contemplation of Hours of Wealth and the breathy harmonies in Ghost of Perdition. Opeth long ago proved its determination and Reveries is its truest search for New Prog excellence.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].