"Ghost of Perdition" as written by Chris Fehn, Craig Jones, Michael Crahan, Corey Taylor, Nathan Jordison, Paul Gray, Sid Wilson and Mickael / Thomson....
Ghost of Mother
Lingering death
Ghost on Mother's bed
Black strands on the pillow
Contour of her health
Twisted face upon the head

Ghost of perdition
Stuck in her chest
A warning no one read
Tragic friendship
Called inside the fog
Pouring venom brew deceiving

Devil cracked the earthly shell
Foretold she was the one
Blew hope into the room and said:
"You have to live before you die young"

Holding her down
Channeling darkness
Hemlock for the Gods
Fading resistance
Draining the weakness
Penetrating inner light

Road into the dark unaware
Winding ever higher
Darkness by her side
Spoke and passed her by
Dedicated hunter
Waits to pull us under
Rose up to it's call
In his arms she'd fall
Mother light received
And a faithful servant's free

In time the hissing of her sanity
Faded out her voice and soiled her name
And like marked pages in a diary
Everything seemed clean that is unstained
The incoherent talk of ordinary days
Why would we really need to live?
Decide what is clear and what's within a haze
What you should take and what to give

Ghost of perdition
A saint's premonition's unclear
Keeper of holy hoards
Keeper of holy whores

To see a beloved son
In despair of what's to come

If one cut the source of the flow
And everything would change
Would conviction fall
In the shadow of the righteous
The phantasm of your mind
Might be calling you to go
Defying the forgotten morals
Where the victim is the prey


Lyrics submitted by MonkeysLikePeanuts

"Ghost of Perdition" as written by Mikael Lars Akerfeldt

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Ghost of Perdition song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentTo start off, this is my first review of any sort for Opeth's 2005 release, "The Ghost Reveries" which is a must have in any metal head's collection. The beautiful songs coupled with an amazing and increasingly climactic story of a man who longs for redemption from his horrible past. The ending is great, and almost made me want to shed a tear. ( and I recall Still Life had a smidge better of a story) Pick it up as soon as possible, and sit back and enjoy this excellent piece of work. Hope you enjoy.

    1. Ghost of Perdition

    Mikeal starts off with is classic death metal vox, growling the lines:

    " ghost of mother, lingering death, ghost on mother's bed.
    black strands on the pillow, contour of her health, twisted face upon the head"

    this starts off with the notion that his mother has died due to sickness of some sort. However, with the next 3 verses, he takes her death in a different direction, claiming
    that " Devil cracked the earthly shell" a hint towards posession of sorts. The next verse compounds this theory of mine.

    " Holding her down, channeling darkness
    Hemlock for the gods, fading resistance
    Draining the weakness, penetrating inner light"

    Kinda self explanatory, his mother is posessed and the demon kills her. The next part reads " Road into the dark unaware, winding ever higher" This could be
    interpretated a couple ways, but I see it as the main character ( lets refer to him as Mikeal from here on in) running away...or the dark unaware could mean he too has dabbled in the black unholy arts. After this soft interlude we continue the story as Mikeal talks of the Reaper coming to stalk his mother " Rose up to it's call, In his arms she'd fall" and thus her life was complete. The next part ( with the amazing heavy riff underneath) explains Mikeal's feelings to his mother's passing. He has no will to live any longer, and he talks of the ghost ( probably that of his mother's) seeing a premonition. " To see a beloved son, In despair of what's to come" this is a haunting ( sends chills down my spine every time) foreshadowing of the future of Mikeal. The final part of this song is slightly confusing.

    " If one cut the source of the flow, and everything would change, would convitction fall?"

    this suggests that his mother's soul was taken as payment to the devil. " Might be calling you to go, defying the forgotten mortals, where the victim is the prey" ends the song, and is mightily structered around Satan himself.

    2. The Baying of The Hounds

    After a wonderful intro, we find Mikeal being chased by " Pest ridden jackels of the earth, diabolical beasts and roaming the forests, in wait and constant protectors, calling you to sit by his side" where he is being called upon by a demon, the next verse describes said demon:

    "His words are flies
    Swarming towards the true insects
    Feasting on buried dreams
    And spreading decay upon your skin
    His eyes spew forth darkness
    That cut through and paralyze
    Casts light upon your secrets
    Forced to confront your enemies

    His mouth is a vortex
    Sucking you into it's pandemonium
    Fools you with a helping hand of ashes
    Reached out in false dismay
    His body is a country
    The cities lay dead and beyond despair
    Friends turned enemies unable to come clean
    In a rising fog of reeking death"

    this is quite a demon, and then the demon talks to Mikeal, feeding on his grief from the loss of his mother. This paints Mikeal as an Ed Gein type of person, ( you death-metal heads better know who he is...if not, google his name now) who is lost in life without his mother.

    "...take comfort in him, and you are receptive to stark wishes, no longer struggling to declare your stand, you would inflict no harm to others, they are unaware and in loop of futile events, you are everything, they are nothing" This shows the demon poisening Mikeal's mind, saying that he is a type of prophet, and what he must do will not hurt anyone. Mikeal believes these words and is told to " Drown in the deep mire, with past desires, beneath the mire, drown a desire now with you" where his desire would be to revive mother. So to make the only thing that was precious to him come back, Mikeal has to drown himself. Mikeal then accepts the demon to take over his body:

    "And I embrace bereavement
    Everything beloved is shattered anyway
    I would devote myself to anyone
    I would accept any flaws
    I am too weak to resist
    Tension vibrating with horror
    Finding the outcast in my eyes
    Pushing nerves on a puppet
    Endless poison in my veins
    Clean intent now tainted with death

    And so, cold touch now inhumane
    Every waking hour
    Awaiting a reverie to unfold
    And now they are calling me
    Louder by the minute
    The baying of the hounds
    Calling me back to my home "

    the last 4 lines reffer to the demon talking inside of Mikeal, with hell being home, and the hounds being the messengers of Satan. So in short, so far Mikeal's mother had her soul whisked away by Death, and Mikeal sold his soul to a demon and agreed to do deeds for him in exchange for his mother's life.

    3. Beneath the Mire

    Now is the time where Mikeal talks of his sickness, which is the demon inside of him. " Haunted nights for halcyon days, Can't sleep to the scraping of his voice. Nature's way struck greif in me, and I become a ghost in the sickness" Now comes the time where the demon starts to take advantage of Mikeal:

    "Willingly guided into heresy
    Beneath the surface, stark emptiness
    And you'd pity my conviction
    Whereas I thought of myself as a leader "

    and to that, the demon responds:

    "You'd cling to your pleasant hope
    It is twisted fascination
    While I'd ruin the obstacles into despair
    And I'm praising death

    Lost love of the heart
    In a holocaust scene memory

    Decrepit body wearing transparent skin
    Inside, the smoke of failure"

    the demon has no intention of keeping up his side of the deal, and knows that Mikeal's body is housing love, and its killing him inside. Hence the " decrepit body wearing transparent skin, Inside, the smoke of failure". Mikeal then speaks to the demon :

    "Master, A delusion made me stronger
    Yet I'm draped in pale withering flesh
    I sacrificed more than I had
    And left my woes beneath the mire "

    where Mikealing is realizing he can't keep the demon inside his body any longer...and he slowly rises from beneath the mire.

    4. Atonement

    Atonement is a short song where the name suggests the meaning.

    "Cleared the fog that was veiled around me
    And blurred my sights
    Suddenly, I'm no longer aching
    To honor my plights

    Rising moon and my skin is peeling
    Past undone
    Suddenly, I can't justify
    What I had become"

    Mikeal doesn't like how he has become, and he is now going to try and flee from the demon.

    5. Reverie / Harlequin Forest

    Mikeal runs deep into Death's forest trying to escape him, and the hell hounds chase after him. Mikeal believes he is rid of the sickness, and now he is trying to hide from everyone from the deeds he commited while possessed. He has a small flash back , and then his conscience kicks in which says:

    " Lose all to save a little, At your peril its justifyed
    And dismiss your demons, As death becomes a jest.
    You are the laughing stock, of the absinthe minded.
    Confession stuck in your mouth. And long gone fevers reappear"

    Mikeal is starting to realize there may be no way to finally rid himself of his horrible past deeds. He slowly lays down and is taken by nature.

    " They are the trees, rotten pulp inside and never well
    Roots are sucking, thieving from my source.
    Tired boughs, reaching for the light.

    It is all false pretension, Harlequin forest
    Awaiting redemption for a lifetime as they die alone
    With no one by their side, are they forgiven?"

    Mikeal's life is being eaten away by guilt and nature, so he sets fire to the forest. Then he continues on to a nearby town as he escapes the hounds and the fires.

    6. Hours of Wealth

    Mikeal is resting in an inn, and he finds that there is only one way to take the sickness out of him permently: To make a deal with the devil himself. He finds solace in watching the innocent people pass outside, and lays down to sleep. He is not entirely sure if he should deal with satan, so he rests on it.

    this is my personal favorite song seeing how Mikeal has developed his own cause in society only to be haunted by the demons that he dealt with...plus the best blues solo I ever heard

    7. The Grand Conjuration

    The climax of the story, Mikeal sells his soul to the Devil...and commits most awful acts.

    Mikeal co-operates with the devil for to make sure his mother is brought back. When offering his body, the devil assembles a bunch of demons to take form and attack the earth. Mikeal doesn't realize that his greedy love for his mother has damned the human race. This song is truly great lyrical wise ( I honestly love the repetition of the main riff becuase it reminds me of war drums before a battle, which is what this song means). Mikeal then asks the devil to ease his pain and the song then ends, which leads to the last track.

    8. Isolation Years

    This is a letter from what I am guessing to be Mikeal's mother, whose name we find is Rosemary. She must have some contact with the dead, for she claims:

    "...Can't forget the years she's lost in Isolation.
    She talks about her love. And as I read " I'll die alone"
    I know she was aching.

    There's a certain detal seen here,
    The pen must have slipped next to his name
    She knew he was gone...And isolation
    is all that would remain.
    " The wound in me is pouring out to rest on a lover's shore"

    This fills us in on what happened after Mikeal's run in with Satan. Satan took Mikeal's soul in exchange for Rosemary, and he let her know that her son abandoned her. She writes this letter to tell him that she still loves him.

    Well thats it folks. When you look at Isolation Years, I noticed it doesn't seem to fit with Rosemary as his mother, but as his lover. However, after reviewing all the material again, I still think that Rosemary is his mother.

    By atonement for the weak
    mudpethon February 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not positive on this but this song seems to be about someone dying (just from the ghost in her chest and lingering death etc.). Excellent song, kind of a week opening, but its one of those songs that gets progressively better.
    ZionsVillageIdioton October 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a great song, cant stop listening to it. i like the melodic acoustic parts .
    killthehopelessnesson November 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds like the beginning of a story......This guys Mother is dieing from all this evil in her seems like she was some figure of good and she can't tell her son the cause of all this she can just watch him walk into the Evil's trap. or maybe im totally off.
    foodchainboyon December 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPerdition = Hell
    MetalTrooperon December 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is obviously about someone being posessed by the devil i believe, and the devil coming to take her soul and standing beside her bed while he takes it. brilliant song,amazing band!!!!!1
    gdacreson January 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Ghost of perdition
    Stuck in her chest"

    Could figure it to be a possesion of Satan or just a simple fact that she has accepted Satan into her life

    "A warning no one read"

    Probably meaning she hid this pact from other, perhaps even acted Christian

    "Road into the dark unaware
    Winding ever higher"

    Like a downward spiral into the clutches of Satan

    "In time the hissing of her sanity
    Faded out her voice and soiled her name"

    Drove the mother insane over time

    "To see a beloved son
    In despair of what's to come"

    The son, knowing his mother is going mad, knows of whats soon to come(death)
    PraiseRaon January 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell, according to my friend the singer's mother died during/before the recording of damnation. i'm not really tying it into the song or anything but i thought i'd throw that out there.
    returnsandexchangeson March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit was his grandmother.....and the album was planned to be a concept album about a man killing his mother but akerfeldt wanted to include isolation years which isnt about the plot at all

    so the album is still sorta a concept, more of a motif like Blckwater Park. this is about the murder of his mother
    fozzymandiason March 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthis being the narrator of the song and CD, not akerfelt o_0
    fozzymandiason March 06, 2006   Link

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