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Opeth - The Devil's Orchard CD (album) cover



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3 stars So this is where it all starts, my first review for progarchives! since I never have owned a record (because we don't have any records in our country) , and this being a digital release, I felt like I had a right to review this one.

The Devil's Orchard is the first single released from Opeth's upcoming album Heritage, which is awaited eagerly amongst the prog community, and even much more for me as it is my favorite band of all time just after Pink Floyd. It also follows the the release of "Remainder the Black Dog" another single from the massively anticipated Steven Wilson's solo album Grace for Drowning , but we're not going to talk about that here!

The music here definitely sounds like a work of genius, which is to be expected from giant proggers like Opeth, but wait, why cant i enjoy it like any other Opeth song? I don't mean to say that due to the lack of growling vocals that this album is going to lack the whole album is placid and will be a let down among the metalheads. I found "Damnation" to be one the most refreshing and original works of music ever and holds a slot in my favorite top 3 Opeth albums. But in my opinion what lacks here the original Opeth sound. Yes this band is hugely influenced by a vast array of prog bands spanning half a century, from artists like Scott Walker, King Crimson or Death. And yeah you can even hear these influences in their songs, sometimes to the point that you can hear the unchanged copied riffs! But even then the music sounded like original Opeth music, with its peculiar Opeth sound. Damnation has is a soft record nevertheless it sounds like Opeth!

When I listened to this song, it sounded like everything from ELP, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and all those other 70's Eclectic/Symphonic bands BUT NOT OPETH!

Well I can only wish now that the whole album when it comes out turns out to be different from this single! And BTW the track-listing would've made great titles for death metal songs. 2.5 stars really....

Report this review (#500243)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Devil's Orchard' - Opeth (Single)

There are always a few bands in every music scene that stir a fuss anytime they deliver new music. As far as modern progressive metal is concerned, there may still only be a small handful that can unite the masses in excitement, and if the amount of discussion concerning Opeth's new single is any reminder, these Swedish metal titans are one of those chosen elite. Promising a wide departure from the typical progressive death metal we came to know Opeth by, hearing reports that the new album 'Heritage' would be more an homage to 70's rock than anything else had me a little worried that the band had lost themselves the same way fellow progressive metal legends Pain of Salvation had done so the year before. Well as it turns out, a lukewarm anticipation from me has been met with a neither repulsive, nor particularly impressive track. 'The Devil's Orchard' is not quite as derivative and soulless as the retro rock zombie I feared Opeth was going to turn into, but as with all new things, its clear they don't have this new territory harnessed all that well.

The track is certainly doused in plenty of vintage appeal, with Per Wilberg's hammond organs blazing overtop guitar grooves and exotic drum beats. The track takes quite a while to build up to the vocals, and while singer Mikael Akerfeldt's voice is in top condition for his cleans here, the melodies themselves are somewhat weak and lacking, with only one or two ideas sticking after listening. The sound is vintage, but not a total throwback. There are psychedelic gimmicks here and there, but for the most part, this is still the Opeth we know, just without the metal crunch. Some may prefer them as a pure prog rock act, but hearing this- and even despite the promise of a new style for them to explore- I can say that I miss what they used to do.

Report this review (#502194)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2011

Rating: 6/15 "**"


It's the new Opeth album single. That said, let's understand that this band is one of the most popular contemporary progressive rock bands. Some notes on the musical style - there are no growls. I'm indifferent to that aspect. I don't prefer clean or growling on the whole to one another. What I don't like, however, is this rampant increase in Porcupine Tree influence that Opeth's been taking lately. It's slick and it sickens me.

At face value, I'd take Devil's Orchard as a Fear of a Blank Planet B-side or something. Some lost psych metal jam track. It doesn't go anywhere at all. It's not that the song is of poor quality, I just wish more was going on. From the opening guitar riff I just knew this whole affair was going to be a disappointment. The 'god is dead' lament causes me grief. I feel embarrassed when I hear that segment. Ah, and of course there's that 'vintage' 1970's progressive rock sound they were shooting for. If you're expecting Camel-esque melodies and movements, don't think about it. It's the same derivative melancholy they've been propagating since their first LP.

It's not bad. Oh hoo boy is it competent! OH IT'S SO COMPETENT AND ADEQUATE. It's so competent I want some hemlock.

Report this review (#503480)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first single from Opeth's forthcoming album Heritage keeps its promise in that musically, it is in a new direction. Whether that is good or bad depends on your personal preferences and tastes. As a prog fan who also loves metal, I couldn't be happier. I have enjoyed all of Opeth's music for the past ten years, but also felt that the extreme metal side of their sound was the least interesting aspect of a complex tapestry. The Devil's Orchard takes the prog side of Opeth and puts it up front, and eliminates the extreme metal side. That's not to say that the song isn't metal. It still retains that flavor, but in a new and interesting context. I can't give this new track five stars, because as a song, it is good, not great. For the new direction the band is heading in, I would rate five stars. Check it out, and see what you think.
Report this review (#503791)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Review Permalink

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