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Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 775 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
5 stars So far, Opeth have written, IMO, three masterpieces: these are the incredible Still Life, fan favourite Blackwater Park and this astonishing piece of art, My Arms, Your Hearse. This is a personal favourite for many reasons, the main reason however being 1. It's really, really, really heavy. Not just instrumentally, but atmospherically. This may well be their darkest album, simply because of the very prominent growling vocals and the lyrical content. The riffs are also extremely dense in texture, and there are many twists and turns around every song. 2. It symbolises Opeth solidifying their signature sound. Before in the underated Morningrise they were well on their way to this standard, but lacked something this album achieves: continuity. It can also be said that the songs were too long compared to its successor, but that never bothered me anyway. Finally, 3. The songwriting maybe the tightest I have ever heard in an extreme metal band. Especially in April Ethereal, the album just keeps moving forwards, never boring the listener, and always striving for diversity. Yes, this is Opeth's first notable masterpiece, and I don't plan to revert my opinion on this monumental album.

Now to the tracks.

The album kickstarts with Prologue/April Ethereal, possibly being the best track off the album. As always, Opeth open with all cylinders firing, and this is no exception. There is only one clean vocal break, and it is very short, but man does it haver a great effect! This song is packed with well-flowing riffs that leave you breathless, but my favourite section of this song has to be its finale. The vocals are simply poetic in most forms of the term, and I love them. The final line I don't know how and why, and I'll never know when get's me every time. The arrangement is so tight on this track that you can keep listening to it and you will be satisfied every time.

When is also an extremely strong track, and the heaviest on the record by a mile. It is notorious for its surprise intro which is simply stunning, and it's non-stop Opeth from there. This may well be the darkest track also, for a reason that I can't put into words. This is also a favourite at live shows, and is played on the live album The Roundhouse Tapes, and doesn't disappoint whatsoever. The ending, as on April Ethereal, is brilliant. Mikael Akefeldt's poetry kicks in once again for a this time clean vocal performance topped with one of Lopez's greatest drum fills. Madrigal follows, and is another nice filler done with clean guitars.

The next track is the most obscure off the album, The Amen Corner. The intro needs to be mentioned, as it is Opeth's near greatest, topped only by the wonderful The Moor of the Still Life album. Very technical, Lopez being on top form, and a very avant-garde bluesy feel about it, on top of being heavy as hell. Regardless of having the best intro, this is my least favourite off the album.

Demon of the Fall. In the top 5 Opeth tunes for sure, this one annihilates a crowd. Short and sweet - by Opeth standards - I thoroughly enjoy this song. It is very consistent throughout and is a favourite live for, once again, the tight arrangement and listenability. If there were ever to be an Opeth single release, this would be it, it employs all elements of the band into 6 minutes, I especially like the acoustic guitar break at around the minute mark. True genius, another worthy song off MAYH.

Credence is the band's first purely acoustic ballad type song, and it is quite a track. Direly underated, I find this actually the most interesting acoustic song they have ever done. The chorus is amazing and the guitar lines are abstract yet simple. Credence has a very mysterious air surrounding it.

The penultimate track is an aggressive number called Karma, and it finishes the heavy sections of the album with a bang. Although the most obscure song on the whole album, and probably the least talked of, I think this is one of the many standout tracks in Opeth's catalogue. The mellow section is phenomenal and the vocals are top notch emotionally. This is a fantastic closer to the Melinda concept, with some great chord sequences and guitar solos to keep you hooked.

Epilogue is a recapitulation on the entire Melinda story and end quite emotionally taking the album to a sympathetic level reach by not very many modern bands. This song is quite obviously a Pink Floyd influenced piece, and seems like a filler from far off. However, it is quite the contrary. A worthy listen and maybe even a favourite of some fans. This is the progger friendly track on the album, but I recommend it to anyone.

Overall it is a masterpiece album, the concept hard to judge as the lyrical content is obscure even by Opeth's standards, but you'll find it just as entertaining as Still Life. I love it personally, and although it is an acquired taste, it is worth getting into. 5 stars from me, yet another epic masterpiece from the greatest band to ever live.

The Pessimist | 5/5 |


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