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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.29 | 1702 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is not my favorite album by OPETH. "Ghost Reveries" occupies that place in my preferences. But I can't disagree with what has been said about this historical monument of progressive-death-metal. The album is a masterpiece which needs to be in every collection.

What is the most amazing about OPETH is how difficult they are to get into, unlike most death metal bands. Yes, someone would say it's actually very difficult to get to like such a noisy, violent genre with growling vocals. The point is, once you learn to like the genre and its elements, it's fairly easy to understand what you're hearing from most every band. As with any other genre, there will be music you won't like and music you will like. But once you get through the "extreme metal barrier", a whole new ocean of sounds awaits for you. That is, until you find Akerfeldt's creation.

OPETH makes you think, makes you listen to it more and more. It's not music you will diggest in one session, it's not music you will completely get in a few listens. The songs they create are not easy to recognize if you haven't heard them enough times. It takes time, patience, to appreciate what lies beneath the wall of sound: complex structures, complex concepts, and some of the best metal you will ever find. As death metal goes, there may be a couple bands I like more; as progressive metal goes, there may be a few bands I prefer; but as a mixture of progressive death metal, OPETH can't be touched. What they achieve with their music is unique, and no band comes even close.

"Still life" has, as always, just a few songs (7) most of them lasting longer than 8 minutes. The usual elements are here, the atmospheric darkness, the smell of dead roses, the idea that the music is really taking you in a voyage through both hell and a hellish heaven. The experience with OPETH can be hallucinating and also scary. But nevertheless, is always inspiring. Music that forces you to pay attention for longer than your usual 3 minute span, and music that forces you to actually use your brain and try to decode the message is and will always be inspiring. No, you won't find hit singles in here, not even for extreme-metal standards. But if you want to get something else, something beyond of what you always get from your metal, then this is what you want.

The songs have been analyzed thoroughly so there's no need for me to add descriptions. Just let me say how amazed I was after listening to "The Moor", which in my view is the predecessor to OPETH's greatest song, "Ghost of Perdition". As always, the structure is demanding for lazy brains, but it's rewarding when you finally unlock the mystery. It's better when you don't receive everything already read and explained sometimes. OPETH announces in "Benighted" what they would do years later in "Damnation", with an acoustic song that gives me the idea of a lonely guy dressed in dark purple sitting on a cemetery singing about how grey the fog makes everything look.

The band members, as musicians, shine through the album. Akerfeldt's guitar with his unique and fantastic style of riffing and combining chords, riffs and different strumming with acoustic passages and unique chord progressions of slightly dissonant harmony makes the OPETH sound an experience that can't be repeated. The rest of the band members share his skills, especially Martin Lopez who plays drums that sound like the final call from Valhalla. Finally, Akerfeldt's voice in "Still Life" had not yet reached its peak in terms of cleanliness. His clean voice is still not up to the magnificent standard set in "Damnation" or "Ghost Reveries", as it still sounds a little young and un-developed. But his growling, the best in all death metal with AMORPHIS' Kouvassari, has all the effect this kind of voice should have: growling should make the music darker, more evil, more like if it was coming straight from the dark corners of your mind and your heart, more like hell, more like death.

A crowning achievement in metal music, "Still Life" reigns supreme in the minds of most OPETH fans as the band's highest point. I think "Ghost Reveries" is the actual peak of their maturation. "Damnation", an interesting and beautiful album, has a different objective and can't be compared with the others; "Deliverance" and "Blackwater Park" tend to be too long;"Still Life" never drags, never gets repetitive, and can fairly take its place among the upper echelon of progressive-metal albums of all time.

The T | 5/5 |


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