Opeth

Ghost Reveries (Special Edition CD/DVD)
(Roadrunner Records)

If you take a cynic's view toward "expanded" reissues of recent albums, then, yeah: Anymore, the masters don't even get shelved before record labels are padding releases with videos and B-sides, and dangling them before the same folks who bought the albums last year. From a consumer's standpoint, buying such reissues stings even more when the originals — as with Opeth's 2005 opus Ghost Reveries — are already masterpieces. While it's a cool addition, we don't really need a 5.1 mix to hear the dynamic arrangements and bittersweet balancing acts that pervade the Swedish prog-metal geniuses' eighth album; Opeth's warm, nuanced self-production already had us convinced. Nor do we really benefit from the added cover of Deep Purple's "Soldier of Fortune," although it helps us hear where Opeth got the balladic chops to match its death-metal atmospherics. And while the liner notes and DVD documentary help us understand what went into crafting the original, there's more magic — and terror — in experiencing Ghost Reveries unguided, alone in the dark. Consider yourself lucky if this (admittedly quite awesome) edition marks your first run-in with Opeth, but don't feel compelled to shell out if you're among the 100,000-plus who've already banged their heads.

 
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