Friday, February 24, 2012

Ghost: Opus Eponymous -- album review

They've got me hooked. On par with Virus' The Black Flux and Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar. All beautiful albums with a consistent theme throughout, and disruptive to preexisting metal norms.


That was going to be my whole review, but in the process of searching for the image there to our left, that I found here, I happened upon a review for Opus Eponymous that I found completely unfavorable.

And if that crappy review has any influence over the interwebs, I feel it's my duty as a Free Thinker to insert my counter-influence.

SCUMFEAST METAL 666 totally rips on Ghost. Just hates them. With a passion. Because it sounds like 70's-style Blue Oyster Cult. "...and that's being nice," he says. Yeah, real tough, tough guy.

Well, let's just test this theory out. Here's the first suggestion YouTube generates when searching BOC:

Okay, wow, it's really similar to Ghost. Okay, SCUMFEAST METAL 666 is right about this one thing. Opus Eponymous sounds a lot like it came from the 1970s, and is similar to Blue Oyster Cult. BIG DEAL. Every band sounds like some other band; that's nothing new.

I venture to argue that there are enough dissimilarities between Don't Fear the Reaper and every song on Opus Eponymous to logically warrant only a light comparison. The mood and tone of the instruments are similar, but only that. Ghost's production is more advanced, and their overall sound are quite different.

Sometimes, to me, OE is a tad boring. But that's only my opinion, and fleeting at that. Sometimes those slower parts that I think are boring one day will speak directly to me another day.

Momentary whims are not enough to build an album review with, which is exactly what SCUMFEAST METAL 666 did. It reads like he wrote it in five minutes, didn't reread it, and hit 'Post.'

Probably thinks he's all clever and sticking it to the man and stuff.

His tone reads as that of an uneducated, fat, angry, slovenly WOW nerd who's never had a girlfriend. The very first sentence of his review makes little sense, and he used 'that' instead of 'than.' I thought a prerequisite to being an album reviewer is a grasp on grammar and the altitude of alliteration.

By the way, my daughter has been wanting to listen to this song a lot lately:

See, this is the appeal of Ghost: it's music that even kids can like. My first daughter is going on three years of age. She likes Frosty the Snowman and The Itsy Bitsy Spider and This Little Light of Mine and The ABCs, and The Beatles' Yellow Submarine, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Penny Lane, Nowhere Man and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Yes' Roundabout and Neil Young's American Stars and Bars.

Okay, she has eclectic taste in music for a 2-yr-old. Nonetheless, she retains affinity for all the usual 2-yr-old-marketed stuff, too. Yo Gabba Gabba, Go Diego Go!, Baby Einstein, and all their associated musics.

My point? Even kids, with typical kid tastes, like Ghost. I can play the album at home and my two girls don't mind it. Lucy is really into Stand by Him, the vid above. She doesn't know what the lyrics mean, and I'm not going to tell her. It's so cute to hear her singing the chorus.

My wife also likes the album, or tolerates it without strenuous effort. And she's primarily a Tori Amos kinda gal. As such, she appreciates the freakier side of things, and can get into it when a band is doing something original and creative, whether dark or not.

I could tell Ghost started to stick with her before I purchased the cd. I think her first reaction was, "This sounds really 70s."

Kids like it! Wives like it! It's a feel-good church service for Satan! Who's ever done this before? It's awesome!

My mom is going to HATE this album.

The first track on Opus Eponymous is a solo organ, quiet and reserved, but calmly happy, and basically doing nothing special--and that's what's so great about it.

It's exactly like a church service might begin: churchgoers are shuffling in, finding seats, saying their hellos, and then quieting down respectfully, preparing to be somber and engage in the worship of a humbling higher power, feeling elation at the prospect of it all.

So what Ghost does is turn this upside-down--as if you're seeing the almost-mirror-image, evil version of that same church service, perhaps from a parallel universe. Maybe a better way of describing it would be that they replace all Christianity for old-school Satanism (I say that because, as I understand it, today's Satanism says, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, not "obey Satan").

And this all got me thinking--it's a particularly powerful message, because it's not thrown in your face with anger like so much of the shitty metal out there. An album full of the same screaming vocalist gets old so quickly. Ghost has got a guy singing with a really normal-sounding voice--mid-range, clear vocals. He's really good at harmonizing with himself, too. It reminds me of Layne Staley and Alice in Chains' better days.

Anyway, Ghost's message, though simple, is a concept no band has expressed in this particular way. So poppy; classic rock-like; uplifting, like a humble church service that really moves you to your very soul, and feels warm and good.

And that got me thinking--if Christians are allowed to do this, why can't Ghost? How can any Christians say that Ghost has not just as much right to do this as Muslims or Hindus?

When you consider the religious and free-speech implications of what Ghost is doing, amid this veneer of "smooth metal," a genre I just made up, it's all pretty crazy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Album Review: Pantera: Far Beyond Driven

The whole album fuckin rules. So heavy. So raw. So dirty. So angry. More hardcore and death-y than Vulgar Display of Power, and less lame than The Great Southern Trendkill.

This song fuckin rules. I recommend listening to it really loud on headphones. Drink a few beers too. Get pissed. But don't hurt anyone. 

Then listen to "Use My Third Arm" from the same album (2nd riff in--pure death metal).

Hell, start right from the beginning. Find it on Spotify, douche, I'm not posting all the goddam YouTube videos right here.

RIP Dimebag. You were phenomenal.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Foreigner, Live on Hulu -- What?

A few thoughts come to mind immediately:
--Eighties guys put on fancy clothes, get their hair did, and do a show with modern technology. 
--Blend of old and new lameness.
--This band kinda sucks. Not saying they're not awesome! But if you're not in the mood for Foreigner, no amount of Foreigner will do anything but push you away.

"Feelin kinda dirty
Feelin kinda mean"

Totally blowing my mind. Did they actually slow Double Vision down from the album version? It sounds like they're following a strict metronome, not allowing themselves to really rock, yet still trying to make the audience think they didn't buy tickets to Lamevent O' Thu CRNTURY.

I wonder how much of the audience are dedicated fans from Foreigner's working years, and how much are just along for the ride. And I wonder what all of them thought of the performance.

Halfway thru the second song, which I can only surmise is entitled, Head Games, I gave up. I'm gonna try and find that one song that's really lovey-dovey and poppy...

Holy shit they did Cold As Ice!!! Thanks to Job Bluth and Dana Carvey, this song rules.

Waiting For a Girl Like You 
    -that's the corny song I wanted to hear. I like that song.

Ok I'm done.