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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.33 | 1184 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Opeth at its best

Still Life is a major turning point in Opeth's career and that is because it symbolizes that Opeth finally became completely a extreme progressive metal band. I say completely because so far, in their previous albums, Opeth had progressive influences but was still a goth / death / black metal act, though with prog influences. But here their music finally evolves into something more complex and with more depth and that becomes evident when you compare the orchestration, harmonization and melodic lines of this album with their previous albums: the guitars outgrow that simple riff structure and both the drums and the bass become independent instruments instead of simply supporting the guitars (or should i say the guitar, since the another guitar is the rhythmic guitar).

Still Life is a very important album for me because it was the third Opeth album i ever listened (right after Deliverance and Blackwater Park) and, along with Blackwater Park, it was responsible for my love towards Opeth's music. To be frank, at first i did not liked it very much but the album slowly grew into me and now i absolutely love it.

Also, this album also outgrows the other Opeth albums in content. The lyrics finally don't talk about (directly) goth / black metal themes, but a love story that eventually ends in tragedy, much like a Shakespearian tale (Romeo and Juliet comes to my mind, but whatever). Also, this is a concept album, something that, in my opinion, acts favorably for the album, since this concept is a good one.

The Concept

This concept is not very complicated and does not have many details like other album concepts, what makes it easier to understands it, though all concepts are not very easy to fully understand. At the first song, the main character tells that e was banished from his homeland and, after being 15 years banished, he returns to it for his love, Melinda.

In Godhead's Lament he thinks about the consequences of his return and finds out that Melinda had become a nun, but he still tries to get her back.

In the third song, called Benighted, he tries to convince Melinda to leave her religious duties and because he loves her.

At the next song, Moonlapse Vertigo, the main character remembers again that the townsfolk would probably kill him if they knew he was back. the Council of the Cross, who openly show scorn for the disgraced and the poor, is mentioned and the main character shows that he hates the Council immensely. He also tries to convince Melinda to flee the country with him.

The song Face of Melinda describes Melinda and a black haired and quiet woman. She tells him that she would still honor her vows and will still remain a nun, but as he tries to convince her to flee, telling her that he still loves her, she says that she still loves him.

In Serenity Painted Death, the main character wakes up to find out that Melinda is not by his side anymore (probably they got laid, but who knows) and that she was killed for being unfaithful to the church, which she married. Enraged, the main character kills the ones who killed Melinda and everyone he could before collapsing from exhaustion. Right before blacking out he sees that the Council is there to capture him.

The last song, entitled White Crusher, begins with the character still half conscient (probably he is still awaking), but he soon realizes that he is going to be hanged. He refuses the Council's redemption and, when the townspeople gather to see the execution they all wear white because they believe his soul is lost. He also curses the townsfolk and the Council. When he is finally hanged, he he feels a hand on his shoulder and when he looks behind him he sees Melinda standing right behind him, ready for him to join her in death.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

Though changed, Opeth still bears the extreme metal characteristics in their music, such as distorted guitars, songs are in minor scales, the music is aggressive (though beautiful) and has guttural vocals. I must say at this point that i really love Åkerfeldt's vocals, both guttural and normal. His guttural vocals are deep, down pitched, powerful and very well worked. He is one of the few guttural vocalists i really enjoy.

As i said before, here the bass and the drum work are really good and independent from the guitars: though the guitar work still have some influence over them they are (or they seem to be) independent. The guitar work is also great, specially the solo guitar, whose solos are filled with feeling and fit very well in every song.

Grade and Final Thoughts

What a great album. Great music, great lyrics, great concept. . . It's just an incredibly good final result what Opeth presents to us here and because of that this album deserves the masterpiece grade. 5 stars for sure.

CCVP | 5/5 |

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