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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.31 | 1643 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is my prized jewel here, my album of all albums, the greatest piece of music for me. That being said, this album, and certainly this band, will not be for everybody. For me, this gets my nod as greatest album of all time. I think this basically blows away anything the band has ever done, and while their other work is interesting and great, this is just above everything else.

What exactly is all of it anyway? Well, It's a concept album, an album with a broad range of musical styles, one that takes you on a journey, one that makes your body hair stick up in sheer amazement. It's the culmination of every brilliant moment the band ever had compacted into an album with no weak songs. Whereas on previous and future albums there was perhaps a weak spot here or there, it is almost universally agreed by fans who grew up around the band that this album and MAYH were the finest of Opeth's for their overall quality and lack of throw away songs. From the gripping quality of The Moor to the fade out of White Cluster, we become enveloped in a story and a sound that I have yet to find anything to compare it to.

For those who may be more familiar with the artists of the 70's, Opeth uses a section of a song from Camel in their track Benighted. It is well known among the Opeth fans out there of Mikael's love for prog bands. There's photos you can find of his LP collection, and it's quite daunting. This album draws a lot from Mike musical background and his attention to songwriting and composition.

The concept itself is one with moods that almost any person has felt at some point or another, as it's essentially a love story, but as with any complicated love story, things get in the way, in this case a town. I won't spoil the end for you, but it's important to know that the lyrics have purpose and meaning (although lyrics are typically not something I look for in music).

Anyways, the songs have a variety of different styles, with The Moor getting maybe a bit too much credit from Opeth fans. I'd say Moonlapse Vertigo is the most stimulating track. Though I can certainly understand why The Moor is regarded so highly. The spacey opening, the uplifting build up and the crashing and powerful crescendo's are quite magical.

Next up is Godhead's Lament, which is heavy at first, however the break in the middle is very calming and relaxing, quite an unexpected turn, but a welcome one. Some very nice acoustic work here. This song really does kick you in the face at first.

Benighted, as has already been mentioned, is an acknowledgment towards Mikael's favorite band Camel and Camel's Never Let Go off its first album. It's a beautiful rendition that I'm sure Latimer would be proud of.

Moonlapse Vertigo and Face of Melinda have two of the most stunning chord progressions you are likely to hear. Track times for these progressions are around 0:48 into Moonlapse and 4:38 of Face of Melinda. Just genius compositional work. The acoustic and electric overlap work wonderfully. From then Moonlapse goes into a dark acoustic section, followed by another genius riff progression. The 3 sets of primary riffs in this song (:48, 2:37, 7:15) are some of the best of the band's career.

Classic proggers will love the feel of Face of Melinda, which has become a concert staple. No death vocals here. Mike plays acoustic lines and harmonious vocal melodies as more of the story is unraveled. Mike once again shows his prowess as a songwriter and guitar player through his intricate riffs and structures. As mentioned, the 4:38 riff break is one of my favorite to play.

Don't let the title of Serenity Painted Death scare you, while heavy, Opeth are able to keep it progressive and have a purpose for it. Theres a psychedelic vibe to it, and some beautiful verses hidden amongst the brutality of it all. The doom riffs towards the end will probably be quite scary to some, but the song recovers itself with a wonderful set of solos, the last 2 songs having the only real soloing for the whole album. The song has an acoustic "running" outro as I would call it, as if we are fleeting away.

White Cluster is a bit of a question mark upon first listen. Its certainly not a normal track. The build up at 4 minutes is one of those parts you want to repeat over and over again. Spine tingling, easily. Another masterful chord progression and choice that would make most songwriters completely envious.

I'd hope that those who do not like death vocals won't just write this one off. This album more than any other shows Opeth and Mike's ability to compose more than anything else. I'd say this is the most flawless compositional album, and everything else that's good is just icing on the cake.

This is a masterpiece in every aspect of the word. We won't hear an album like this ever again.

OpethGuitarist | 5/5 |


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