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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.33 | 1115 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zitro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 4.7 Stars. Their first peak and my favourite album from them ... but why did they have to title the album "Still Life" ... How many albums have that name?

Opeth has perfected their sound in this record and have reached a peak in their career. This album is flawless in its execution and has absolutely no problems in the whole hour. The growls are at their best. IT flows perfectly well which is important for a concept album, and never manages to bore me throughout the 7 songs. Also, this is the first album where I've noticed that Mikael knows how to write poetry, even if the content is dark, menacing, depressing, brutal, and violent. The lyrics (as well as the vocal style and music) follow the story like a narrative about this tragedy and the protagonist's shameful reaction of it. Another reason to love this album is the accessibility of it. It is probably their easiest album to get into, and it keeps growing on you.

The album begins with a song that introduces the story and it acts like an overture. The first two minutes is a crescendo of the same sustain-guitar theme but while it drags, I don't feel it overstays it's welcome. After that introduction, the song starts: a gorgeous acoustic introduction to the heaviness that will follow. The riffs are some of the best they have done so far, especially the one before the first grunt starts. In both growling and singing modes, the protagonist speaks that he has come back to the society in which he was outcasted and exiled from. I love the lines of the chorus "All shudder at the call of my name/ If you'll bear with me / You'll fear of me", their melodies, the riffs, and the way they are sung. That chorus might be the best chorus the band has ever written in their whole career and what comes afterwards doesn't drop in quality: an extended acoustic passage and the protagonist stating the reason why he came back: Melinda, a woman he loves. The acoustic parts change a lot in an unpredictable way. IT's a shame that their next albums lack the surprises. The song ends with some heaviness that leads to the awesome chorus.

Godheads Lament shows the protagonist entering the town and trying to be cautious so that no one would see him. He sounds very bitter and the heavy music compliments his mood. But when he sees her, the music calms quite a bit and he says he doesn't care if others see him. You know that he is clearly in love with her. The moderately fast acoustic playing in these parts are very well done. Afterwards, some trademark mid-tempo riffery typical of the band follow as well as the grunts. The song continues with the calm-heavy changes while it keeps having great melodies. However,I don't understand why the song ends in a heavy fashion after she sees him.

Benighted is an acoustic track that does not feel out of place with themusic nor the story. Here, the protagonist meets with Melinda and tells her that he wants her to escape with him, even if he seems disappointed that the society has affected her (or even brainwashed her). He forgives her. This song has some jazz elements, in the way the guitar is played in the solo.

Moonlapse Vertigo speaks a bit about the society. The leader being "The council of the Cross" hints that it is a religious society. They seem to hate the poor "With despise for squalor / Lashing out at the poor". Musically, this song is one of hte best in the album. The double guitars are fiery, epic, and gothic while the acoustic parts explore a bit of jazz as well as atmospheric music and are much more memorable and adventurous than their average soft part. The transitions also make them work, as well as the heavy parts. for example, isn't it amazing when the acoustic part suddently changes into a mindblowing guitar solo?

Face of Melinda is another soft song and is overall much more effective and developed than "Benighted". The protagonist finds out that she was seeing another person while he was away, but he still forgives her and wants her to come with him. Melinda agrees and tells him "my heart is thine [yours]" Double acoustic guitars create a beautifully depressing mood that sinks even lower in a happiness scale when the electric guitars come. The mood just sounds epic and desperate. You can't imagine how much I love this part.

Apparently, they must have gone to sleep (maybe they made love in the final instrumental bit of Face of Melinda) and the fanatics found them and killed Melinda while he was sleeping. This is a bit surprising as the protagonist was left there, who was hated in the place.

Anyways, Serenity Painted Death already starts heavy and desperate and full of Anguish: "They killed Melinda!!" The mood gets more intense in the awesome choruses. The grunts are extremely catchy and I always singalong. The guitar riff is extremely cool too, it just sounds chaotic and those harmonics double the chaos. "Saw here fading, blank stare into me Clenched fist from the beautiful pain" is sung with clean vocals. The guy is suffering and the acoustic section sounds a bit frenzied. Afterwards, he loses his mind and the music goes very fast-paced. He basically goes into a killing spree until he is captured. The chorus is played before the ending.

White Cluster is the conclusion of the song: he repents for his actions (though he still hates them all), and is later hung and dead. The acoustic section where he repents is phenomenal. Acoustic and electric guitars combine perfectly to create a haunting image of imminent death, I love it! The song is as strong as all the others and ends with death: a soft acoustic outro.

All in all, this is one of the greatest metal album I've heard in my life. IT is very accessible, so if you are interested in Opeth, I would suggest to start here: you won't be disappointed.

Highlights: The Moor

Let Downs: Benighted

My Grade : A-

Zitro | 5/5 |

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