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Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover

BLACKWATER PARK

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.25 | 1179 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Following the excellent Still LIfe, opeth found themselves on the brink of a breakthrough. This came with Blackwater Park, thanks largely to the inlvolvement of Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson. Akerfeldt, a huge fan of PT, managed to strike up a friendship with Wilson, who agreed to produce Opeth's next album. This was the start of a great realationship that both bands would benefit greatly from. Opeth already mixed atmosphere and progressive rock in with death metal, but the PT influence resulted in more atmosphere than ever before. The result was an album that pushed Opeth to the forefront of botht eh modern metal and modern prog scenes, wehre they've been ever since.

The album opens with the epic metal of The Leper Affinity. As many have said, this is the song to let newbies listen to, since it pretty much sums up the Opeth sound, going through incredible changes based on great structures complete with alternating clean vocals and the deepest, yet most intelligible, growls you'll ever hear. The high standard set by the opener is bettered with Bleak, which features vocals from Wilson. The lyrics are, well, you can guess ;) Harvest contunues the greatness, and it sounds like a song on Damnation, as it is sung with Mikael's haunting clean vocals. The real highlight of the album is The Drapery Falls, one of the best Opeth tunes out there complete with vocals from Wilson and stunning composition featuring beyond heavy riffs that lead into acoustic bliss.

Sadly, the second half does not live up to the first. Dirge For November and Patterns in the Ivy are letdowns, even though Patterns is really just an intro to the title track. Dirge has flashes of inspiration in it's opening and closing, but the middle section just doesn't excite me the way nearly all of Opeth's music does. The Funeral Portrait is fairly good, with great vocals, but it doesn't live up to teh standards set by teh first half. Everything gets redeemed however, with the title track. It has everythung: crushing riffs, haunting vocals, bleak lyrics, and endless yet always smooth changes. On the special editon, you get Patterns in the Ivy 2, which is infintiely better than the first and it's a shame it was left off the album.

Opeth got the hit the deserved with this record. The strange thing about Opeth is how they makes the lyrics work. The lyrics, when read off a sheet, sound like decent poetry coming from a depressed teen. However, Mikael's delivery and the music itself smehow makes the lyrics seem a lot better. I've never encountered another band that can do that. At best their music can cover up lyrical weaknesses (early KC, Yes, any early prog band really), but Opeth manage to enhance their words with the music. Still Life is still the best Opeth album, but this is the best place to start for newbies and it is a killer prog metal album.

Grade: B+

1800iareyay | 4/5 |

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