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Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover

BLACKWATER PARK

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.25 | 1127 ratings

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Aranarth
4 stars When I first got BLACKWATER PARK, I was not sure what to think of it. A part of it turned me off and a part of it mesmerized me. Who could not be mesmerized by the gorgeous acoustic intro of "Dirge for November" as well as it's equally beautiful and mysteriously haunting outro? Same goes for the incredible intro to "Drapery Falls" and the incredible closing piano on "The Leper Affinity". I thought the death vocals were pretty hideous and creepy here, but after hearing "Still Life", I find them quite soothing in comparison. Mikael's growling here does sound softer and more restrained than on previous records.

Then the production. It's simply perfect. Every note has been polished into perfection by Steven Wilson and Opeth. The album's only soft number is the wistful acoustic ballad "Harvest", which has a really good electric guitar solo and although it's a bit one dimensional, belongs among the better songs on this album. Now for the downsides. THE FUNERAL PORTRAIT. Too violent, too dark and too overplayed. The only track I just don't enjoy here. Also, Steven Wilson's voice does not belong in a song like "Bleak". It's just too soft and popish, no offence to Wilson but he just ain't born to sing metal.

The instrumental "Patterns in the Ivy" is atmospheric, but breaks no new ground for Opeth. The closing and title track is the epitome of what Opeth are about, more or less, as it seems to sum up the entire record in it's 12 mins 8 secs. I love the lyrics, although they bulge with morbid and violent images and have an ultra-dark tone. The first line is the best. The sudden digression a little before the 3 minute mark is surprising and adds a great touch. As always when Opeth go from darkness and desperation to light and serenity suddenly. Then we descent into darkness again and it is as though Mikael is trying to take all hope from us when he sings "It is the year of death" and "Sun sets forever over Blackwater Park". I know Opeth have never been optimistic, but this is one of their most doom-ladden closers ever.

In the end, this album may be a bit too polished when it comes to production and has a flaw or two, but is definitely one of the cornerstones of Opeth's legacy.

Aranarth | 4/5 |

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