Ghost Opus Eponymous (Rise Above) CD
Ghost (not the Japanese band) is yet another Swedish import in the retro doom scene, a scene that has by now become so saturated with lightweight pretenders and progressive pagan hucksters, that I'd all but given up on its vitality. I still like Electric Wizard and a lot of the heavier side of things (Salome and Monarch kick ass), but I take issue when doom tries to get all witchy and progressive in a cutesy retro fashion, which is what makes this Ghost such a breath of fresh air.
Opus Eponymous is kind of a joke. It's a record enamored of the dawn of the Satanic age in pop culture when rock and metal were inching ever closer to the slope of grim blasphemy. The hilarious/awesome cover art (itself an homage to black metal and the cover of Stephen King's Salem's Lot) is the first hint. The bewitched retro harmonies found all over the record are the second. Their theatrical live show the next.
Somehow these lads actually deliver on the promise of said cover art with a sound firmly entrenched in '70s hard rock and proto-thrash, right on the verge of emergence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Yet their primary influence isn't British at all. It's none other than the mystic masters of Blue Öyster Cult (who I've always had a soft spot for, of course). This is so much the case that these guys probably should thank Buck Dharma in the liner notes. All bands should probably do that now that I think about.
Combine these post BÖC harmonies and Sabbathian cult fixations with memorable proto-thrash riffs, solid/tight rhythms, some psych and electronic flourishes (remember, Kraftwerk were all the shit in '75) with a virulently Satanic streak that almost feels like camp, and you've got yourself something quite interesting to bang your head to.