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Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover

BLACKWATER PARK

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.25 | 1186 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

jverweij
5 stars My first review here, and naturally it has to be an album that I know by heart. This is the album that got me into Opeth (which got me into Porcupine Tree, which got me into prog). I remember listerning to Bleak on my brothers pc, getting all sorts of annoyed by the grunter (mind you i heir from the metal scene, so I was quite used to and often even quite thrilled by grunting). A day or so later I couldnt get the song out of my head, so for some reason I had started to enjoy it. After asking my brother what band this was, I headed to the record store to give the entire cd a spin. After listening to the first 3 minutes of the first song I decided I'd heard enough and bought the cd. Now, a good 7 years later, this is one of my favourite albums of all time. I'll have a crack at explaining why this is such a killer album.

Overall this is a pretty heavy album. It is filled with accoustic parts though and the grunting is effortlessly followed by very nice clean vocals. The bands' two guitarists have their own way of playing together harmonically, which seems to make even the heavier riffs accessible to people who are not really used to this type of music. The mellow parts in the song, which might come as somewhat of a surprise at your first listen of the album, are mostly classical accoustic guitar pieces, something I am very fond of. The hand of Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson is very much visible on this album, steering Opeth in a more prog-like direction more so than their previous releases.

The album opener the Leper Affinity is probably the heaviest one of the bunch. Great harmonic playing and brillians solo's are mixed with some accoustic beauty. Really a fantastic opener.

This is follow by Bleak, which starts as too standard metal-like for Opeth standards, but at around the third minute, this turns towards its stunning chorus, with singer Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson singing together. This is follow by a brilliant accoustic interlude and completed by a very nice Akerfeldt trademark mellow solo. Next the song gradually becomes heavier again, with a stunning bass-dominated piece before the songs final return to the chorus and a heavy ending.

Next up: Harvest, one of 2 fully accoustic songs on the album. This is a very nice song. The singing is great, and so is the musicianship. The mellow solo's are sublime. (I realize this is a matter of taste, personally, I love the way Akerfeld and fellow guitarplayer Mendez play). All in a great interlude.

The Drapery Falls is the fourth epic on the album (along with the first 2 songs). This one is the most accoustically dominated epic of the bunch and alternates mellow in heavily songs quite beautifully in the typical Opeth-manner (even if this is your first Opeth album and the first listen to this album, you will agree on this)

Dirge for November is the albums most experimental epic. Starting with Akerfeldt singing beautifully, supported by the accoustic guitar. A nice mellow riff is follows leading to the heavier part of the song. The main riff is very appealing. Sadly this is followed by what is definately the worst grunting on the album. The song ends in a mellow electric guitar, effect- laden outtry, very nice.

Now it's time for my personal favourite, the Funeral Portrait. The song starts with a haunting accoustic intro, in which the volume is gradually turned up. At this point the song explodes into the heavy riff that will dominate the first few minutes of the song. Some interesting heavy riffs follow which maintains the songs high intensity. At 3:50 the song suddenly has a very weird accoustic twist, which is immediately follow by uberheaviness and one of the best guitarsolo's I know. From here the song returns to the main riff which was displayed in the intro. This suddenly changes into a beautiful harmonic heavy riff, supported by typically Steven Wilson like harmonic vocals (seriously, listening to that gives me the chills). The song ends with another fabulous solo and slowly fades out. Imo this is the best song Opeth has ever made.

The second (and last) accoustic song is netx. Patterns in the Ivy is a 2 minute instrumental piece which features an accoustic guitar riff supported by atmospheric piano, very nice interlude.

Now the final and longest song, the title track Blackwater Park. This starts with a really amazing harmonic riff. At about the 1:50 the track starts the main riffline, supported by strong grunting by Akerfeldt. At the third minute the track slows down into a haunting accoustic piece, which is supported by some strong atmospheric electric guitarplaying and effects. Riff after haunting riff is displayed supported by Akerfeldts evil grunts. The song ends in a beautiful accoustic riff. Highly atmospheric, moody song.

All in all this is an absolute masterpiece. I am not one who is likely to quickly award a cd a 5-star rating, but if this cd isn't worth that,( I give this a 4,7 rating on a 1-5 scale) I don't know which one is. Give this cd 3 or 4 spins to allow it to grow on you and you will love it I am aware that the grunts and the overall heaviness may not appeal to a group of proglovers. I can understand that for some this is something they cannot live with, if so, this cd is not for you, for all others, it must be.

jverweij | 5/5 |

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