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Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.25 | 1679 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars After reading the reviews for the Opeth albums, i was intruiged to hear what melodic death metal sounded like. I had to know, and i didn't have a clue what to expect but after i got the album it simply blew me away. Never have i heard a progressive piece like this sound so well produced. The album manages to blend its mellow parts with its agressive parts superbly, like Tool and Dream Theater but Opeth take it to the extreme by mixing acoustic guitars with death metal growls and screams. It doesn't sound like an awful corss over but it sounds like its meant to be, something beautiful and mysterious. I've never seen any other band attempt such extremeities, so hats off to them.

Mike's voice throughout the whole album is incredible, whether he is tangled up in brutal agressive death metal screaming and growling, or if he is passionately putting his heart into singing the great lyrics the band have written. Somehow the singing just seems perfect, not over the top or dull at any moment. The rest of the band play incredibly throughout, there is multi layered sound that weaves in and out of mellow acoustic guitar rhythms and hard hitting full on heavy metal riffs. The drummer sure knows just how to switch from insane cymbal smashing to emotional backing drums as well so its flawless on the musical front. It is incredible how well they manage to make this album flow, this album has the perfect amount of balance between heavy and mellow which blows me away. They have obviously put a lot of work into this and it is definetly a masterpiece.

"The Leper Affinity" is a great opener, the song starts quietly and fades in with suspense, instantly making the listener feel secure about the journey they are about to embark on. Things get better from there as this highly progressive piece never fails to please. The song succeeds in blending sorrow with fury, which i think is the main offering on the plate for this song, as well as introducing us to a great new experiment in sound. The opening exploding riff is immense and there is some great riffage ahead. Mike's voice sounds really evil and this is definetly the best death metal album i have ever heard in my life. When it flows into the first mellow section with acoustic guitars it sounds like pure heaven and Mike's voice goes into an excellent mellow section, his voice sounds incredible and inspiring. It has just as much power as his angry growls but in a whole new way. It is incredibly emotional, helped out by the amazing lyrics. The track flows back into hard hitting riffs, the fury of the bass and double bass drum are used very effectively. Opeth also add in this gloomy essence which reflects their misty album covers. Around 8:10 is my favourite section when that amazing soft guitar creeps in and it somehow ends up climaxing with a warm piano piece. Opeth sound like they could make a soundtrack to a gothic horror film or something. An incredible start to one hell of a masterpiece.

"Bleak" stretches us furthur with more brilliant experiments in emotion, this song is an almighty melee of heavy sound. The vocals are very powerful and this is an excellent song. Again the death metal vocals are amazing, this one has a less furious and agressive sound to it but a more paced sound, powerful in new ways. There is a great build up here as there is a quiet acoustic break where it would seem like a mellow vocal part would come in but snakes back into the heaviness and then finds its way to the mellow section. When this track progresses into the "devious movements in her eyes" section it is so bloody powerful and emotional. Definetly one of the best pieces on this album. It blows me away ever time. This track shows of some of Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilsons great input as well.

"Harvest" is more mellow and suits well for the people who may be put of by the harsh vocals and apocalyptic guitars. This is a shorter piece that fits in well to give balance to the sound of the album. "The Drapery Falls" is one of the best offerings on the album. It takes things to the next level and is almost like combining the acoustic rhythms of "Harvest" with the furious guitar work on "Bleak". The emotional singing is a real wonder hear and its even nice to see it explode into anger in the middle. This song is constantly changing and it keeps the song fresh and captivating throughout. good listenings."Dirge For November" has an incredibly warm opening, in fact the whole album is very warm against the cold lyrics. This soon progresses into furthur fury, more epic scales of furious vocals. There is a wonderous piece in the middle, 6 minutes in a beautiful and moving slower piece comes in, showing off the different sides of the guitarists amazing work. The band work so well together, each member getting to show off their own emotions and talents.

"The Funeral Portrait" carries on the incredible theme and again shows off the heavier, darker works. This is probably the best song to headbang to as it seems to have a more evil edge to it. The solo work at the end is the best i've heard on the album, but they are amazing in all aspects of their music. "Patterns in the Ivy" serves as a short filler piece to link tracks 6 and 8 together. It does the job well and also provides a really good piano and acoustic guitar piece. This will give the listener a little break from the intense moshing that the last song provided. I think the break here is an important one because it prepares the listener for the epic album closer. It also shows off some of Opeths acoustic instrumental brilliance. This one is up with there with "Horizons" by Genesis and "Mood for a Day" by Yes. It has a similar effect as those pieces by making the album flow with balance. You can start headbanging again when the title track comes on as this has a rocking intro. Another great piece, offering the best. Everything seems to have been perfected for this song and it contains most of the great elements of the previous songs to provide the best musically arranged piece on the album. As this song progresses it sounds more and more like the world is ending with the ultimate power of the music and vocals.

Blackwater Park is an incredible album and Opeth are an incredible band. Very unique in what they do, there is no other way to describe their music other than gloomy melodic prog death metal, and my life has certainly been enriched by this album. The whole record is a worthy listen and there never seems to be any inconsistancy. The record often stretches to new heights yet it has enough familiarity to keep it appealing. One of the best death metal pieces i have ever experienced and it will even be enjoyed by non metal fans! The balance on this album is a key point to why this album is so good. The band have created a winning formula on this album. Time to go get all their other albums!

frenchie | 5/5 |


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