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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.30 | 1642 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's high time to separate the facts from the hyperbole regarding this album.

When reviewers claim that something is the best ever in the history of the genre--and then often with the gall to bolster this with phrases such as "unquestionably" or "hands-down"--they do the actual review a disservice, undermining the legitimate critiques that are usually included as well.

Unfortunately, I expect to find some of this for any set of album reviews, but for some reason there seem to be a lot more for Still Life. I can't figure out what drives this passion. Can I enjoy the album without believing that I'm listening to the work of gods handed down from above?

But, I digress.

Still Life has much going for it, such as the compelling storyline, the nicely-done album art and sleeve, and a very distinctive sound, complete with plenty of delicate passages and both guitar and vocal harmonies. Here Opeth show creativity, musicality, and restraint...that is when they are not howling, growling, double-bassing, and generally piercing eardrums and crushing skulls.

On the downside, I don't find much of the music terribly compelling beyond the guitar harmonies and delicate parts. Transitions also aren't very good--that is, unless you enjoy listening to music by putting the volume on low and instantaneously cranking it up to eleven. Much of the album sounds to me like relatively simple hammering away in 4/4 time. They are good at it--and have a good sound for it--but it's not enough to keep me interested for long.

Highlights: The Moor, Face of Melinda. Unlike much of the rest of the album (i.e., play loud and fast, then play slow and quiet), these songs use dynamics much better to build tension and create a flow to the piece. The Moor is particularly distinctive, with its creepy, brooding buildup to the bone crushing middle section, followed by a beautiful delicate section.

Overall a solid album with a great story and a compelling sound, but certainly no masterpiece in my book. If even the great Clapton is indeed mortal, then I'm going to remain skeptical about the godliness of the Opeth boys until further notice.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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