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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.33 | 1194 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars May I suggest this excellent album as Psychedelic Progressive Metal? . A new sub-genre under progressive metal file?

First of all, why I listen to this album?

Last night I had a short message in my cellular (hey, we keep sending messages over cellular phone whenever we are listening to prog music down here. What about you guys?) from my prog mate Nirarta from Malang, East Java, Indonesia who complained (?) having listened to Octavarium and felt bad (?) about the similarity of some songs with MUSE. It's a good learning for me as I don't know Muse in details so I could not detect there is similarity in any Octavarium song. What's interesting though, at the end of his message he put ".. ah, I'd better listening to Opeth. Tuoobss!". Opeth? Yeah .. I have two albums where so far I listen to a lot on "Blackwater Park" but not with the other one "Still Life". His message served like an "instruction" for me to do so. So I had it another spin last night. Wow! It impressed me man.

As for my case, I knew the band quite late because I never considered the band was in progressive scene as I heard the band name at the very first time from metal community mailing list. When someone posted an email mentioning that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree did contribute in Opeth's album, I started to ask who this band is. So it's clear that Steven Wilson was the linking pin that connected me to Opeth. I was actually quite hesitant to know the band as people telling me that the singing style was growling. Later, I found Opeth's live DVD Lamentations in one of famous record shops in my country. So I purchased it (because it's so cheap). As the DVD contained some mellow tracks at the first half of the gig, I was not interested about the music. What amazed me though was the second half that contained more heavy stuffs with growling style. I don't know why I was not bothered at all with growling style the band produced. It's probably because I assumed that vocal has the same role as other instruments - it produces sound as part of total music. Having this in mind, I could accept any sound produced by the band.

How the music is like?

"The Moor" opens with a nice work of acoustic guitar and after couple of minutes so the music blasts off in full metal vein but not in speed typically with power metal genre. The vocal growls combined with "normal" singing that serves as backing vocal. The song structure is hardly said as straight forward as it has some variations in style and some transition pieces in quieter passages, dominated usually by acoustic guitar work.

"Goldhead's Lament" continues with high power music which is very nice when I play it LOUD as I can hear all details of sounds produced. The electric guitar played at background in solo fashion is one of key attraction points of this song. The vocal part is done in the right balance between growl and normal singing where the latter occurs usually when the music is slowing down into quieter passages augmented with electric and acoustic guitar. It's truly a psychedelic song with heavy style (progressive metal). Oh, I forget to mention that the melody of this song is excellent. Approximately in the minutes 7 something there is a short bass guitar solo that really enriches the texture of this song. Wonderful song composition!

"Benighted" is probably a pure modern psychedelic exploration from Opeth. It has a great combination between great acoustic guitar work and voice line that open the song. The full music that follows is a kind of blues-based style with a bit of Floydian guitar augmented with acoustic guitar fills. It's a song with medium tempo and provides some sort of break after listening previous two hard driving tracks. Excellent composition - and you might not argue with me on this, I'm sure.

"Moonlapse" brings the music back to high energy fashion but this time is performed softer with great combination of electric and acoustic guitar work, solid basslines and drum beats. It turns quieter with domination of acoustic guitar when the vocal enters (this time no growling). But .. at the end of of first lyrical verse the vocal yells great growling and continues the singing in growling style. WOW! Man . this is wonderful! Fans, of prog met, this is for YOU! Really greaaaaatttt .. I really enjoy this track - forget about growling vocal. Indeed, it's so wonderful with growling style!

"Face of Melinda" is probably the band's ballad with excellent acoustic guitar work. "Serenity Painted Death" brings the music back to hard driving rhythm music with growling style. The concluding track "White Cluster" is a very entertaining track with high energy music, growling vocal and great lead guitar work.

How may I suggest YOU?

If you like Porcupine Tree's "In Absentia" album, I bet you love this album as well provided that you are OK with growling vocal style. Fans of death metal would love this album. But I don't guarantee those who only love Dream Theater, Symphony X, Ice Age, Iced Earth, Andromeda, Threshold, etc. will automatically like this album - because it's different. If you love classic prog only, like Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Jethro Tull, please stay away from this album. Unless, you have a progressive mind: willing to accept any kind of movement in music styles. I may consider those who love Pink Floyd to try this album; not from the heavy part but on the soft / psychedelic part of the music offered by this album. Have a good try and . keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #333 (it's a great number, isn't it?)

Gatot | 4/5 |

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