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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.33 | 1122 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Draith
4 stars This is really the first "extreme" sort of metal for me to ever listen to, much less indulge in for intellectual purposes. I honestly didn't like the band much at all until I trained my ears to tolerate guttural vocals, and after I heard the Moor, and I easily grew accustom the rest of the album, and even the band itself. I still find this album somewhat overrated, but excellent regardless. Overall, Still Life is a very well written and produced album, each song follows a similar formula of repetition, contrast, and transitions - jumbled up slightly for each individual track. Some of the tracks are likable, and some downright enthralling. The music is organized, well thought out and the lyrics are great and unique, as only Akerfeldt can produce. It seems likely that the lyrics were written before the vocal melody, as artists often do, but it is somewhat of a flaw on this album that rears its head from time to time. When I read the lyrics while listening to the album, there are times that it didn't seem quite rhythmically sound, but this is a relatively minor. Or maybe all death metal is like that, I wouldn't know.

The main reason for me giving this album only a 4/5 is the blockish-ness of the album of many of the tracks, meaning even though many of the songs have contrast within the song itself, the sections of contrast have little momentum, thus the songs are blockish. They also have an inherent similarity to one another in overall sound, and each one I felt could have been given more of an edge, or something to it to distinguish it from the others. Mostly, the album only really had two types of style: harsh vocals with heavy riffs, or clean vocals with acoustic guitar, usually arpeggios, and sometimes an intermediate between the two. As well, some of the riffs and chord structures seemed like they could have been used more creatively. There are definitely times in the album that I feel more could have been musically done with this part or that, especially considering it's a progressive metal album. To my understanding this is the case with their later album Ghost Reveries, but I have yet to study that album more.

The most enjoyable and best produced part of the album is the story, narrated by an atheist who faces relentless, often violent persecution for his beliefs in the Christian fundamentalist town that he was born in, and is in love with a woman in the village named Melinda. This tragic story is quite reminiscent of many on Puritan societies where religion is intertwined with government (hence the Council of the Cross). The lyrics almost seem cryptic at times, and require deep literary analysis for a more thorough understanding. Some seem to imply something that is far beyond what is being described in the story, and almost seem purposefully vague or ambiguous. The story and the developed lyrical content depicting it is definitely the best part of this album, and itself makes up for the flaws I mentioned earlier.

A very good album, and especially excellent if you are trying out more harsh progressive metal and are at all interested in Opeth. I'd say it's about a 4.25 or around there.

Draith | 4/5 |

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