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Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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5 stars Blackwater Park is a really outstanding album. Much different then you might expect from a metal band. Nothing on this album is bad, even the extra tracks on the double album are good. 'Leper Afinity' starts out the album with some hard hitting riffs and the album is later ended with 'Blackwater Park' with ends it with heavy riffs. There is a mix of different things in the middle as well. 'Harvest' is a very clean vocal song which is a nice number on the album and 'the Drapery falls' is also worth mentioning as well as all the other tracks to be honest so here goes: 'Bleak', 'Dirge for November', 'The Funeral Portrait', 'Paterns in the Ivy', 'Blackwater Park'. 'Still Day Beneath The Sun' and 'Patterns in the Ivy II' are also good tracks. Both are acoustic but still a nice addition to the album if you can find the double disc set. The 'Harvest' video is just some studio footage with the guys playing video games and recording. This is one high quality album, worthy of a place next to 'Still Life'.
Report this review (#30952)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars So first of all: this is one of my desert island albums. Secondly: I don't like death metal! So now you think how this can be, a guy that don't likes death metal declares an Opeth album to one of his all time favorites...a contradiction in terms? No, by no means at al. Yes, Opeth features a lot of death metal growls and yes, normally I don't like them BUT it's totally different with Opeth. I got this record and was in doubt about it but loved it from it's first track, in an instant. But what are the elements that makes Opeth so different from "normal" death metal acts? It's for sure the mixture of totally aggressive and fragile mellow parts, the antagonism of the death metal growls and Mikaels clear vocals, the polarity of heavy riffing and beautiful acoustic parts and all within one song. But for sure there are these awesome melodic guitar solos that cause a ineffable feeling. "The leper affinity" is one of these songs I love and btw it was the first Opeth song I heard because Blackwater Park was my first album. Aggressive in the beginning and of corse with acoustic breaks featuring Mikaels fine voice. I can't understand why Mikael thinks that he is a novice relating to singing... "Bleak" is a damn good song it catches you with it's great melody. "Harvest" is a song that could also be on "Damnation", entirely acoustic and really great. But this one is followed by one of my all time Opeth favorites "The drapery falls" This time it starts with the acoustic part and gets heavier afterwards. This song features more breaks than other songs, the band switches more often from mellow to heavy parts. The mellow parts could not be any better, awesome (I think you can find the Mp3 above, try it and you will also see if you like Opeth at all, it is very representative) The next two songs can be easily be located the death metal direction but don't miss the guitar solos, they're awesome in my opinion. "Patterns in the Ivy" is an Instrumental, very short but beautiful...when you have the chance to get your Hands on the Special edition you will get the second part "Pattens in the Ivy II" also a song that could easily be found on "Damnation" "the last song, the title track "Blackwater Park" closes the album in a perfect way. Maybe it is important to mention that Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree as you know) produced this album. Steven and Mikael are good friends (Steven even played Piano on Mikael's Wedding as they entered the church) and will work together on "Damnation" and "Deliverance" as well. For sure some influences are identifiable.

So if you want to get into the world of Opeth this is the key, no doubt. It got me and I'm sure it will get you as well. Don't mind the growls, just try it and I'm sure they woun't bother you.

Report this review (#30953)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Have you ever thought what would be like the soundtrack of despair, and sadness? If your answer is affirmative then you must buy this cd imediately. But I have to warn you progressive rock fans: this is not only progressive metal but also extreme metal, with some truly demonic music, growling included. And this growling aspect will be the starting point of my review of this masterpiece. I'm sure everyone has, at least once, heard some growling in a song. And I'm also sure that most progressive rock fans dislike it, so I think you should know that frontman Mikael Ĺkerfeldt, has a unice growling and probably one of the best in the whole spectrum of extreme music. It's very agressive but it's done with such a technice that it's truly clear, you can really understand most things he says without looking for the lyrics, fitting in the most perfect way the music. Besides he also sings in a wonderful way, very mellow very sad. The instrumental also changes between agressive with hard riffing very melodic death metal style, some death/doom parts, and marvellous acoustic tapestries, that really suit the vocal changes. Vocal and instrumental combined they make a mixture that's truly original and progressive, the songs never get boring, and it really blows your mind with rythmic changes, atonal passages and dilecerating screams in the middle of extremely calm parts. The album is so damn perfect that it's hard to point higlights, but still my personal favorites would be the agressive "The Leper Affinity", the almost folk "Harvest", the rollercoaster ride that's "The Drapery Falls" and the extremely brutal "Blackwater Park". And finally a curiosity: the name of this album is a tribute to a underground progressive rock band of the seventies.
Report this review (#30954)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars After reading the reviews for the Opeth albums, i was intruiged to hear what melodic death metal sounded like. I had to know, and i didn't have a clue what to expect but after i got the album it simply blew me away. Never have i heard a progressive piece like this sound so well produced. The album manages to blend its mellow parts with its agressive parts superbly, like Tool and Dream Theater but Opeth take it to the extreme by mixing acoustic guitars with death metal growls and screams. It doesn't sound like an awful corss over but it sounds like its meant to be, something beautiful and mysterious. I've never seen any other band attempt such extremeities, so hats off to them.

Mike's voice throughout the whole album is incredible, whether he is tangled up in brutal agressive death metal screaming and growling, or if he is passionately putting his heart into singing the great lyrics the band have written. Somehow the singing just seems perfect, not over the top or dull at any moment. The rest of the band play incredibly throughout, there is multi layered sound that weaves in and out of mellow acoustic guitar rhythms and hard hitting full on heavy metal riffs. The drummer sure knows just how to switch from insane cymbal smashing to emotional backing drums as well so its flawless on the musical front. It is incredible how well they manage to make this album flow, this album has the perfect amount of balance between heavy and mellow which blows me away. They have obviously put a lot of work into this and it is definetly a masterpiece.

"The Leper Affinity" is a great opener, the song starts quietly and fades in with suspense, instantly making the listener feel secure about the journey they are about to embark on. Things get better from there as this highly progressive piece never fails to please. The song succeeds in blending sorrow with fury, which i think is the main offering on the plate for this song, as well as introducing us to a great new experiment in sound. The opening exploding riff is immense and there is some great riffage ahead. Mike's voice sounds really evil and this is definetly the best death metal album i have ever heard in my life. When it flows into the first mellow section with acoustic guitars it sounds like pure heaven and Mike's voice goes into an excellent mellow section, his voice sounds incredible and inspiring. It has just as much power as his angry growls but in a whole new way. It is incredibly emotional, helped out by the amazing lyrics. The track flows back into hard hitting riffs, the fury of the bass and double bass drum are used very effectively. Opeth also add in this gloomy essence which reflects their misty album covers. Around 8:10 is my favourite section when that amazing soft guitar creeps in and it somehow ends up climaxing with a warm piano piece. Opeth sound like they could make a soundtrack to a gothic horror film or something. An incredible start to one hell of a masterpiece.

"Bleak" stretches us furthur with more brilliant experiments in emotion, this song is an almighty melee of heavy sound. The vocals are very powerful and this is an excellent song. Again the death metal vocals are amazing, this one has a less furious and agressive sound to it but a more paced sound, powerful in new ways. There is a great build up here as there is a quiet acoustic break where it would seem like a mellow vocal part would come in but snakes back into the heaviness and then finds its way to the mellow section. When this track progresses into the "devious movements in her eyes" section it is so bloody powerful and emotional. Definetly one of the best pieces on this album. It blows me away ever time. This track shows of some of Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilsons great input as well.

"Harvest" is more mellow and suits well for the people who may be put of by the harsh vocals and apocalyptic guitars. This is a shorter piece that fits in well to give balance to the sound of the album. "The Drapery Falls" is one of the best offerings on the album. It takes things to the next level and is almost like combining the acoustic rhythms of "Harvest" with the furious guitar work on "Bleak". The emotional singing is a real wonder hear and its even nice to see it explode into anger in the middle. This song is constantly changing and it keeps the song fresh and captivating throughout. good listenings."Dirge For November" has an incredibly warm opening, in fact the whole album is very warm against the cold lyrics. This soon progresses into furthur fury, more epic scales of furious vocals. There is a wonderous piece in the middle, 6 minutes in a beautiful and moving slower piece comes in, showing off the different sides of the guitarists amazing work. The band work so well together, each member getting to show off their own emotions and talents.

"The Funeral Portrait" carries on the incredible theme and again shows off the heavier, darker works. This is probably the best song to headbang to as it seems to have a more evil edge to it. The solo work at the end is the best i've heard on the album, but they are amazing in all aspects of their music. "Patterns in the Ivy" serves as a short filler piece to link tracks 6 and 8 together. It does the job well and also provides a really good piano and acoustic guitar piece. This will give the listener a little break from the intense moshing that the last song provided. I think the break here is an important one because it prepares the listener for the epic album closer. It also shows off some of Opeths acoustic instrumental brilliance. This one is up with there with "Horizons" by Genesis and "Mood for a Day" by Yes. It has a similar effect as those pieces by making the album flow with balance. You can start headbanging again when the title track comes on as this has a rocking intro. Another great piece, offering the best. Everything seems to have been perfected for this song and it contains most of the great elements of the previous songs to provide the best musically arranged piece on the album. As this song progresses it sounds more and more like the world is ending with the ultimate power of the music and vocals.

Blackwater Park is an incredible album and Opeth are an incredible band. Very unique in what they do, there is no other way to describe their music other than gloomy melodic prog death metal, and my life has certainly been enriched by this album. The whole record is a worthy listen and there never seems to be any inconsistancy. The record often stretches to new heights yet it has enough familiarity to keep it appealing. One of the best death metal pieces i have ever experienced and it will even be enjoyed by non metal fans! The balance on this album is a key point to why this album is so good. The band have created a winning formula on this album. Time to go get all their other albums!

Report this review (#30955)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars In all honesty, this rating is probably a bit low, but this is where it falls for me, among OPETH's albums--behind the "great three" of My Arms, Your Hearse, Still Life, and Damnation, but still ahead of Deliverance. When a band is a true favorite of mine, I can't help but go a bit harder on it because there is a higher standard for them, and each album is weighed carefully against all the others in that artist's catalogue. This was my first OPETH album, and I guess it just hasn't made the same kind of impression as those three did, even after later listens. I'm the type who likes concepts, and this is the one OPETH album that doesn't have one. Still, it must be said in fairness--this WAS the album that got me hooked on the band, and for its strengths it must receive proper credit.

The strongest points of Blackwater Park are, in my opinion, "Bleak", "The Drapery Falls", "Dirge for November", "The Leper Affinity", and "Blackwater Park" itself. "The Leper Affinity" is probably the best for its piano outro, which is strangely reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky", without being a direct copy. "The Drapery Falls" was actually my first OPETH song ever, and without this one I would have never given the rest of their catalogue a chance. What's odd about "Dirge for November" is, on the official OPETH site, Martín Méndez names this one as his least favorite. Honestly, I can't even begin to understand what his problem is with it. It has some achingly beautiful vocals at the beginning, and it's quite interesting to hear the gentle acoustic theme reiterated in the metal section. "Blackwater Park" is another extremely good track with some very catchy and original riffs (a definite classic rock influence here), in both loud and soft sections. The opening and closing are both interesting, and the middle section is truly a haunting one. Probably my favorite moment is in the transition from the middle section back to the metal style.

"Bleak" is a personal favorite, with some genuinely touching parts in the lyrics. It seems to be a revisit to the spirit in MAYH, perhaps that would have fit in right before "Demon of the Fall"--even the fadeout into those distorted sounds suggest it, as well as the lyrics which indicate his beloved is beginning to threaten suicide (which you hear in "Demon of the Fall"). It's very well balanced between metal and acoustic, and the clean-vocal section on this one is especially powerful. The lyrics, too, I love, especially as the spirit begs of the woman he loved in life, who is now turning away from him and drowning in her grief, "Help me cure you, atone for all you've done / Help me leave you, as all the days are gone." You can even hear some of Martín Méndez' excellent bass work in here, during the acoustic section (whereas he starts to be undermixed in other places on this album). This is probably my favorite song on the album: I can't seem to pass it without listening twice.

There are some other songs, though, that, while they are certainly not bad, don't seem to do much for me, and they are part of the reason I can't give Blackwater Park above a 4. "Harvest" is the first one that comes to mind here. Personally, I think that OPETH has got better acoustic works to offer, and this one doesn't quite come up to the same standard. "The Funeral Portrait", for whatever reason, isn't as interesting either, until the harmonies at the end, which are quite nice. "Patterns in the Ivy" has only one flaw: it's too short, and it just begs to be developed further. The final reason I give Blackwater Park a 4 is because the bass starts to be undermixed here on some songs (although excellent on "The Drapery Falls"), a problem that would become even worse on the next album, Deliverance due to technical problems in the studio, in that case, but as far as I know, there were no such problems here--so it's just a decision to undermix that I don't quite like as much. Still, I imagine many fans will like this album, especially those who do not pay as much attention to lyrics and concept. I do also think it makes a good starter album for beginning fans--but in my case, I ended up moving on to other works of theirs.

Report this review (#30957)
Posted Sunday, December 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is godlike, I hadn't started my growing opeth collection with this album i thought i would go for some of their earlier stuff and work my way through, and all of their stuff is class. With a band like opeth you come to expect great things, this album grabs you in so rapidly from the first death growl to the last note of the acoustic tune and is truly some powerful stuff and not to be underestimated.It constantly reinvents itself and takes you through an emotional rollercoaster which can't be helped, that in my opinion is why opeth have made such an impact. I would highly recommend this to anyone death metal fan or not.
Report this review (#30962)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To start, I am not a fan of death metal. Most music that contains more than half of the vocals that are screamed really annoys, but not this album. This is the best album of that nature I've ever listened to. Maybe it's the quiet acoustic passages that set a dreary and dark mood, maybe it's the solid, complex, and enjoyable metal riffs. Whatever it is, this is truly a great album. Mikael Akerfeldt and co. have a unique style of play, and they do it so well. Steven Wilson seems to have a large influence on the bands sound, for it is filled with his input and his piano/guitar work.

The musicianship on this album is very solid. The drumming is very tight and fits the metal mold very well. The bass, while not spectacular, is very sporadic and full of texture. The guitar work is superb for the genre that they play in, with very cohesive and tight play from both Akerfeldt and Lindgren.

The album opens with a metal masterpiece, The Leper Affinity. With dark and melancholic lyrics, Akerfeldt's demonic (as Bryan calls it, "cookie monster') vocals roar into the speakers. His unique and captivating roar really caught me off guard, usually I dislike these vocals with an extreme passion, but I liked this one. The music is very structed, complex, and intricate, a very unique sound eminates from the guitars, for the intricacy of the riffs gives off the perfect tone to the album. Other tracks worth mentioning are The Drapery Falls, another metal nightmare of demonic roars, intricate riffs, and superb guitars; Patterns in the Ivy is a haunting acoustic piece that does nothing less than give me chills. The album closer Blackwater Park is also an incredible piece of metal, with much of the same elements as the other songs mentioned.

My only complaint with this album is that after awhile, Akerfeldt's roaring vocals getting a tad annoying, but it is quickly made up for with the incredible clean vocals that come during the acoustic passages. I give it a 4/5. A very impressive and solid piece of work.

Report this review (#35938)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What else is there to say that hasn't already been said by the people above me? The lowest rating as of my review is a 4! That is astonishing, I would think. "Blackwater Park" by Opeth is an absolute work of art and is my second favorite Opeth album along with the second release "Morningrise". There a 4 HUGE tracks quality wise on this album. Those four being the title track, "The Drapery Falls", "Bleak", and "The Leper Affinity". All four of those songs are nearly perfect. "Patterns in the Ivy" is in the absolute perfect spot on this album. It cools you off after the heavy ground-breaking song "The Funeral Portrait" and warms you up for the MONSTER title track. "Harvest" is a great song aswell, and Akerfeldt really shows off his clean vocals well in that song. "Dirge for November" has some beautiful work to be found everywhere. In the vocals, the guitars, etc.
Report this review (#37028)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#37089)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Death Metal is Death Metal and bands like Nile and Entomed are the best at it ,epic style. Opeth are a band that typically skirt round the edges of Death Metal and tend just to add just enough so as not to offend the listener with this so called awful stuff.This is really all very pathetic and Opeth are a band that has no idea about how to play Death Metal so i really dont no why they bother with it at all.The fact is Opeth are a band that are hugely influenced by the atmospheric sound of early Pink Floyd and almost duplicate that sound , they also imitate the vocal harmonies of floyds, Rick Wright and Dave Gilmour almost perfectly,while layering their music with progressive/death style metal.The Death Metal vocals sound very out of place while mixed with soft acoustics and harmonies on Blackwater Park,which is very similar to Still Life,the production is better than Still Life which was very poor.Blackwater Park is perfect for anyone who enjoys recycled early Pink Floyd psychedelic material (pre Meddle era) and imitators of Death metal act Nile thrown in for good measure.
Report this review (#37217)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was a bit weary when my brother introduced me to this band, knowing it was labelled death-metal, I had visions of terrible distorted music with death-grunts and growls, continious metal without rest-points, or decent build up of songs, boring pointless solo's that lacked melodie, and more nightmare scenario music.

But in fact it's quite the opposite, yes, the music sounds distorted at times, yes there are death grunts and growls, but not in a negative way, it actually adds to the music, and helps to create the right atmosphere. Concerning the continious metal without resting points and boring pointless solo's, let's just call it prejudice, for there are enough slower, softer passages to warrant breathing time, and prevent the album from getting boring.

For the most part, Blackwater Park sounds like metal sounds, with some similarities with Metallica, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, and Anthrax, with some grunting added, but also some Pink Floyd influences are heard. Accoustic and more relaxed passages (guitar and piano) are used as bridges between the more heavy parts, so you get a well-balanced mix of heavy parts, heavy melodic parts, and softer melodic parts. (don't like this sentence, but it is aproximatly what I mean ;-))

The album kicks right in, with dark heavy guitar sounds, grunting vocals, mostly the guitars take the lead, with a warm dark sound and melodic overtones, that make it all work very well. Besides the obligatory grunting (if that's how you call it), half of the vocals are sung in a 'normal' manner, the singing reminds me to the singing on Riverside's 'Out Of Myself' (actually the other way around, since this album is older, but it does sound somewhat alike). Besides heavy electric guitars, lots of rhythmic accoustic guitar is used aswell.

Lots of sounds happening in the background, some piano, and floydian atmospherics, especially on Harvest, my favourite song of the album, a rhythmic accoustic guitar ballad, with a soft electric guitar solo above the accoustic base, a very melodic warm song. And this is heard also on the titel song of the album.

Best songs of the album are the heavy 'The Leper Affinity', 'Bleak' and 'The Drapery Falls' and the softer ballad Harvest. The instrumental 'Patterns in Ivy' is another highlight, accoustic guitar acompagnied by some nice piano play. The only bad song on this album is 'Dirge For November' which bores me to rages of tears.

To conclude this review. This is basicaly a great metal album, which also contains some softer parts that make it for me more easy to digest, I rate it as four stars, with a little warning to non-metal proggers, but a positive recommendation to all metalic proggers out there. This is good metal.

Report this review (#38867)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you don't mind Growling Vocals- this is a 5 star album, all the way. I know that some music fans dont like the "cookie monster" vocals, so I cant give this 5 stars- because 5 stars is for EVERYBODY. I am absolutley falling in love with this album- and the band- they are so amazing. They blend the light and the dark with precision. The Guitar work and the mix of harsh and clean vocals keeps me coming back and back. I enjoy this album as much as Deliverance- so pick either one up! You wont regret it!!!!!!!
Report this review (#39242)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
5 stars I haven't yet heard the latest album Ghost Reveries but until now this is Opeth's best and most accessible album. It is the album where they became popular. Their early albums were clearly death metal albums but Blackwater Park contains a lot more clean vocals, probably due to the influence of Steve Wilson from Porcupine Tree. There are still a lot of death metal vocals but this adds variety to the album that would be not so interesting if it were all sung in the same style as Steve Wilson.

The album is clearly progressive, with long songs and frequent changes of tempo and melody. The stand out song on the album is The Drapery Falls, which starts in a fantastic way and you think it can't get any better but it just keeps improving for the first 4 minutes. After that, the death metal vocals kick in but it's still an outstanding track right until the end.

The album is heavy of course but the musicianship is of a very high standard and the album also contains quite a few mellow moments. If you haven't heard any Opeth, this is the first album of theirs that you should try.

Report this review (#43883)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I see this band as having two 5 star albums- Blackwater Park, and Deliverance (Damnation a very close 4 star album)

This album simply amazes me- with the most delicate sounds- to hard, heavy, and scary sounds. The range this album displays is simply amazing.

The lyrics are a bit odd- but I suppose it suits progressive fan.

The mood of this album is the best- each song twists and turns you in several directions- mixing the emotion all over.

If you are new to this band- this is a great place to start- DONT BE SCARRED by the harsh vocals- the soothing vocals added in create a great balance.

GREAT ALBUM- amazing band!

Report this review (#43932)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is amazing.....I thinh so, because the work made by the boys with Wilson falls in the complex world of sadness and sorrow where the mankind live. The metaphorical secuences join together to the sounds and composition made this album a ripple of dead when people feel alone. Perhaps it is the crytical situation live in the earth? or harmful cities? Well, make the question to the band, but I can say the music still have a lot of inspiration and force with Opeth kids. Essential to any prog collector
Report this review (#43938)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars I'm seeing that a lot of people take this album like the best Opeth's album. I have to disagree...

This is a very good album, excellent. But in my opinion it doesn't reach the high peaks of albums like "Still Life" or the magnificent "Deliverance". The band got a lot of popularity with this release, but I think it due to their entering in Music For Nations, lavel that made a great promotion of the album... I remember seeing a lot of publicity of it on heavy magazines.

I don't think that this album is more accesible than "Still Life", because it has less acoustic parts and more growls... Except "Deliverance", It's the less acoustic Opeth's work, and it's darker than the previous one, with only one commercial song on it: Harvest. And it's sound darker, a little in the same way of "My Arms, Your Hearse", like the depriment and repetitive acoustic park of the song Blackwater Park.

In addition, I think that this album isn't very original, because it's too much in the same style of "Still Life", and it doesn't offered something really new, except the great Steve Wilson's production and a little improvement of the acoustic sound and playing. For that, I really liked the change that they made in the brutal "Deliverance" and the absolute beautiful "Damnation", because with "Blackwater Park" the formula was starting to being too repetitive...

Best songs: The Drapery Falls (masterpiece!!!), Bleak and Harvest.

Weak points: Dirge for November and The Funeral Portrait, two songs that don't offer nothing really interesting...

Great album, but the weakest of the last four Opeth's releases in my opinion (without taking count the upcoming Ghost Reveries...).

Report this review (#43960)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not very interesting - or Prog

So Opeth. Top of the Prog Metal heap or just interesting?

Well, neither really.

A dark but vague keyboard intro gives way predictably to a squeaky-clean guitar riff, repeated verbatim. The polished nature of the riff sets you up for the stereotype screaming metal vocal... but no. We get our first surprise here, and it's not good to my ears. Death metal style growling seems at odds with the texture and sits uncomfortably across a range of riffs with assorted fills, all taken from the school of rock standards and little awareness of how to grow drama within the music. It's all too repetitive - although melodically interesting (in much the same way that Iron Maiden are melodically interesting) in places. Tangential passages in wierd time-signature riffs don't fool me one iota. The music only progresses in that it goes on and on in time - "The Leper Affinity" is clearly in the old school of technical metal, albeit of a rather simple nature. The vocal style is changed around 4:50, but the repetitive acoustic guitar accompaniment is a poor substitute for real prog. It's all short repeated patterns, largely unison with simplistic harmony - and rather boring. From about 6:00 it sounds like it might get interesting - but this is still in the technical as opposed to truly progressive vein. A sudden drop to piano is an interesting texture change at around 9:00 - but this is in the vein of "Lick My Love Pump" by Spinal Tap, and unrelated to the surrounding material.

"Bleak" starts with a nice texture and interesting rhythm - but it's really more of the same, and spoilt once again by inappropriate Death growl style vocals. It may be "a bit different", but that is the aim of technical metal - or at least it was back in the 1980s. "Bleak" is very listenable, but doesn't break any new ground - or sound particularly bleak, as the clear melodic guitar sounds with the blinging production give too much of a sheen. Around 3:15, we might as well be listening to a different song, albeit with much the same riffs. This technique to drag a song out beyond 3 minutes has been tried and tested by the likes of the Beatles, among others. At 5:21, the medley continues with a nice acoustic idea in every sense of the word "nice", followed by the reprise at 6:00. There is potential for some progressive ideas in here - the bass line starts interestingly, but everything in the opther parts simply drape over it instead of developing or investigating contrapuntal ideas. My hunt for a single progressive idea in Opeth's music continues.

"Harvest" opens with potential - a little like the Barclay James version... but less symphonic and ultimately somewhat insipid, reminding me a little of Creed. Pleasant enough, I suppose, but no prog yet...

"The Drapery Falls" opens with a riff that could be interesting if worked on. It has a tendency to slip into mush every 4 or 5 bars, as if the players are not sure of the harmonic effects they are trying to achieve here. It really seems to be subscribing to the school of thought that goes "It doesn' t matter what you play, as long as it's in time and played with an air of authority". Hogwash, of course. The playing and the constructions are simplistic and uninspired, and the lyrics cut through... ouch. I'm sure they mean something to someone, but they're not exactly Gabriel standard to put it mildly...

The album carries on with this pattern, neither developing or progressing the music or the style of music in general.

In short, it's very difficult to see how this album could be considered progressive rock... for me, at least. Opeth have a large number of riff ideas, an ear for melodies and some interesting approaches to rhythm. What they lack is actual musical ideas in terms of harmony and harmonic development, counterpoint and contrapuntal styles, infusing influences from other genres, producing a unique sound, and a feel for overall timbre, shape and good old-fashioned rock'n'roll.

Hence my rating is valid and accurate: For collectors and fans of the band and this type of music only. Prog rock fans will probably be disappointed.

If you think this is progressive, you should hear "Virus" by Tranceplant ;o)

Report this review (#44856)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was introduced to this band by a friend of mine who borrowed me Blackwater Park and at first listen i liked the music but i didnt really enjoy the vocals. But it gradually grew on me and then i got Deliverance and the Lamentations DVD and i was hooked.

After listening thru Deliverance many times i went back to Blackwater Park which is now my favourite Opeth album. The main problem i experienced in the begining with Opeth was that it can become a bit boring sometimes, but after ive started appreciating the music more and more i dont find it boring anymore.

Blackwater Park is an amazing journey. From Heavy to Mellow i enjoy every moment of it. It really sticks out in my CD player which has Camel - Mirage and Grindolog - Lady of the Lake right now playing. But i really love the agressivness and the sudden changes to the mellow part and the beautiful singing of Ĺkerfeldt. I recomend it to everyone and dont let the growling lyrics fool you its really a nice album.

Report this review (#44895)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars oh my god where do i start with this one. i had heard of Opeth only a very few times and i wasnt very interested in them at all untill one of my good friends started listening to them. well, i figured, if he likes it it cant be too bad. so i downloaded the Drapery Falls. What a perfect choice. it is now officially one of my favorite songs of all time... which is saying somthing as i listen to a TON of stuff. Dont let the Death metal label of Opeth scare you off as it did me. Dont get me wrong they do a bit of screaming and growling... but it works for once. The agression and pure FEELING they pour into their work is incredible. But Wait!! they do soft stuff to (incase u havnt heard about damnation) and its evident in this disc, especialy in the beautiful "Harvest" and of course Drapery Falls. However, that aspect is evident in ALL their songs onthis CD. The flow and complexity gives me chills when im listening to it and i cant get over the majesty of it. BUY THIS ALBUM NOW! it is the quintisential Opeth CD and is a wonderfull prog metal disc.

1.the Leper Affinity: GREAT riffs and handbangin' in the beggining... some of there heaviest stuff. I wasnt a fan of this song in the beginning, but i soon came to love it. From there it moves to a softer acoustic led section then explodes again and ends with a beautifully sad piano exit.

2.Beak: another one of my favorites, but what song on here isnt? really interesting vocals. Even when i was a death metal hater (and still am by the way) it caught on me faster than any of there other stuff except probably drapery falls. wonderfull soloing and riffing, and great acoustic forrays.

3. Harvest: Sweet song.. a great example of Opeths magnificent "soft side". You'll be singing allong in no time.

4. The Drapery Falls: as if i havnt talked enough about this song already.But it definatly desserves it..... i cant say all i want i guess but the song is up top there in the mp3 section so LISTEN TO IT!!! see for yourself.

5.Dirge for November: very mellow and soft begining with an acoustic play into the heavier stuff.... great melodies like in all opeth's stuff.. but here especialy.

6. Funeral Portrait: Not my favorite song on the cd, but still chocked full of goodness. riffing here is pretty good and the song depth and complexity is top notch.

7. Patterns in the Ivy: Wonderfull little acoustic/piano meandering. i always lovit when bands do this. it gives u a break to sit back and close your eyes and just go... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

8.Blackwater Park: well they definatly dont slack of towards the end of their albums, this song is one of my personal favorites of the band. heavy, flowing, beautiful, and the song where one could find the best solo and the best riffs on this CD.

FINAL REVIEW: WHAT THE HELL ARE U STILL READING THIS FOR U NEED TO BE OUT BUYING THIS!! NOW!!!!! the grandeur and magnifisence,(notice the big words please) will sweep u off your feet and send u tumbling out of control if you are not careful. Amazing.. only reason i gave it 5 was because i couldnt give it any higher rating. now go see for yourself.

Report this review (#56233)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars BLACKWATER PARK by OPETH is a concept album and it has the presence of STEVEN WILSON, of PORCUPINE TREE who also influences the band. He is very innovative.

Unlike OPETH's previous efforts(without STEVEN WILSON), this shows no sign of concept - the tracks are seperated and not tied up together like it was in MY ARMS YOUR HEARSE, and you have to read the lyrics to get the message, and sometimes even think about it yourself. The album tells us about the real, cruel, brutal world. It isn't just an imaginery story, because our today's world is really cruel and brutal, and real. Personally, I always imagine two little yellow-haired children going to a DEATH METAL concert. They are not special children, just normal two kids with yellow hair and love for true powerful music that possesses power. Of course, no story is without adventure and danger, and two children die during THE FUNERAL PORTRAIT and are buried during BLACKWATER PARK.

The songs are very diverse, yet follow a certain depressing mood. They show deep influence of such bands such as KING CRIMSON. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, showing all aspects of today's cruel, brutal and real life. Yellow-haired kids who like DEATH METAL are confronted with lepers, who they are forced to enter winter naked with, and I think it is a very evil song, that shows how children must avoid strangers. Bleak, the second song, has STEVEN WILSON who sings together with OPETH LEADER. The ending is very violent, very real and brutal, and the parts in the middle sometimes make me cry, being so emotional. Harvest has no DEATH METAL in it, and is a big surprise. It shows diversity, the genre has inherited from KING CRIMSON and ETC. The next two songs are also surprising, as DEATH METAL only appears only later. And the last two real songs are tragic and brutal, and they are full of DEATH METAL with powerful guitars. I also find it funny that the drummer is called "LOPEZ". I think that way OPETH try to say how they despise POP MUSIC, that was created by beatles and other hippys.

Overall, this is a masterpiece, very consistent and very diverse.

Report this review (#58507)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first Opeth album produced by Steve Wilson results in the defining moment of Opeth's Career.

Blackwater Park is Opeth's fifth studio release and the first release featuring producer Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree. It is in this album that Opeth has finally made an album worthy of a Progressive prefix to their Death Metal.

The album starts off with Leper Affinity, showcasing a style slightly more on the side of Death Metal. The track does showcase the great melodic guitar skills of Opeth. The track maybe a little heavy for some, but it's not vacant of musicality. The next to tracks Bleak and Harvest showcase the softer side of Opeth. Bleak is quite a heavy track, but the prescence of the acoustic guitars is what really makes this track what it is. Harvest is a simple, yet powerful ballad. The center of the album is made up of The Drapery Falls, Dirge For November, and A Funeral Portrait. These tracks show the listener just how dark this band can play. Once again the tracks are most powerful because of the guitar harmonies. The album then ends with the insturmental ballad Paterns in the Ivy and the ridiculously heavy outro of Blackwater Park, the title track. Opeth's Death Metal style is clearly evident here, but can it alienate the most Progressive fans of Opeth?

Great songwriting by Akerfelt who talents are evident vocally and on guitar, and the production of Steve Wilson made this album the pinnacle of Opeth's career. The previous effort Still Life was nearly as progressive, but the sound wasn't captured the same way this album was. Opeth's addition of Steve Wilson finally brought them the progressive tonality they have been searching for since their debut. This is a masterpiece of Progressive Death Metal.

Report this review (#62083)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth is an amazing band, and like some of the people here said, I was hesitant at first by the growling. Also, I am not a death metal fan. Metal yes but not death metal.

Opeth is different than both. It's its own type of music. Anyone with an open mind will find something likable in this music. The vocalist is surprisingly competant at singing clearly and the growling isn't relentlous and bothersome to the virgin ears of metal; you get to like it. I for one, love it!

Their album, Blackwater Park is now my favorite. Something about it grips me and I suggest you give it a try. Even if you don't think you'll like it...

You might be surprised.

Report this review (#65760)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Blackwater Park is an excellent example of an ambum that has the perfect combination between beauty and anger. The demonic vocals are present in almost every track, except Harvest, and the two minute instrumental Patterns in the Ivy. There is a balance on this album between death metal vocals, music, and lyrics, and soft, melodic music and poetic lyrics.

The album opens with The Leper Affinity, which starts off the album very well; beginning with death metal vocals, and heavy music, which continue halfway through the song, then are muted down a bit in favor of slow, melancholy vocals, followed by heavy guitars, and demonic vocals once again. At the end there is an amazing, and hauntingly beautiful piano piece by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree.

Bleak, the second track, and one of the heavier ones, begins with an almost entrancing riff. The words seem to fade into each other. This song features guest vocals by Steven Wilson, and are the perfect accompaniment to Akerfeldt's.

Harvest is a song rich in Mikael Akerfeldt's soft, haunting voice, and does not caontain the "growling" present in most of Opeth's music. It shows the more melodic side of Opeth without necessarily being slower. It contains Steven Wilson's guest vocals again.

The Drapery Falls, possible the most recognizable Opeth song, is the absolute standout track on the album. Beginning with the strumming of a guitar, and normal, somewhat whispery vocals, it produces a perfect combination of metal and beautiful music. Halfway through the song is the transition to death metal vocals, and darker lyrics, along with heavier music. Then acouple of of minutes from the end, Akerfeldt switches back to normal vocals, and is again joined by Steven Wilson for a very brief amount of time.

Dirge For November begins with only a few guitar notes and Akerfeldt's gentle voice, very quietly. Then it rips right into metal again after small riff.

The Funeral Portrait is the heaviest song on Blackwater Park. It features some Opeth's most screamy, death metal, demonic vocals ever, and the harshest on this album. And it also features some of the most poetic lyrics.

Patterns in the Ivy is a short instrumental guitar and piano piece, which is very beautifully melodic, and melancholy.

The closing song, and the title track, Blackwater Park is also very heavy at times, and also very beautiful at times. It isn't much different than the rest of the album, but it a good closing track, and the end is simply a small acoustic riff.

Overall, a very, very good Opeth album, possibly their best.

Report this review (#65859)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars It sounds like many Opeth fans consider this album as the best one from the band. Well I don't share this opinion... Of course it's still a good album, a good follow up to "Still Life" but I think "Still Life" is better because it doesn't have weak songs like this album.

The opening song "The Leper Affinity" is a brutal song with much more extreme parts than average Opeth song. Not my taste. "Bleak" starts heavy, but with a slight touch of folkish music (nice riff), and then continues with more classic metal with clean vocals (a duet Steven Wilson/Mikael Ĺkerfeldt - nice voice combo here). "Harvest" is a great ballad, and starts a good trio of high quality songs. "The Drapery Falls" is a majestic epic song, mostly clean with a few growls here and there. "Dirge For November" almost starts a cappella with a frail accompanying acoustic guitar, and then turns into a nice classic Opeth song. "The Funeral Portrait" is the most brutal song the band ever wrote since "My Arms, Your Hearse" - almost 8 minutes of pure unmelodic death metal. The relief comes just after with the beautiful instrumental "Patterns In The Ivy" (too bad it's too short... and my copy of the CD doesn't contain "Patterns In The Ivy 2"). The title track is classic Opeth again, an epic song with a good balance of heavy and mellow parts.

Rating: 74/100

Report this review (#65895)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars yes, absolute masterpiece with all that is missing from death metal ! sorrowful mellow lyrics disrupted by bowel-shaking growls and the absolutely brilliant guitar riffs left me totally addicted to this band . im a guitarist with over 5 yrs of experience playing , have listened to any and all generes of music , but this is it ! the best ! a must for those who feel that melody is a lost concept in death metal . beautiful time signatures , and absolutely unexpected riff changes are what excite me most about their songs . mikael akerfeldt is a genious ; i'd give anything to meet opeth or at least visit one of their concerts (i seriously doubt they'll ever show up in India)
Report this review (#69662)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I saw Opeth live a couple of weeks ago and it was basically the most amazing experience of my life. The only song they played off this album was The Drapery Falls, and it was one of the many highlights. After the show I got to meet the band and speek with singer/guitar player/ bandleader Mikael Akerfeldt. He is a truly amazing musician, an innovative songwriter, an incredible guitar player, one of the best all around vocalists to ever live, and a refreshingly down-to-earth guy. Though this album is not my favorite Opeth album it does contain my favorite Opeth song which is "Bleak". This album may not be the best Opeth album but it is still phenomenal. This album mark's the beginning of the band's relationship with Producer/porcupine tree frontman Steven Wilson. His flawless production on this and Deliverance and Damnation are incredibly gratifying to listen to and he has somehow managed to make one of music's best bands even better. Some people criticize this album for having a similar structure to Still Life while this may not be false it does not keep the album from achieving greatness.

Leper Affinity- 10/10- Incredible song from beginning to end with typical Opeth dynamic changes and an acoustic section with clean vocals. Great guitar riffs, drums, and vocals throughout. The piano chords at the end are quite chilling and set up the next track very well.

Bleak- 20/10 - My all time favorite Opeth song thus far. Starts with a dissonant acoustic guitar set againts a ringing distorted power chord, and some atmospheric E-bowed electric guitars. This gives way to an incredible soaring electric guitar melody, and then takes us to a "verse" which has kind of a creepy vibe and the same drumbeat as the DVD version of "Closure". This gives way to a groovier distorted riff. they continue in this vein until reaching what I refer to as the chorus, with an amazing chord progression coupled with Steven Wilson and Mikael Akefeldt trading vocals. I get goosebumps every time I here Steven Wilson sing "devious movements in your eyes..". Following the "chorus" we find ourselves sailing smoothly into the great acoustic section which features great acoustic guitar grooves, a great Akerfeldt solo, and more great singing, following this is the most typical Death metal sounding part of the song. then there is a heavy melodic section with soaring melodies that transition nicely back into the chorus which carries us to the incredibly intense outro, which makes me think of a guitar dying.

Harvest- 9/10 - a nice softer song. This track is quite enjoyable but I honestly prefer both bonus tracks over this one. Nothing spectacular here but some great melodies, and a great solo. the most "poppy" Opeth song, but I don't mean that in a bad way.

The Drapery Falls- 10/10- Another of my favorite songs. a strummed acoustic gives way to an awesome melody. This part also contains a shining moment for Martin Mendez on bass. He takes a rare step outside of the "pocket " and plays an awesome riff under the guitar melodies. The verses are quite spacey, and dare I say "pshycadelic". The chorus is extremely catchy, and is cut short the first time, and the second time we are thrust into a beautiful vocal melody followed by yet another brilliant guitar solo by Akefeldt (whose soloing is extremely overlooked in my opinion). Then we enter a few minutes of more death metal/ progressive parts which feature many time signature shifts including 5/8, 5/4, and 6/4. After the madness concludes we enter my favorite part of the song where a lone acoustic strums the mellow progression of Dm-C in 6/8. Akerfeldt sings a lovely melody with the Lyrics "spiraling to the ground below, Like Autumn leaves left in the wake to fade away" this mellow part is interrupted breifly by fast double bass stlye drumming and a metal riff, but just before this get's annoying we find ourselves thrust back into the mellow acoustic part, where Akerfeldt sings brilliantly once again, only this time he is harmonized beautiflly by the voice of Steven Wilson, theb a breif heavy part carries us to the incredible reprise of the Intro melody.

The Dirge for November- 8.5/10 - This song has an incredibly beautiful intro but otherwise tends to be slightly boring. A very good song but not as good as we are used to with such an incredible band.

The Funeral Portrait- 9/10 - This is a great song but it does not stand out among other Opeth tracks. Contains great guitar riffs, Great vocals, Incredible drumming and A pretty good arrangement.

Patterns in the Ivy- 10/10 - kind of an intermission and a beatiful acoustic guitar piece with some taseful piano added by Wilson, this song is great in it's simplicity. (well, simplicity for Opeth anyway)

Blackwater Park- 10/10 - This track contains some of Opeths most brutal guitar riffs. It starts with nice heavy proggresion and then a heavy acoustic riff foreshadows the heaviness that follows. A long repetive arpegiated clean electric is quite hypnotic before we are carried into some intense metal moments. The most intense moment I have ever heard in music comes in this song. towards the end when there is a thick acoustic progression being played and then the distorted guitars and cymbal crashes tear down all that once was and Akerfeldt unleashes the most blood curdling scream of all time. This particular part makes me want to blow up entire cities. I'm not kidding either, I cant listen to this while I'm driving because when I did I almost tried to kill some people for no reason, but anyways we then enter the climax of the album lyrically when Akerfeldt growls "sick liasons raised this monumental mark, The sun sets forever over blackwater park" then a fading arpegiated acoustic ends the album marking it as an outstanding album by a band who is so amazing that this album is actually almost disappointing in some areas compared to other works, but this album is still Incredible and there is no reason for not owning it.

Report this review (#70520)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A mix of Metal and Progressive music. Fantastic, once you digest their music. I personally not a fan of Metal, but this one for one reason o another I like it. There is definitive a progressive sense thru the whole album. This particular group is pushing the envelope into the genre. SW influence on this one is indeed evident. This one is for de adventurous prog listener only!! 4 stars
Report this review (#73053)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars For a band as consistent and dense as Opeth, it's amazing they come out with new albums all the time while other (lesser) bands take 3 or 4 years. Yet another reason why they are metal's cutting edge. "Blackwater Park" is their most critically acclaimed work. It has a lighter nature, more acoustic folk influence, and is less frantic than say, Black Rose Immortal. In short: Still Life jr. BWP's style is a more accessible version of Still Life.

The construction of a typical Opeth song is really based on guitar riffs. But rather than a lone powerhouse driving the song, guitarist/singer Mikael Akerfeldt weaves together many intricate passages with lightly distorted guitars. When all these pieces are put together it forms a singularity of massive scope. The guitars don't churn or burn, they don't spew or chug, they grind and slide, they swirl and dig. The overtones present in any massive moment are incredible and genuinely melodic.

This band really knows how to create harmonic tension. The very first licks in the opening track "The Leper Affinity" starts with a middle E5 and then the same chord with a flat 9. This is followed immediately by some descending stacked minor thirds, and then quick chugging on the low E. And as it goes along, more guitars are added to the mix. Often Akerfeldt puts near identical passages on top of each other. It isn't like double tracking because the differences are too great. The effect is something akin to being just out side the eye of a hurricane. There are so many little pieces flying by, that you can only catch some at a time. It takes some skill to hear everything all at once.

The transitions are incredible. This is an area that so many have trouble with. Going from one riff to another is something Opeth elevates to an art. It would be easy for me to fall into more music-geek traps and detail my favorite of said passages but it is entirely unnecessary. I will tell you that the coolest thing is hearing this band transform instantly from a seemingly dissonant, grinding chaos, to a full-on Odysseus. Dark clouds seam a distant memory in place where giant power-chords and soaring vocals have the power to lift you up so high. One particularly great example is on "The Drapery Falls" when everything seams so together you can't help but move. Your head will bob, your fist will be raised, and you won't know these things are going on. You have no control. But it is a very shaky place to be in, as "Leper" proves going into a double grind that increases in power up until the very end. The things you will least expect are when all the instruments drop out entirely and a tender acoustic guitar will play delicate passages like a light breeze across your face. By the time you acclimate to the situation it has changed. Opeth always keeps you guessing. At times a song doesn't even sound like itself. There even a few tunes into which musical brutality doesn't enter. "Harvest", "Patterns in the Ivy", "Dirge for November", all flow brilliantly with a tonal purity that you just can't be expecting. "Patterns in the Ivy" is especially surprising because it fades into the immense darkness of the album's title song. "Dirge's" delicate hollowbody electric figures sound so mellow and wide-ranging acoustic chords cast a spell. "Dirge" isn't entirely acoustic but the difference in sections is so pronounced that the two sections might as well be different songs. The electric section is equally lovely.

No one can get out of a review of this record without talking about the vocals. They are mostly very harsh and deep, an intense growl devoid of melody, fairly typical death metal styled vocals (another review I've seen mentioned that they were typical of black metal. This is not true; black metal vocals are very high and screechy). This will bother many and unfortunately deter some. They do not bother me. I enjoy them and the lyrics, which are cryptic and sometimes clunky (the band is Swedish, but they sing in English). To those of you who cannot take this kind of voice, I offer this: stick it out and give it a chance. Try listening to it before you make a purchase to see if you can really handle it. Also keep in mind that Mikael Akerfeldt does mostly all the vocals (except the few guest appearences of producer and Porcupine Tree mastermind Steven Wilson. BWP was the first contribution between him and Opeth), even the impossibly high and soaring clean stuff that could impress a hardened voice instructor (I've seen it happen). Let it sink into you and cringe and run away. After a while you may not even notice that Mikael is singing in that voice. If you keep an open mind you may find yourself really enjoying this. Most people won't be immediately thrown off, and some who aren't fans of death metal will actually enjoy it.

Another thing I absolutely love about this album is its sort of thematic. The intricate drawing on the cover suggests a bleak, grey autumn day. The picture of the band in the middle of the booklet shows them standing in a autumnal forest, looking thoughtfully. Every song is bleak, grey, autumnal as well - you will find no happiness listening to Opeth. The lyrics sometimes reflect this but mostly, and unfortunately, fall short.

There is really something special to be found here. This is a band being truly creative, taking risks with their music. It is too easy to stick to a tried-and-true formula. Opeth falter sometimes, but these occasions are over-shadowed by the immensity of their genius. This album is the right start and best way to get into the band IMO. If you look for a less accessible, but overall more progressive start, try Still Life or Ghost Reveries. There is not much difference between them in quality aspect anyways.

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 96 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#77003)
Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This became my third Opeth album in my collection and there were a few things i've noticed from my first two buys. I know that Still Life had a more mellow sound with some great heavy riffs and that Ghost Reveries had more proggressive riffs through each track as there were so many changes in each that you really had to pay attention before getting lost. But Blackwater Park well it was different for me but in a very good way as this is one of Opeth's finest works. Well first off the riffs in each song had more of a groove than a straight forward fast riff like most of these death metal bands do. i mean literally i found myself swaying a little bit in these groovey riffs like the ones from The Leaper Affinity and Bleak. Plus the solo was different i mean it might be an inspiration from Steven Wilson but the solos are more hard rockish than shredding which is really cool i really like the way that Opeth did that in this album. Plus the vocals well to me on this album is only downfall cause i feel like at times Mikeal shouldn't growl as much in certain sections especially the title track but the clean vocals really surprised me on how pure they were almost pop sounding unlike the other two albums. These changes really made me think of how unique Blackwater Park as each song really displays something new. The Leaper Affinity and Bleak both display great stuff from Opeth with unique Soloing, Groove inspired rhythms, great clean vocals (not to big on the growls of course), and well they just sound so tight. Harvest is yet another grand Opeth acoustic track featuring some really great clean vocals from Mikeal and i think Steven is singing on this one too. The Drapery Falls gotta be honst wasn't really into this until i paid ALOT of attention to it and i love this song now. To me it has more of a dark epic feel with the traditional sounding riff of Opeth with a very melodic solo. My favorite part is the cool changes from the acoustic sound into the raging riffs with the AWESOME DOUBLE BASS by Lopez (WHY DID YOU LEAVE WHY OH WHY) sorry anyway then it goes into Dirge for November which really isn't one of my favorites but it has a nice intro with awesome clean vocals. The Funeral Portrait ROCKS one of my favs. with some great groove riffs and what seems like duel soloing from the guitar players very awesome. Then another short nice little acoustic with Patterns of the Ivy. And then into the monster of the album BLACKWATER PARK!!! this song rocks as the riffs get very dark but still has an awesome groove and the solo OH MAN IT KICKS BUTT. the only thing that bugs me about this song is that there are no clean vocals but that doesn't take away how great this album is. So a definite buy for all Opeth fans as they show more diversity that they can be more than just a death metal band as they can be so much more. there are some parts i feel they could've done better so i will give it 5 stars but to me its more like a 4.5 for me. but still great album by the swedish metal monsters
Report this review (#80384)
Posted Monday, June 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Blackwater Park

This is Opeth's fifth studio album and was released in 2001, just two years after another great album, Still Life. The unique thing about this album is that Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson was involved in the production, in fact, he was the producer, together with Opeth, of course.

From my point of view, Opeth career is really marked by the album Still Life. It was when more and more people started to know Opeth, what I mean is, not just to know, but to really like their songs. While Still Life has dramatically increased their success, Blackwater Park really complemented their success. Just like other Opeth's album, the style used is the combination of death metal and progressive rock. Yes, death metal, with growling vocal. I have noticed (also on many of my friends), that people don't really appreciate death metal style, from "satanist" to "great desperation". That was exactly what happens to me. Before I got to know Opeth, I don't appreciate death metal at all, however, lately, I like how they fit the death metal style into progressive rock, which is really amazing, and I believe you will like it as well : )

Some real hardcore death metal song on this album are The Funeral Portrait and of course Blackwater Park. For those of you, who, maybe want to try some less-metal song, can listen to Harvest and Patterns In The Ivy. I want to highlight Opeth's music from guitar point of view. Opeth, as a progressive metal band, has slightly different way to make harmonies on guitar. As we all know, some progressive bands really showcase the fast solos, however Opeth showcases the great rhythm.

The Leper Affinity - Nice song to begin the album, because it shows what Opeth's songs are like, for people who listen Opeth for the first time. And just like other songs, there are two style used (in general), growling death metal and clean calm vocal style. From the start, the song has really dark elements but then it change to be calmer, a bit of break in the middle of the song. It is when the music suddenly changes to clean.

Bleak - Another song with a combination of two styles. The structure of the song is pretty much like The Lepper Affinity, which I consider is Opeth's regular song structure (metal, clean, metal). And again, the transition was marked with cool guitar solo along with very nice rhythm.

Harvest - A cooler song than the first two, Harvest was recorded using an acoustic guitar with Akerfeldt's nice clean vocal style. Just like other albums, Opeth always put some "cleaner" songs on the album.

The Drapery Falls - The famous The Drapery Fall, kicks off with a nice vocal and echo- ish guitar background. Suddenly the song changes to be rockish, just for a while, before it becomes more like the first verse. Then the growling vocal shows up, just after a great guitar solo which I think really match the song. What I don't like is the song ends in fade out way, I prefer the "definite" ending.

Dirge For November - Starts off with a very nice acoustic guitar + clean vocal verse. However I suggest you to turn your volume down a little bit when it nearly ends, just to prevent your brain to blows, because the next verse has a really hard metal style. And again, the solo is not that "technical", but it really fits the song with dynamic drum riffs.

The Funeral Portrait - Don't get the title wrong, The Funeral Portrait, should be a calm and sad song, not in this case. Since the beginning of the song, the vocal really has a dark heavy and death metal element. The next passage is my favorite from this song, a great guitar solo just after the vocal ends with a very metal-ish rhythm. After that, Akerfeldt showed his "anger" by producing an "arrrrgghh!!!" sound with death metal style. Now comes the great part, when a clean acoustic guitar lines come, just for a while though. The song is ended with a somewhat long guitar solo.

Patterns In The Sky - A short song, just slightly above one minute, and is the second "clean" song without any metal element, just like Harvest. In fact, its pretty much like a keyboard solo with a piano sound. The guitar rhythm is just very beautiful.

Blackwater Park - In my mind, I was thinking that this must be a very good song, considering the title is the same with the title of the album. And yes, I'm correct, a really good song with a combination of death metal and soft progressive rock. The intro of the song is a rocking guitar passage, followed by a calmer one. The first half of the song is a instrumental part actually, before Akerfeldt started to sing.

No doubt, five stars. Well, just for your information, I am a progressive metal fan, maybe that is why I value this album high. But then I think the song composition and the lyrics, also with the feeling behind the songs are something to deserve a high appreciation. If you like progressive metal but you don't like death metal, my suggestion is, "just try", just like I did.

Keep On Proggin' In The Free World!!

Report this review (#84131)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A masterpiece? By prog standards, yes. By Opeth standards, no. This is one of the most overrated Opeth releases, along with Ghost Reveries. Don't worry too much though, this album has many great moments, and some of the most moving stuff Opeth has ever wrote, however, there is also some not so great sections which I will discuss.

The Leper Affinity - The best track on the album. This is a song I would point to if I were to describe what Opeth is about. Brilliant riff structures and dynamics.

Bleak - An overrated song. Starts out very interesting, but has a horrible middle section. To me, Steven Wilson's vocals ruin the song. Opeth picks it up at the end and provides a great ending however, with one of their better riffs, a dissonant march that builds tension in the music.

Harvest - One of the simplest Opeth songs, Harvest is average. Most of the songs on Damnation are much more interesting. A nice relaxing song however for those not fans of the "death metal" aspects.

The Drapery Falls - Oh boy. Well, this song has many strong points, but it also has some very bad structure to it, in the way that it is almost like a palindrome. However, the song also contains Opeth's most interesting and intriguing riff in the middle, the so-called "Russian Riff" which basically is one of the coolest sounding things you are likely to hear. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the song is average by Opeth standards and very overrated.

Dirge for November - One of the most underrated Opeth songs. Brilliant acoustic taste, along with wonderful clean vocals opens the song. A heavy middle section that many will not like, but personally I enjoy it. A wonderful acoustic ending.

Funeral Portrait - The "poppiest" riff Opeth has ever wrote is the main theme in the song. This is very much a riff you might see in a typical mainstream band. An interesting song with some progressive moments, but not all there.

Patterns/Blackwater - I always listen to these songs together. Patterns is more or less "filler", however it's very enjoyable. Blackwater Park has no clean vocals, but has a myriad of riffs and soundscapes that are extremely fun and very powerful and moving. This song is much better live than it is on the album, but Opeth have always been a very competent live band.

Patterns 2 - I am adding this because it is something I think all prog fans would enjoy. Some Opeth fans wish it would have been on the original CD, and some thing it ranks among one of the top5 songs they ever wrote. It is indeed a very good song and probably one of Opeths finer "clean" songs, with brilliant guitar and vocal lines.

Overall this album is great, however I do not enjoy every part of this album, like I would on MAYH, Morningrise, or the masterpiece that is Still Life. Better than many of my other 4 stars, still excellent and strongly reccommended.

Report this review (#84867)
Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.7 Stars

When you reach a cliff, that means you will go down.

Opeth has peaked with Still Life: a flawless concept album that perfectly mixes all of their elements which make Opeth a great band. After it, they released this album: a safe album which contains a set of good songs with their usual heavy-soft transitions. The new element about this album are Steven Wilson's contributions: a bit of piano, some guitar, and backing vocals. Also, he improved the production of this album too since the sound quality is perfect. Overall, a great album, though the quality drops after Drapery Falls.

The Leper Affinity opens the album with a bang! Opeth's typical heavy long song with good riffing. Some guitars in the background and altered-vocals might be Steven Wilson's contributions. The mounful piano at the end is certainly his.

Bleak begins with some interesting fast-paced acoustic work and is overall a piece with a great amount of good riffs, acoustic and electric alike. Not a very complex song, but it really works.

Harvest sounds a bit like a Porcupine Tree - Opeth hybrid and is overall a good song. It's mostly acoustic strumming with good melodic singing. The choruses are pretty good and the 2nd one has 2 vocals and The final chorus has 3 vocals. The guitar solo in the middle is worthy of mention: melancholic and beautiful.

Drapery Falls might be their most famous song as well as one of the songs most loved by fans of the band. The reason is clear: it has amazing riffs and ideas. For example, the elegant heavy start has a great melody as well as a driving rhythm guitar and showcases the band's ability to compose great double guitar ideas. The acoustic strumming combined with the melodic atmospheric electric guitar and catchy vocals make a great section too (verses in minute 2-3) while the choruses rock without the usage of grunts. The middle section is more adventurous and a great semi-acoustic part at the end similar to the one in the beginning marks a great conclusion for a very good track.

Dirge For November is weak by Opeth's standards: it lacks melodies: it's just relatively straightforward metal. Fortunately, the ending has a brilliant acoustic theme, though it overstays its welcome a bit.

Funeral Portrait is a bit better than Dirge For November. This is another metal with the usual growls. I don't see a lot of adventure in this track, though I admit some of the riffs are pretty well executed and the drumming elevate this song from a mediocre Opeth tune. There is also a very good solo halfway through the track and the piece is coherent. The problem with the song is just that it just sounds like any other Opeth song: it is not very original.

Patterns in the Ivy: What a shame, they did something like Requiem: a pointless acoustic short song that doesn't develop. At least, this one has some effective piano though I heard pt2 in youtube and is miles better than this.

Blackwater Park is a heavy epic that doesn't contain a single clean vocal throughout its huge duration. IT manages to be an above average track due to it's good riffs, though it doesn't fully excite me. The acoustic part is again a bit repetitive (what is this Opeth? Orchid revisited??) though its guitar melody is beautifully complex.

My Highlights: Drapery Falls, Leper Affinity

Letdowns: Dirge For November, Patterns in the Ivy

My Grade : B-

Very good, but get Still Life, My arms your hearse or Ghost Reveries to check out this band, not this. IT sounds a bit mainstream and commercial for Opeth.

I recommend this album after you got most of the others.

Report this review (#85627)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth claim to very rarely rehearse material when writing a new album. Mikael Akerfeldt has made it clear in interviews that he and his bandmates are lazy by nature, and would much rather hang around the house playing computer games than practicing new material. This is a stunning bit of information when you take into consideration the absolute musical excellence that has graced their four studio albums. And this is also perplexing when considering that any given Opeth song is full of all sorts of twists and turns, complex arrangements and heavily involved craftsmanship. They reportedly rehearsed only three times for this album. What would happen if this band actually did decide to rehearse frequently? Would the outcome prove to be even more brilliant? I'm not even going to try to figure this out, especially in light of the fact that a great multitude of bands practice 5 times a week and will still never come even close to possessing the magnificence of Opeth.

The most vital portion of information to acknowledge when confronted with Blackwater Park, the fifth chapter in the legacy of Opeth, is the involvement of Steven Wilson, who some will recognize from the progressive rock act Porcupine Tree. Wilson is the man behind the gorgeous production job on this album, easily the best sound to ever grace an Opeth album. He also contributes vocals during certain moments of "Bleak" and "The Drapery Falls", trading lines with Akerfeldt in the former and working in tandem with him in the latter, as well as adding some piano and guitar work during other moments. It also seems that Steven Wilson has had an effect on the band's experimentation with strange vocal and guitar effects. But that's as far as his influence goes on Blackwater Park, as the material on display is very much Opeth. The only other way he may have influenced the band here is by his presence alone, putting pressure on the band to come up with something better than really good, especially since Mikael holds Wilson in such high regard.

It must be said, however, that on my first couple of listens I felt something that I had never felt before with their previous material. A slight disappointment. A feeling that Opeth may be settling into a comfortable niche. Besides the amazing production job and the odd experiments with effects, I did not hear anything new coming from this material. And with the band becoming increasingly more comfortable repeating sections and placing choruses in their songs, something started on the previous Still Life album, I was afraid that perhaps they were playing it a bit safe now that they have made a significant impact on the metal scene. It's just that Opeth have set such a high standard, not just for their (would be) peers, but for themselves as well. But with a few more concentrated listens, the utter genius of this music fully revealed itself to me, and I was left awestruck. Opeth have taken their sound and style to the highest imaginable plateau, and it doesn't seem that there will be any way they can take it beyond it's current status without experimenting further or traveling down an alien path. Everything one has come to expect from Opeth is here, just presented more exquisitely and refined to it's sharpest point.

Some of Opeth's most impressive moments can be found in "Bleak" (an amazing song, with the aforementioned Wilson vocal contribution and excellent dynamics), "Dirge For November" ( a singer/songwriter styled acoustic intro with Akerfeldt's cleanly sung lamenting, cascading into brooding, dark as death heaviness and contemplative clean guitar sections.) and the crushing title track, which acts as a showcase of some of the excellent riffwork, as well as the fastest tempo ever heard in an Opeth song (during the next to last lyrical phrase). "Harvest" is the token acoustic track, with Akerfeldt's smooth crooning guiding the way, and Wilson's piano work beautifully decorates the pleasant instrumental, "Patterns In The Ivy", and "The Leper Affinity", "The Drapery Falls" and "The Funeral Portrait" all showcase the band's undeniable greatness when it comes to skill, songwriting and emotionally moving musical themes.

My favorite Opeth album is still Morningrise, and I wouldn't say that Blackwater Park is "better" than Still Life, but there's no denying the essentialness of this album to anyone's collection, even if they've never heard of the band. This is beyond just metal music. This is musical art, plain and simple. And anyone who claims to have good taste in music simply must recognize Opeth's place as one of the greatest bands of all time, regardless of genre.

Report this review (#86104)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars BWP is the very first opeth album i listened to. In fact the first time i heard one of their songs was on this site. And of course it was The Drapery Falls. This album's imagery definately fits the title. The feel is a little different than past Opeth albums. A little heavier metal riffs and the Phrygian flat 5 which were used extensivly in still life. The tone of ALL the insturments is perfect and the vocals fit right in whether screaming or singing. Akerfeldt really extended his singing range by this point, and can hit a quite a few semi-tones higher than last album.

The Leper Affinity - Starts out with the ever so sinister reverse recorded dim chord on the piano and blast into double bass an harsh vocals and pretty much keeps the groove going.

Bleak - On of my favorites. Starts out with a classic Em then goes into the quick unison phrygian b5 run which pretty much defines the song. It is followed by the eirie slow melody until the bridge which changes keys quite well into an awesome proggression, great vocals and does a great job leading into..........

Harvest - A very "Damnation like" song. Best non damnation acoustic song of opeth. Very excelent phrasing in the solo.

The Drapery Falls - Starts out with the ever so ominous Cm9 and pretty much defined opeth at this time. The acoustic Harmonic minor verse is enough to make you a worshipper of the opethic relgion. And yes a lot of key changes later on.

Dierge for November - Starts with a kind of jazz lead tone leading into a classic opeth metal riff.

Funeral Portriat - Starts out with a really wierd chord, really different feel.

Patterns in the Ivy - Great instrmental piano/guitar intro into ....

Black Water Park - The odd proggression in the beggining of BWP is one of my favs. It leads into an awsome quick acuostic interlude and pretty sets the stage for the rest of the song. But i do have to admit the ending did leave me hanging... but overall 4/5.

Report this review (#99379)
Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know that it could be crazy to rate this album with five stars. Considering that i'm not great "metal fan", what would made me love so much this album? Strange! I love the lyrics, i love the lead voice, bass, drums and guitar work. They can be a kind of spacy rockers but in a different way. A heavy and darker way! I saw an explanation of the Opeth, talking about Drappery falls song composition: they were playing with clean sounds and then i realized how beatifull their music are. They do not play simple power chords, they do the complete chord with prefference for dissonant sounds and minor chords with an added 9th. They have also great pieces of intrumental work! Opeth are on of the best bands we have in active in this planet! (I'm not a fan of metal) But they are very, very good!

I own every album of Opeth, Damnation is very good but as no power when we are wainting. Blackwater Park as the melody and a devasting power! The best i've hearded! A trully timeless album!

Report this review (#100573)
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars For me, this album is really excellent, but not of the likeness of their greatest ones, that are in my oppinion: their greatest- the sophisticated Ghost Reveries, the somewhat lessgood and progressive but as genious in creativity and great in atmosphere- Deliverance, Still Life and the mostcreative, done with love-first two albums.

I simply cannot get greatly excited of Blackwater Park and pulled thoroughly into this atmosphere it holds. It's a shame I feel, but well... I feel that maybe it is a bit overproduced -and mastered. But the main cause I think for the loss of quality in my eyes would be the change of mood and feeling. It is, like others have said, different from their other work.

All songs on Blackwater Park deserve in my eyes a four-star rating, not more, except for the gloomy, heavy and exciteing ''Funeral Portrait'' and the genious ''Patterns In The Ivy'', that are five-star songs without a doubt. conclusion it's a 4,0-4,5 album in my honest oppinion. Something that definately belongs to the collection of albums of a true prog-lover, who enjoys something heavier.

Report this review (#105072)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
el böthy
4 stars This was my introduction to Opeth, a band I wanted to get into but with just listening to some songs never quite did... this album made all the difference, now Opeth is my favorite metal band.

This album is a natural step forward (at least I see it so) from the amazing Still life, and while retaining some similarities, it´s the small changes Opeth makes from album to album that makes every single one so good. The diferrence here is by far the production, Steven Wilson as producer has shown enormous talent from day one, but to make a metal album sound astonishing good is something really special. Even he said that working on Blackwater park might be one of his best jobs to date! This is evident, never have the guitars sounded so clean yet brutal at the same time, the drums are as clear as they come and the acoustic passages sound even more delicate and sophisticated than in Still life, which is not just something! Also, Akerfeld singing and growls sound better than ever. This is for me one of the ebst (if not the ebst) produced metal albums I have heard so far.

Well, enough of the production, let´s talk about some music. Blackwater park opens with one of Opeth most brutal songs ever, The Leper Affinity. In my eyes, their best ever, the guitar riffs, the vocals, the drumming, the acoustic piece and the piano at the end, courtesy of mr Wilson, makes this a stand out track among stand out´s songs. Bleak is another very interesting song with a lot of acoustic work, actually if Im not mistaken, the acoustic guitar is always present, but don´t be fooled, this song is heavy as they come. Mr Wilson also delivers some excellent vocal lines, which makes this a very special Opeth song, for the first time ever another person besids mr Akerfeld is singing lead vocals in Opeth. The result is incredible,a nother highlight of the album. The other really heavy track, and also a personal favorite of mine, is The Funeral Portrait with one of Opeth´s best riffs ever! I absolutly love how this song begins with the acoustic guitars and then goes into full metal with that astonishing riff, absolutly amazing. The longer songs might very well be the most important of the whole album, I mean of course The Drapery Falls and the closer, Blackwater Park. The Drapery Falls is the classic and most well known song of the album, and maybe even of the whole Opeth career. In both songs we have a bit of psychedelia and a lot of alteretion between clean and heavy moments, specially The Drappery Falls with it´s acoustic breaks and gentle vocals. This songs I have mentioned so far are the absolut best of the album, the others Dirge for November also presents interesting contrasts between clean and heavy moments, although the song might be a bit too long in some places, it´s still great. Patterns in the Ivy is a short acoustic instrumentla piece...beautiful. Yet there is one song that really is not up there with the rest. Harvest is for me, not a filler, but not a great song as the rest, which brings the whole thing down a notch...but not too much.

All in all this album is amazing, among the best Opeth has ever realesed, and together with Still life, my personal favorite. Not a masterpiece, but not too far behind.

Report this review (#108280)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars BWP is a very good Opeth album, together with STILL LIFE, DAMNATION and GHOST REVERIES their finest!

Not being a black nor death metal fan I got to know Opeth through the DAMNATION album, which is a very mellow and wonderful Opeth album that Porcupine Tree or Riverside fans could easily relate to. After DAMNATION I got curious after this band and BWP was my 2nd Opeth album.

As I normally don't like death nor black metal I was a bit hesitant to get this album. My fear of not liking the album because of the growls and grunts was not founded. I must admit I still don't really like the "demonic vocals", but on BWP everything just seems to be in harmony and Mikael changes his demonic vocals enough with his clean vocals to keep things interesting. Furthermore Opeth's music itself is never boring and very sophisticated with many tempo changes.

Bleak is probably one of the best tracks of BWP. It stars as quite a heavy song for the first 3 minutes or so. Then we get some great melodic guitar play combined with Steven Wilson and Mikael singing my favourite part of the song:

Devious movements in your eyes Moved me from relief Breath comes out white clouds with your lies And filters through me You're close to the final word You're staring right past me in dismay A liquid seeps from your chest And drains me away Mist ripples round your thin white neck And draws me a line Cold fingers mark this dying wreck This moment is mine

I really love that part man! At this time you can really notice Steven Wilson's interference. Not only the production of BWP by SW is great, he also plays some guitar and piano on it. Bleak is definitely one of the highlights of this album!

Harvest is a nice mellow track that might as well could have been on the DAMNATION album. The same goes for Patterns in the Ivy even though this is a very short instrumental track. If you would want to obtain this album I would advise you to get the double disc version of it as it contains the wonderful acoustic track Still Day Beneath the Sun and the wonderful Patterns in the Ivy II

There's quite a few songs on the album I didn't discuss, because the one I mentioned are my personal favourites. All tracks are quite enjoyable though. For sure a 4 star album!

Report this review (#111379)
Posted Friday, February 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not a big fan of death metal but when I was introduce to Opeth's Blackwater Park the album totally took me by surprise. At the beginning I started listening to Bleak but I quite didn't like it. The growls of Mikael were really scary and the fact is I never liked that style of singing but listening a bit further took me to his melodic voice style which is amazing. This album totally blows away with the combination of death metal and prog.

The album in general is pure prog death metal, except for Harvest which is completely acoustic. The album is heavy, it's dark, it's bad and it totally rocks. The song that caught most my attention was The Drapery Falls, which combines all elements of the album and it's definitely the masterpiece of the album. I would really give the album a 5 stars rating but the lack of quality really messes up the great experience.

Really recommended even if you don't like death metal!

Report this review (#111385)
Posted Friday, February 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you read almost any other review about this album, you will quickly see that it doesn't take a death metal fan to love one of Opeth's albums. The reason I personally love this album is the sound that Opeth has. It's so much different from all the other Progressive Metal bands out there. Opeth has mastered the technique of changing dynamics quickly but in a way that maintains the musicality of a piece.

In "The Drapery Falls" there's a lot of loud and soft and loud and soft which I really enjoy. "The Leper Affinity" has some of the coolest riffs and licks I've ever heard (especially through good headphones) and "Blackwater Park" is just one of the greatest songs I have ever heard. There is a huge amount of emotion expressed in the song, whether it be angst, melancholy, fear, depression.

As a side topic, many people say "Harvest", one of the softer pieces, sounds like something from Opeth's "Damnation" album, but I disagree. This song, although soft, is based around strumming, bass, and the singing. In "Damnation", there aren't any songs with strumming (well, no songs based around a strummed chord change). I find the strumming in this particular song to be very enjoyable. "Harvest" has to be one of my favorite songs.

So, if you are one of those people who wont listen to Opeth because of their Death Metal label, you might want to go searching again. If you need to, just avoid the grunts and pay attention to the intricate guitar riffs. Once you understand why others like this band so much, you just might, too. Although this album is the slightest bit less than Ghost Reveries, it is still deserving of the title "Masterpiece of Progressive Music".

Report this review (#115202)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album was my introduction into Progressive Metal. First I have to say that I usually cannot take up with (Death) Metal. I am not able to listen to bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE, SIX FEET UNDER etc. for a longer time span because they have to less melody for my taste and I still have huge problems to get into such Progressive Metal bands as for example SYMPHONY X (who do not tend to Death Metal at all). A friend of mine once introduced me to OPETH and as I heard it for the first time I had my problems but whilst giving the band a try with the help of BLACKWATER PARK I have to admit that I started liking OPETH's music more and more. In my opinion this band is very different to all the other Death Metal bands (allright they are no pure Death Metal band, however). It seems melodious and exciting to me, it is well composed and has negotiated the lyrical directness of death metal which usually deals with death, violence and splatter. Many albums of this great swedish Porgressive Metal band follow a concept, the lyrics describe self-invented, fantastic and sad stories and are emphasised by the change of stolid, heavy, distorted riffs and beautiful, melancholic acoustic parts.

I personally think that BLACKWATER PARK is a good album to start with OPETH. It is very diversified, adrift and to my mind not very difficult to get into. Together with the sophisticated guitar work the keyboard appears more often on this CD than on the group's previous releases. It seems to me that the keys gain more and more influence in the band, as is proven by OPETH's later works. However, this review is about BLACKWATER PARK and not about GHOST REVERIES or DELIVERANCE. So, what marks this CD?

As already said, it is very diversified and adrift, but I think this counts for most of OPETH's works. BLACKWATER PARK creates a sweeping, melancholic mood that is garnished by the excellent chant of MIKAEL ÄKERFELDT and the pleasing instrumental work of him and all the other band members. Allright, you got me, guys! It is a typical OPETH album. And that is good! A big compliment to the band by me for this excellent output. I strongly recommend you this album.

Report this review (#116247)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars First, I must say that I am a HUGE deatmetal fan, and so this album should play right to my two first loves. (extreme metal and prog) For some reson though, Opeth has never been as good as I expected, they are still good. But I wanted them to be great. I think my biggest problem with this album is that Opeth stays on one riff too long, death metal is usually made of many many riffs in short periods of time, and thats how I like it. that one complaint aside, I love the textures and beauty that hides so perfectly behind the dissonance. I also like the ideas shown, and the musicallity is great. I myself do vocals for a death metal band and I can tell you the tone that is achieved vocally on this album is amazing. Probably one of the best examples of extreme prog metal.

4 of 5, not a masterpiece of prog, but pretty freakin good. reccomended for: prog-metalheads, who like death-grunts. not recomended for: those who disslike gutteral vocals

Report this review (#117592)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Its not hard to find, these days, comments making out Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) to be a man possessed with some sort of Midas Touch, that everything that he works on turns to gold. Whether I agree with this or not is besides the point, what is beyond doubt for me is that he has given Opeths Blackwater Park a very liberal sprinkling of Gold Dust.

As the successor album to the very impressive Still Life, Blackwater Park had a lot to live up to, and not only does it not disappoint but it exceeds expectations and dishes out one of the best albums of the last 10 years. The formula is pretty much the same as before, bone-jarring riffs intertwined with hauntingly beautiful, melodic acoustic led pieces creating deceptively complex and dynamic music that can grab the listeners attention with ease. So how does an album that seems to employ the same basic formula as before attain such an impressive stature? The answer is simply the small things, the little changes that have been made/added to the way that Opeth create music and the guiding hand of Steven Wilson's production.

Opeth have always made melancholic and haunting music that befits their sonic style, but here it has been greatly enhanced by a few changes. The most noticeably outward change is that an E-bow (I suspect) is being employed to the guitar constantly throughout this album giving us long, dramatic notes that flow without surcease that supplies the perfect touch to create an absolute feel of haunting melancholy, while sonically offsetting the crushing riffs wonderfully. I would normally try and suggest were you would find this done best on the album but, with the exceptions of Patterns In The Ivy and Harvest, it is done brilliantly throughout the album. The atmosphere that pervades this album is greatly helped along by the touches of Steven Wilson, particularly the calmness of his piano playing, such as at the end of The Leper Affinity, and the way that his voice offsets well with that of Akerfeldt. As you may have guessed by now, I consider this all encompassing, bleak atmosphere (making the title of the second track very appropriate) to be the strength of Blackwater Park because it is created so exquisitely and without ever become overwhelming and depressing the listener.

Technically, Opeth are a relatively proficient band with their instruments, you will not likely find the technical fireworks of bands like Dream Theater, but nor will you find them to be a simple band. Their compositions reflect this by being very riff driven and with only a few changes, but when those changes come they really hit you. This doesn't apply just to the change between heavy and light, metal and acoustic, but between the different riffs employed in the songs. One thing that I always try to look for in music is the little touches, the clever little bits that stand out for as little as a second but are remembered from then on. This has them, the most memorable of them for me is the slap bass line at about two thirds of the way through the title track, Blackwater Park, which never fails to capture my attention.

Throughout Blackwater Park there are some absolute gems. Bleak, The Leper Affinity and Blackwater Park are three of my favourites and I firmly believe that The Drapery Falls is one of the best songs to have been recorded in the last 10 years. The tranquil beauty of Harvest and Patterns In The Ivy are nice soothing songs and, though Dirge For November and The Funeral Portrait are not quite as strong, weak is the last word that I would ever use to describe them. A year ago I spent a long time trying to make my mind up on whether I should take the plunge with Opeth, being rather hesitant of the death metal vocals (a style that I still do not totally like) but I'm definitely glad that I did decide to buy Still Life, and then Blackwater Park, as I have found some of the best music being made currently and now more than tolerate the death metal vocals, but actively appreciate them when performed with the gusto and taste of Akerfeldt, who is now less raspy and even lower pitched than on the bands first couple of albums, Orchid and Morningrise. This is a must buy album and I urge everyone to at least give it one listen, I doubt you will be disappointed.

Report this review (#117603)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth was one of the bands that made me interested in the more extreme part of metal. Mikael Ĺkerfeldt has some fantastic vocal skills where he can go from deep growling to sweet clean singing, something Opeth use much.

Opeth love to create long songs that changes from hard to soft in seconds and on Blackwater park this is also the forumula. Add some delightful guitar solos and some kick ass riffs and you have this album. They have high skills playing their instruments, but what really strikes out is their musical abilty to create music that sounds original and honest, and not just a way of showing their skills.

The album is produced by Steve Wilson of Porcupine tree and you can hear is way of arranging music on this album, especially the vocal harmonies.

If you ever want to check out some metal but so far you havent found a band you like, check out Opeth. There is a big chance that you might love it and it will change the way you look at metal forever.

4/5 -

Report this review (#117636)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Much like Ghost Reviveries I stand on Opeth with some resentment and hesistation to rate them because it's really awkward to describe and rate fairly such a talented band that's adopted the unique dark style of death metal. But unlike Ghost Reviveries, Blackwater Park is an easy placement for my rating. I suggest this CD more so to anyone thna I would Ghost Reviveries (I've been spelling those absolutely horribly). The Drapery Falls is by far one of thier most genious songs ever made, which is a lot coming from me sense it screams and growls about six minutes into the gloriously dark song! Plus this album has Harvest and Blackwater Park, also really good songs to listen too! Harvest being a slow lovable song that doesn't growl, yay for no growling! And ifyou want some awsome guitar work, Patterns in the Ivy is something very intersting too! Now we all know Mr. Mikael's vocal variation and that's a reason I haven't been totally obsessed wtih it, because not only does my kin not approve of this style of music, but because I can't find delight in the style of vocalization! But in anyway, unlike Ghost Reveries I have absolutely no hesitation in giving this album a 4/5 star rating. Good job Opeth, it's a great listen to the death metal lovers, and even some metal lovers. And non-metal lovers, and even prejudice-death-metal lovers, might find something good out of this brilliant muscianship work! yay for good muscisianship work! that's what makes prog, prog! yay agian for making prog prog. 4/5 for Opeth's Blackwater park with no hesitation.
Report this review (#118240)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An album that you should not miss .

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. 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.

Track by track review

The album opener "The Leper Affinity" starts off with ambient keyboard sound that increases in volume followed suddenly with heavy riffs in relatively fast tempo music, growling vocal and double bass pedal sounds typical in metal scene. The music is so loud and fast but for some reason I like the melody as well as the rocking guitar work and dynamic drumming style. Interesting to note here that during the lyrical part, the drummer (Martin Lopez) does not use double pedal bass drum sounds. It's basically a hard driving style with heavy guitar work. The music turns into quieter passage to feature vocal in slower tempo with excellent acoustic guitar work.. It reminds me to Porcupine Tree's sound. What surprises me is that this track ends up unexpectedly with an excellent piano which influenced by classical music. Overall, this is an excellent track with some variations in melody and complexity.

The second track "Bleak" is still a hard driving track in a little bit slower tempo than the opener but it still produces another nice melody. The intro part contains a nice combination of acoustic guitar and drum work followed with stunning electric guitar fills. When the growling voice enters the music, guitar provides simple sounds at the background and gives a gothic style. The combination of growling voice and the music is excellent especially it is accentuated by a dynamic drum work. In transitions to quieter passages the acoustic guitar fills the gap nicely. When the music accompany non-growling lyrical part, it reminds me to Porcupine Tree music. In the middle of the track the music turns into a blues-based style featuring voice line. The music turns louder suddenly with faster tempo. Overall, it's an excellent track with relatively complex structure and frequent tempo changes. It forms a solid and cohesive music.

"Harvest" brings the music to a more relaxing mood with beautiful acoustic guitar rhythm that features vocal in an ambient medium tempo style. Structurally, it's a relatively simple track with excellent clean guitar solo in the middle of the track. It's a reminiscent of Porcupine Tree's Light Bulb Sun or Stupid Dream nuance. The fourth track "The Drapery Falls" opens with a nice acoustic guitar rhythm followed with full music in medium tempo style built around long sustain and distorted guitar work. The music turns into a quieter passage with main feature of acoustic guitar rhythm followed with distant vocal singing style. What a great sound produced in this part! The music flows smoothly with a nice tagline melody. The vocal part changes to a growing style in a faster tempo music with louder volume. Overall, it's a song with relatively long duration that basically comprises two styles: the light one at the beginning and the heavy one at the other part.

"Dirge For November" starts off with a mellow singing style with acoustic guitar work, followed with a stunning guitar solo in a bluesy style accompanied with excellent acoustic guitar fills. Unexpectedly, the music turns louder with a distorted guitar work in gothic nuance. The electric guitar solo takes the melody of this opening part and bring the music with growling singing style. A very nice segment. The music turns suddenly into a break followed with a combination of guitar fills and soft keyboard at background. This quiet passage brings the song to the end.

The sixth track "The Funeral Portrait" starts beautifully with an acoustic guitar work that brings the music into a hard driving style in fast tempo with growling voice style. The music reminds me to power metal band's rhythm section where the energy moves upward in line with the lead singer's voice. Even though this track can be considered straight forward structure, there are some excellent transitions with great acoustic guitar work that fills the gap between musical passages.

"Patterns In The Ivy" is a short track that explores excellent acoustic guitar and nice piano work. It provides a nice break after hard driving tracks performed previously. It continues with a hard driving style album title track Blackwater Park. It has heavy and distorted guitar sounds at the beginning part. As the music moves, there are some transitions into quieter passages exploring clean guitar fills accompanied with acoustic guitar . This track has a wide variations in terms of styles as well as density. The structure is relatively complex because it changes as the music flows with various singing styles.


In summary, this is an excellent album with tight composition, exploring various sounds that can be produced from musical instruments, frequent tempo changes which sometime occur abruptly. The style can be categorized under progressive metal. However, this is not the kind that might appeal directly to those who like Dream Theater, Threshold, Symphony X, Kamelot or Rhapsody. For those who hate growling vocal, I suggest that you change your perception from vocal's role to deliver message with lyrical part with vocal as musical instruments. This might help. I would say, this album might favor death metal fans immediately.

Report this review (#121004)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, this is probably my favourite record from my favourite band. I will try to be as objective and unbiased as possible, but how can one be perfectly objective in a world of subjectivity? Nevertheless, I will assume the role of the casual listener to be as fair as possible. Here are the reviews of the individual songs:

1. Leper Affinity: The fade in on the dissonant chord to the explosive intro may sound a bit too much to the Opeth-untrained ears at first, but I assure you it will grow on you. Ripping growls, fluid heavy riffs that are also heavily layered. The blend is perfect. Huge dissonance at about 2:00 which makes it sound even better. The breaks are perfect in execution, the solos well played and emotional. Again, I must iterate how well the breaks are played. Take the break at about the 4 minute mark, flowing perfectly into the slow moody part after. A great buildup of leads there. The fifth minute sees a quiter acoustic part with all the interesting melodies that we have started to associate with Opeth. Repetition of the intro later on, blending in perfectly with the riffs before and after. A very good laidback last heavy riff, which then goes into a chillout piano bit that never grows old. Evil yet calm. The piano outro is just perfect, fitting in with the second song very well. [8]

2. Bleak: A very memorable intro, pounding kick and snare, dark acoustic. We see the perfect switches from clean to heavy and back yet again. The riff at around 3:15 is nothing short of amazing. Laidback but not overdone, as some riffs of similar bands tend to be. Great clean vocals and layering. Amazingly well done acoustic parts. Some parts are very jazzy sounding, like the bit which starts at around the five minute mark. These are the trademark of this style. The lead is warm and soft, just perfect. Bands of this style tend to have a cold gritty sound, washed in reverb for the ambience. Opeth obtain their ambience from the melodic harmonies rather than the laidback mixing. The song ends with a great old record kind of effect. Great song [8+]

3. Harvest: A mostly acoustic song. Perfect position as third of the tracks. Amazing vocal harmonies. Great washy effects. Spaced out and almost psychadelic during some parts, but never overdone. Very subtle. Soft yet very present solo. Repetitive but never boring, a perfect break from the heaviness. [8]

4. The Drapery Falls: This remains one of my favourite songs. The introduction never ceases to give me the goosebumps. The chords are disturbing yet very melodic. The sliding lead was done with an e-bow, giving it the sweeping feel. The vocals are sad and harmonized perfectly with the music. "Pull me down and guide me into..." remains as my favourite line. That part has the most amazing change I have ever listened to. Interesting proggish riff at around 5:50, one which seems to give them some trouble when playing live too! Excellent songwriting, never too sudden, but never predictable. The epic rhythm at the eight minute mark leads into the intro, and gives you the goosebumps yet again. The song fades out on the intro riff, the drums changing to a constant double kick, adding to the ambience. I'm going to hate myself for this, but I'm going to rate this song a 10. Keep in mind I don't do that lightly. [10]

5. Dirge for November: Another one of my favourites. Starts slowly with acoustic and vocals. Very warm. I think I hear Mike losing a note somewhere in the intro, but nothing too bad. This leads into a faster paced acoustic and warm lead part, the type that always reminds you of who you are listening to. The heavy riff that starts after that is nothing special technically speaking, but is very emotional. The change into the second riff always amazes me. The choice of chords is just perfect. This song is one of the most ambient that Opeth has. The clean guitar outro is another of the mellow kind, and never boring though quite lengthy. [9]

6. The Funeral Portrait: A very dissonant clean intro that leads into a very heavy riff. Mike seems to lose one the screams a little bit there. Very proggish sounding guitars. These always keep you interested, though the songwriting here is not as exceptional as on some of the other songs here. A very welcome lead at 4:30, breaking the mood somewhat. Again, not exceptional. There is also a certain lack of dynamics that is present in the other songs. [7+]

7. Patterns in the Ivy: A very beautiful mellow guitar break. Exceptional acoustic songwriting. A piano blends in perfectly with the guitar. The chords are disturbing yet relaxed. Very jazzy sounding accidentals. [9]

8. Blackwater Park: The masterpiece of the album. The intro is again headcrunching. Perfect flow of riffs and lead. 1:47, a fantastic short acoustic break that leads into one of the heaviest riffs by Opeth, helped along by a guttural growl. Very prog metal sounding riffs, yet very dark. This goes into a clean break, where you can start to feel the tension grow, but wait... you're wrong, it does not go into another heavy part, but stays clean with a buildup of vocal ambience and lead. This unpredictability keeps the music amazing for years of listening. Then comes the heavy stuff. A reversed whooshing effect leads into this perfectly. Great crunchy riffs around here. Good fast lead too, along with the slower bluesier stuff that Mike pulls of perfectly. The eighth minute riff is the kind that headbangers find paradise in, constant yet heavy and rhythmic. I'd hate to keep saying 'great', so i'll use 'big'. Big outro. And I mean, big! Heavy riffs that fade into the moodiest acoustic outro, the kind that leave you speechless and wanting for more. [9+]

Ahh well, I wan't too objective I must say. But I tried to be as fair as possible when rating the songs. Though the average rating computed to 8.6, I'll rate the album 9 since the great songs really make this a masterpiece and there were no letdowns overall. OVERALL, 9

Report this review (#122343)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is probably the one that best represents Opeth. It's in Blackwater Park that Opeth reached their peak of maturity and experience.

Globally, the album's mood and structure are excellent. It starts off real heavy, as usual, with the great Lepper's Affinity which sets the album's guidelines. The opener is followed by a series of alternances between heavy and "softer" songs, and before you know it, you've listenned to the whole album without knowing what hit you. The album brings out the best of Akerfeldt and drummer Lopez. Superb riffs and huge rythmics, master progressions and inspiring melodies. Thus, this album stands extremeley well the test of time, never getting boring nor deja-vu.

The Drapery Falls is one of Opeth's best songs as it's very progressive, melodically, rythmically, vocally. It's a small image of the whole album really blending clean and distortion guitars, growling and clear voice singing, latin beats and heavy classic rythms.


Report this review (#125725)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Following the excellent Still LIfe, opeth found themselves on the brink of a breakthrough. This came with Blackwater Park, thanks largely to the inlvolvement of Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson. Akerfeldt, a huge fan of PT, managed to strike up a friendship with Wilson, who agreed to produce Opeth's next album. This was the start of a great realationship that both bands would benefit greatly from. Opeth already mixed atmosphere and progressive rock in with death metal, but the PT influence resulted in more atmosphere than ever before. The result was an album that pushed Opeth to the forefront of botht eh modern metal and modern prog scenes, wehre they've been ever since.

The album opens with the epic metal of The Leper Affinity. As many have said, this is the song to let newbies listen to, since it pretty much sums up the Opeth sound, going through incredible changes based on great structures complete with alternating clean vocals and the deepest, yet most intelligible, growls you'll ever hear. The high standard set by the opener is bettered with Bleak, which features vocals from Wilson. The lyrics are, well, you can guess ;) Harvest contunues the greatness, and it sounds like a song on Damnation, as it is sung with Mikael's haunting clean vocals. The real highlight of the album is The Drapery Falls, one of the best Opeth tunes out there complete with vocals from Wilson and stunning composition featuring beyond heavy riffs that lead into acoustic bliss.

Sadly, the second half does not live up to the first. Dirge For November and Patterns in the Ivy are letdowns, even though Patterns is really just an intro to the title track. Dirge has flashes of inspiration in it's opening and closing, but the middle section just doesn't excite me the way nearly all of Opeth's music does. The Funeral Portrait is fairly good, with great vocals, but it doesn't live up to teh standards set by teh first half. Everything gets redeemed however, with the title track. It has everythung: crushing riffs, haunting vocals, bleak lyrics, and endless yet always smooth changes. On the special editon, you get Patterns in the Ivy 2, which is infintiely better than the first and it's a shame it was left off the album.

Opeth got the hit the deserved with this record. The strange thing about Opeth is how they makes the lyrics work. The lyrics, when read off a sheet, sound like decent poetry coming from a depressed teen. However, Mikael's delivery and the music itself smehow makes the lyrics seem a lot better. I've never encountered another band that can do that. At best their music can cover up lyrical weaknesses (early KC, Yes, any early prog band really), but Opeth manage to enhance their words with the music. Still Life is still the best Opeth album, but this is the best place to start for newbies and it is a killer prog metal album.

Grade: B+

Report this review (#130932)
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. "Sick liaisons raised this monumental mark. The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park." This is the last line that is sung on this album. An album that is about a place called Blackwater Park where a leprosy outbreak occurs. We are told the story (in the first person) of what follows. The album cover and the lyrics certainly portray a hopeless situation.

"The Leper Affinity" quickly turns crushingly heavy with the vocals to match. It can't get much heavier and louder than this can it ? Clean vocals arrive before 5 minutes as the sound builds back up including some amazing guitar. The sound is incredible 8 1/2 minutes in until all we hear are piano melodies to end it. "Bleak" opens with vocals that are anything but clean ! This has a slower pace then the opening track but is still very powerful. Clean vocals 3 1/2 minutes in and they sound great on this song. I can't say enough about the instrumental work throughout this tune. The sound has calmed down before 6 minutes.This is freaking amazing ! "Harvest" is a catchy song with strummed guitar and clean vocals. I love this tune. Check out the lyrics as well. "The Drapery Falls" is my favourite song on the album. The lyrics are again so sad and hopeless. I'm reminded of the album "Damnation" 2 1/2 minutes in. The absolute highlight for me though is the vocal melody 4 minutes in. I just raise my arms and bask in the melody. We get some TOOL like drumming 6 minutes in as this song contrasts the heavy and light passages beautifully.

"Dirge For November" opens with reserved vocals and acoustic guitar for over a minute and a half. The drums come pounding in as the guitars grind out a melody. Ungodly vocals arrive before 6 minutes before the song ends in a pastoral way. "The Funeral Portrait" has some more incredible instrumental work. Outstanding ! A great heavy sound with growly vocals for seven minutes. After 4 minutes the vocals get even more violent. Clean vocals 7 minutes in with some blistering guitar. "Patterns In The Ivy" is a short, beautiful instrumental of acoustic guitar and piano. This sets us up for the title track "Blackwater Park". It opens with a powerful soundscape and vocals to match. 3 minutes in it turns eerie and atmospheric for a couple of minutes. Nice. Then we get absolutely crushed ! Check out the guitar solos and the bass and drum work ! Piano and acoustic guitar to end this ride of death.

You know it wouldn't surprise me if Steven Wilson wasn't as proud of this album as he is with any of his own. I really listened to this record a lot trying to see if I liked it better than "Still Life" or not. Well I do like this one better, but now I should go back and listen to "Still Life" over and over again to be fair.

Report this review (#131009)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I read the various reviews posted in Progressive Archives regarding Opeth's Blackwater Park that referred to this as a Prog masterpiece so I had to give them a try. I do not like death metal and I admit that I was sceptical because the samples that I heard did not appeal to me. There are other reviews from reviewers who say they don't like death metal, but really liked this album and this band so I thought that if I heard the album as a whole or if I gave it a few listens it would grow on me. It didn't. Based on the music I would rate them as a 4 star, excellent addition to any prog music collection, but the death growls or "cookie monster" vocals just do not appeal to me and ruin the songs for me, thus the 2 star rating of for collectors/fans only.

For me, the best songs on this album were Patterns in the Ivy, an instrumental, and Harvest, a song where he sings with a normal voice. I think that both songs would appeal to Porcupine Tree fans since their is definitely a touch of Steve Wilson heard here.

This is probably sacrilege but I know that there are some good bands that have recorded some good music in their native tongues and then in future years re-released their music with English vocals. If Opeth were to do that with this album except to change the death metal vocals to a normal singing voice vocals then I might be first in line for that re-release. Until that day happens, I would recommend that if you don't like death metal vocals then there is a good chance that you won't like this album either.

P.S. I have also listened to Damnation and like what I have heard there so far. I will give it a couple more listens before I post a review but so far so good (no death metal vocals). I haven't read the reviews of Damnation yet, but I suppose that the big fans of Opeth probably don't like Damnation as much as their other albums for the same reasons that I like it.

Report this review (#131519)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is not Opeth's best album, Still Life was better.

The Leper Affinity is a good track, but no where reaches what they have done in the past. 3/5 Stars

Bleak is a really good song, but doesn't really develop into anything phenomenal. 4/5 Stars

Harvest sounds a bit like Porcupine Tree, but it still is Opeth, and they did a good job with this song. Clean vocals, clean guitars, and a great melody. 4/5 Stars

The Drapery Falls is good, but it's not their best. 3/5 Stars.

Drige for November is basically straight forward Death Metal, Opeth could've done something better. 3/5 Stars

The Funeral Portrait turns into melodic Death Metal, but not Progressive Death Metal, a bit better than Drige for November, but still 3/5 stars.

Patterns in the Ivy...Why? It didn't develop into anything, it's kind of like Reqium, but except this time they have a piano. 3/5 Stars only because it's not horrible.

Blackwater Park is my favorite song off of this album, it's very melodic and heavy, perhaps the best out of the whole album. 4/5 Stars. The whole song has only Death Metal Growls...

Again, check out Still Life. Nothing really astounding here, it was a bit of a safe album for them to make and it did carry through as their most popular album.

40 total points

27/40=67%=3 Stars.

Report this review (#132294)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I purchased Blackwater Park after hearing lots and lots of astonishingly good things about the band, and about this album in particular. Now writing this review, I'm having a hard time deciding on a rating. The musicians are all very skilled on their instruments and the clean vocals are very good, much better than the average prog metal band. I don't mind the death metal growls either, as I have listened to a lot of straight death/black metal and am used to it.

While the album is technically very competent, it fails to move me for some reason, and the emotion I feel most strongly when I listen to it is boredom. I think that on the whole, the songs are far longer than their content merits. So, while the band has many good ideas, they are played too many times and become repetitious. One of the first rules of showmanship is "leave them wanting more." Opeth might have accomplished this is they had chopped off five minutes from each of their songs.

Another problem I have with the record is a problem many technically excellent prog metal bands face. The riffs seem too metronomically perfect, too well rehearsed, too cold and lacking in human inspiration and spontaneity. I don't know about you, but when I listen to heavy metal, I like it to get me fired up, to get my adrenaline pumping and my heart pounding. This type of music does not accomplish that.

I think the band's strongest point is actually their acoustic work. The way they layer acoustic guitars on top of each other creates some beautiful textures, and it is here that the album really succeeds. Bleak is an excellent track, as is The Drapery Falls and the Funeral Portrait, but again, they go on long past the point where I lose interest.

I think three stars is a fair rating, for a technically brilliant album that is too long and lacks some of the human warmth that I prefer in my music.

Report this review (#132478)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Death Metal: monstrous vocals, crushing riffs, undeniable power, crossed with a cold-hearted life style and demonic lyrical content. (Perhaps that's a biased, slightly dogged, mildly overstating description, but nonetheless, is not altogether false.) Opeth have been tagged with many tags, terms, titles and genres, the most prominent and, supposedly, the best suiting one is "Technical Death Metal". So, picture the description above, except with an added ingredient: complexity for complexity's sake, which, in most cases, destroys the opportunities for beauty to surface, for melodies to be pronounced, and for atmospheres to be developed. Sounds reasonable. What?!?!? In no way has Opeth earned the label "Death Metal", and neither do they deserve the added insult "Technical". What Opeth have managed to do is create a gorgeous and evolving soundscape, in no way constricted by senseless complexity, with riffs and melodies being the focus - not the flamboyant musicianship.

The fact that the music follows in the musical style of Metal, or, to be described further, Death Metal, is of no consequence. I, being in no way a Metal fan - let alone a Death Metal fan, can honestly say that this album, and Opeth's music in general, is not exclusively for the Metal, or Death Metal disciples. The style the music is played - the arrangements, are Death Metal. The deep and thrashing vocals, the brutal guitar playing, the heavy drumming, the perfectly polished bass - it's all Death Metal. But what they happen to be playing, the compositions, are free of the constraints of genre or category. The music itself is genuine and, if you are capable of looking passed the intense and deafening delivery, or if you enjoy this sort of music, then you will easily be able to see. (Or rather, you'll be able to hear.)

After the hauntingly fragile opening of a slowly swelling keyboard/piano sound, the band explodes onto stage, and the dark and evil growling commences. Now, it took me some time to grow accustomed to the growling, but I did. For those of you who do not like growling, I assure you that once you look past it, or once you begin to enjoy it, you will find some great music. For those of you who already enjoy this style of singing, then you will see the greatness of the compositions instantly (unless you are a cloth-eared nincompoop). Opeth find a nice way to add dynamics and variation to their music by throwing in melancholic piano and delicate acoustic guitar sections, riddled with non-growling vocals (some of which come from the great pipes of now-legendary Porcupine Tree man, Steven Wilson [who also produced the album masterfully]).

Completed by a hauntingly stark cover from, what I find to be, a weak band when it comes to album aesthetics, and the perfect production/sound quality, Blackwater Park is undoubtedly one of Opeth's most polished and sharp albums. Intricate, yet not to the point that the music is drowned in its own density; heavy and ferocious, but not to the point that only Death Metal fans will enjoy it; dark and menacing, but simultaneously sorrowful and beautiful: it will not fail to please the listener.

Report this review (#133540)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I laughed to myself when a friend suggested Opeth to me. I hate death metal and growling vocals, and I knew that Opeth fell very much into this catergory. I'd decided from previous encounters that all death metal was rubbish and untuneful, so I replied, " thanks." Next day and my, lets say persistent friend, lent me one of his Opeth albums. I took it, and later that evening - more because of boredom than curiosity - I listened to it... Blown away would be an extreme understatement. My mind and ears were blown apart. Sheer brilliance. Never, since Images & Words, had I heard something as complete as this. It was Ghost Reveries.

After being blown away by Opeths guitar heavy riffs and soft acoustic passages I decided to buy myself one of their albums. I'd heard that Blackwater Park was one of their best so I bought it. Once again I was amazed.

This album beats Reveries hands down. Heavier riffs, more catchy melodies, better production (courtesy of one Steven Wilson) and most of all, more progression.

The album kicks of with The Leper Affinity, in all of it's gothic glory. Super complex guitar riffs make this a true standout for me and it sets the dark mood for the rest of the album. This mood is continued in the next track bleak.

Harvest showcases a more poppy side of the band, nevertheless this a beatiful song.

Next is The Drapery Falls. This song truly shows Opeths skills in blending folk-oriented acoustic flourishes with driving metal riffs. Superb.

The next track is another good track with some beatifully moody chord progressions.

Next is The Funeral Portrait which kicks off with a mind-bending guitar riff whick evolves into nothing short of a superb rocker.

Patterns in the Ivy took me by suprise. A melodic all-acoustic piece lasting just under 2mins. It's a far cry from the other songs on the album yet it fits perfectly.

Now the title-track is nothing short of an epic. Driving riffs, a memorable acoustic part and a great end to an awesome album

Report this review (#136971)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars In a word-- phenomenal. "Blackwater Park" shatters expectations and raises the bar for the genre very, very high with its complex/dynamic songwriting and incredible instrumental passages. Opeth's performance here will please metal fans by default, and very likely lure fans from outside the circle as well.

From the explosive beginning through to its eerie conclusion, this album exhibits a new level of class and perfection for the band; they have a precise, focused sound which outshines previous albums and weaves some genuinely memorable moments. The juxtaposition of heavy/soft is more prevalent here than ever before, with the dexterous interchange of heavy melodies and acoustic atmosphere balancing perfectly. As one of the major appeals of the band (for me anyway), I couldn't enjoy these dynamics more. Steven Wilson's contributions add a nice touch as well.

An essential work and amazing example of musicianship.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#142544)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Out of the two Opeth albums I own (this one and Still Life) I think this is the more focused and refined, at the expense of some of the raw creativity on the other CD. I think generally this one has a higher ratio of growls to clean singing, although Mikael's growling doesn't sound as awesomely effective as on SL. The guitar sound is more refined, both electric and acoustic. The musicians are all good, but nothing absolutely amazing, except in the acoustic parts, which are really good, but not as abundant as the previous record.

'The Leper Affinity' is mostly a straightforward metal song, with a softer bit at the end followed by a piano solo. Opeth fail to amaze here. However 'Bleak' sets the standard for the rest of this album. It has a very Eastern sound, and the growling in the first verse is very effective. 'Harvest' is an all acoustic/clean vocals song that sounds very medieval and includes some very nice melodies. 'The Drapery Falls' is my favourite Opeth song. It starts off acoustic then some riffs come in, and then back to some acoustic verses, before a song full of riffing and growling is unleashed, before turning acoustic again for a few verses. This is Opeth doing what they do best creating a song that really has the power to take you somewhere. 'Dirge for November' is interesting, while 'Funeral Portrait' is generic Opeth. Both good tracks, but not as good as the last three... and the next one. 'Patterns in the Ivy' is an unusual little acoustic instrumental, twisting and turning in all directions and never going where expected. This album seems to begin and end on a low note as 'Blackwater Park' fails to capture my interest, and there are not enough ideas in this one to fill out a twelve minute song.

Despite the uninteresting first and last tracks, all the rest of the material is top quality Opeth and makes for a worthy listen to anyone interested in great prog metal.

Report this review (#146765)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
5 stars Opeth is a name I have been hearing for quite a while now. However, I tended to ignore them for the longest time assuming they'd be just another death metal band with annoying growl vocals. I will tell you right now that I am not a death metal fan and very rarely enjoy any "cookie-monster" vocals. So yeah, I held off listening to this band for a good year or two before I discovered something that made this band worth checking out. I heard somewhere that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree had produced a few of Opeth's albums. From that point on I started wondering about this band. I thought "if the guy from Porcupine Tree produces their stuff then they gotta be worth listening to, right?" So, one night I decided I'd check out their album, Still Life. I have to say my first impression was not very good. I guess at the time I just wasn't ready for this kind of music, who knows? It was only about a week or two later though when I put Blackwater Park on and that was when it all hit me.

Truthfully, I can't explain why I wasn't bothered by the growling vocals. The music had this extre edge to it, something unique that just wasn't present with any other "death metal" band. Of course the music is, as Dethklok would say "brutal" to the point that I just can't bear to sit still while listening to it. I either have to pick up my bass and start rocking out with it, or go driving with it playing blisteringly loud.

"Ok I get it, the music is heavy, but what makes it so different?"

One thing that stands out is the fusion of mellow, acoustic sections into the chaos. Opeth balances their albums out brilliantly as the songs transition from intense riffing to soft, melancholy passages. This is one of the first aspects of the band that hit me right away, something that made them really stand out from an ordinary death band. I could instantly tell these guys had taste by their finger-picking acoustic guitar style. An extreme metal band that also has some skill in creating light music. Who would've thought?

Another reason Opeth stands above so many other metal bands is their skill in creating extremely tight, well-crafted compositions. Tempo and time signature changes are just two things commonly found in the average Opeth song. However, they don't make the changes ridiculously obvious like Dream Theater would, instead it's all very subtle; small things that just throw you off once you actually analyze it. In my opinion this one of the genius things that can make a band great if they manage to accomplish it. Opeth does it very well as it can be heard on the opening track "The Leper Affinity". It begins in 6/4 and some sections seem to end just an 8th note too short, some wonderful little easter eggs. They also experiment a great deal in sound exploration, frequently using their guitars for creating sounds other than blairing riffs. Another thing is the style in which they create riffs. They don't just throw in all the typical cliches of metal like power chords and sweep picking, instead they use some incredibly unique chords and progressions. There is a lot of emotion found in their chord choice and half the time I can't even figure out what chords they are playing. It is really something that stands out in the whole metal scene.

Those are just a few of the things that make Opeth progressive. They are not progressive in the typical 70s prog sense of Yes and King Crimson. Don't expect a Dream Theater like sound out of Opeth, it is quite different. If you are a fan of prog and the heavy though, you should find this album to be extremely appealing.

What about Steven Wilson's contribution?

Well besides Steven Wilson producing the entire album, he also includes some vocals and piano/keyboards, most notably on "Bleak" which features a double harmony section between Akerfeldt and Wilson. I must also add that this is a very accessible (and great) song and a good one to introduce Opeth. It has some awesome memorable riffs and a fantastic intense and emotional section towards the end. Anyways, as far as Steven Wilson goes, his presence is felt quite as much as it is on their album, Damnation in which he contributes his mellotron on nearly every track, but after all this is an Opeth, not a Porcupine Tree album.

As far as all of the tracks go, Blackwater Park has some of my favorites Opeth have done including "The Leper Affinity", "Bleak", "Harvest" (a fantastic and dark mellow song), "The Drapery Falls" (this one's a real fan favorite), and the title track. The other tracks aren't disappointing either. My only problem is that even with the changes from light to heavy, Opeth's style just tires me after extended listening. It's really difficult to listen to in its entirety (for me at least) as the riffing can just go on relentlessly sometimes without a break for my ears. This might not be as much of a problem if it weren't for the extreme vocals, but I don't think that's as much of a problem as the lack of variation sometimes. While Opeth is incredibly unique, and one of the greatest metal bands out there, they just don't change the mood and structures enough. After enough listening one can pretty much predict what is going to happen next, and their albums tend not to progress much as a single entity. There is not really a beginning, a middle, and an end to an Opeth album. Just some really kickass songs mixed together.

Even considering those few negative aspects, Blackwater Park is still probably a masterpiece of metal. All the postives created by their utterly unique style, songwriting ability, and technical prowess put Opeth in front of countless other progressive and metal acts of the past two decades. Even though I'd probably only give the average Opeth album an 8-8.5/10, Blackwater Park probably deserves a 9.

Rating: 9/10. Rounds up to 5/5. Essential as far as metal goes.

Report this review (#146821)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A few seconds of rising noise presages a gargantuan explosion of riffage. 'Blackwater Park' is born amid the thumping of double-kick drums, howling, growling vocals and a Great Wall of guitars. This was my first exposure to OPETH and, for the first time since hearing the opening riff to 'Symptom of the Universe' in 1976, I was overwhelmed by the sheer power of music.

This, for me, is the seminal OPETH album. Intellectually I understand it is on a par with its immediate predecessor, 'Still Life', and the fact that I favour 'Blackwater Park' is probably because I heard it first. Just so you know I'm biased. But this has everything: musical beauty, violence, drama, lyricism, grandeur and, above all, the coherency that has to some degree been missing from all preceding OPETH albums.

'The Leper Affinity' starts with a riff that brings me out in a sweat. AKERFELDT's growls are deeper and clearer on this album, and his words are accompanied by riff after stellar riff, as though he's stolen TONY IOMMI's bottomless magic riff bag gifted by the devil in 1970. A minute thirty in and we've had three of the most outstandingly hooky riffs I've heard. We get more lead guitar in this song than had been the norm for OPETH to this point, and the band makes full use of its twin-guitar attack. A wonderful solo at the three minute mark is followed by a dramatic micropause and a rhythm reshuffle - only on a prog album - as we get another great riff ... and on it goes. When the song detumesces towards the gentle central section it's almost a relief. The real triumph of 'Blackwater Park' is the seamless integration of the acoustic sections with the rest of the songs: here the bass plays the riff behind the acoustic guitars, linking it to what has been and what is to come. And on it comes: the heavy section rises again until it reaches one of the most impressive moments in metal music, AKERFELDT's scream over a pause and the reintroduction of the opening riff, completing the circle and emphatically stamping 'prog rock' on the music.

OPETH have always feasted on a surfeit of creativity, but in my view have not made the most of what they have - until this album, this moment. Maybe it was STEVEN WILSON's influence, who knows? But nothing outlives its welcome in this song, and it has such a pleasing musical shape, making it more accessible to those of us brought up on '70s prog. If you can cope with the heaviness, this is a very good place to start your exploration of modern progressive music.

The album never drops in intensity. 'Bleak', 'Dirge for November', 'The Funeral Portrait' and the title track are all outstanding, the equivalent of anything on 'Still Life', but are overshadowed by the other tracks on the album. 'Harvest' is OPETH throttling back, clean vocals and subtle acoustic and electric guitars, a sort of halfway house between their acoustic numbers and their stormers. This is far more than a mere respite between the ten-minute ear-crushers. 'Harvest' is a wonderful song on its own terms, and OPETH were to go on to prove this was no fluke with their album 'Damnation', which featured an entire record of songs like this. The melodic hook is in the vocals, just where it should be to act as a wonderful counterpoint to the hook-heavy riffs of the surrounding songs. 'Patterns in the Ivy' is sheer beauty, and it is a matter of some importance that you seek out the 2 CD edition with the extended version of this song and its equally beautiful partner, 'Still Day Beneath the Sun.' The acoustic material is a step up from previous albums, less busy and far more melodious.

That leaves 'The Drapery Falls', OPETH's magnum opus. There aren't words, really. An intense and deeply satisfying swirl of guitar opens and closes the song, created as AKERFELDT upends his purloined riff bag and uses the best he can find, and in between we have complexity, hooks and riffs to burn, along with the most impressive bass on the album, and a riff of unsurpassed violence in the central section, all packaged together to make something very special. If you're going to judge the band on one downloaded song, make it this one. Would an earlier AKERFELDT have had the courage or ability to sing the 'Pull me down again' section - which would test any vocalist?

I'm impressed by the way the songs flow on this album. At no point does my attention waver, at no point are there two consecutive songs with similar personalities. And just when it might be getting all too much, there's a quiet moment of piano or acoustic guitar to allow me to draw breath. It's deliberate, and here more than anywhere I'm guessing we see STEVEN WILSON's hand.

I have five favourite 'desert island' albums. Two are from the 1970s: 'Ommadawn' and 'Close to the Edge'. Two are from the 1990s: 'Snivilisation' and 'Music Has the Right to Children' (neither classified as prog). And there's one from the 2000s: this one.

Any negatives to this album?


Report this review (#147877)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars After listening to this album back to back with still life in an attempt to understand the higher rating of that previous effort, i fail. i fail to see, in every respect, how this disc is lacking in anyway to Still Life. To me, everything sounds better, richer, fuller. The heavy moments are heavier, the softer moments more beautiful, Mikaels vocals more focused and sharp. this is the disc where Opeth finaly nails it. they created the album they had been trying to make for nearly a decade. its hard to point out a weak spot in an album this tight, let alone highlights but i cannot write this review and not mention The Drapery Falls which is my favorite Opeth song and among the most beautiful songs i have ever heard. a six star song on a five star album. I purchased this not expecting to enjoy it and not only was I deeply rewarded, but i was introduced to an entirely new genre of music i wouldnt have given a chance before. IMO the best Opeth CD and a hands down masterpiece.
Report this review (#147878)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Opeth threesome in an hour time ends with an album that is actually quite famous in the Netherlands. I remember Metalmagazine Aardschok over here declared it album of the month back then and it also came very high in the internal poll for the whole year 2003. So expectations run high after such facts but After a few listens I'm not entirely convinced. That will without a doubt have something to do with the fact that the main style of this band is not my thing and probably never will be. But that of course a subjective matter and objectively I think also I have to admit this is a very good band in their department.

It's not even a problem for me they do grunts because I can stand those although I don't really love the kind of voice-using. On the other hand I don't have very much with vocals in general and neither with lyrics so this can never be the only reason why I don't really love Opeth. It's also a matter of how they make music and how they compose their songs. If I compare them to their fellow countrymen from Sweden Evergrey who are also a popular and famous progressive metal band then I believe that Evergrey does a better job in the melodic job. Because where Evergrey show their skills in that department constantly, Opeth does that just occasionally. Having said that I now realize that this statement doesn't go for Damnation which was in fact a pretty melodic album. But that was not a real metal album, Evergrey can be melodic and rough at the same time and I don't think Opeth shows that too often. And maybe it's not a fair comparison because Opeth is technical/extreme metal and Evergrey is true prog metal.

Last few words about this album: there are two great songs for my personal liking: the ballad-like Harvest and The Funeral Portrait a track with both grunts and great melody so they prove they can do it ! The other tracks are maybe great for other people but not for me. And in fact these last statements sums it all up. Opeth is no doubt a great band in the more extreme progressive metal department but my personal taste reaches out for the normal progressive metal and so on all three albums there are nice songs, on Damnation quite a lot even but those were all ballads. I think Blackwater Park has it all. It's a variegated album and shows that Opeth is a versatile band that deserves credit and respect. But I think I heard enough with three albums and can come to this album to the same verdict as the othe two: 3 stars.

Report this review (#163072)
Posted Monday, March 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This being my first review, I may end up leaving a few minor details out, so I apologize in advance for that. But to start I'd like to give some background before my review. Before I got into prog, I was already a self-described and proud metalhead. However a friend of mine who has been listening to prog for about the past three years or so introduced me to some of the big bands in the genre, consisting of Genesis, Yes, GG, etc. One of the other bands he first introduced me to was Opeth. Still being new to progressive rock, this unique blend of progressive rock with death metal was something I found odd at first yet intriguing. I decided to persist with it and explore it further.

Now for my actual review. This was the first Opeth album I truly got into. Not only has Opeth done something unique, they have completely revolutionized a genre that talks mostly about blood and guts and instead given it a much more mature and emotional feeling. And yet at the same time they remain complex in many of their song structures. The Leper Affinity and Bleak are two great songs to start an album on, with mostly aggressive guitar riffs and a few melodic vocals over these. Harvest is a sign of things to come in Damnation, and The Drapery Falls (one of Opeth's best songs I might add) starts off with a brief acoustic intro before moving quickly into the aggressive yet unique Opeth feel. Dirge for November has a longer acoustic intro than The Drapery Falls but of course eventually moves to a more aggressive style. The Funeral Portrait begins with an acoustic-like ambiance and jumps suddenly into the typical Opeth style, and finally Patterns in the Ivy is a beautiful piano piece that serves as an excellent transition into the final track of the album, the title track. Overall I feel that Opeth's unique blend of both death metal-esque growls and it's smoother progressive feeling makes them a unique band unlike any other metal band I've ever experienced. And yet the only reason I feel that I'm not giving this album 5 stars is because, quite frankly, the previous album, Still Life, just had that something extra in it's kick that BP seems to be lacking, even though this is an album I often find myself going back to.


Report this review (#166183)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ok, I love Death Metal, specially Opeth, but prog? This album is just typical melodic Sweden Death Metal, with a few accoustic guitars, clear voices and some keyboards, but that is not enough to be prog. More yet when they repeat the same riff one, two and three times, and again, and again. And most of the accoustic passages sounds almost identical. Here I don't listen nothing new, here you can't find time progressions, and the only experimentation is add accoustic guitars to the classical melodic Death, and those accoustic moments sounds the same as Pink Floyd did in the 70's.

If you're looking for good prog metal, then listen to Symphony X or Shadow Gallery, and if you want extreme prog metal, then listen to Cynic, Meshuggah, Arcturus and even Nile sounds more prog than Opeth.

As a Death Metal, i give Blackwater Park 4 stars. As Progressive , just 2 stars.

Report this review (#172287)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Blackwater Park is in my opinion the best Opeth album (maybe alongside with Still Life and My Arms Your Hearse) and one of my all time favourites. All the tracks are awesome, and each one in a different way! The Leper Affinity and its evil riff starts the album greatly, using their typical alternation between heavy and soft parts, but everything with a very doomy and sometimes uncomfortable feeling. Bleak is the easiest song of the album, but it's still very good. Harvest is a mellow track with a strong melancholic atmosphere. In The Drapery Falls and Dirge For November we have again that unconfortable feeling, but much stronger here! Especially in Dirge For November the extreme contrast between the central heavy part and the ending create a very nice feeling of vacuum. The Funeral Portrait is an awesome death metal track, with a splendid ending; much people don't like this one and Dirge For November for not being very progressive, but I personally love them, the first for the feeling and the latter for the death metal brutality! Blackwater Park is another excelent track and closes the album greatly with the line Sick liaisons raised this momumental mark / The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park. Also, the bonus tracks of the special edition, Still Day Beneath the Sun and Patterns In The Ivy II, are really excelent mellow tracks, that could have been included in the regular edition of the album.

In its entirely the album is just a masterpiece; original and still very solid and emotional.

Report this review (#173138)
Posted Friday, June 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first Opeth album I ever listened to. I must say, it is an epic of great proportions. This album expands on the ideas created in Still Life, and makes them more controlled.

The album starts off with The Lepper Affinity, which, is the funkiest title name I've ever seen. The song takes a while to hook you in, unless you're a metalhead. When it does however, you can't let go. Some extremely interesting arrangements and very great drumming keep you listening. This is a great epic song, surely you make you wanting more. (9/10)

Bleak, starts off immediately and makes you want to never stop listening. The acoustic guitars fit perfectly and the guitar riffing is immense. I love the growling too, it really hits the darkness aspect of the album. This is a well written song and the jazz section in the middle is very soothing. This song is great. (9/10)

Harvest, is a little break from the almost 20 minutes of metal. It does a great job at relaxing you. The lyrics are a little fuzzy, I couldn't figure them out the first few times I heard them. The song itself is great, but it tends to cycle within itself. (8/10)

The Drapery Falls, the best song on the album and usually every Opeth fan's favorite songs. No wonder why also, it starts off very eloquently and relaxing, but with a metal edge. This song isn't just straight thrashing, it's a perfectly well written mix of both. I can never stop listening to it. The telephone vocals fit very well and the chorus is amazing. The progressive metal section after the second chorus is great. I could go on about how great the sections are, but I'm just gonna stop now. (10/10)

Dirge For November, starts off quietly, with a lone acoustic guitarist singing. Then the it becomes a little jazz ballad. THEN, that becomes an annoying thrash circle that never ends, basically ruinging the song for me. The chord changes were nice, but it's just seven minutes straight of that, which bugs me. The ending is actually very nice however, being slow little Pat Metheny-esque sounding jazz riff. (7.5/10)

The Funeral Portrait, starts off with the 12 string steel acoustics in your ear. It becomes another thrash fest, but a good one. This song actually goes somewhere. The growling especially caught my ear. It sounds like Mikael was really exerting himself for this song, and I liked that. The middle section instrumental with the drums pounding the beat in and out was very interesting. This song is much better after what just preceded it. (9/10)

Patterns In The Ivy. A one minute instrumental, being completely pointless and random. I think they should have put Still Day Beneath The Sun instead of this song. That's how I have it setup in my playlist. (4/10)

Blackwater Park, is the epic epic, melodic death metal song of this album. It takes the album out with a bang. It's a great song, but there isn't too much prog element in it. Still a great song, Martin Lopez's double bass endurance amazes me. Being a drummer, there is no way I could play that double bass pedal riff for five minutes straight. It's even longer live! (8.5/10)

A great album, mainly its what got me into Opeth, when I heard Bleak. Amazing music, but falls somewhat short of the Magnum Opus category. I love the album art, it's very compelling.

Report this review (#174175)
Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
4 stars Another mighty album from the mightiest of metal bands, Opeth.

This is the third in the succession of brilliant albums from this group, and by no means the last. I would consider this my second favourite Opeth album, as it doesn't quite touch the flawless Still Life. I can see how a lot of fans consider this their favourite though: with songs like Bleak, Dirge for November and Drapery Falls, it's quite easy to see. Now to some detail:

The album opens with the heavy and intense Leper Affinity, and you really know you're listening to Opeth on this track, with the death metal growls, generic triple time signatures and crunching guitar riffs. This song is quite similar to when it finally kicks in on The Moor from the previous album, however not, in my opinion, as progressive or catchy. A great song nonetheless. (7/10)

Bleak is by a mile one of my favourite all time Opeth tunes. Steven Wilson also features on this song, and he really shows how good a singer he really is. Everything about this song is perfect, from the classic Opeth arrangement of Heavy-Mellow-Heavy to the rhythmical and melodic genius that Mikael has blessed this song with. My favourite bit of the song of course is the rhythmical break between the final melodic section and the closing growling bit: it's the perfect contrast between the two vocal styles. Beautiful. (10/10)

Harvest is a mellow track and possibly the best on the album, very friendly to classic prog ears. This particular song is favoured amongst my anti-growling friends, which tend to enjoy Opeth's acoustic music a lot. If you liked Benighted, then you will like this one also. (10/10)

This one is considered the best on the album by many, but i have to disagree. The Drapery Falls is indeed a great song, but it doesn't really compare with the previous two tracks in my opinion. On the other hand, i love chorus section and the 21/8 part as it does remind us of those classic prog days and is quite reminiscent of early Rush. (7/10)

Dirge For November is possibly the most underated Opeth track. I love it. OK, when the growling finally kicks in it isn't their most melodic work, but when contrasted with the mellow first half, it really does feel balanced out. I have no idea why so many people slate this song, aparently Mikael Akerfeldt himself criticised this song quite heavily. My views are entirely contradictive. (8/10)

A heavy pentatonic riff introduces this tune, once again reminiscent of Rush, and many classic rock fans or Rage Against the Machine fans will enjoy this one. It is just jam packed with great riffs and the things we love Opeth for. Great guitar work and drumming all round, i haven't any complaint about this song. There's not much particularly wonderful about it either. (8/10)

Patterns in the Ivy is a mere filler. Nice though, but i don't really consider it a song, more of a build-up to the sequential Blackwater Park. (5/10)

Blackwater Park is an interesting one, and i don't recall Opeth filling an entire 12 minutes with pure growling very often in their career.I like this song very much though: the guitars are where the melody lies as in a lot of Opeth songs, and that is what you need to look out for. A lot of complex phases and superior riffing and growling from Akerfeldt bring the album to an end. (9/10)

Overall a great album, and i do tend to alternate between it and Still Life quite a lot these days, however this is by no means a replacement Still Life. It does make a worthy sequel though.


4 stars exactly. An excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#175990)
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Reviewing an Opeth album is a challenging task because all Opeth albums (discluding Damnation) suffer from the same weaknesses and excel from the same strengths. Blackwater Park, the first and most conventional of the three Steven Wilson-produced Opeth records, is a compelling listen because it sports the same strengths that all other Opeth albums have but also expands upon them.

The production here is the best the band has ever seen. The guitar riffs are still muddy and the acoustics are still a little thin, but the output's atmosphere has been enhanced tremendously by Wilson, who also contributes piano, keyboard, and vocal parts to the record. Each element that he adds to the album's final product is subtle, but relevant, and greatly broadens the breadth of Blackwater Park's thick, kinetic tone.

Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals on the recording are consistently excellent. While Akerfeldt has always shown a penchant for marrying the ugly and the beautiful, Blackwater Park sees the band's frontman captivating the listener like never before. His clean vocals in the middle of "Bleak" are a major player in what is perhaps the band's best melodic middle section, and his cries throughout "Harvest" are lovely and endearing. Not much needs to be said pertaining to Akerfeldt's growls, which are deep and forceful here just as they were on Still Life.

Opener "The Lepper Affinity" is the best song on the album, its endless spurts of riffage somehow finding a way to stay interesting despite the fact that the song is a couple of minutes too long. "The Funeral Portrait" is another personal favorite, the composition boasting less ideas than your average Opeth sledge and instead opting to revolve around a narrower, more focused blueprint.

Blackwater Park's most prominent flaw is that each song on the album has detrimental qualities. No track on the record (save for "Patterns in the Ivy", but that one's real short) is without one too many riffs or vocal passages, the most egregious supporter of my argument being the disc's title track which wastes three minutes during its first half repeating a quiet guitar theme before trying to redeem itself by getting all heavy again.

The combined length of the songs on the record is another one of the album's downfalls. I'm all for long compositions, but when nearly every track clocks in at around ten minutes, listening to the disc in one sitting is nearly impossible. Often Blackwater Park makes me want to skip certain tracks or forward through certain sections entirely, which isn't an admirable quality. I am of the firm belief that no parts of an album should need to be skipped to be liked; rather, a work should be able to be appreciated in its whole form as opposed to the dissolution of its parts.

What we have here is the type of CD that resonates with the listener despite the fact that he might not wholeheartedly accept it at first. It took many listens for me to appreciate Blackwater Park, and even more listens to enjoy it. The album is a notable effort from one of metal's most loved (or hated) acts that showcases them at the height of their powers. It is both a logical introduction to the Opeth brand as well as a prominent addition to their discography.

© Kevin Martell (TheOutlawXanadu)

Report this review (#179406)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Blackwater Park is the fifth album from progressive death metal band Opeth. The album was released in 2001. There were a couple of years in the late nineties and in the new milinium were I got tired of both prog rock and metal. Those are the two genres of music that I have always loved the most but I was feed up at the time and needed a break from both. I still listened to certain favorite bands during my break ( bands like Genesis, Psychotic Waltz, Atheist, Cynic, Death and Nevermore) but generally I didn´t listen to those two genres. I buried myself in electronic music, Trip Hop, New Wave, Goth rock. Anything that sounded different from what I had been used to listening to. I learned a lot in those years and wouldn´t be without the musical experinces I encountered but I always wondered when I would find the spark again and begin to appreciate the genres that I left behind. Blackwater Park was the turning point for me. This exact album re-ignited my interest in both metal and prog rock. I had listened to lots of experimental metal in the nineties and heard lots of metal bands experiment with progressive rock sections in their music but no one ever did it this convinsingly.

A friend of mine bought Morningrise in 1996 and he loved the album and played it to me, but I was not very interested at the time, so my first encounter with Opeth wasn´t very succesful. My next encounter with Opeth was hearing Bleak from Blackwater Park on some sampler and this impression was much stronger. I was in fact blown away by Bleak. What a powerful and brutal song but then in the middle there´s suddenly a melodic progressive metal part with lots of progressive rock moments. I was totally sold. From that day I have of course purchased all Opeth´s albums and I think they are a very unique force that makes some of the most beautiful extreme metal I have ever heard ( and I´ve heard a lot). Blackwater Park will always mean something special to me. First of all because it´s a great album but also because it meant that I got back on the right track ( so to speak) and began collecting metal and progressive rock albums again and following the scenes even more intensely than before. I promise I will never stray from the path again ( LOL).

The music on Blackwater Park is death metal with many progressive moments. Lots of beautiful acoustic parts, both death growls and clean vocals and of course crushingly heavy riffing. The mood is generally melancholic and there are some beautiful guitar leads that creates the emotional moods in the songs. Opeth generally makes long songs and there are several songs that clock in at about 10 minutes. This means that there are lots of time for the songs to unfold. Lots of different sections in every song makes the songs exciting and they never get repetitive.

All the songs are great but I do have a couple of favorites. Bleak is a highlight for me first of all because it´s a great song but also because of the above mentioned reasons. The Drapery Falls is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Soaringly beautiful guitar leads and great acoustic parts. The vocals from Mikael Ĺkerfeldt is extremely beautiful on this track. Harvest stands out a bit from the rest too as it is the only song with no growls and probably a great place to start for more conventional prog rock fans.

The musicianship is excellent. The pace is generally slow to mid but the guitar riffs are still pretty challenging and sophisticated. This counts for both the distorted and the acoustic guitar parts. The drums from Martin Lopez are great and really enhances the music.

The production is great even though I think it lacks a bit of bottom. Steven Wilson ( Porcupine Tree) is the producer and it´s obvious to hear that he is the man behind the sound if you´re used to listening to Porcupine Tree. He also contributes with some piano, guitar and vocals.

Blackwater Park is one of the most important albums in my collection and I hold it in very high regard. This is a true masterpiece of progressive music and of course it deserves a 5 star rating from me.

Report this review (#182024)
Posted Monday, September 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Generally hailed as Opeth's masterpiece, "Blackwater Park" stands still as one of the most important prog metal records ever released. Well, while "Blackwater Park" certainly is a pretty good album, it can't be considered as an essential prog metal album: Opeth made much better records than this one, I'm pretty sure of that. Albums like "Deliverance", "Ghost Reveries" or "Watershed" are so much better than this one, we can't even compare them with "Blackwater", at least in my opinion...

Maybe because I'm a drummer, I consider the poor drumming of this album one of the reasons why I prefer other Opeth records instead of this one. Martin Lopez is an awesome drummer, very creative and original, but until "Deliverance" was released, his performances were just... average. While I'm listening to "Bleak" I can't help but think that it would sound much better with improved drumming. Lopez can play almost everything and it's really sad to see such an album ruined by the mediocre drumming.

I also have serious problems with the guitar work of this album. While there are lots of good riffs and intrumental passages to be found on this record, the guitars sound too... soft, even when heavy riffs are played. I don't know, but the production doesn't fit that well with the music: thanks to it, the album has a strange 'warm' feel and songs like "Leper Affinity"or the title track lose their aggressive edge. On other hand, the calm sections sound amazing, the production giving to them a very cohesive feel: "Harvest", the third track, is an example, with the moody, soft guitar lines sounding amazingly well.

The structures of the songs are all pretty damn complex, though. All the tunes contain many different movements and sections, and there are lots of elements to be found on may tunes. "Bleak" is an example, containing an aggressive first section, which leads us to a very prog rock-influenced bridge, where Steven Wilson's vocals are used. And there's a reason why Steven was chosen to perform some clean vocals on this song: at this time, Mikael Akerfeldt wasn't the brilliant clean vocalist he is today and, as a result, his calm singing isn't that used throughout the album. If we compare it to "Ghost Reveries", we'll conclude that, on the latter, the clean vocals are much more used. The growls are as ferocious as ever, though: I always enjoyed Mikael's growls and they sound great on "Blackwater Park".

Speaking of highlights, the best song possibly is the underrated "Dirge for November": it contains a calm intro, a fairly heavy middle section and a repetitive but awesome outro: it kind of hypnotized me the first time I heard it. "Lepper Affinity" is also a very good song, even though, as I've already said, it would sound much better with an improved production. Its outro is particularly good and this song probably is the first tune Opeth ever composed containing some piano lines. "Harvest" is also worth mentioning, an upligting mellow piece, filled with some tasteful clean guitar lines and pleasant singing. "The Drapery Falls" is just an average track, the same thing going for "Bleak". Unfortunately, "Funeral Portrait" is a bit on the forgettable side though, and the title track is also very average. I was expecting it to be the pinnacle of Opeth's career, because it is generally regarded as one of the best songs this band ever recorded, but, hey, I can't help but think that it is terribly overrated. The crescendo that opens the song works fairly well, but when the first heavy riff kicks in, I immediately knew that something was wrong. That riff should have been played much much faster, it is played way too slowly, in my opinion. The acoustic parts are also pretty long on this tune, but they aren't that great either. I really love the last two minutes of it though, they sound really... 'epic', so to speak. Finally, "Patterns in the Ivy" is a small instrumental, which works relatively well, building the atmosphere for the the title track.

Conclusion: this album is terribly overrated but still very enjoyable. It's a good album to begin with if you want to know Opeth.. "Ghost Reveries" is much much better than this piece, though, so be warned: this is NOT, by any means, the pinnacle of Opeth's career. Highlights: "Dirge for November", "Leper Affinity".

Best Moments of the CD: -the outros of "Leper Affinity" and "Dirge for November".

Report this review (#182210)
Posted Thursday, September 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, I'm not a Death metal fan, but when i was introduced to opeth i felt that it was a unique perception of that genere, adding progressiveness to their content, and i said,-if it's in prog archives i'll give it a try-.

-We enter Winter once agaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain-

What a great kick-off for a masterpiece. I'm gonna review this album by tracks, starting with: The Leper Affinity: a genuine and very unique song, with it's riffs, cookie monster-like vocals, and mellow parts, it gives the listener a certain feeling of FEAR. The wierd time signatures and complexity of the lyrics determine the progressiveness of the song. Here lies one of my favourite riffs. Great acoustic part. Bleak: Awesome track, never expected the clean vocals arriving that fast (3 minutes is fast according to prog rock fans, such as me and many others) and the acoustic part is awesome, very strong track. Harvest: A mellow track which could fit perfectly in Opeth's 2003 record: Damnation. Good bluesy song. It has a lot of folk elements and good guitar soloing. The Drapery Falls: The first opeth song i ever heard, it demonstrates how Opeth really is: clean and growling vocals, mellow and really heavy sections and lyrical complexity. At first I dindn't know opeth was a Growling band so I downloaded the song and felt very surprised because of what i had just heard, but i liked it anyways. Dirge for November: starts as a mellow track but then bursts into slow-tempoed death-metal which sounded very good throughout the song. Then the heavy part goes into a much softer outro. Good song. The Funeral Portrait: Cool acoustic guitar intro, amazing track with excesive growling and little clean vocals. In my opinion, the weakest point in the album, still a very good song. Patterns in the Ivy I: the first one in like a nice & short prelude of what's coming next (Blackwater park). Blackwater Park: the title track, which was named after a german prog rock band. Lenghty and dark track, although not from my top favourites, it is a really good closing for this masterpiece. Blackwater park is, and is diserved to be called a masterpiece. I think that -my rating is valid and accurate-(quoted from certif1ed), when i put 5 stars to this album.

P.D.: I've listened to the original release, but also listened to Paterns in the Ivy II, which is a mellow song not yet awesome, but relaxing and demonstrates Opeth's variety of styles, as other songs do. I didn't get to hear Still day beneath the sun.

Prog Rock rules. I, Blackwater Floyd, salute you.

Report this review (#182304)
Posted Friday, September 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I find this album to be an improvement on Still Life. The moods toyed with are a bit wider in variety, the melodies much stronger and more interesting, and the heavy parts less repetitive.

The sound quality is much more interesting here, too. Much more dynamic than the sonically flat Still Life, though not nearly as intriguing as more modern Opeth albums have been able to sound. The inclusion of Steven Wilson on the production and some backing vocals seem to be a large part of what gives this album the punch that was missing from Still Life.

The riffs here seem uniquely inspired. Blackwater Park opens with The Leper Affinity, kicking off its running time with an odd and dissonant guitar bit that might be one of the most interesting refrains the band has developed. Bleak features some beautiful vocal work, with more creative use of growls and wonderful vocal harmonies throughout. The Drapery Falls starts with a long clean section before kicking into some classic Opeth metal (this is the song that features the Russian sort of riff, a personal favorite of mine as well). The title track is fat wall of Opeth metal and beautiful acoustic guitar.

Somehow this album, despite not having the lush and haunting keyboards of Per Wiberg that later ones feature, contains appropriate moods and feelings in the very music, something the band did not seem to get right before this album. There still are only two instruments that run the lead: heavily distorted electric guitars and gentle acoustic guitars. The bass guitar, however, in total rebellion against long-standing metal tradition, is both audible and interesting. The drums to me seem bare bones and uncreative for the most part, though I've heard many swear by them. Mikael's growls are impressive, sure, but his clean voice always gets my vote. Absolutely perfect for the band on both sides.

So in the end, I think this the best release the band put out until Ghost Reveries, but then, that is not a very common way of looking at it.

Report this review (#184027)
Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the greatest albums ever made. In my opinion. It's one of my favorite albums of all time, and I can listen to it in whatever mood I am in and in any place. Even IGN ranked it 18 on its greatest metal albums of all time. While there is lots of growling vocals, there is also lots of clean vocals too. The guitars are fluid and the riffs are never boring. The drums have lots of good double bass. While all the songs are good, the best are, mostly due to their amazing riffs and length, The Leper Affinity, The Drapery Falls (my favorite track), and the closing epic Blackwater Park. The lyrics on the album are similar to all Opeth lyrics, yet they seem to have some kind of story that ties in with the album cover. This album is essential to any Opeth fan, and to any progressive metal fan. This was the first Opeth album I heard in full, and it will always be my favorite.
Report this review (#202116)
Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Blackwater Park' - Opeth (8/10)

Throughout my time as a relatively 'hardcore' Opeth fan, I have been always trying to appreciate this album more. It's been called the 'greatest album of all time' but I still have never truly been able to appreciate it as being more than 'pretty good.' There are some very good songs on here, like the quintessential Opeth classic 'The Drapery Falls' but there are also some songs that are nothing more than mediocre, such as the rather boring 'Dirge For November.'

Up until quite recently, I never even liked the epynomous title track 'Blackwater Park.' I thought it was far too repetitive, and didn't really go anywhere. Nowadays, I think it builds up rather well, but it's still not fantastic. The only two songs that would be found on an archetypal Opeth 'masterpiece' are 'The Leper Affinity' and 'The Drapery Falls.' Besides that, there isn't any fantastic material here that would warrant calling it the majestic work of innovation that it's been called by so many others.

The fact that Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree fame) produces this album is an obvious plus. The sound quality is great, and a sharp improvement from their earlier works. Still, there doesn't feel like theres a real magical evocation on this album. It's great, yes. But it's not something I would ever compare to true masterpieces, like 'Still Life' or even 'Ghost Reveries' (which got me into Opeth in the first place.)

If I'm missing something about this album that makes it a masterpiece, that so many other people have recognized, please message me and tell me what I'm not recognizing. Otherwise, this album remains a great, but not superb Opeth album. Four stars.

Report this review (#205527)
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One must wonder...

What would drive a band to create music that is of high quality and interesting nature? Well, some could say money, and others might say fame. I say that Opeth here, they've done it because they love what they listen to, and love what they do.

As such, in the usual Opeth album, you will find many references to cult classic progressive music, such as Comus, Genesis, Camel, etc. This is a nice touch to the deep progressive fan, as it does give you the interest to search for specific influences. Mainly, though, how these people are able to take their influences and adapt them so well to their chosen format.

The songs follow a predictable, but at the same time unpredictable format. They will go from crushingly bleak death metal, to stately Gothic flair and gorgeous acoustic folk/progressive rock passages and interludes. The Leper Affinity showcases this well. The riff takes some time to gain crackling steam, but when it does, this song is a fiery explosion of dark metal. It breaks down into softer catchy melodic progressive rock near the end, going into Bleak, one of the overall prettiest songs on the album, heavy in emotional stirring, with a driving electric riff featured sprawling between acoustic tasteful frills.

Harvest brings forth a great deal of restraint in the mature and haunting feeling it so skillfully produces. Their ability to meld these styles so well is quite the feat, and I commend them on such meticulous and focused effort, and that vocal melody is utterly superb. The Drapery Falls returns to the crunching death metal/soft accentuation mesh that has been seen, previously on the album, but they don't repeat themselves, as the soft mood rock soloing interspersed gallantly is captivating.

Dirge For November begins so beautifully before wrapping itself in ferocious crushing might, slipping back and forth vividly. After such is the single sheer prettiest moment on this fantastic disc. Patterns In The Ivy is an all folk instrumental interlude, and it has such a stirring melodic progression it its quietened ghostly execution. Finally, you've the title track to contend with. It is a monumentally towering behemoth of metal and folk, again, it uses the same overall flow and atmosphere, without drifting aimlessly into needless self referencing and repetition.

I can't find a single completely weak moment in the entire disc. The massive amount of genuinely fantastic work presented is overwhelming, and anyone listening, no matter your preference, will bound to be enticed by their eclectic mixture of enjoyable styles. Not to mention their ability to maintain a solid and coherent atmosphere. the lyrics are very well written, and the compositions are quite complex. They don't get too knotty and technical, but it is deep and easy to get lost in.

If anything, I feel that some of the riffs and death metal segments weren't as creative or as original as they could have been, given the monolithic ideas utilized, but Opeth have crafted a majestic aural world for you to explore.

Best moment - It could very well be all of it.

Worst Moment - The first riff of the album, then pure gold.

***** Weak stars

Report this review (#218734)
Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth. Controversial band.

The first thing I have to say is that this is the first Opeth album I have owned, and that, when I asked this forum what their opinion was, I was told that this was their best album. (I have bought other albums since then.)

And I have to say, I'm very, very pleased. Opeth has become one of my favorite bands, and I do think this is an essential edition to ANY prog library, because of it's highly varied styles and its awesome guitar playing. Now, don't expect any super-fast, keyboard saturated, polyrythmic, or meter changing Circus Maximus type riffs in any of these songs. That's not Opeth, and for exclusive listeners of those types of prog bands, this CD should be an eye opener.

This CD starts right off the bat telling you what it's going to sound like with Leper Affinity and Bleak as it's first two songs. Here's a good sketch of the style:

Distorted, Sometimes Dissonnent Heavy Guitar Chordy, Open Sounding Riffs (unusual for a metal band) Mike Akerfeldt's Strange Acoustic Fingerpicking Runs and Solos Mixes between gruff, deep, chest-centered metal growls and high-ranged clean singing Long, incredibly deep and layered songs Meter switches a la classical music, King Crimson, or Rush

When I first picked up my guitar to learn some of these songs, I was in for a surprise. I, an adept heavy metal and progressive player, was been shocked by some of these chordy riffs. No chugging, no strings of fast sixteenths at high-speed on the low E-string. These riffs are fully fleshed chord progressions with Mike Akerfeldt's fingerpicked add-ons that give each song a unique feel.

This album is full of emotion; something most other progressive music lacks. Something about the acoustic/chordy parts in songs like Drige for November or Harvest have thise rainy day feeling...much like the cover of the album.

The one thing I can stress is that this CD deserves to be not only in every prog fan's collection, but in every metal and acoustic fan's collection also. Opeth is so drastically different from every other band of any genre that can be tagged on it, and this (in my opinion) is their best CD.

The amazing musicianship here is apparent, and I beg you, the interested reader, to pick this up as your first Opeth CD or as part of your Opeth collection. It gets a VERY easy 5/5.

Musicality, creativity, and emotion at their best.


Report this review (#221556)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars This was my first introduction to Opeth and it completely blew me away. It still does so 8 years later. This is Opeth, this is what they do and how they do it. If you want one Opeth album, take this one. If you want one modern metal album, take this one. Well this may even be the best chunk of rock 'n' roll ever!

Blackwater Park is the perfect merge between the stylistic subtleness of Still Life and the intensity of My Arms Your Hearse. It is the culmination of an incredibly strong string of Opeth albums and while you won't find many tricks here that they didn't do before, it's better, more coherent, it's richer in sound and it's performed with clenched fists. The hand of Steven Wilson is clearly felt on this album. Wilson didn't interfere with the song writing but he thought Opeth everything they needed to fully realize their talent: vocal harmonies, textured sounds, vocal recording advice and most importantly, guiding Mike's riff wizardry into compositional perfection. Even a lesser song like Dirge For November is perfect when considered on its own, it just pales in comparison to the stunning music of Leper Affinity, Bleak, Drapery Falls and the ominous title track Blackwater Park

The finishing touch is the artwork. Just like the Morningrise artwork, it sets the tone perfectly and completely integrates with the music. Possibly the best Travis Smith cover ever. And it should be, because, as I've just explained, this is the best album of all time and it deserves an album cover of the same exceptional standard.

Report this review (#236677)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I will openly admit I was apprehensive about listening to anything the Tech/Extreme genre had to offer. I like mostly stuff that is melodic, bombastic, wacky, and/or fun. Before I gave this album a chance I tried to force myself to have an open mind. I'm sure I'm being more critical of some faults of this album that I would easily gloss over in pretty much any other genre, but at the same time I'm looking harder for any positives to try to see what people see in this band. I also can't stand growling.

"The Leper Affinity" is one of the heaviest songs here and yet I like it. It has some nice playing throughout and would easily be a 4 star song if not for the growling. The song backs away from the super-heavy stuff for a couple minutes halfway through. The loss of growling is a plus but judging from this interlude I'll say Opeth cannot do light music. Clean vocals get a chance here but I'm not a fan of Ĺkerfeldt's voice regardless of the style. Things return to the heaviness of before but there is a good bit of instrumental work here to enjoy before the growling returns. The vocals cut out after 8 minutes and we're left to enjoy some more enjoyably heavy music with relatively simple yet catchy and pleasant guitar for a minute. We spend the last two minutes with a painfully boring and out-of-place piece of piano.

Next up we have "Bleak." The guitar takes a bit of an Egyptian influence at times which I like. I believe Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree takes up some clean vocals during some of the choruses and harmonizes well with Mikael. Soft music comes in for a couple minutes about halfway through to song again and I say they pull it off well. As the heavy music returns we are treated once more to the chorus of before and the growling doesn't return until the last minute. The minimal amount of growling here coupled with the pretty good music makes this one of my favorite pieces on here.

"Harvest" is a throwaway acoustic track. It's mildly catchy but not all too memorable. There's a minute-long guitar solo here that has no soul.

"Drapery Falls" ? another highlight. It starts off mildly heavy with a lot of exciting interplay between the instruments. If the whole album could do something along the lines of this complex and technical display then I would be a happier person. We then shift moods to an acoustic bit with some wah wah wah guitars beautifully sprinkled in and trade on and off with Mikael's clean vocals. The first 5 minutes are excellent with the acoustic pieces playing well with the higher intensity pieces. An unimpressive guitar solo leads us into the heavy stuff with plenty of growling. This song keeps the heavy attitude and, at times, applies it to the music from the first half with mild success.

The album takes its biggest dive with "The Dirge for November." Mikael tries to cleanly sing the opening 30 seconds with very little instrumentation and it's painful to listen to. It starts out light, instantly changes to heavy then decides to finish out light again. There is absolutely no transition either time. It's also the most boring track on the album. Try as I might I can't find one redemptive quality in this song.

"The Funeral Portrait" is musically interesting but it's also has the most growling. It would have been a pretty good song if not for the growling which is so overdone I will likely never want to listen to this song again.

"Patterns in the Ivy" is a nice short acoustic piece with some piano. There isn't a whole lot to say about it.

The titular track sounds like it has the biggest Steven Wilson influence on the album. While I'm not completely familiar with Porcupine Tree, I think there are a few minutes in the first half that could easily be lifted off of their albums. The rest of "Blackwater Park" contains nothing we haven't already heard on the album. It kind of seems like Opeth was limping to the finish line with this one.

If you are already a fan of this type of music, you probably wasted time reading my review. If this is your first foray into this genre I cannot recommend this. To the untrained ear this gets stale halfway through. There are certainly times when the music awakens me from my stupor, but those are far and few between. The drumming is probably the least-inspired I have heard in a prog album. This barely ekes out a 3 star rating as there are certainly parts that are great pieces of prog and I think this could maybe appeal to more than fans/collectors only. I'm almost certain I won't attempt another foray into this type of music for a few years because I found so little potential in something so revered.

Report this review (#245815)
Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
3 stars According to many people Blackwater Park is among the most accomplished of Opeth's releases, or even their best album. This is often because Blackwater Park shows a more melodic Opeth than ever before, and the album has a better production than the band's earlier releases (Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson is responsible for this, for a part). I completely agree with these things, but apart from them I don't see what makes Blackwater Park such an exceptional album. Most of the songs are just decent, with some obvious exceptions, and I think the album sounds kind of blank compared to some of Opeth's other releases.

Many of the songs on this album are good, but nothing more. "The Drapery Falls" for example is a song that sounds excellent for a minute or two, but it just can't keep me interested, while a lot of other Opeth songs definitely can. The same thing can be said from the entire second half of the album. "Dirge For November" is probably the best on the second half. The song starts ot soft, but will turn into a much heavier song. It is nothing more than a good song though. "Blackwater Park", the title track, is also decent, though just like "The Drapery Falls" just doesn't really do anything to me. The second half also features "The Funeral Portrait", which is one of the few Opeth songs that I don't like at all. The songs acoustic intro is the only thing that sounds nice.

Fortunately there is some great music on the album as well. "Harvest" is one of Opeth's more accesible and mellower songs. It sounds very melancholic and is a very beautiful piece of music. "The Leper Affinity" is one of Opeth's heaviest songs. From the crushing first guitar chords to the melodic soling later in the song, it all is great. The song is, though being fantastic, not as brilliant as "Bleak". "Bleak" is more straight forward than the usual Opeth song, but really features some killer riffs and music. The song also features Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson on the vocals. Those vocals (that sound very different from Mikael's) being combined with Mikael's growling makes the song sound very interesting and diverse.

Definately not as great as I expected it to be. Blackwater Park is a nice album nevertheless, and therefore I rate it three stars. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Opeth, though I think they have made much better music than what's on this album.

Report this review (#247984)
Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Continuing on from the amazing sound and songs of Still Life, Blackwater Park was another breathe of fresh air in the progressive metal world.

Even though I prefer Still Life, this album almost matches it. With amazing songs, the catchiest Opeth moments ever, great communication and an amazing producer (Steven Wilson, not tied up by Tim Bowness when he made this).

Since Steven produced this album, there are faint echos of Porcupine Tree and No-Man within the album. He also plays piano and provides some amazing harmonies on the album.

1. The Leper Affinty - A perfect song really. The amazing growls, the cathcy clean vocals, the amazingly played acoustic parts. It's one of the best songs they have ever made. The song has a lot of dramaitcism, and Steven's piano part at the end is both scary and beautiful. Sounds like an unconcurable paradox. It's not. Listen to it now.

2. Bleak - In my opinion, one of their cathciest songs ever. With added Porcupine Tree like harmonies and melodies, this is another favourite of mine. The chorus is also incredibly cathcy.

3. Harvest - The best ballad they ever made. This song is so amazing, the weird blues solos, the beautiful sombre acoustic passages, the layered vocals from Mikael & Steven. Simply amazing.

4. The Drapery Falls - One of their most atomspheric pieces. A head spurn of a song. It was also released as a single, due to the fact, it is quite cathcy and very rememberable.

5. Dirge For November - This song reminds me of one of the shorter songs from Ghost Reveries. It is more to do with atomosphere, so the song does take a lot of dramatic twists and turns. Very doom influenced and very amazing.

6. The Funeral Portrait - This reminds me of one of the songs off of Morningrise. It is quite jazz influenced and there is alot of doom influences as well. Classic Opeth really.

7. Patterns In The Ivy - A brief interlude, really.

8. Blackwayer Park - The only Opeth song that has no clean vocals I think. The lack of vocals melodie is replaced with great musicianship though. Very enjoyable and very amazing.

CONCLUSION: After you have bought Still Life, then buy this album. You will then think that they are one of the best bands in the world, like I was 2 years ago.

Report this review (#263159)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Oh how I curse PA's lack of half star ratings! Blackwater Park is certainly a better album than Still Life which I gave four stars, but I do have some quibbles about it so I hesitate to offer five. Know that this is really a 4.5 album in my heart.

This is where Opeth reach maturity. They perfected their metal sound on My Arms Your Hearse and made strides in their progressive sound on Still Life. Here is the first record to demonstrate mastery of both.

First of all, Akerfeldt's voice has completed its long and twisty journey to the point where he is more or less a master of all trades vocally. He can sing almost any way you please with great success and the roar that you meet on The Leper Affinity, so deep and scary you feel it MUST have been assisted by computers (although it hasn't) now stands alongside the painfully fragile and pretty voice he uses to open Dirge For November.

The production, assisted by Steve Wilson, is immaculate. They already had fantastic sound quality but it is even better here. Full use of the studio is made to stitch every potentially jarring sound together into seamless, smooth wholes. The guitars particularly sound great and atmospheric atonal buzzy electric noises turn up subtlely in the background to enrichen the atmosphere.

The problem for me with Blackwater Park is that it is frontloaded. The first four tracks, half the album, are perfect. The crushing The Leper Affinity, Bleak which shows rare (for Opeth) strains of pop (though watch out for that brutal finale), the absolutely beautiful, intoxicating Harvest and the mature, symphony rich, dizzying The Drapery Falls show all the range and skill you could ask for. Had this level of quality been maintained, BP would not just be a five star album but one of the greatest of all time.

However, while Dirge For November and The Funeral Portrait are certainly good songs (love that creepy choiral voice used at the end of The Funeral Portait) they are not as compelling and addictive as what came before, largely because they are made up of elements already glimpsed on earlier songs. And the big epic Blackwater Park fails to grip me, coming off as too straightforward and not in the same league as other Opeth monsters like Black Rose Immortal and Hessian Peel.

Make no mistake about it though, even with the weaker second half, BP is a hugely successful and enjoyable album and the sound of a band moving on from being one of their best in their genre to being one of the best, period. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#269010)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

"Blackwater Park" is the essential Prog metal album, a masterpiece to bow to.

Opeth's fifth album is widely considered one of the best metal album of all time, and is by many more loved than those early classic metal albums like "Master Of Puppets", "Rust In Peace", "The Number Of The Beast" and many others. I too feel like this album challenges me and interests me more than those timeless masterpieces. Indeed, "Blackwater Park" is THE progressive death metal album, along wih the previous effort by the band "Still Life".

What makes this so universally acclaimed is that it's probably the most accessible death metal record, thanks to the crushingly beautiful moments that are here present. But die hard death fans will also be satisfied, with the powerful, yet complex riffs that are the true skeleton of each of these eight songs. The production is crystal clear, the mixing is fantastic, everything here sounds so beautiful and graceful, even if it's an indeed violent record. The guitars are crunchy and thick sounding as hell, the vocals are amazingly brutal when leader Akerfeldt growls, the drums are as sharp and precise like never before. These qualities guarantee though the style of this particular record; each song, long as it is, has many time changes, a lot of hooks, different melodies; it gets from loud and violent to a soft, melancholic piece that makes your soul shiver, to get loud once again.

"The Leper Affinity", "Bleak", the title track and "The Drapery Falls" all use this formula, even though they all have completely different structures. These epic songs are the ultimate towers of the album, while the other tracks seem simply to give yet another touch of perfection and decoration, so that the album turns out as it is. For Example, "Harvest" is a great, memorable but quite sad sounding ballad, and on the contrary "The Funeral Portrait" is the heaviest song here.

"Blackwater Park" is the essential Prog metal album, a masterpiece to bow to. Everything about this album excites me and satisfies me completely. This is one of those perfect metal albums that makes you proud of liking and being a fan of the genre.

Report this review (#276628)
Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Blackwater Park! Man, this is such an epic masterpiece by Opeth! The first album I heard from them and wow, it was amazing. Actually, it's also the first progressive death metal album I've heard. "The Leper Affinity" starts things off crazy! Heavy all the way. What I really love about Opeth is their ability to switch from heavy guitar riffs and growls to soft, acoustic touches in the matter of a few seconds. I found that quite extraordinary. The bonus tracks add an exceptional acoustic touch that ultimately made me give BP a 5 star rating. Get your hands on this, seriously.

1. "The Leper Affinity" - 10/10

2. "Bleak" - 9/10

3. "Harvest" - 9/10

4. "The Drapery Falls" - 10/10

5. "Dirge for November" - 9/10

6. "The Funeral Portrait" - 8/10

7. "Patterns in the Ivy I" - 9/10

8. "Blackwater Park" - 9/10

9. "Still Day Beneath the Sun" - 10/10

10. "Patterns in the Ivy II" - 10/10

93/10 = 93% = 5 stars

Report this review (#280150)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars With the release of Blackwater Park Opeth had finally taken the leap into the big league. This transition had, in my opinion, a lot to do with Steve Wilson's production of this and the next two albums.

There was never anything wrong with the compositions on the previous albums but the songs tended to lack the punch that can be added through attention to detail in the recording process. Wilson was definitely the right man bought in at the right time. Through his documented knowledge and attention to atmosphere, that he demonstrated on the early Porcupine Tree albums, he literally smoothed the band's sound by highlighting the details in the band's work. This is most notable in the acoustic sections that previously suffered in the mix but now had received a major face-lift and sounded gorgeous in combination to the heavier parts.

I guess that I already gave away my hand as to my opinion of Blackwater Park, so let me just briefly touch upon some of the highlights. First off, this is so far the only Opeth album that I could consider completely self-consistent with just the right amount of material and without any really big flaws in execution. Even though this release has a lot more acoustic guitar moments than any of the previous albums I don't think that this change had to do with Steve Wilson but instead with the natural shift in direction that the band was undergoing at that point in time. Therefore I only want to give Wilson a partial credit for this masterpiece of an album and seeing the work that Opeth managed to do without him show that there is enough raw talent featured in this band for many more masterpieces in the future.

Bleak is a fun little track that I remember even rehearsing with my band just for the amount of creativity that is embedded into this 9+ minute composition. Still it is Dirge For November that takes the grand price for being my all-time favorite Opeth performance. The acoustic guitar intro mixed with clean vocals by Mikael Ĺkerfeldt is just magnificent and I love how the composition just flows though each section of the track with even the heavier parts sounding like some of the most cheerful Death Metal that I've heard from the band. There are a few minor inconsistencies with the second part of the album like the ultra heavy and rather straightforward The Funeral Portrait that gets a bit tiresome after 4-minute mark. I've also never been a big fan of the album's title track which, just like Pain Of Salvation's title track off The Perfect Element, feels long and quite unmotivated for the lengthy piece of music that it represents.

Despite some minor flaw this is still a magnificent achievement from a great band that is well worth exploring. Even if you've been burned by your previous Opeth-explorations I strongly suggest giving Blackwater Park a shot since I believe that this album should appeal to almost any fan of creative and well-produced music.

***** star songs: Bleak (9:16) Harvest (5:59) The Drapery Falls (10:52) Dirge For November (7:51)

**** star songs: The Leper Affinity (10:23) The Funeral Portrait (8:42) Patterns In The Ivy (1:50) Blackwater Park (12:08)

Report this review (#282606)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first review here, and naturally it has to be an album that I know by heart. This is the album that got me into Opeth (which got me into Porcupine Tree, which got me into prog). I remember listerning to Bleak on my brothers pc, getting all sorts of annoyed by the grunter (mind you i heir from the metal scene, so I was quite used to and often even quite thrilled by grunting). A day or so later I couldnt get the song out of my head, so for some reason I had started to enjoy it. After asking my brother what band this was, I headed to the record store to give the entire cd a spin. After listening to the first 3 minutes of the first song I decided I'd heard enough and bought the cd. Now, a good 7 years later, this is one of my favourite albums of all time. I'll have a crack at explaining why this is such a killer album.

Overall this is a pretty heavy album. It is filled with accoustic parts though and the grunting is effortlessly followed by very nice clean vocals. The bands' two guitarists have their own way of playing together harmonically, which seems to make even the heavier riffs accessible to people who are not really used to this type of music. The mellow parts in the song, which might come as somewhat of a surprise at your first listen of the album, are mostly classical accoustic guitar pieces, something I am very fond of. The hand of Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson is very much visible on this album, steering Opeth in a more prog-like direction more so than their previous releases.

The album opener the Leper Affinity is probably the heaviest one of the bunch. Great harmonic playing and brillians solo's are mixed with some accoustic beauty. Really a fantastic opener.

This is follow by Bleak, which starts as too standard metal-like for Opeth standards, but at around the third minute, this turns towards its stunning chorus, with singer Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson singing together. This is follow by a brilliant accoustic interlude and completed by a very nice Akerfeldt trademark mellow solo. Next the song gradually becomes heavier again, with a stunning bass-dominated piece before the songs final return to the chorus and a heavy ending.

Next up: Harvest, one of 2 fully accoustic songs on the album. This is a very nice song. The singing is great, and so is the musicianship. The mellow solo's are sublime. (I realize this is a matter of taste, personally, I love the way Akerfeld and fellow guitarplayer Mendez play). All in a great interlude.

The Drapery Falls is the fourth epic on the album (along with the first 2 songs). This one is the most accoustically dominated epic of the bunch and alternates mellow in heavily songs quite beautifully in the typical Opeth-manner (even if this is your first Opeth album and the first listen to this album, you will agree on this)

Dirge for November is the albums most experimental epic. Starting with Akerfeldt singing beautifully, supported by the accoustic guitar. A nice mellow riff is follows leading to the heavier part of the song. The main riff is very appealing. Sadly this is followed by what is definately the worst grunting on the album. The song ends in a mellow electric guitar, effect- laden outtry, very nice.

Now it's time for my personal favourite, the Funeral Portrait. The song starts with a haunting accoustic intro, in which the volume is gradually turned up. At this point the song explodes into the heavy riff that will dominate the first few minutes of the song. Some interesting heavy riffs follow which maintains the songs high intensity. At 3:50 the song suddenly has a very weird accoustic twist, which is immediately follow by uberheaviness and one of the best guitarsolo's I know. From here the song returns to the main riff which was displayed in the intro. This suddenly changes into a beautiful harmonic heavy riff, supported by typically Steven Wilson like harmonic vocals (seriously, listening to that gives me the chills). The song ends with another fabulous solo and slowly fades out. Imo this is the best song Opeth has ever made.

The second (and last) accoustic song is netx. Patterns in the Ivy is a 2 minute instrumental piece which features an accoustic guitar riff supported by atmospheric piano, very nice interlude.

Now the final and longest song, the title track Blackwater Park. This starts with a really amazing harmonic riff. At about the 1:50 the track starts the main riffline, supported by strong grunting by Akerfeldt. At the third minute the track slows down into a haunting accoustic piece, which is supported by some strong atmospheric electric guitarplaying and effects. Riff after haunting riff is displayed supported by Akerfeldts evil grunts. The song ends in a beautiful accoustic riff. Highly atmospheric, moody song.

All in all this is an absolute masterpiece. I am not one who is likely to quickly award a cd a 5-star rating, but if this cd isn't worth that,( I give this a 4,7 rating on a 1-5 scale) I don't know which one is. Give this cd 3 or 4 spins to allow it to grow on you and you will love it I am aware that the grunts and the overall heaviness may not appeal to a group of proglovers. I can understand that for some this is something they cannot live with, if so, this cd is not for you, for all others, it must be.

Report this review (#295483)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first album I ever listened to by this band, and one of the first prog albums I ever listened to. I can say that when I first played this album, I did not like death metal, I certainly didn't like progressive death metal, and I wasn't a fan of music without guitarists who shred (I was really into Dream Theater at the time though). After a couple of listens, this album began to grow on me and opened me up to a new side of music. This album is brilliant in many respects. It is death metal that isn't death metal; the harmonies are breathtaking, the screaming isn't just noise, and the band doesn't go out of its way to be gory and offensive. There is beauty in this and an artistic touch. Songs transition flawlessly between distorted guitar riffs and double bass drums to classical guitar interludes and Mikael's flawless voice. I don't think many who listen to this album can deny that Mikael Akerfeldt is a unique force in the metal world (and the progressive world for that matter). Even if death metal isn't your cup of tea, and even if you don't like the sound of distorted guitars, I think everyone can find some beauty in this album. Everyone should check this out.
Report this review (#306178)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fifty-fifty

After epic STILL LIFE Opeth began a long collaboration with Steven Wilson. His presence is quite perceptible on "Blackwater Park" since his style and influence are well-known to every neo-prog fan.

The album sounds softer than previous releases, every tone is clear: drums, guitars and vocals use whole wide spectrum of frequencies which results in nice, fruity sound. Mikael Akerfeldt' growls are powerful as always, but the mellow parts sound different. I preferred his singing style from STILL LIFE as it was more mellow and stylized - here Mikael decided to sing more naturally.

If it was ending on Drapery Falls it would be 5 stars EP. But there are another 4 songs which are, in my opinion, weaker than brilliant first half. After aforementioned track Opeth just draw in its horns, the songs become less mature and less interesting. The first four songs are incredible - original, emotion provoking, epic! I don't know what happened to Mikael.

It's an excellent album by an excellent band, but I cannot rate it as a 5 star masterpiece since there are some tracks I found weaker than average Opeth' songs.

Report this review (#308106)
Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Opeth's Blackwater Park is another of the more popular Opeth albums that receives high ratings.

I am no fan of death metal growling vocals and when they infiltrate the songs on this I am completely turned off. The final title track closer is simply brutal growling and it just goes on and on, though I know many Opeth death heads will adore this. However there are true moments that capture my attention on this. Leper Affinity is death growling layered over unintelligible lyrics, and repetitive metal riffing. The riffs get better as the song progresses. The drums are double kick speed precision percussion. The lead solos are excellent on this. There is a breakneck choppy rhythm that locks in at 3:30 and brutal death vocals accompany. Subtle it aint! The acoustic flourishes eventually chime in and very nice gentle vocals with a dreamy quality. Not for long as the aggressive vocals that make it sound like Akerfeldt has been gargling gravel return. Man, these sections are dark. The lead guitar is sustained and ascends and descends as the growls continue. The lead breaks are wonderful and a true highlight for me. It ends with peaceful piano that brings the mood down, though it is still bleak and sombre, perhaps melancholy.

The Funeral Portrait begins with acoustic guitar patterns. There is the threat that it may explode and eventually distorted guitars crash in slicing up the tranquillity. Very intense death metal vocals follow. This is as heavy as the band gets on this album. There are some brilliant riffs on this and the lead breaks are fantastic. I always admire the guitar work on these lengthy Opeth tracks. It really takes off in the section at 6:33, perhaps some of the best death metal I have ever heard; absolutely spine chilling metal, with an incredible wall of sound. The time sig is frenetic, the drums crash down, and the harmonies are excellent. Lead guitars soar over a very complex sporadic riff, the fret work is incredible; this is a definitive highlight on the album.

Harvest is as peaceful and well sung as anything from "Damnation" and one of my favourites for that reason. The acoustic work is excellent, and it keeps a steady tempo, and has a pleasant melody. The film clip showing band members recording in the studio is worth digging out too. This is the softer side of Opeth, and really the thing that appeals to me most.

Bleak has quite a brutal vocal and some bizarre riffs but the melody is infectious. Even as the vocals change to a clearer sound, the lyrics become more grim, "Devious movements in your eyes, Moved me from relief, Breath comes out white clouds with your lies, And filters through me, You're close to the final word, You're staring right past me in dismay, A liquid seeps from your chest And drains me away, Mist ripples round your thin white neck, And draws me a line, Cold fingers mark this dying wreck, This moment is mine? Night fall again, Taking what's left of me, Slight twist, shivering corpse?" Certainly the content is centred around death, as is expected with Opeth, but the darkness does not appeal to me, though I can see that it would to others.

I really like the intro melody on guitars to A Drapery Falls. There are some really ethereal passages of guitars here and Steven Wilson style vocals chime over. The vocals are incredible and the lead breaks are killer metal. It builds gradually into some full on riffs and then death vocals return as expected. The lyrics are interesting "This test I can't persist, Kept back by the enigma, No criterias demanded here, Deadly patterns made my wreath, prosperous in your ways, Pale ghost in the corner Pouring a caress on your shoulder Puzzled by shrewd innocence, Runs a thick tide beneath, Ushered into inner graves, Nails bleeding from the struggle, It is the end for the weak at heart, Always the same A lullaby for the ones who've lost all Reeling inside, My gleaming eye in your necklace reflects Stare of primal regrets." The tension and release between light and dark are inspirational. A Drapery Falls reminds me of Riverside sometimes, and has beautiful passages of acoustic and swells of melodic guitar with very emotive vocals. The band play this many times live. The style heard on Damnation are always welcome to my ears. Many times Akerfeldt's vocals are actually layered over each other. It is quite a sound he generates with those death metal vocal chords; very deep, nasty, spiteful vocals that always turn the room dark. The lead guitars are chaotic at times, with off kilter drumming and crashes of rhythm guitar distortion. Eventually, the song settles down again and the clear vocals return, a very good tone that resonates or even competes with the aggressive drumming and guitar smashing. The cookie monster vocals cease suddenly and then acoustics and gentle vocals return. The riff to end locks in the head with it's transfixing melody. This track is a definitive highlight of the album.

In general the majority of the album is too brutal and over the top for me, but this will appeal to death prog metal freaks, and there's a lot out there! So I can suggest that this is an album only for those who like their prog metal dark and brutal with death metal vocals as they are prevalent throughout. It is a good album but I have heard better from Opeth.

Report this review (#316949)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Historic Album Has Lost a Little Lustre in Time

Tell a random guy on the street that you're going to play some progressive death metal for them, and he's going to love it, and you're going to get some funny looks. That is, or was, before Opeth. It would be a lie to say that melodic death is commonplace now, but before BLACKWATER PARK, very very few recognized that this kind of metal could be a music of nuance. Not that there weren't great examples out there, but Opeth opened the door. BP was more of a breakthrough / crossover album for the entire genre. Without a doubt, it has changed the landscape of metal dramatically in the last decade. Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson have probably done more to revitalize prog than any other pair during that time, and this was their opening scene together.

Since that time, many bands have run with these ideas. Most haven't reached these heights, but a few have. A select few have eclipsed the album. And one of the bands that have done it is Opeth themselves. Which has left Blackwater Park as a sign of its times, not unlike that icon of prog in general, In the Court of the Crimson King. Still containing magnificence but carrying some flaws, some ebbs in the energy, Blackwater Park has confused a few of us who have discovered Opeth going backwards rather than chronologically. The level of production is clearly higher than the previous STILL LIFE, and many of the songs have been honed to be ready for the spotlight. But there is no song to match "The Moor," "the Lotus Eater", and certainly not "Ghost of Perdition" here. "The Drapery Falls" still stands as perhaps THE prototype of an Opeth song which is melding of light ending in a ferocious finish, but on the album it is placed directly after "Harvest." "Drapery Falls" already suffered a bit of Opeth's penchant for over-repetition, but following after the strummy "Harvest," it is really defanged. One of the greatest gifts given to me by ProgArchives was the fact that I listened to "Drapery" over and over streaming here BEFORE and WITHOUT ever hearing "Harvest." This is perhaps the worst bit of album sequencing in the history of a major album...enough of that rant. (Actually one of the few reasons I reviewed this well hashed album was to make that point, but let us continue.)

After the "Leper Affinity" (a typical Opeth grinder with some great riffs), we get "Bleak." If there was ever a 'pop' death metal song complete with plenty of dragonvoice, this is it. (Ghost Reveries' "Grand Conjuration" will reuse this idea later, and maybe better). The three successive easier to digest songs are, in my opinion, what makes this album Opeth's most popular, but also lesser than other works, including the softer but more daring WATERSHED. I must admit that the final title song is a classic prog metal epic, and there are no bad songs anywhere. But "Drapery" is the only essential track for me.

Just to be clear, average Opeth is better than 90% of so-called progressive metal. BP is still an excellent addition...4/5 stars.

Report this review (#394104)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While perhaps not their creative apex, Blackwater Park is a record any band, metal or not, would be proud of. Enthusiastic, tight and relentlessly inventive with a keen ear for what makes two blazing guitars and a pump-ass rhyth/sec so lusciously satisfying, this band is a model of what we all knew metal could be back when the first glimmers of light were emerging from Britain. The material on previous Still Life may be superior but this one pushed their limitations in other ways, showing a noted maturity in attack and studio sound.

I have no idea if 'The Leper Affinity' is about sympathy for the diseased but it does capture the album's tone with extremes from precision ground assaults to airy escapades of piano and acoustic guitar. 'Harvest' is quieter with just a whiff of Dave Gilmour, and sister song 'The Drapery Falls' even better; an intriguing piece full of unexpected, tasteful melodic shifts & harmonic trickery, and probably the most realized cut here. A jazzy backbone for 'Dirge for November' opens to a wide berth in triplet, and if you don't already know the singer sounds like he's wearing a blue furry suit and holding a bag of Oreos, 'The Funeral Portrait' should clear that up, followed with the title track featuring some sweet ruminations on guitar and the sounds of early Thrash.

Not everything here stays with you after you've walked away but I can't see that disappointing someone already taken by this crack team, and though it may not be getting a ton of rotation on this listener's machine, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Opeth's fifth studio album.

Report this review (#481542)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opeth goes from paradise to hell with "Blackwater Park"

Firstly, I would like to say that I hate so-called "death growls", then listen to this album was not an experience, say, enjoyable. But I decided to go ahead and get over my prejudices to hear this album.

Unfortunately, I could not.

"Blackwater Park" is not only my first experience with Opeth, but also with all manner of Tech / Extreme Prog Metal. For a long time I was afraid to enter this sub-genre, but then decided to take a chance, starting with this album.

I can not say it was one of the best experience. Seriously, I can not understand what leads a person to sing (if one can call it singing) like this - and this is perhaps incapable of understanding that does not make me appreciate this album.

Or maybe there are not many things to be enjoyed here.

The most intriguing thing about Opeth is how they will darkest of aggression for the most complete calm. Like Mikael Akerfeldt can deliver scary growls, he can also sing with unparalleled beauty. This kind of "yin-yang" of heavy metal is a bit complex and hard to swallow, even though the album tends towards the "dark side" of thing - that is, this album is really scary.

I really was not prepared for it. Because for me prog is beauty, harmony, not growls that cut my soul. 3 stars.

Report this review (#505502)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Steven Wilson and Opeth got together on Blackwater Park, with Wilson both performing on some tracks and producing the album. His influence can be particularly heard in the quieter passages of the album, which at points remind me of the indie rock-prog rock mashups Porcupine Tree produced on albums such as Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun.

To be honest, the mix of technically flashy but emotionally distant death metal and approximations of Porcupine Tree doesn't really appeal to me very much, though the experiment was doubtless worth trying and the album may be of interest both to Opeth fans and Porcupine Tree fans interested in what transpired between Lightbulb Sun and In Absentia to prompt the band's radical musical change during that time period.

Report this review (#641588)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was my first taste of Opeth. To this day, I consider it the most representative of the vintage Opeth sound as it not only shows both the soft and dark sides of the band, but uses a nice mix of Akerfeldt's trademark vocals (growls and all). This is readily apparent with the first track ("The Leper Affinity") which comes out strong and then lulls you in a bit and then knocks you over again with the brutal force that Opeth does so well with its music. Opeth's uniqueness is its amazing contrasting style and the creative transitions that bridge these contrasts.

The second track is the aptly named "Bleak" which highlights the dark and hard side of Opeth. In true Opeth form, "Harvest" immediately follows which conversely highlights the soft side of Opeth as this track is almost entirely acoustic.

The fourth track is "The Drapery Falls" and is easily one of my favorite songs from this band. A great mix of singing and growling from Akerfeldt with some oustanding musical hooks really make this a standout track and a great song to introduce people to these Swedish rockers. The rest of the album continues along the same lines as each of the songs (except for the short instrumental "Patterns in the Ivy") takes the listener along an adventure of dark and light, harsh sounds and soothing sounds, for a satisfying experience no matter your mood.

I finally would like to point out that the cover art does a great job of conveying the mood/feeling expressed throughout the album. Blackwater Park is a great place to start for people wanting to be introduced to Opeth and an all-around excellent album.

Report this review (#771753)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Blackwater Park is special in that it was the first Opeth record that Steven Wilson produced, so it sounds absolutely fantastic. Some might say the rawness of the band lost a bit of edginess, especially when the band is at their most rocking, which is a fair point, but the overall sound is still a treat to crank up on a good stereo.

The best thing about this record is that it features four of the best songs Opeth has ever done: Bleak, Harvest, The Drapery Falls and Blackwater Park. Those four songs are, by any measure, among the best these Swedes have ever written. Patterns in the Ivy is an absolutely gorgeous piano/acoustic tune, and then the rest is a mixed bag in that they are all songs with great moments - the piano outro in The Leper Affinity; the gorgeous electric guitar outro in Dirge for November; the rad as hell acoustic intro in The Funeral Portrait - but overall those songs are all fairly run of the mill Opeth songs; not really standouts songs, and they prevent the album from being anything more than 4 stars for me.

Report this review (#802210)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got this album after I already had Heritage, Watershed, Damnation and Ghost Reveries by Opeth. They all impressed me, but none as much as Blackwater Park. This is a truly monumental collection of songs that all work together to create an atmosphere that most musicians would die to be able to form. The production on this album is phenomenal, it sounds great. Let's get into the individual tracks! The Leper Affinity This song didn't really impress me on the first listen, but after about 5 more listens I started to appreciate it more. This track has it all: brutal growling from Mikael Akerfeldt, memorable riffs, beautiful acoustic breaks, even a nice piano ending. The musicianship of the band really shows on this track. The only problem I have is that there is a really nice part before the piano ending. The guitar plays a nice melody in this section, and it was cut way too short. We don't really have enough time to appreciate it. 8/10 Bleak This is one of my favourites from this album. It starts out with a killer riff, and the growling is introduced. This song has a memorable 'chorus' (if that's what you wish to call it), where a melody (and a nice melody at that) is sung with clean vocals, with the words 'Devious movement in your eyes''. This song has lots of nice instrumental breaks, with time signature changes and changes in texture, really making this song something special. 9/10 Harvest This is a nice song, softer than the last two. It doesn't contain any growling, and has a memorable chorus melody. It is a nice cool-down track from the madness of the last two, but by no means does that mean it is bad. This is in fact one of Opeth's most famous songs. 8/10 The Drapery Falls This is another of Opeth's most famous songs. This was my favourite off the album after my first listen. It opens with cold-sounding acoustic strumming, before segueing into another memorable, killer riff. The verses of this song are some of the best I've ever heard in an Opeth song, and the beautiful melody of the line 'Pull me down again, and guide me into pain' really shows how Opeth can combine brutality with melody, something which most bands struggle to do. Additional background vocals by Steven Wilson are also good. 9/10 Dirge for November I seem to be the only person in existence who loves this song. The introduction with the vocals and guitar is one of the most interesting and beautiful moments on this album. Then, when the heavy guitars and drumming come in, the song really turns special. It's a song which is quite hard to describe, have a listen yourself and see if you like it. 9/10 The Funeral Portrait This song starts with a chilling riff played on the acoustic guitar. This riff is then played by the electric guitars, with the growling coming in soon after. I feel like this track drags on a little, and is a little boring at times. However, I loved the bit where Mikael sings 'And you are just like them all, stained by the names of fathers'. This is a good song, but probably the weakest of the album. 7/10 Patterns in the Ivy This song is a nice calm breather, and acts as an intro to the final track. It would have been better if it was a bit longer (I felt like it was cut short a little). 8/10 Blackwater Park The final track of the album begins with a dark-sounding riff. I didn't really 'get' this song on my first listen, but I do now. After a short acoustic break, the song plunges into some of the best growling I've heard from Mikael Akerfeldt. After this, there is a longer soft break, which sounds a little like the beginning of Dirge For November (except without the vocals). The riff from the earlier growling section then comes in, and from there, the song just becomes more and more intense. 8/10

Overall, a very good album. 9 out of 10 stars.

Report this review (#827687)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Powerful is the principal adjective that comes to mind when I hear this album. Each track has an air of authority to it that gives the album a truly commendable level of focus and drive from start to finish. Musically cohesive, varied, and balanced, yet undeniably bombastic, it really packs a significant punch!

Every section of every song presents a melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic motive that is not only aggressive, but pleasantly tuneful and memorable. One of the the things I most appreciate about Opeth is their ability to take metal textures and moods and turn them into pleasantly singable motives. I love the amount of diligence that goes into the crafting of each thematic idea and the formal organization. To me, one of Mikael Akerfeldt's biggest strengths as a songwriter/composer is his deftness at measuring just how long each passage is supposed to go on for to get the point across and make it truly memorable without having it overstay its welcome. There is clear deliberation behind each section, and as dense as each one is, there are many opportunities for further discoveries on future listens, ensuring high replay value and bolstering my opinion of the listening experience as a whole.

Granted, in my opinion, not every moment is absolutely flawless, as some parts seem to dip a little from what are in my books the clear peaks of the album. But these dips are highly subjective, as they seem to be sections that other reviewers laud quite frequently. For example, I'm not entirely sold on Harvest, and Dirge for November isn't a 5-star song to me, but I can understand and appreciate where other reviewers are coming from in praising these songs as such, and I think that's one of the aspects of this album that does make it a true progressive landmark: the ability to connect with an audience in a wide variety of unique ways, yet still communicating a universal message of musical mastery and emotional depth.

As stated, some moments might not be perfect in my book, but the album as a whole does more than just balance them out when factoring the highlights because of its solid sense of cohesion, balance, emotion, and musicality. This is a terrific album with some truly phenomenal tracks, particularly The Leper Affinity, The Drapery Falls, and Blackwater Park, which is in my top 10 songs of all time. In my book, it's leaps-and-bounds better that a large number of tracks put out by even the most well-known and highly celebrated prog groups throughout all generations. It's just that good to me, and I like th think of myself as a very discerning listener. Yes, it is possible for a death metal group to deserve such accolades. If you still haven't heard any of Opeth's material and are unsure if the praise is deserved, I implore you to strip away your negative judgments and preconceived notions. There's pure, unadulterated artistry to be found within this forceful package, and it yields truly phenomenal rewards upon first hearing and innumerable returns with each subsequent listen.

Report this review (#950171)
Posted Friday, April 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ok, a new genre for me and a band with beautiful covers and an interesting approach. This is Blackwater Park from 2001 with the Swedish metal band Opeth. It's Opeth's fifth studio record(of ten) and shows a grey landskape with shadow figures in the background. It both impressed and in the end made me little confused.

What I like is their composite of very heavy metal and acoustic gitarr, piano and the strong melodies they use. Though for me it's too much of the heaviness. It creves something to get motivation to listen to everything. But I prefer actually the heavy parts before the weak parts where the singer sings suppressed like in a quiet megaphone or a walkie talkie. I like the most melodic parts where the guitar plays it's part but I think I miss keyboard or more piano even in the heavy parts.

Blackwater Park features Mikael Ĺkerfeldt (Vocals, guitar), Peter Lindgren(guitars), Martin Lopez(drums), Martin Mendez(bass) and Steven Wilson(voice, guitar, piano). It could be Wilson's voice I don't like!

The best songs here are: "The drapery dalls" with a symphonic melody and both heavy and mild passages, "The funeral portrait" with a great guitar solo and a beautiful melody in the end. The first song "The Leper Affinity" also shows it's great mixture. Especially a mild guitar round in the end is lovely. I actually think every track has qualities and could give a flavor of Opeth. Even if this doesn't turn me on I will listen to this band again because new music can be hard to embrace.

Report this review (#984515)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars I know i'm in the minority when I say that BLACKWATER PARK does for me like every other OPETH album i've heard. Basically I can sit through the first half of the album and then I tolerate the rest but never totally getting into it. This like many of theirs is a sprawling hour plus album that seems to be extremely popular. I can only guess why I am the odd dog out with this group. I don't mind their sound at all. It's just that 70 minutes of the same tempos, overused riffs and endlessly long acoustic passes just doesn't float my boat. I have come to a conclusion that OPETH is a kind of death metal lite. An extreme metal sound that is really a psychedelic rock band at heart. The tempos and much of the music has a monotonous groove to it. It is not as technically demanding to listen to like other extreme death metal bands like Gorguts, Cynic or even less progressive brutal bands like Behemoth or even Deicide for that matter.

BLACKWATER PARK is an interesting listen just to hear Steven Wilson on board contributing to playing music and producing. Can't say i'm a huge fan of the finished product and I much prefer the Porcupine Tree releases that this collaboration would influence. I have had many a friend or acquaintance rave about OPETH and I always ask them what they find so appealing. No one really knows for sure but they tend not to love extreme metal and even find that OPETH opened up the gates for them to walk into the wonderful world of extreme metal. So all I can say is kudos to OPETH for putting out records that are recruiting stations for metalheads. Even if i'm not the biggest fan of their music, I certainly am a fan of their influence. And I have to say that I do like a few songs when the album starts. I just wish that it would develop into something more interesting.

Report this review (#1180740)
Posted Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars The greatest thing about Prog Archives is that it allows us access to music we might not normally hear. I live in the city of Pekin, Illinois, an even more conservative neighbor of the relatively conservative city of Peoria. Therefore, the radio choices are limited. Probably the only contemporary rock band listed on this website that you're likely to hear regularly is Tool. The point is that Prog Archives is probably the only way that I would have found Opeth's music. In fact, I think I owe a debt to the moderators of the Tech/Extreme Metal section of PA.

I've found a lot of really great music in this section, and so I have listened to several of Opeth's releases. I like a lot of death or black metal - influenced bands, although I wouldn't call myself a hardcore fan of those subgenres.. I love Enslaved, My Dying Bride, and Leprous, for instance. Considering the generally high opinion of Opeth expressed on Prog Archives, I wish I liked them more. I'm just not entirely convinced by their take on black metal and progressive rock. I did pick the Blackwater Park album because it's considered by many to be the band's crowning achievement. For my money, the best tracks on Blackwater Park are "Bleak", "Harvest", "The Leper Affinity", and the title track.

The rest of the album is fine, but it doesn't really stick with me. One of the tests of a band for me is whether their songs stick with me when I'm not actually to them. The issue is certainly not musicianship; everyone in the band certainly knows what they're doing. Most of the songs just overstay their welcome a bit. I do enjoy Blackwater Park more than some of Opeth's other albums, and I understand why many people consider this progressive. Musical taste, however, is ultimately a very subjective thing. Taking into account the good things on Blackwater Park and its value for progressive rock fans, I'm giving the album 3 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#1264760)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth's 'Blackwater Park' is without doubt my favourite offering from the Scandinavian 4-piece. In this album we find Opeth at their absolute best, both creatively and musically. The songs presented here are hugely varied, transitioning flawlessly all the way from extreme death metal through to acoustic folk music, and (almost) everything in-between. There are moments of hard rock, progressive rock, acoustic folk music. There are delicious keyboards and mellotron, supplied by none other than Mr Steven Wilson. All of the elements that Opeth have become famous for before this album are displayed perfectly here, polished and utterly coherent within these 8 glorious tracks. The production here is first rate, there is a huge dynamic range and a real depth to the music.

The opening song, 'The Leper Affinity' drags the listener into the record violently and almost without warning. That opening extreme metal section is just so perfect for the start of an Opeth record! But before long we are into something more technical, and then the song blossoms and transforms, morphing between styles in true progressive nature. Make no doubt about it, this song is highly progressive and extremely innovative, and is indicative of what is to come.

Trying to describe each track would be pointless, there is just too much going on throughout. Simply put it is an album which has to be heard to be understood, as most progressive works are. It's safe to say there isn't a single bit of filler anywhere here. Every note, every beat and every vocal has its place. But more than that, every song has its own identity. Nothing here is repeated, and Opeth aren't afraid to try something totally different for each of their songs, like the entirely acoustic 'Harvest'.

The saddest aspect about Opeth is that their extreme metal sections, of which there are a lot on this album, are going to put some listeners off from trying this album out. And that's a shame. For me it is their blending of progressive rock, folk and extreme death metal which make Opeth so unique and special, and I wouldn't have them any other way!

In my humble opinion 'Blackwater Park' is the only album in the Opeth catalogue of music which deserves a 5-star rating.

Report this review (#1433801)
Posted Friday, July 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rarely does there come a band like Opeth. Opeth present a certain sound and atmosphere that always create a cause for conversation within the rock community, good or bad. Trademarking their style of progressive death metal, they seem to follow the formula better than most, of course creating the frightening metal/soothing prog combo that a fan or detractor can smell a mile away. In essence, they may be the ultimate definition of "love 'em or hate 'em" in the realms of metal. However, there should be no argument on their best album, 2001's Blackwater Park.

The heaps of acclaim sitting atop this recording seem overly massive, but it's only because of how true the claims are. This is truly the defining album of Opeth's career, after many high-quality albums that seemed to be building toward this grand moment. The riffs are titanic, the melodies seamless, the vocals heavenly (and scary), and the rhythm section explosive. Basically, imagine if your favorite artist was making an immense mural of the best moments in your musical life; then, somehow, he uses a form of magic to let you step inside and see for yourself.

We start with "The Leper Affinity", most likely the best piece written in Opeth's history. A dissonant chord fades in and introduces the first riff... a massive, pounding, intensely atonal chord progression that really digs into your core. Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals, while gutteral and raging, are also very cold and bone chilling. The sheets of guitar distortion offer a very vivid backdrop of the same effectively hollow atmosphere that haunts this album's duration. Riff after riff pounds the listener into submission until a very neoclassical melody kicks in, leading into the solo. The solo here is absolutely mind-bending, showing that a guitarist doesn't need to show off or wank on the instrument to get the point across. The acoustic section in the middle is also bone-chilling, but for a different reason. It's remarkable how effective such a simplistic guitar melody is when paired up with Mikael's vocals thrown in, and nothing feels contrived whatsoever. Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson leads the song out on an eerie note, with sparse piano notes played for about 2 minutes.

Even with such an amazing opener, the rest of the songs never disappoint either. "Bleak" lends its hand with a dark Middle-Eastern beginning before hellishly crawling across the eardrums in a great 3-minute mosh-fest. Steven Wilson, once again, provides vocals; this time for the chorus. The acoustic passage, once again, is stunning and well-placed as a nice respite from the musical war taking place. Meanwhile, the peaceful "Harvest" gives the listener some good ear-room with nice folk melodies. "The Drapery Falls" begins as more of a power-ballad, before morphing into heavy (but emotional) interlude where the growls return in very nice form.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how well Opeth combine multiple styles together without sounding disjointed in any way. Take the epic title track for instance; the song features many sections of repetition, but they're complimented by the extremely pleasant layers of instrumentation... it's like a monolith that takes many listens to fully open up in full. "Dirge For November" is the same way as well. It begins with an acoustic intro/passage that could've easily fit on Still Life's "Benighted", but then explodes into a fully realized metal song with the same dark guitar sound layering it. While the sound is loud, it also has a magically subtle quality about it, which is absolutely remarkable in and of itself.

The band members are no slouches at their instruments either. Mikael (the man himself!) shows incredible diversity with his vocals and guitar work, ranging from genres like metal, progressive rock, jazz, folk, classical, and more. Martin Lopez gives a suitably percussive-yet-shifty tone that compliments each swift change in the music. Peter Lindgren holds his own very well against Akerfeldt's style, and even throws in some nifty soloing of his own. Martin Mendez is stunningly underrated in this record, giving the dark, swift basslines his own personal stamp of quality as his instrument weaves in and out of the other musical action.

All I can conclude with is this: This is a record that everyone must own. Every generation and every country should adore an album like this, as one like Blackwater Park rarely makes itself known. If you like music and consider it art, this is a must.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1445894)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars At this stage of their career, Mikael 'kerfeldt and company were a little heavier, a little harsher, a little more ensconced in the world, sounds, and stylings of metal music. As a matter of fact much of the music is not so very far removed from the metal of the 1980s. Some of the differences include: the influence of djent guitar sounds and playing styles; the different lead guitar sounds used here--they are a little more evolved from those used in the 80s; Mikael's use of death metal growls; the way the drums are recorded, and; the greater presence of the machine gun bass drum play. Also Opeth shows a tendency to the use of longer song forms with multiple style formats incorporated within each--as is put on display right from the start on "The Leper Affinity" (10:21) (8/10). The two best songs are by far and away "Harvest" (6:02) (10/10) and "Drapery Falls" (10:55) with its wonderfully memorable multi-instrument-played melody carried through to the end (10/10). The title song (12:08) is also quite a nice composition--it's performances quite powerful. (9/10) As everyone recognizes, I will here reiterate: Mr. 'kerfeldt has quite a lovely voice when he's singing in his normal voice. I am glad that he eventually moved away from this aggressive, abrasive style of music--though I recognize the talent and skill involved in creating music such as is present here.

A solid four star album from some seriously talented musicians.

Report this review (#1499349)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Me too, I must add a four stars rating to what's one the finest Opeth record's ever. Blackwater Park is a concept about a park for leper people, in eight songs: the violent Leper Affinity, powerful Bleak, quiet Harvest, nostalgic Drapery Falls, sad Dirge For November, evil Funeral Portrait, instrumental Patterns In The Ivy and merely brutal Blackwater Park. No doubt this is extreme metal blending prog influences (jazzy chords, asymmetrical rhythms, ten minutes pieces). However, Opeth isn't a technical metal band as Meshuggah with impossible riffs or as Symphony X which plays lightning fast. Opeth's tortuous riffs are an element of their style but each part isn't so complicated: there are still a lot of four chords riffs, rhythmic linearity and a restraint of a single minor key. But whereas some bands like Iron Maiden are just using receipts of the genre with talent, Opeth has moreover the ability to make the mould softer by arranging uncountable surprises and bringing originality, especially a melodic finesse (chromatism, dissonances, unusual scales). Actually, Opeth's trademark may be in the balance between melody and the art of headbanging riff. Which is the most impressive in this album is the formal mastery. Each part has a reason to be because it brings something new and fits perfectly at the same time. From that point of view, Opeth reveals itself as brillant as the big names respected on this website. Yes, I mean it!
Report this review (#1536234)
Posted Sunday, March 6, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars As a long-time fan of progressive metal, Opeth was a band name that kept popping up. I knew the day would come that I'd have to give them a shot, so where better to start than what seems to be one of their more highly-praised albums; 'Blackwater Park'.

Now, the whole doom and gloom death metal shouting has never really been my cup of tea. I can tolerate it in small doses, and when used in certain contexts it can be very effective, but too much of it is, well, too much! And Opeth have a lot of it!

But if I need to, I can look past that. And in this case, I can (just about) tolerate it, because Opeth have some incredible guitar acrobatics going on! The guitar riffs are so complex and intricate, there's a lot of things going on but at no point does any of it become overbearing. It sounds dark and gritty, but there's some really intelligent riffs going on here.

There are times when vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt sings cleans, and these are some of the more stand-out moments for me. And with some pretty amazing musicianship displayed in pieces like 'Bleak', 'The Funeral Portrait' and 'Harvest', there are some songs worth coming back to. Even if the singing is nothing more than unintelligible gibberish.

Opeth will never be my favourite band, and 'Blackwater Park' won't be an album I intend to go back to very often. But for what it is, it hasn't deterred me from sticking with the Swedish band for a while longer.

Report this review (#1781112)
Posted Monday, September 11, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now Opeth is one of the most affirmed prog entity (and it is all deserved), but there was a time when they were something different. I started listening to them with the former album "Still life", and immediately I came back to their older stuff. Now mixing death metal and prog could appear nothing revolutionary, but in the 90's it sounded completely new. And I think no one else did it with the same feeling, technical expertise and great songwriting as Opeth.

I remember buying this record with big expectations and some doubt, as I was thinking "Still life" could have been unmatchable. But at the first listening to "Blackwater park" I understood my expectations were not only fulfilled but even exceeded. It was 2001 and at that time I was totally into metal music. Even though I was listening to some prog as well (I was listening to Marillion since I was13), my ears were not prepared for a total prog immersion. I know prog purists would not like this record, but for me (it is something difficult to explain) it represented my complete acceptance of the genre, probably because it was a prog record recorded by metal musicians. From then my prog explorations started, in parallel with Opeth journey: mastermind Mikael Ĺkerfeldt changed his creature through different paths, always sorrounded by great musicians, alternating prog, metal and even acoustic music, clean voice and growling.

In this album Opeth have my favorite line-up. Mikael Ĺkerfeldt is simply perfect: I love both his growling and clean voice, and his guitar sound is superb; the rhythmic section is well-matched, with a technical setting that seems almost jazz based: it was particularly evident in live sets, and it is something I now regret, new bassist and drummers are great but this feeling misses; Peter Lindgren was the perfect complement to the main-man guitar soloing.

All the album is a mix of aggressive and harsh death metal with growling voice and delicate acoustic parts with a very delicate voice. Every song is very intricate and if you listen to the whole album it is like you are on a rollercoaster. All of them are very long, from 8 to 12 minutes each, with two exceptions: the mellow interlude "Patterns in the ivy", a very short song but at the same time very beautiful (there is a second part of it in "Damnation" album) and the acoustic ballad "Harvest", in my opinion one of the highest creative peaks in Opeth career. But all the album is a sort of "best of", so that at least there are three songs that they often play live still now: "Bleak", "The leper affinity" and "The drapery falls".

Two last observations: the record was produced by Steven Wilson (and production is great); the cover art is fantastic and perfectly shows the mix of melancholy and hope that is the backbone of this masterpiece.

Report this review (#1867349)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | Review Permalink

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