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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.33 | 1106 ratings

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horsewithteeth11
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Every once in awhile there comes an album that rushes by you, knocks you flat on your feet, and leaves you gaping at the majestic, breathtaking beauty that it leaves. It's one of those albums that you know is going to be a masterpiece before the first song is even finished. It's one of the 10 albums you'd save if your house caught on fire or take if you were stranded on a desert island. For me, Still Life is that type of album. It displays a wide variety of emotions, it is music that's intelligent, powerful, and beautiful and offers something new and exciting at every corner. At the same time, it's very dark and foreboding and reaches into the deepest corners of our psyche, sometimes into places that we may not want to travel, in fact even feel uncomfortable in. This album is almost like a religious experience every time I listen to it, however cheesy that may sound. Opeth, while obviously not the most technical metal band on the planet, are truly unique in regards to what they do. A band that rose from the underground extreme metal scene, with its origins in that type of music, death metal in particular, and has become known for writing 10+ minute songs with proggy and jazz influences in the mix is definitely going to stand out in such an environment where too often these days the motto seems to be "more of the same". I believe that Mikael Akerfeldt's vision of what Opeth was to become started to become fully realized on this album. This marks a major beacon for extreme metal, a beacon that shines quite brightly as an example of how more bands in that genre could go about creating truly hauntingly stunning music. Many Opeth fans often refer to this as the beginning of the "golden years" of Opeth with the classic lineup of Akerfeldt, Lindgren, Mendez, and Lopez, and for good reason: this lineup made some damn good music. Now onto the music itself. The album kicks off with The Moor, which starts off with a nice acoustic instrumental section. After the first 2 1/2 minutes that Opeth sound kicks in with a crushing riff that lets you know what's coming next. Akerfeldt's clean vocals are good, but I think they still have yet to reach their full potential which won't come until Blackwater Park. However, I think it still works very well on this album. At a bit after 7 1/2 minutes it goes back to another clean acoustic passage, before leading to another heavy section at 10:20. While some may find it formulaic, I still think it works as an excellent opener for this album, as well as a classic Opeth song and fan favorite. 10/10. Godhead's Lament, unlike The Moor, starts off very heavy, probably heavier than The Moor ever gets. This is one of my favorite songs on the album because, well, there's absolutely nothing formulaic about it. Mikael of course switches between his clean and harsh vocals, but the heaviness of the music doesn't really ever disappear except for one noticeable part starting at about 3:45. A song that took me time to appreciate fully since it's very multi-layered despite the heaviness, but on that was a worthwhile discovery. 10/10. Benighted is the one track on the album that is entirely acoustic and features only clean vocals. It's certainly a beautiful track in its own respects, but I think it's the weakest track off an album that doesn't really have any weak tracks. A good song for Mikael to show off his clean vocals though. 9/10. Moonlapse Vertigo, like Godhead's Lament, starts off with a fairly heavy riff. However, unlike Godhead's, this song is not quite as heavy, as evidenced by the brief acoustic passage that last from 1:50 until about 2:40. This type of clean acoustic passage is again repeated from 3:20 until 3:45. This song, while certainly as heavy as Godhead's at times, is still chock full of nice acoustic passages for people who can't handle the heaviness all the time. The melodic solo comes in a bit after 4:30 and goes a little over a minute. Quite a stunning track overall. 10/10. Face of Melinda starts off melodic and calm, while still dark of course, and makes you think that you're going to be hearing another fully melodic song like Benighted, but after the 4:30 mark, a powerful riff comes in accompanied by Mikael's clean vocals for awhile, followed by his growling. Another truly stunning song. 10/10. Serenity Painted Death, THIS is one of those Opeth songs that will make your blood boil and take you on a wild roller coaster ride. One of the heaviest songs on the album, but it also happens to be one of my favorites. I absolutely love the section that comes in at 1:27. It might be my favorites section of the entire album to be honest. I love hearing Mikael growling "SERENITY PAINTED DEATH" every time I listen to it. This is a song I can never get enough of, and it's one of my favorite Opeth songs of all time. 11/10. White Cluster is another song that has a good mix of melodic, acoustic, and heavy passages. A great closer to an already fantastic album, and even though you would think that the song is just a melodic/heavy/melodic formula, you find it's quite multi-layered amidst all those different sections. 10/10. This is, in my opinion, the best progressive metal album of all time, and while I've heard many others come close, I haven't found another prog metal band that has been able to pull off an album like this. Even if you don't like harsh vocals or even metal, I would still at least recommend you try this album out. It has a little bit of something for every type of musical tastes. This is a type of work that I honestly believe is a member of the top tier of prog albums. If you like music at all, you'll probably eventually like this album. Truly a masterpiece that is a one of a kind deal and can stand the test of time. 6+/5 stars.
horsewithteeth11 | 5/5 |

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