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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.31 | 1644 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Still Life marks a monumental step forward in Opeth's sound. While Morningrise and MAYH had taken the early combiantion of death metal and acoustic jazziness and expanded upon it, here Mikael and co. hit their stride with a near perfect album. Mikael is the best vocalist in death metal. His growls are lower than the vast majority of the death metal community, then hsi clean vocals add a haunting atmospehere into the equation. Still Life is Opeth's second concept album after MAYH, and it too deals with death. In the story, the protagonist returns to his hometown after being ostracized by the community. He returns for his love Melinda, but the two are constantly pursued by the council of the Cross, the village's theological authority.

The album opens with "The Moor," a supremely heavy track that establishes the setting and background of the album. Mikael alternates between growls and he uses his clean vocals to stress a particularly eerie line, a trait he uses throughout the album. From there, "Godhead's Lament." As progismylife stated, it's romantic death metal as the protagonist decides to endure the townspeople's wrath just to be with Melinda. Mikael deserves a lot of praise for his vocals here, as they are some of the most emotional sounds in extreme metal. "Benighted" brings the acoustic instruments to the fore instead of the sporadic use in the first two songs. The band reminds everyone of their love of jazz. Mikael's solo is beautiful and this song sounds like the basis for the Damnation album.

"Moonlapse Vertigo" brings back some of the motifs of The Moor and it obliterates the haunting softness of the previous track. It reinforces the protagonist's sear of being discovered. "Face of Melinda" shows the two lovers finally meeting. The song lures the listener into feeling this might turn out hapy, but "Serenity Painted Death" ends that prety quickly. It's the heaviest song on the album and one of the heaviest in the opeth catalogue, which is saying something. I won't spoil the p[lot here, but sufice to say the song is bathed in blood (the vengeful plot of the Mel Gibson film Braveheart shares a lot with this song). "White Cluster" nails the coffin shut on this album with incredible bleakness and sorrow.

Still Life is the most emotive death metal recording I've ever heard; the only thing that comes close is other Opeth albums. I cannot recommend this album enough and it is an excellent launch pad into death metal, IMO an underrated genre. Mikael is one of the most important modern musicians and this album is a testament to his abilities. Blackwater Park is usually hailed as Opeth's magnum opus, but it's predecessor is Opeth's true masterpiece.

Grade: A

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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