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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.33 | 1106 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progismylife
5 stars Epic.

This one word describes this album perfectly, but you'll need an explanation as to why that is.

The album opens with The Moor. This song contains elements that show Opeth's progressiveness. It is not just a death metal band but also a progressive metal band. It starts off with a soft guitar riff. Then it goes into some great acoustic guitar playing. It creates the dark mood that follows perfectly. After the quick phase of acoustic, the metal begins. Heavy riffs combined and hard drumming. Growling starts. Your soul darkens as Mikael Akerfeldt sings in his brilliant death metal growls. These are much appreciated by me as I see an artistic value in arranging the voice to fit the music. Akerfeldt does this in two ways. First he uses his "cookie monster" vocals (what some people describe growling as) and then he switches to his singing voice (well I think both styles are singing -but to keep this review clear singing = clean sounding vocals and growling = deep death metal vocals) for a very good affect of making his voice sound so brilliant after it sounded so harsh with the growls. The lyrics for this song are spectacular. It is talking of an outcast returning to his home to find his love. The feelings of darkness are further enhanced, not by the growls, but how he sings such depressing poetry with his good, clean voice. It is sort of reverse psychology but with vocals, using nice vocals to sing something so utterly hopeless that the effect is staggeringly dark.

The follow up to this brilliant opener is Godhead's Lament heavy guitar riffs follow with death metal growls. This continues for a few minutes before the acoustic guitar is brought out for its effect on the emotion pouring out of this song. The vocals almost bring me to the point of tears form the delight I get from listening to his voice in this way. The depressing bleakness brought to life. The outcast contemplates what would happen to him if the villagers found out that he was here. But the sight of Melinda makes his decision for him, he stays. It is almost romantic in a death metal utterly depressing way. Such is the way of Opeth. There is also a little bass solo/fill that adds some diversity to the song.

Now for my favourite song of this album, Benighted. I get chills down my spine when listening to this, it is just brilliant. It is also an acoustic track (unlike other ones which have acoustic guitar dabbling). Mikael blatantly shows his Camel influences with a guitar intro that sounds almost identical to the song Never Let Go off of Camel's debut album. It continues like this until Mikael makes it his own and changes the key and picking pattern. This song also has a jazz inspired solo. Then the point when the goose bumps come in. Mikael's voice is unearthly here. It fits the guitar perfectly and invokes emotions not previously stirred. The lyrics suggest the outcast is persuading Melinda to come with him and he tries to convince her that she has been controlled by her fright.

Moonlapse Vertigo comes back to typical Opeth form - heavy riffs interspersed with acoustical sections. The vocals are growling half the time. The lyrics are a reminder that the outcast is not wanted in the village and if found there would be disastrous consequences. It is harsh and dark.

Face of Melinda is a softer track with singing and acoustic guitar right from the start. Halfway through the song is when the metal riffs and hard drumming come in. It goes back to the acoustic sound with a great solo. The vocals do not change. The lyrics set the stage for what is to happen. Melinda is shown to have become a nun and the nameless outcast comes up to her to convince her to come back with him. She responds with the line 'My promise is made but my heart is thine," showing that she still loves him.

All seems so surreal and happy when this song, Serenity Painted Death comes in showing true death metal form. Speedy riffs start off and growls. The lyrics are dark and utterly breath taking. The outcast wakes up to find Melinda has been taken and killed. He replies to this unleashing the rage within his soul as he kills all that cross his path. Rage and anger pour from this song and music like no other. The outcast collapses from exhaustion and the rulers of the city come to collect him when he regains his senses. The song ends with brilliantly placed acoustic guitar.

The final song White Cluster comes in straight off the bat with heavy riffs and Akerfeldt's growls. It is a desolate end to the outcast as he is made to repent for his sins and as he is hanged he sees Melinda waiting for him.

This is such a great concept for a band such as Opeth. An outcast returning finding his love and having it torn apart and ends in death. Very dark and disturbing and yet it makes me so filled with joy to hear such music and singing. At first I did no notice the concept of this album until I listened intently. That is when the feeling of pure joy came in. This album does not just contain great music; it also has descriptive, imaginative, bleak, depressing lyrics that add to the emotions invoked by this album.

As I said earlier, I give this album 5/5 for sheer brilliance.

progismylife | 5/5 |

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