The Opeth album Ghost Reveries turns 17 on August 29th and is considered by many to be the bands magnum opus. However the creative process during production wasn’t a smooth transition.
Ghost Reveries is the eighth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on 29 August 2005. It was their first album after signing with Roadrunner Records. Over the years Opeth will become one of the most distinct sounding bands in metal music through their progressive metamorphosis pushing boundaries and taking huge risks.
The band as a collective wasn’t in a very good place during the time they were working on Ghost Reveries. Their then drummer Martin Lopez was struggling both mentally and physically. While his performances on Deliverance, Damnation, and Ghost Reveries were just legendary he was going through anxiety and stress and just wasn’t fully invested in the creative process. He eventually quit the band right in the middle of a US metal tour, Sounds Of The Underground. To make things even more stressful Long time guitarist Peter Lindgrens impending departure from the band also loomed which affected moral during this time period.
“We were a bit all over the place,” Mikael Åkerfeldt front man of Opeth said in an interview. “The connection between the members had disintegrated a bit. I was more on my own than ever before. I was writing on my own. I don’t think we were communicating that well. The excitement strictly came from writing music, which I guess is all I need in the end.”
“I guess it was really tough for Mikael,” said Méndez. “When the guitar player doesn’t seem to want to join in and the drummer was, shall we say, far away… We had all these possibilities for the record, but we weren’t working as well as we should’ve been.”
“Mike used a new guitar tuning when he wrote the songs and I believe that shaped the sound a lot,” said Per. “It wasn’t a majordifference, but it was big enough to generate a new vibe. Bringing in a new instrument such as keys changes a band’s sound by default. We kept the Opeth identity, but the sound developed a lot.”
Ghost Reveries was originally intended to be a conceptual album linking together the tale of a man’s inner turmoil after committing the unconscionable act of slaying his own mother and the psychological torture he later endured while coming to terms with what he’s done in Norman Bates fashion. The journey of the album evolved into something much more in depth. The album casts a spell on its listener. It conjures images of violence, the occult, demonic presence, and loneliness through supernatural story telling. Mikael had this to say about the album.
“I had intended to do a occult concept piece lyrically and got off to a great start with some downright evil lyrics like “The Baying of the Hounds” and “Ghost of Perdition”, then I did “Isolation Years” which had nothing to do with the intended concept but I liked it so much I decided to ease up on the concept idea in favour of this one lyric. Why I decided on a occult theme? Well, I’ve always been intrigued by it, especially Satanism and stuff like that. I studied some books that oddly enough my wife had in her collection like “Servants of Satan” as well as “Witchcraft and Sorcery” plus some more. I figured it’d be interesting to see what a mature 31 year old mind would make of this subject as opposed to the 16 year old kid who used to pose in front of his Bathory poster. I’m quite happy with them to be honest, and they’re … evil!”
Time to revisit Ghost Reveries and celebrate the albums anniversary!