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Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover

BLACKWATER PARK

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.25 | 1174 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
5 stars With the release of Blackwater Park Opeth had finally taken the leap into the big league. This transition had, in my opinion, a lot to do with Steve Wilson's production of this and the next two albums.

There was never anything wrong with the compositions on the previous albums but the songs tended to lack the punch that can be added through attention to detail in the recording process. Wilson was definitely the right man bought in at the right time. Through his documented knowledge and attention to atmosphere, that he demonstrated on the early Porcupine Tree albums, he literally smoothed the band's sound by highlighting the details in the band's work. This is most notable in the acoustic sections that previously suffered in the mix but now had received a major face-lift and sounded gorgeous in combination to the heavier parts.

I guess that I already gave away my hand as to my opinion of Blackwater Park, so let me just briefly touch upon some of the highlights. First off, this is so far the only Opeth album that I could consider completely self-consistent with just the right amount of material and without any really big flaws in execution. Even though this release has a lot more acoustic guitar moments than any of the previous albums I don't think that this change had to do with Steve Wilson but instead with the natural shift in direction that the band was undergoing at that point in time. Therefore I only want to give Wilson a partial credit for this masterpiece of an album and seeing the work that Opeth managed to do without him show that there is enough raw talent featured in this band for many more masterpieces in the future.

Bleak is a fun little track that I remember even rehearsing with my band just for the amount of creativity that is embedded into this 9+ minute composition. Still it is Dirge For November that takes the grand price for being my all-time favorite Opeth performance. The acoustic guitar intro mixed with clean vocals by Mikael Åkerfeldt is just magnificent and I love how the composition just flows though each section of the track with even the heavier parts sounding like some of the most cheerful Death Metal that I've heard from the band. There are a few minor inconsistencies with the second part of the album like the ultra heavy and rather straightforward The Funeral Portrait that gets a bit tiresome after 4-minute mark. I've also never been a big fan of the album's title track which, just like Pain Of Salvation's title track off The Perfect Element, feels long and quite unmotivated for the lengthy piece of music that it represents.

Despite some minor flaw this is still a magnificent achievement from a great band that is well worth exploring. Even if you've been burned by your previous Opeth-explorations I strongly suggest giving Blackwater Park a shot since I believe that this album should appeal to almost any fan of creative and well-produced music.

***** star songs: Bleak (9:16) Harvest (5:59) The Drapery Falls (10:52) Dirge For November (7:51)

**** star songs: The Leper Affinity (10:23) The Funeral Portrait (8:42) Patterns In The Ivy (1:50) Blackwater Park (12:08)

Rune2000 | 5/5 |

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