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Opeth Still Life album cover
4.28 | 1813 ratings | 120 reviews | 51% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Moor (11:28)
2. Godhead's Lament (9:47)
3. Benighted (5:01)
4. Moonlapse Vertigo (9:00)
5. Face of Melinda (7:59)
6. Serenity Painted Death (9:14)
7. White Cluster (10:02)

Total Time 62:31

Bonus DVD-Video from 2008 Peaceville remaster:
DVD 1-DVD 7 Full album in 5.1 Surround mix
DVD 8. Bonus Video Track: Face of Melinda (Live 2006 London) (8:59)

Line-up / Musicians

- Mikael Åkerfeldt / electric & semi-electric guitars, vocals, producer
- Peter Lindgren / guitars
- Martin Mendez / basses (Fender Precision, Samick 5-string fretless)
- Martin Lopez / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith (including new art for the 2008 Digibook) with Timo Ketola (logo)

2xLP Peaceville ‎- DLPVILE78 (2002, Europe) Limited edition

CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILE 78 (1999, UK)
CD+DVDv Peaceville ‎- CDVILED183X (2008, UK) Remastered w/ bonus DVD including album 5.1 Surround mix plus Live video track from "Roundhouse Tapes"; Remaster & remix by Jens Bogren

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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OPETH Still Life ratings distribution

(1813 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(51%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

OPETH Still Life reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by billyshears'67
5 stars The BEST prog metal album of all-time. The album begins with the ominous creeping intro of "The Moor," which then segues into a beautiful acoustic melody and then madness. Brilliance and dynamics is what this album is. Opeth are the savious of metal. Mikael's clean vocals were constantly evolving and becoming greater. He also posseses the best growl, if you will, ever. You can coherently understand all the words even when he's not singing. A great concept album and very tragic story. Has a somber atmosphere of lost love. "The Moor" is everything that is Opeth. It's the entire package and my favorite song of theirs. "Godhead's Lament" is magnificent and has a really good folk part in the middle of the song. "Benighted" is one of their best all clean vocal songs, with great acoustic guitar work. "Moonlapse Vertigo" possesses one of the best Opeth riffs. Great song and really shows that each song the album really has an identity. "Face of Melinda" is their best all clean vocals song ever and is one of their best songs. The musicianship and songwriting skill in this song is highly intelligible. "Serenity Painted Death" is one of the strongest songs in their repertoire and is very aggressive, being the album's heaviest song. Martin Lopez's percussion is incredible in this song. "White Cluster" closes the story with incredible intensity and solo's. Some of the vocal parts in this song are very ominous and really suit the part of the story. This album is so incredilby unique and the way the guitars are doing things entirely differently simultaneously, but still making incredbile melodies is so impressive and so original in this kind of music. Opeth are mortal legends.
Review by FloydWright
5 stars Although I'm not sure which is my favorite OPETH album of those I've heard thus far ( My Arms, Your Hearse and Damnation are also way up there), Still Life is probably the best in terms of overall production, concept, coherence, and even packaging. The production is close to flawless, aside form a few glitches with the drums (less noticeable here than on MAYH). What really distinguishes this one from the others, musically, is Martín Méndez' excellent bass, mixed more prominently than anywhere else, and really given a chance to shine. "Godhead's Lament" and "Face of Melinda", but most especially "White Cluster" stand out as examples of his impressive work.

The concept of Still Life is apparently a prequel to Orchid, in which a person, cast out by his society, wanders out into the forest, and there, for unknown reasons, the life slowly ebbs out of him until he dies. On Still Life, we get to see the events leading up to his final wanderings. Banished already by a mostly hateful society over what seems to be a difference in beliefs (he knows that they are behaving immorally), he returns for one reason only: his beloved Melinda, the one virtuous woman left in the place. When he finds her, however, he discovers one of the men of that corrupt society having his way with her. Still, he continues to love her and remains determined to get her out of that place. However, they are both captured and sentenced to death--we see Melinda's execution by hanging. His turn would have been next, but for (I am told by a friend) the mercy of a young man we see in life on Morningrise and also as the spirit on MAYH. From there, the outcast goes alone on his final voyage.

Musically, it seems to me that this album makes the most use of recurring musical themes of any of the others I've heard, without becoming at all tiresome. Commonalities appear between "The Moor", "Moonlapse Vertigo", and "Serenity Painted Death", for instance. There isn't a single weak track on here. Furthermore, this one seems to be balanced almost half and half between metal and softer acoustic sections. This is also the first album to feature all four of the current members. Perhaps one of the most strikingly unusual moments in the OPETH catalogue occurs on "White Cluster", with a rapid, haunting bass riff and intentionally dissonant, eerie vocals from Mikael Akerfelt. There is also a strange section of "Serenity Painted Death" that captures something almost 1970s in the guitar tone.

Overall, this is certainly a must-have album, and while I can't make a choice myself, it's easy to see why so many consider this album to be OPETH's best.

Review by TRoTZ
5 stars The fourth album of Opeth came as the mellowest album, considering the previous releases. And the reason what could it be? A woman, Melinda. She's the inspiration. A man goes back, facing his suffering past with the hope to convert her to him "Melinda is the reason why I've come". Somehow, he knows that on that trip his destiny will decide: to "prosper or fall" (pronounce of a tragedy? We'll see).

Instrumentally, we can see the Opeth's mark on the album: long and complex songs structured with: parts containing heavy complex riffs and Mikael Akerfeldt's growls; intercalated with extreme soft and mellow acoustic parts as seen in PORCUPINE DREAM (but in my opinion, even deeper).

This album has two tracks with no growls, which are Benighted and one of the best of the album, Face of Melinda. But those tracks which have growls (and this is for those people who don't like growls at all, like me), these tracks have excellent melodious and calm passages between, emotionally intense (I never seen such beauty). And in the parts of growls, focus on the guitar riffs (which are great, so powerful and complex), try to abstract from Mike's growling and you'll see you'll get used to. But then I realized it is the best way to show the anger, the suffering, the emotional tension! The album starts with the 11 minute suite The Moore, where there are impressive heavy guitar riffs which leads to parts of such a calm, tender, melodious and epic guitar work (specially in 7:20 minute). This transition touches you in a way you can not imagine. It's like you're in the dark, in the shadows and slowly you are transported to heaven, relieving all the pain. Fantastic extreme sensations! Then it comes the angst at the end of the music. One word just to Akerfeldt's transitions on the voice, he is superb. For those who don't like growls this could be a good song to get used to. Be patient, listen 3, 4 or more times, do what I said before and you will see. Godhead's Lament is an image of the previous track, with excellent heavy riffs leading to melodious subtle parts. The peace song Benighted is exclusively acoustic. The album gets again into form with the great ambience of Moonlapse Vertigo. Face of Melinda is a two parts suite, the first with several epic beautiful acoustic arrangements as Mike describes Melinda; the second part is the climax, with exploding electric guitar riffs leading the tension. The album ends with Serenity Painted Death (which shows the most elaborated riffs of the album) and White Cluser, heavier tracks predicting the death of the main character, ending tragically this album. Melinda was from other man.

A superb album, presenting you fantastic extreme sensations!

My rate: 8,5/10

Review by frenchie
5 stars Opeth's fourth studio album see's them expanding their sound, continuing in a prog trend. This album starts to show off some of Mikael's more emotional, mellow vocals. I think on the first albums he wasn't very confident with singing, he usually favoured death metal screams (which i also love). He has such a beautiful singing voice and it stands out well on this album. I think this one is a lot mellower than the others, especially their previous effort, "My Arms Your Hearse". This album has a lot more balance on it. The metal sections are still strong, powerful and blow the listener away. The death metal screams work really well when they are used. There are more acoustic breaks and classical guitar passages, as well as their trademark gloomy aura that sounds like a ghost in the fog (which would explain why all their album covers have ghostly presences on them).

Opeth's sound has very much matured on this album, their blend of metal and classic acoustic passages and breaks are a lot more consistent than before. This album shows off Mikael Akerfeldt to be (in my opinion) the best songwriter in the field of death metal. Opeth give us so much variability in their guitar sound that it can appeal to fans of heavy metal as well as those that like amazing acoustic work. Mikael can safely go down as one of the best acoustic players out there, combined with his incredible voice, he has a magic touch which puts him up there with the big players. He is very original and such a treat to listen to.

"Still Life" is Opeth's step into a brave new world (compared to the three albums before this). It is very confident and they have obviously settled into a comfortable sound and formula for making a great record that conquers both balance and fluidity. This album is very mature and an amazing listen in terms of metal as well as progressive rock.

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

First of all, why I listen to this album?

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

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

How the music is like?

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

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

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

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

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

How may I suggest YOU?

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

Progressively yours,

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

Review by The Crow
5 stars For me this is the first Opeth's masterpiece, and of course it's also one of their best albums

Dan Swäno's production is very proffesional, and the guitar's sound is killer! The riffs of Serenity Painted Death and White Cluster are amazing, for example. And here we can hear a clear improvement in the acoustic parts too, which sound in a more melodic and classic way, not as dark as in Orchid or My Arms Your Hearse, much more in the vein of the 70's influenced Morningrise.

For that reason, I think this album is the true follow-up of the excellent Morningrise but much better and mature. I consider that in My Arms, Your Hearse they lost the right direction a bit, despite being a very good album. Face of Melinda, for example, it's almost a sequel of the song To Bid You Farewell from Morningrise.

Conclusion: the best album for Opeth's beginners, and one of the best metal albums of all time. The band reached their next level with this record, taking all that they learned in the three previous efforts and achieving an incredible mastery in songwriting.

To be experienced many, many times. An immortal classic!

Best Tracks: Every song in Still Life is marvelous, and I can't really decide which are the best. Maybe The Moor, Godhead's Lament and Face Of Melinda are a little over the rest, but all the others are great too.

My rating: *****

Review by Vanwarp
5 stars If one is looking for a proper introduction to Opeth, I think Still Life would be a good place to start. To begin with, the album has more varied influences going for it than the remainder of the bands back catalog, and it also remains firmly in touch with the bands extreme progressive metal roots. In addition, it also has the whole concept thing going for it, it's got "Benighted" which is an all acoustic gem that is just like those progressive rock songs that we find on Damnation, and it's got both the death growls and clean vocals going for it as well. It might very well be the most varied album they've ever released - the one that best reveals what Opeth is really all about - musically speaking.

Damnation was an all acoustic album, certainly more progressive rock than progressive metal. Every other Opeth album is more extreme in nature with a good mix between the soft and the more intense brutal moments of their music.

What most Opeth fans like about the band is not just the music or the poetic lyrics, it's the way the band puts everything together, the song-writing, the craftsmanship, all the intricate arrangements, the immense talent within the band and how everything is done so perfectly and so flawlessly well. And just as some bands will be remembered for their hits, some will be remembered and revered for all the contributions they made to a particular genre or musical style. Opeth will simply be one of those bands standing tall in the extreme progressive metal genre! And because of songs like "Benighted" and progressive rock albums like Damnation, they may also have an appearance in the Progressive Rock category!

The concept behind Still Life centers around the story of an exiled man who returns home only to find his beloved Melinda married to another. It's a tragic tale of love and death in a cruel and fatalistic world with a most cynical look at human society. The music of Still Life is sometimes heavy, melodic and violent, and at other times it is soft, calm and soothing.

Everybody has their own individual music preferences partially based on their life experiences, their mood and whatever or however the music moves them. So, if a lot of people are saying that this music and this album is great...though I agree with them, I must admit that this reality does not necessarily make it so for "everybody." I accept the fact that some individuals simply don't like extreme music and/or they may only enjoy the softer side of the progressive musical scale. There's nothing wrong with that, nor with the fact that some may simply not be open to other musical genres and styles. But, if you are like me and you are open minded and enjoy a little variation in your life, then quite possibly you will appreciate good progressive music no matter what the influences, genre or style it is...

Still Life!

Review by Marc Baum
5 stars Opeth's 4th full length album completely blew away any expectations I had after beginning with the impressive Blackwater Park. This is without a doubt my favorite album of them because this is when I felt the band began clicking on all cylinders. Beginning with "Still Life" and aided by some of the best production I have ever heard, they have created an album beyond epic proportions. This album contains the perfect mix of acoustic, electric guitars and distorted fury which the previous albums didn't have. Technically speaking maybe not their best album but it is certainly up there. Simply put, the cleaner, better produced guitars either give the sound a more atmospheric, ethereal feel. This either makes the epic guitar harmonies feel much better than previous efforts or that they are just that amazing.

The slight change of heavy vocals has Mikael going to a cleaner, more epic low death growl which seemed to alienate but I consider his most controlled, well rounded guttural vocals. His clean vocals have also noticably improved (possibly production aided) and without a doubt the best part is there is a much more varied alternation between the harsh and clean vocal styles. Lyrically speaking, I couldnt think of a better concept and the lyrics are some of the best I have ever had the privilege of hearing.

Still Life is a concept album about a man who is outcast from his village for his religious beliefs. However he returns for his lover Melinda, only to see she has become a nun. Still, Melinda decides to run off with her lover, abandoning her faith. But, just when everything seems to be going perfectly, the story takes a dramatic turn, and ends in a very Shakespearian fashion.

As for the music, it is nothing short of brilliant. Containing beautiful acoustic segments followed by powerful metal riffs as well as some good prog rock, blues and jazz moments the album shows the bands wide array of taste in music. However the album comes together perfectly with none of the music sounding the least bit out of place or far out of style. The album is also filled with a powerful atmosphere of small medieval villages and dark, foggy forests capturing the essence of the lyrics and bringing the story even more to life.

Starting out with the masterful "The Moor" the album gets going with a bang. After a long haunting intro, there’s a short Spanish guitar piece, which feeds into a brutal metal movement. Finally the vocals come in red with fury. After switching between clean and death segments for a while there is a beautiful acoustic part where Mikeal sings alone with his guitar, putting the listener into a lull, before the they are blown away by one more burst of fury. The brilliant composition plus the extreme amount of emotion placed into this song make this one of my favorite pieces of music ever. "Godheads Lament" is similar to the first song, containing an equal amount of death and clean vocals. However the highlight of the song is the renascence part in the middle where Mikeal beautifully sings, "what would they care if I would stay, no one would know-know-know" conveying a masterfully painful want for Melinda to be with him always. Still the songs conclusion is nothing short of awesome as Mikael crushes the listener with some fearsome growls. "Benighted" is a change being all clean vocals and all acoustic (other than the solo). The song contains some beautiful melancholic plucking and a very nice jazzy solo. "Moonlapse Vertigo" is basically a typical Opeth song other than the jazzy middle segment, which leads up to a very cool guitar solo. Then there’s another all clean vocal song "Face of Melinda". Most of the song is bitter sweet and jazzy, but near the end the song explodes into a dramatic metallic climax, although the vocals remain clean. Then comes the heaviest song on the album, "Serenity Painted Death". In this song Mikeal does some pseudo-rapping in the groovy chorus. There are also some good clean vocal lines in this song. The only problem I have with the song (and basically my only problem with the whole album) is the ending cuts off right in the middle of the song. No conclusion, no fade out, just STOP! Apparently Opeth did not want the final four songs to all fade out, so they opted for this random and frustrating ending. The final song is "White Cluster". After a massive metal start, the song slows down to a single guitar. From there it explodes into a final vicious growl and then some excellent soloing. The song then ends with some solid clean segments, and then a reflective acoustic movement, which is more of an afterthought. The song ends this masterful album perfectly.

This album may alienate many old-school Opeth fans and still not be accessible enough to people who cannot tolerate any guttural style vocals but Opeth have created an album worth ranting and raving over. Highest possible recommendation of this undoubtable masterpiece.

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 97 % 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

Review by sleeper
4 stars Opeth's Still Life is my introduction to this Progressive Metal band from Sweden and its about time too. The main reason I held of is probably the same as anyone else's who waited a long time to discover them. Its the Death Metal vocals. I am not, generally, a fan of songs with the vocals in this style for any length of time, but here I finally decided to get past the fact that Mikael Akerfeldt sings in this style and just listen to it.

At first I paid no attention to the vocals and listened to the music. And impressive music it is. This is an album filled with feeling in the slower sections and beautifully performed acoustic passages but it also hits home with some killer riffs that grab the attention and hold it. The music is extremely diverse and the contrast between loud and soft, fast and slow, works very well here. Its this contrast that makes it such a good album, building the feeling of melancholy and despondency around the moments of sheer beauty and crushing power.

As I have listened to this album more and more then dislike I had for the death metal style of vocals has lessoned considerably, to the point were I can safely say that I actually like them, something that would have been an absolutely astonishment to me when I started getting into prog. His growls are melodic and deep, sounding almost natural and certainly lack the high and raspy quality I have found in several others that sing in this style and even that Akerfeldt himself used on the bands first two albums, a big improvement.

Still Life is in effect the culmination of the style that the band pursued on its predecessor; My Arms, Your Hearse. It no longer has the raw, visceral quality of Orchid and Morningrise whilst being a more polished and rounded form of the style on My Arms, Your Hearse. Its on here that you here the band becoming stable and adept at what they do and marking themselves out as being truly unique.

Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable album, and can honestly say that I had heard nothing like it before listening to Still Life. Its an excellent album that encapsulates beauty and raw power effortlessly, however its not the bands best as they will improve upon this with the follow up, Blackwater Park, which will be the high water point of their career. The difference between the two is mainly in the atmosphere, were Blackwater Park just encapsulates that feeling of melancholic doom and gloom like no other album. 4.5 stars for a very impressive album.

Review by imoeng
5 stars Still Life

This is Opeth fourth studio album and was released in 1999, just after My Arms, Your Hearse. The style of the songs is pretty much the same with the previous album, a combination of progressive and death metal.

This album is rather different a bit of other Opeth's album, and for me, this is the most beautiful and melodic album from them. In my opinion, this was because the story of the album is rather sadder and ironic compared to other albums. The story is about a man who searches his beloved Melinda, but Melinda, at that time, has been engaged to someone else. However, then Melinda stayed with the man who searched for her although they have lost their love. After that Melinda was captured and killed for being a whore, resulting an ultimate rage from the man. This man was then killed many people in the town and was hanged because of that, but when he was hanged, he can still feel the rage inside his soul. Well, even though the story is about murders, still the story is kind of sad, its about, like, love, sacrifice and stuff.

For the songs, those really vary from black, dark, death metal with heavy rhythm and growling sound to calm, mellow and soft with cool rhythm guitar. This album really can prove anyone who questioned Opeth as a band with nothing but death metal sound.

The Moor - Starts of with slow and mellow guitar line, really nice and perfect for the introduction of the story. The mood is then changes to more death metal when the drum begins and vocal starts. The Moor is dominated with heavy rhythm so its more like death metal song rather than just 'slow' metal. The best thing is the song is the guitar lines, which are very dynamic and sometimes follow the vocal lines. Moreover, the guitar solo at the seventh minute is just awesome, very beautiful follows with another clean guitar passage.

Godhead's Lament - Amazing intro, really metal, heavy drum section as well as guitar and bass. After that, straight, death metal vocal, "marauder!!!" Overall, the song is really dynamic and full of energy, just amazing. And again, the guitar solo is very beautiful, at the same time, reflects sadness with Akerfeldt nice clean vocal.

Benighted - A five minutes clean, soft, calm and beautiful song. Well for me, this is my first Opeth acoustic and mellow song. This song really showcases Akerfeldt's clean vocal style, which I think is really great. The song is rather a jazzy song, also when the drum section begins and the guitar solo is just very jazzy. Read my lips, this song is just beautiful : )

Moonlapse Vertigo - Alright, after a short break with Benighted, the energy increases again, a very cool intro, simple drum and guitar riffs but great melodic. The vocal starts with clean vocal style, but then, just like usual, changes to death metal vocal, still amazing and melodic. And again, WHOA!! The guitar solo is very AMAZING, more like Benighted, jazzy and clean solo with distorted background sound.

Face Of Melinda - A somewhat mellow song, just like Benighted and Moolapse Vertigo. The drum part is really cool and soft creating a jazzy ambience along with fretless bass. The mood is then changes heavier with distorted rhythm guitar, but the vocal sound still clean. The song ends with a great ending solo guitar, just beautiful. It such amazing that death metal band like Opeth can create such amazing beautiful slow song like this. Well I didn't say they cant create a great slow song, its just very different with death metal style, and I always admire a band that can go to different style but with the same main genre.

Serenity Painted Death - The song is considered a heavy song, with more death metal sound than cleaner sound. The music and rhythm are also very dynamic and energetic. However, this "death metal" style doesn't make the song like, bad or not good, it still amazing and the song composition is just great. The song ends strangely, the clean guitar passage is just end when the track hasn't end yet.

White Cluster - My favorite song in the album, this is a song that you can really called ultimate-progressive-death-metal. Amazing drum sections, very energetic and dynamic, kicks ass guitar rhythm and solos, great bass lines, really dominate the song at some parts and superb vocal performance.

Well what more can I say, five giant stars. I would recommend you to buy it, and if you are a progmet head, this is essential. If you are not intro progressive metal or death metal or whatever, this is really still a great album, considering jazz elements are pretty dominant in the album. Also, this is a great album to start if you want to get more into Opeth.

Keep on proggin' in the free world!!

Review by Melomaniac
5 stars I discovered Opeth through this album whent it came out... and have been hooked ever since. As a fan of prog AND metal (all types of metal), I think Opeth are what prog-metal should be. Not overly technical and pompous as Dream Theater are, Opeth instead rely on mood shifts and interesting structures and transitions.

On with the album...

From the beginning, you sense right away things will be interesting. The eerie, intriguing introduction to The Moor starts with a jazz undertone, evolving to a classical folk mood on acoustic guitars, to a metal mood which in turn builds into an explosive climax until singer Mikael Akerfeldt opens the hostilities with an enraged death metal growl. Wow !!! The classical guitar parts in the middle section along with Akerfeldt's sumptuous melodic voice are of pure beauty, which is a breather after the relentless mid-tempo brutality displayed earlier in the song.

Godhead's Lament is the masterpiece of this album, in my humble opinion, and truly represents the direction taken by the band on later efforts such as Blackwater Park and Deliverance (both excellent albums by the way). The band goes again from brutal metal to melodic acoustic with a singalong vibe, then goes on with a nice instrumental passage... and the ease with which they go from one mood to another is disconcerting.

Benighted is a wonderful mellow track, in the line of what was done on Damnation. A wonderful semi-ballad, with no distorted guitar in it whatsoever. A pure delight.

Moonlapse Vertigo is another track not unlike the first two. A brilliant number.

Face of Melinda is a surprise, even after Benighted. It has a jazzy feel to it, drummer Martin Lopez playing half the song with brushes and bassist Martin Mendez playing on a fretless. The vocals here are wonderful, and the song is heartwrenching (yes, I am not ashamed to say it actually brought tears to my eyes...).

The last two songs, Serenity Painted Death and White Cluster are typical Opeth progressive death-metal, as good as all their other songs.

Probably my favorite Opeth album (though I love all of them from this one to Ghost Reveries) and it deserves to be discovered by fans of prog and/or metal alike. If you can't go beyond the death metal growls, you'll be the one losing in the end. No other band in the world sound like Opeth, and they deserve the success they are achieving if only for the fact that they are TRULY unique.

A masterpiece, essential and mandatory purchase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights: The Moor

Let Downs: Benighted

My Grade : A-

Review by evenless
4 stars For anyone who was introduced to this great band by the mellow Damnation album, Still Life would be the best step to go after that. But I guess to people who already knew Opeth from day one, this album is a really pleasant surprise as both musically and in creativity this album is far better than its predecessors.

Our introduction to the album is The Moor and this track has everything in it. It is like the "Ghost of Perdition" track of the Ghost Reveries album. The intro is very soft and eerie followed by some great acoustic guitar part. At the 2:30 time mark the track gains a lot of weight and when Mikael's growling kicks in the heaviness is complete. Around 5:30 we are treated by some of Mikael's clean vocals and around 6:00 there is a mellow intermission after which all hell brakes loose again. We get some more growls and the music is almost about to explode in your face. Around 07:20 again a nice mellow part which seems to be faded out, but here the acoustic guitar continues and once more we are treated by Mikael's clean vocals. This part is truly beautiful!

There is no forgiveness in these eyes

For any of you but one

Dispel the mist for now

Melinda is the reason why I've come

The second track Godhead's Lament also contains a very catchy part similar to the wonderful Devious movement in your eyes part in Bleak

Searching my way to perplexion ah hah hah The gleam of her eyes In that moment she knew

I won't continue discussing Still Life track by track as some really good reviews on PA have already been written about this album.

So in the song the Moor we were introduced to the beautiful Melinda already. Later on on this album we get two mellow tracks sung by merely clean vocals; Benighted and Face Of Melinda. Those songs are my personal favourites of the album, probably because I still prefer Mikaels clean vocals rather than his grunts and growls, but on "Still Life" I can certainly stand the pain. :-)

4.5 stars overall

Review by el böthy
4 stars Opeth´s fourth album marked the end of their "underground" status, after this Opeth would become one of the most known non-mainstream metal bands in the world, and the absolut kings in their death melodic style. This album also gives us the classic Opeth line up for the fist time, with Martin Mendez in the bass...the "uruguayan-Martin-rythm section" was born.

The music in Still Life is classic Opeth, all songs are long, with the exception of Benighted, all songs have that light/dark feel and a certain sence of melancholy is always present. There is no weak song, they are all good, with some of them being among their best... but, something is just not quite right. This is a concept album, yet the songs don´t seem to have a flow between themself, every track seems to be too individual. This is very clear in Godhead's Lament, which opens at full blown (classic Opeth), but just seems to lack a certain connection with the previous song, the amazing The Moor (probably Opeth´s best song ever), which for me is nothing but a weak point in the album. And this happens in more than one song... definitly not good, even more if it´s a concept album. Apart from that, the album is excellent. One of their softest also, with Mickael singing with clear voice quite a lot, not only in the soft parts. The result is ohh so good, with some of his best melodic work, definitly a high point of the album. Also the acoustic work in this album is beautiful and maybe the best they have achieved yet. The "uruguayan-Martin-rythm section" is tight with Mendez playing some excellent bass lines, like the one in the seventh minute of Godhead's Lament and Lopez as always delivers his personal drumming style where he combines rythm and melody with great results (such a pitty he left the band ).

The stand out song from this album, at least from my point of view, are the amazing The Moor, the beautiful acoustic piece Benighted, Face of Melinda and Moonlapse Vertigo, yet the rest of the songs are also excellent. A great album from Opeth, not my favorite, but objectivly I may consider it to be their best (along with Blackwater park), but still amazing and very important for any prog metal fan... better yet, make it for any prog fan.

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Still Life marks a monumental step forward in Opeth's sound. While Morningrise and MAYH had taken the early combiantion of death metal and acoustic jazziness and expanded upon it, here Mikael and co. hit their stride with a near perfect album. Mikael is the best vocalist in death metal. His growls are lower than the vast majority of the death metal community, then hsi clean vocals add a haunting atmospehere into the equation. Still Life is Opeth's second concept album after MAYH, and it too deals with death. In the story, the protagonist returns to his hometown after being ostracized by the community. He returns for his love Melinda, but the two are constantly pursued by the council of the Cross, the village's theological authority.

The album opens with "The Moor," a supremely heavy track that establishes the setting and background of the album. Mikael alternates between growls and he uses his clean vocals to stress a particularly eerie line, a trait he uses throughout the album. From there, "Godhead's Lament." As progismylife stated, it's romantic death metal as the protagonist decides to endure the townspeople's wrath just to be with Melinda. Mikael deserves a lot of praise for his vocals here, as they are some of the most emotional sounds in extreme metal. "Benighted" brings the acoustic instruments to the fore instead of the sporadic use in the first two songs. The band reminds everyone of their love of jazz. Mikael's solo is beautiful and this song sounds like the basis for the Damnation album.

"Moonlapse Vertigo" brings back some of the motifs of The Moor and it obliterates the haunting softness of the previous track. It reinforces the protagonist's sear of being discovered. "Face of Melinda" shows the two lovers finally meeting. The song lures the listener into feeling this might turn out hapy, but "Serenity Painted Death" ends that prety quickly. It's the heaviest song on the album and one of the heaviest in the opeth catalogue, which is saying something. I won't spoil the p[lot here, but sufice to say the song is bathed in blood (the vengeful plot of the Mel Gibson film Braveheart shares a lot with this song). "White Cluster" nails the coffin shut on this album with incredible bleakness and sorrow.

Still Life is the most emotive death metal recording I've ever heard; the only thing that comes close is other Opeth albums. I cannot recommend this album enough and it is an excellent launch pad into death metal, IMO an underrated genre. Mikael is one of the most important modern musicians and this album is a testament to his abilities. Blackwater Park is usually hailed as Opeth's magnum opus, but it's predecessor is Opeth's true masterpiece.

Grade: A

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a concept album set in the Middle Ages about a man who having been kicked out of his village returns years later to get Melinda, the woman he loves. I read somewhere that Mikael Akeffeldt named his daughter (who was born a few years after this record was released) Melinda.There is a real balancing act going on throughout this album between the heavy and the acoustic. Let me just say the balance is just right.

"The Moor" opens so quietly for 2 minutes until we get some normal volume acoustic guitar that sounds great. 30 seconds later it is slammed by some crushing heaviness and growly vocals. 5 minutes in the vocals sound really good as does the instrumental work. The sound calms right down 8 minutes in then acoustic the guitar is played as some soaring guitar can be heard in the background. Reseved vocals 9 1/2 minutes in remind me of "Damnation". The last minute of the song is crushingly heavy. "Godhead's Lament" opens with an all out assault before settling down 4 minutes in. Normal vocals 5 minutes in and the soundscape sounds amazing. "Benighted" is simply a beautiful acoustic song. "Moonlapse Vertigo" opens with 2 minutes of incredible music. The vocals arrive with a beautiful melody in tow. Rough vocals 3 minutes in and the song gets a little heavier before 6 minutes. Nice. The vocals are normal for the last 2 minutes of the song.

"Face Of Melinda" is slower paced to begin with as acoustic guitar melodies and reserved vocals lead the way. 4 1/2 minutes in the song gets shredded by some ripping guitar. The guitar melodies that follow sound amazing. "Serenity Painted Death" has some nice head banging riffs before 2 minutes. The guitar is great a minute later. I love the twists and turns in this song. There is a beautiful acoustic passage 4 1/2 minutes in that is blown away a minute later. The song ends quietly. "White Cluster" opens with growly vocals that last a couple of minutes. The next 3 minutes are heavenly. The heaviness is back 6 minutes in as the contrast continues.

I think my favourite track is "Face Of Melinda" although there is not an average song on this album they all are good. I can't rate it as high as "Damnation" because there is something magical about that album that moves me so much. I can't really explain why. I want to thank "evenless" for talking me into getting into OPETH's other albums. Growls and all. 4.5 stars.

Review by Dim
4 stars The unanimous pinacle of Opeth music, and progressive music in death metal period, well, I think I will leave that with Ghost reveries. This album is absolutely astonishing though, the musicianship is superb, I had trouble beliving a metal band could make a four bar riff, I was wrong. Just about everyone is at a musical peak, but if I had to choose a weak point in the album, it would be... the music. Sometimes I feel the music is so technical and overbearing that I cant even pay attention to the concept or any of the lyrics. Another minor flaw is the lack of bass, I can barely hear it, which is disapointing, considering how all the other instruments are very well recorded. Any ways hear is my review.

The moor- Very nice opener, with a haunting opening riff and killer acoustic second opening part, then the electrics come in and just saw right through the harmony the acoustics have created. Then our favirote growler shrieks his way to the front of the song and gives us the concept, a man, who is returning to his hometown, which he was exiled from for being an atheist, but returns for his maiden fair Melinda. As for the rest of the song musically, a typical ten minuete Opeth opener, with acoustic passages, spacey little brakes, and absolute hell in your ears. 4.5/5

Godheads lament- A very angry song, most of it is a very upset Ackerfeldt singing about how bad his past was, and how bad his future is gonna be. Musically, everything else is very mad as well, the guitar riffs are supringly short and very non OPeth, but the solo after the first couple of versus is amazing. Afterwords we go into a false build down into an acoustic passage, just to be destroyed by more anger. 4/5

Benighted- A nice cool down from the previous two songs, but the lyrics dont really fit the concept. Acoustic for the first three versus, then a smooth jazzy fourth verse. The song is about some guy who is benighted by his fright, and is coming into some night... weird. 4/5

Moonlapse vertigo- Awesome song, kinda like the moor, but with a lot more skillful guitar licks and a lot less growling, the inro kinda drags on though. But that just goes into a smooth acoustic passage, just to be, yep you guessed it, destroyed by growling and electricity, the riff on this part is one of my favirote opeth licks of all time by the way. The rest of the song kinda bounces soft heavy through out the song. The lyrics are kinda dodgy, but are about him leaving the village many years ago. 4/5

Face of Melinda- Despite its reputation as one of the major Opeth songs, I dont really find it very interesting. It's acoustic for the first five minuetes with some lame lyrics, "fair maiden neath beckoned hair" c'mon, I can read some mid evil fantasy book if I want to hear that. The songs picks up quite nicely when the electrics come in with a killer riff though. 3.5/5

Serenity painted death- My favirote song on the album, I dont exactly know why, but one thing I do know is that the chorus is absolutely awesome, and when he Mickael screams about everyone dying at his hand, it makes me want to pick up a sword and slice up some people. The song is about our hero being caught by some towns people with his lady fair, so he fight them off for a while, but is eventually taken down and is sentenced to death. 4.5/5

White cluster- I'm not sure why this song is called white cluster, but it's a very cool song. With some cool riffing and drumming. The lyrics are very sad and suspensful that lead you wondering what happens after he is dead. Well, I kind of explained it for you, but it's about our hero and melinda being hung, and right before he dies he sees melinda's face in the crowd, of course being an atheist means he's going to hell in my book, but thats just me. Super cool song that ends in a typical Opeth dark, gothic acoustic passage.

Overall, this album is quite good, but it 's very hard to get into, and the music is very challenging. After you get over the mental hump though it turns out to be a very superb album. I'm not sure if I agree with the masses here on this site, believing this album is one of the best, but maybe after listeneing to it for a couple more months I will be convinced otherwise. Until then...


Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars An outstanding show of Opeth's unique sound, with memorable songs, instrumental passages, and melodies throughout. From the haunting opening of "The Moor" to the delicate acoustic sounds of "Face of Melinda" (oh yeah, and all the roaring in between), this album oozes emotion and moodiness despite its often heavy and savage metal stylings. Mikael's voice is in top form, as is the band's playing; on "Still Life" they progress as song writers as well, crafting tunes which have a much more dynamic impact than on previous releases.

Much has been said about Opeth's appeal to those coming from outside the Death Metal arena, to which I can absolutely attest to, myself disliking the harsh guttural sounds of death metal as a general rule. Opeth defies expectations, and-- if you enjoy ANY genre of heavy music-- then you owe it to yourself to take a listen!

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

Review by russellk
4 stars An excellent record that became the band's breakthrough.

'Still Life' lifted OPETH to the very top of the death metal genre and the modern progressive movement. It is sharper in every sense than its predecessors: the production is better, the instruments are played with more passion and precision, the vocals are clearer and easier to hear while retaining their menace, and most importantly much of the songwriting is truly stellar. This, the first album by the 'classic' OPETH lineup, is almost a complete triumph.

After a two and a half minute intro, 'The Moor' gets the album off to a brisk start. If you are a newcomer to OPETH and have chosen this album because it is (currently) the highest ranked OPETH album on ProgArchives, this opening track delivers you a blunt message. Yes, the band may be known for its subtlety and progressiveness, but at heart it's still a death metal beast, capable of savaging your ears and your brain.

But oh dear, there's the growling vocals. The first time I heard them I cringed with something akin to embarrassment, then checked that no-one else was home so they couldn't hear what I was listening to. But it's important to remember that all singing is an affectation. Death metal growls are no different to opera singing or pop singing or rap. It's all affectation, and each new style takes time to get used to. I find AKERFELDT's style of singing very powerful, and his technique is well enunciated. Further, he leavens his songs with 'clean' vocals of an increasingly high standard. Now I see them as a feature, not a flaw, of the music.

For me the album lifts a notch with the second track, 'Godhead's Lament', and the wonderful opening riff. The song features more syncopation than OPETH usually use, and it makes parts of the song almost funky. Apart from the relatively quiet 'Benighted' and the first half of 'Face of Melinda', the rest of the album is of a uniformly high standard. 'Melinda' is slow enough to have the flavour of a BLACK SABBATH track from their 'Sabotage' period.

But I must add this final paragraph. Not one of the tracks is outstanding, in my opinion. None of them have the glorious symmetry of 'The Drapery Falls' or the sheer brutish power of 'The Leper Infinity' or the beauty of 'Patterns in the Ivy' - all from 'Blackwater Park' - or the drama of 'The Grand Conjuration'. Many of the songs lose their intensity too quickly ('White Cluster' for example). Funny, this, liking an album without rating any of the tracks among my favourite OPETH moments.

An excellent record, but not my favourite OPETH album.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Just when you think you've heard enough progressive growl-metal to satisfy any primal urges and twisted desires, a band like Opeth finally crashes onto your shores with their fourth studio effort. Mikael Akerfeldt's gutter rumble is so severe that it seduces as much as it repels, swallowing you like some hellish beast. The beauty is in the group's layered compositional approach, often founding the songs with an acoustic backbone, inspired rhythms, rich harmonies on top, and smaller counter-riffs swirled throughout. A real band effort here with all four pulling their share, no one member demanding the spotlight but rather playing toward a big, almost symphonic sound. 11-minute opener 'The Moor' is a kicker with plenty to please most bangers, and 'Godhead's Lament' is melodic and even echoes early-period Rush though Exodus, Metallica and Voivod are much closer relatives. Things really start to get involved on 'Moonlapse Vertigo' with a decked-out introduction and a swing section that alternates between soft, jazzy passages and dramatic assaults. This quality expands for 'Face of Melinda' featuring Spanish strings and a soft vocal from Akerfeldt. And guitar armada 'Serenity Painted Death' is a highlight with one mean riff after another, rhythmists Mendez and Lopez rocking solid on bass and drums. Good stuff for those who like their progmetal with just the right blend of aggression, sensitivity and musicianship.

Review by MovingPictures07
5 stars If you even remotely like metal, this is the record for you. If you are even an open-minded music lover who likes just about anything but isn't familiar with metal, this is the record for you.

In fact, if you like music, this is the record for you, regardless of whether you absolutely hate any other type of metal or not. This isn't just metal. This is Opeth.

Now, I'm not the world's biggest metal fan, but I do like some metal. However, I've had these guys for a few months now and their work finally clicked on me. It probably sounds weird, doesn't it? I'm advocating you to get an album that took me a few months after my acquisition of it to fully love it. Well, I wasn't listening to it that entire time, and it took me a while mainly for one reason:

Death metal vocals.

I was one of those type people that ABSOLUTELY HATED any type of growling vocals, or vocals that seemed to scream too much for me. So, when I first heard Opeth, I immediately dismissed them because of the vocals. However, at the insistence of one person in particular and the very positive reviews of others that I had read, I had to give them another try. So, I kept trying, and finally it worked.

Now, to those of you who read death metal and probably thought they should stop reading this note, don't be alarmed. Opeth is NOT a typical metal or death metal band. They are extremely well-known for incorporating heavily contrasting acoustic passages and very heavy metallish passages (in the vein of death/doom metal). It sounds like a bizarre idea, but only this band can pull it off with extraordinary results.

Opeth's sound is primarily heavy/death metal, but there is also quite the reliance on guitarist/vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt's clean vocals as well, which are equally mind-blowing. Other influences come from jazz, progressive rock, melodic elements, and to a lesser extent blues and folk.

In conclusion: If you are a fan of any kind of music, GET THIS ALBUM. However, just be warned that if you are not a metalhead, you'll need to have quite an open mind, and don't tell me I didn't warn you if you are expecting happy pop music.

If you're going to make one adventurous purchase in your life, particularly in the heavy metal department, it has to be Opeth's Still Life. A complete masterpiece of hybrid metallic awesomeness that you simply have to hear in order to understand how it sounds.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Still Life is Opeth´s fourth album and it´s the album where Opeth show that they are influenced by seventies prog rock. My Arms, Your Hearse which was the predecessor to Still Life also contained elements of prog rock but the influence is more pronounced on Still Life. The sound on Still Life means that this might be the most interesting album for fans of traditional prog if they wish to hear how Opeth sounds like.

The music is very heavy with complex slow to midtempo riffing. It´s not tech metal by any means but the riffs are definitely worth investigating anyway. The songs are generally very long and Opeth´s music is not easily accessible as there are lots of different sections and moods in every song. I find their music easy to appreciate though as it is very melodic. Benighted and Face Of Melinda are the only songs that differ from the usual formula of growling vocals and clean vocals that the other songs consist of as those two songs are mainly acoustic guitar led and with only clean vocals from Mikael Åkerfeldt. Both songs have great longing moods and lots of beautiful guitar riffs and playing.

The rest of the songs follow the formula that most Opeth songs from that day forth would follow which means clean and growling vocal parts in most songs, and both heavy riffing and acoustic parts in almost all songs. I really do feel that Opeth made something unique with Still Life and I have a couple of favorite tracks here. The Moor being the most impressive one IMO but both the brutal Serenity Painted Death and the progressive and melodic White Cluster are also favorites of mine.

Sure Opeth is influenced by doom metal bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema and Katatonia. And sure they are also influenced by especially seventies prog rock, but mixing the two genres is a brilliant move IMO. It´s a thing I have always tried to do myself when making music, but never really succeeded with. In that respect Opeth is unique as many other bands have tried this formula, but no one has ever succeeded like Opeth ( Well I really love both Isa and Ruun by Enslaved who are also in this genre but they are an exception IMO).

The musicianship is outstanding and I have always admired Martin Lopez drumming. He makes this music stick together and the changes are very smooth and intelligent. Mikael Åkerfeldt of course has to be mentioned too for his great compositional skill and his skills as both a singer and a guitarist. He is an outstanding musician even though I think his clean singing has gotten better on later releases than they are here. They are really good here too though.

The production is the most prog rock like production Opeth has had so far ( except maybe for Damnation). Later albums would have a more edgy metal sound especially on the guitars.

This is not my favorite Opeth album but it´s still a masterpiece and deserves all 5 stars. Opeth is a unique band and this is the first album where they really prove it. The sound on Still Life is very grand and created only with guitars, drums, bass and vocals. If there are any keyboards here I can´t hear them. I think that´s a very enjoyable feature in Opeth´s music. On Ghost Reveries Opeth added a keyboard player and I was sceptical but it worked out fine and it works even better on Watershed, but it´s still unique with this grand sound without the use of keyboards on Still Life. If you have ANY interest in extreme prog metal you´d better get this album as it is highly recommendable and a landmark album in that genre.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is not my favorite album by OPETH. "Ghost Reveries" occupies that place in my preferences. But I can't disagree with what has been said about this historical monument of progressive-death-metal. The album is a masterpiece which needs to be in every collection.

What is the most amazing about OPETH is how difficult they are to get into, unlike most death metal bands. Yes, someone would say it's actually very difficult to get to like such a noisy, violent genre with growling vocals. The point is, once you learn to like the genre and its elements, it's fairly easy to understand what you're hearing from most every band. As with any other genre, there will be music you won't like and music you will like. But once you get through the "extreme metal barrier", a whole new ocean of sounds awaits for you. That is, until you find Akerfeldt's creation.

OPETH makes you think, makes you listen to it more and more. It's not music you will diggest in one session, it's not music you will completely get in a few listens. The songs they create are not easy to recognize if you haven't heard them enough times. It takes time, patience, to appreciate what lies beneath the wall of sound: complex structures, complex concepts, and some of the best metal you will ever find. As death metal goes, there may be a couple bands I like more; as progressive metal goes, there may be a few bands I prefer; but as a mixture of progressive death metal, OPETH can't be touched. What they achieve with their music is unique, and no band comes even close.

"Still life" has, as always, just a few songs (7) most of them lasting longer than 8 minutes. The usual elements are here, the atmospheric darkness, the smell of dead roses, the idea that the music is really taking you in a voyage through both hell and a hellish heaven. The experience with OPETH can be hallucinating and also scary. But nevertheless, is always inspiring. Music that forces you to pay attention for longer than your usual 3 minute span, and music that forces you to actually use your brain and try to decode the message is and will always be inspiring. No, you won't find hit singles in here, not even for extreme-metal standards. But if you want to get something else, something beyond of what you always get from your metal, then this is what you want.

The songs have been analyzed thoroughly so there's no need for me to add descriptions. Just let me say how amazed I was after listening to "The Moor", which in my view is the predecessor to OPETH's greatest song, "Ghost of Perdition". As always, the structure is demanding for lazy brains, but it's rewarding when you finally unlock the mystery. It's better when you don't receive everything already read and explained sometimes. OPETH announces in "Benighted" what they would do years later in "Damnation", with an acoustic song that gives me the idea of a lonely guy dressed in dark purple sitting on a cemetery singing about how grey the fog makes everything look.

The band members, as musicians, shine through the album. Akerfeldt's guitar with his unique and fantastic style of riffing and combining chords, riffs and different strumming with acoustic passages and unique chord progressions of slightly dissonant harmony makes the OPETH sound an experience that can't be repeated. The rest of the band members share his skills, especially Martin Lopez who plays drums that sound like the final call from Valhalla. Finally, Akerfeldt's voice in "Still Life" had not yet reached its peak in terms of cleanliness. His clean voice is still not up to the magnificent standard set in "Damnation" or "Ghost Reveries", as it still sounds a little young and un-developed. But his growling, the best in all death metal with AMORPHIS' Kouvassari, has all the effect this kind of voice should have: growling should make the music darker, more evil, more like if it was coming straight from the dark corners of your mind and your heart, more like hell, more like death.

A crowning achievement in metal music, "Still Life" reigns supreme in the minds of most OPETH fans as the band's highest point. I think "Ghost Reveries" is the actual peak of their maturation. "Damnation", an interesting and beautiful album, has a different objective and can't be compared with the others; "Deliverance" and "Blackwater Park" tend to be too long;"Still Life" never drags, never gets repetitive, and can fairly take its place among the upper echelon of progressive-metal albums of all time.

Review by The Pessimist
5 stars Well, I have a very strong opinion on this album. My opinion is of the very highest as well. This is easily the best prog metal of all time. It may well be the greatest prog rock album of all time also. And the greatest ALBUM of all time? I even think that is debatable, as this is coming from the greatest band of the 21st century and maybe even the best band ever. I honestly mean this, I am this album's biggest fan, and here is why:

First off, there isn't a single weak track on here. Naturally, it has it's weaker moments, but even those stand out as some of the best prog I have ever heard. The strongest tracks however, are the outstanding The Moor, Godhead's Lament, Face Of Melinda and Serenity Painted Death. These for me have many listens still ahead of them, despite being already listened to a few hundred times. I find something new every time, and that is what matters most in any song.

Secondly, Opeth's unique style of brutal death metal and beautiful mellow sections combined is magnified here and taken to its full potential. I know this style has been done before, but this album does it with a certain quality and class that no other album has until now. Next off, the musicianship is flawless. Martin Lopez is at his creative peak, the guitar solos are astounding, the bass playing is tight and Mikael Akefeldt really sings/growls with a tortured passion that truly grips the concept, which is the final factor of this amazing album. It is fantastic, dark and very well written. It competes with even the greatest of storylines in prog, making it even more of an enthralling experience. The main character, played by Mikael and is not named, is on the run from his home, a renegade, because of his love Melinda. A lot of terrible things happen, a lot of twists until the juggular twist at the very end which leaves you astounded and slightly upset. I would even go as far as saying it is Shakespearian. That is how good it really is, and many people will agree with me.

Now onto the tracks:

The Moor - A mystical opening of dissonance drags you into the story gently and subtly, with two guitars playing a repetitive, yet effective duet. It's quite frightening also, very brooding, especially when you know what is coming next. It then leads into an acoustic passage, and you can hear the band's folk influence very clearly. This is then broken with a brutal, complex arrangement involving some of Mikael's clearest growling, most catchy melody lines, Martin Lopez's very beat and one short mellow passage. There isn't a single bad point about this song; even if i try to pick holes, i can't.

Godhead's Lament - My favourite Opeth song of all time, and probably the catchiest. The song opens in the My Arms, Your Hearse vein, a duple-compound timed musical adventure that, once again, has no flaws. This is also the very first piece of Opeth i ever heard, and i haven't looked back since then. The brutal section has the greatest riff Akefeldt has ever played on his guitar, and finally cuts and eases down into the best melody he has ever written, after one of the greatest and simplest guitar solos he's ever played. You can see what i'm getting at here ;) Moving onwards into the song, it has an instrumental break with guitar arpeggiating over a lead melody. That then birdges into another melody, on parr with the first on: world class. Then into another riff, then the outro section that delves on the main themes of the song. Utter genius. I cannot put it any other way. Listen to it a few times and you'll see where i'm coming from.

Benighted - As with every Opeth album, there is a mellow/acoustic track with no growling or distorted guitar. This is my personal favourite. The jazzy guitar solo around the middle is lush, Mikael is at his emotional pinnacle and everything else merging into a perfect background. This gives us a breath of fresh air from the previous two head-f***s. Marvellous head****s if i may say so.

Moonlapse Vertigo - Probably the proggiest of the selection, this is another masterpiece and somehow the most accessible. They balance the growling to singing on a balanced ratio, thus proving my point. This is a brilliant example of what Opeth stand for: pushing boundries, whilst keeping to the existing ones at the same same. How on earth they managed to compose a death metal song with a small band jazz guitar section bewilders me! This is almost Wes Montgomery stuff here: it's bliss, I assure you. For those who say that Progressive Death Metal isn't actually prog at all, should take a good listen to this track. They will swallow their words!

Face Of Melinda - This is a romantic song, where I picture the part in the film where two lovers start having a real emotional chemistry. Need i say it, this is what Akefeldt wanted. He captures the mood perfectly, whilst still keeping the brooding air around. Not many composers can do that with ease, yet this song seems so easily written. The lyrics are the main feature of this song. Poetic at worst, one of the main reasons it is an album highlight. There are two parts to the song. The first part is mellow, where the guitars are the clean/acoustic combo used in Benighted, a fretless bass is present and some jazzy brush work is also, giving once again that small group feel. The second part is my personal favourite. This is where the protagonist unleashes his pain for Melinda upon the world, and celebrates it by picking up his electric guitar and dishes out a rondo form of awesome riffs. I cannot put it better than that, still no growling, but they employ their rage in a different form: clean vocals. This has only been done before on the classic Opeth song, To Bid You Farewell. Great preparation for the next and most savage song on the album...

Serenity Painted Death - A crisp drum solo brings us into this masterpiece, and Mikael growls down the microphone as if he has just lost a precious loved one (no clues there people). He then enters a straight rap-like chorus that is repeat worthy. The way he screams White face, haggard grin, this serenity painted death is just so menacing, he only tops the savageness of it later on in the song. We then enter a 5,5,5,6 rhythm which was also used on Drapery Falls a few years later, where Martin Lopez shows off some impressive beats. Then the first melodic section begins, and is split into a vocal line, then a guitar solo and a avante-garde section with good use of the wah towards the end. We are then plunged into Akefeldt's murky growling once again, and this time he's even more menacing. If you look into the story, you will understand why, and whoever said that growling holds no emotion... We are then blessed with an infamous Opeth solo that is my very favourite. The climax of the song. Finally, a catchy melody kicks in and the song finishes on a bombshell outro that repeats the main theme and gives us a short guitar passage at the very end. Purely a genius arrangement, nothing less.

White Cluster - This lets us know the climatic ending to this journey. It is phenomenal to say the least. We are attacked by metal riffs, death growls and some insane drumlines. This goes through a lot of complex stages, including and main theme, panning acoustic guitar, some of Lopez's finest work, fast guitar solos, one off time section (similar to Metropolis by Dream Theater, but we won't go too deep into that) and a fantastic finale. This is the perfect ending to any album, and leaves us hanging with a short clean guitar accapella as a closer.

I cannot truly wrap up in words how much of an impact this album has on me, but i tried my best. To be truly honest, however, you have to listen to this yourself. The greatest prog album of all time. Period. A, utterly flawless album and an exstatic, emotional rollercoaster, this is a must have for any prog fan that is willing to delve into the darkness of the Tech/Extreme Metal genre. Those that won't... are missing out.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A few days ago one of my supposedly best friends gave me as a present a copy of OPETH'S album "Still Life", and I say supposedly because anybody who knows me a bit, wouldn't had bought a copy of this of this record, probably he received it and got rid if it as soon as he could, incredibly I enjoyed the music very much but sadly not the final product.

My main problem is in the vocals..Who told this guy that that guttural growl is singing? Never heard something so terrible, I believe I like Steve Howe's voice more, because despite he can't keep a tune even if his life is in risk, at least he tries, this guy just shouts without any sense, something strange for a vocalist who has a nice voice when singing normally.

When I listened "The Moor" mysterious intro, I really got exited, it was promising, despite being a bit too long, then came the wonderful acoustic section and thought it was even better, still when the band starts with the repetitive shredding I liked the track but then Akerfeldt started to growl and simply was disgusting, a good start but an horrendous development.

Godhead's Lament is even worst, because doesn't even has a good intro, they start with the noise from the first instant, even though extremely repetitive and unimaginative, I believe the band could do a lot better with a good vocalist, because the guys have talent, some excellent changes but sadly they go back to the same thing.

"Benighted" again starts very promising with another excellent acoustic guitar solo, that leads to a nice power ballad where Akerfeldt proves he can sing if he tries, not spectacular or something too imaginative, but at least you can listen it. The guitar solo in the instrumental break is excellent.

"Moonlapse Vertigo" is a good change, starts aggressive and frantic and radically turns into melodic and acoustic, excellent change and even the vocals sound well, but it was too good to be real, the growls come again..Please, somebody tell him to sing as a human.

"Face of Melinda" is a good relief, again the privilege the melody over the senseless cacophony, and even when around the middle there's a radical change into a frantic section, it's a very decent track with good vocals.

"Serenity Painted Death" has a spectacular intro again ruined by the noise Michael Akerfeldt calls singing. The music is outstanding, the changes are perfect, but simply that guy sis capable of ruining anything.

"White Cluster" is a very imaginative track, again with excellent instrumental performance, even when a bit cacophonic by moments, but you all can guess what turns me off.

It's really a shame, musically "Still Life" is a three, maybe four stars album, but Akerfeldt destroys any possibility of enjoyment for me, with another vocalist or even without vocals I would give the album a much higher rating, but I can't stand that noise he makes, so two stars.

Review by CCVP
5 stars Opeth at its best

Still Life is a major turning point in Opeth's career and that is because it symbolizes that Opeth finally became completely a extreme progressive metal band. I say completely because so far, in their previous albums, Opeth had progressive influences but was still a goth / death / black metal act, though with prog influences. But here their music finally evolves into something more complex and with more depth and that becomes evident when you compare the orchestration, harmonization and melodic lines of this album with their previous albums: the guitars outgrow that simple riff structure and both the drums and the bass become independent instruments instead of simply supporting the guitars (or should i say the guitar, since the another guitar is the rhythmic guitar).

Still Life is a very important album for me because it was the third Opeth album i ever listened (right after Deliverance and Blackwater Park) and, along with Blackwater Park, it was responsible for my love towards Opeth's music. To be frank, at first i did not liked it very much but the album slowly grew into me and now i absolutely love it.

Also, this album also outgrows the other Opeth albums in content. The lyrics finally don't talk about (directly) goth / black metal themes, but a love story that eventually ends in tragedy, much like a Shakespearian tale (Romeo and Juliet comes to my mind, but whatever). Also, this is a concept album, something that, in my opinion, acts favorably for the album, since this concept is a good one.

The Concept

This concept is not very complicated and does not have many details like other album concepts, what makes it easier to understands it, though all concepts are not very easy to fully understand. At the first song, the main character tells that e was banished from his homeland and, after being 15 years banished, he returns to it for his love, Melinda.

In Godhead's Lament he thinks about the consequences of his return and finds out that Melinda had become a nun, but he still tries to get her back.

In the third song, called Benighted, he tries to convince Melinda to leave her religious duties and because he loves her.

At the next song, Moonlapse Vertigo, the main character remembers again that the townsfolk would probably kill him if they knew he was back. the Council of the Cross, who openly show scorn for the disgraced and the poor, is mentioned and the main character shows that he hates the Council immensely. He also tries to convince Melinda to flee the country with him.

The song Face of Melinda describes Melinda and a black haired and quiet woman. She tells him that she would still honor her vows and will still remain a nun, but as he tries to convince her to flee, telling her that he still loves her, she says that she still loves him.

In Serenity Painted Death, the main character wakes up to find out that Melinda is not by his side anymore (probably they got laid, but who knows) and that she was killed for being unfaithful to the church, which she married. Enraged, the main character kills the ones who killed Melinda and everyone he could before collapsing from exhaustion. Right before blacking out he sees that the Council is there to capture him.

The last song, entitled White Crusher, begins with the character still half conscient (probably he is still awaking), but he soon realizes that he is going to be hanged. He refuses the Council's redemption and, when the townspeople gather to see the execution they all wear white because they believe his soul is lost. He also curses the townsfolk and the Council. When he is finally hanged, he he feels a hand on his shoulder and when he looks behind him he sees Melinda standing right behind him, ready for him to join her in death.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

Though changed, Opeth still bears the extreme metal characteristics in their music, such as distorted guitars, songs are in minor scales, the music is aggressive (though beautiful) and has guttural vocals. I must say at this point that i really love Åkerfeldt's vocals, both guttural and normal. His guttural vocals are deep, down pitched, powerful and very well worked. He is one of the few guttural vocalists i really enjoy.

As i said before, here the bass and the drum work are really good and independent from the guitars: though the guitar work still have some influence over them they are (or they seem to be) independent. The guitar work is also great, specially the solo guitar, whose solos are filled with feeling and fit very well in every song.

Grade and Final Thoughts

What a great album. Great music, great lyrics, great concept. . . It's just an incredibly good final result what Opeth presents to us here and because of that this album deserves the masterpiece grade. 5 stars for sure.

Review by horsewithteeth11
5 stars Every once in awhile there comes an album that rushes by you, knocks you flat on your feet, and leaves you gaping at the majestic, breathtaking beauty that it leaves. It's one of those albums that you know is going to be a masterpiece before the first song is even finished. It's one of the 10 albums you'd save if your house caught on fire or take if you were stranded on a desert island. For me, Still Life is that type of album. It displays a wide variety of emotions, it is music that's intelligent, powerful, and beautiful and offers something new and exciting at every corner. At the same time, it's very dark and foreboding and reaches into the deepest corners of our psyche, sometimes into places that we may not want to travel, in fact even feel uncomfortable in. This album is almost like a religious experience every time I listen to it, however cheesy that may sound. Opeth, while obviously not the most technical metal band on the planet, are truly unique in regards to what they do. A band that rose from the underground extreme metal scene, with its origins in that type of music, death metal in particular, and has become known for writing 10+ minute songs with proggy and jazz influences in the mix is definitely going to stand out in such an environment where too often these days the motto seems to be "more of the same". I believe that Mikael Akerfeldt's vision of what Opeth was to become started to become fully realized on this album. This marks a major beacon for extreme metal, a beacon that shines quite brightly as an example of how more bands in that genre could go about creating truly hauntingly stunning music. Many Opeth fans often refer to this as the beginning of the "golden years" of Opeth with the classic lineup of Akerfeldt, Lindgren, Mendez, and Lopez, and for good reason: this lineup made some damn good music. Now onto the music itself. The album kicks off with The Moor, which starts off with a nice acoustic instrumental section. After the first 2 1/2 minutes that Opeth sound kicks in with a crushing riff that lets you know what's coming next. Akerfeldt's clean vocals are good, but I think they still have yet to reach their full potential which won't come until Blackwater Park. However, I think it still works very well on this album. At a bit after 7 1/2 minutes it goes back to another clean acoustic passage, before leading to another heavy section at 10:20. While some may find it formulaic, I still think it works as an excellent opener for this album, as well as a classic Opeth song and fan favorite. 10/10. Godhead's Lament, unlike The Moor, starts off very heavy, probably heavier than The Moor ever gets. This is one of my favorite songs on the album because, well, there's absolutely nothing formulaic about it. Mikael of course switches between his clean and harsh vocals, but the heaviness of the music doesn't really ever disappear except for one noticeable part starting at about 3:45. A song that took me time to appreciate fully since it's very multi-layered despite the heaviness, but on that was a worthwhile discovery. 10/10. Benighted is the one track on the album that is entirely acoustic and features only clean vocals. It's certainly a beautiful track in its own respects, but I think it's the weakest track off an album that doesn't really have any weak tracks. A good song for Mikael to show off his clean vocals though. 9/10. Moonlapse Vertigo, like Godhead's Lament, starts off with a fairly heavy riff. However, unlike Godhead's, this song is not quite as heavy, as evidenced by the brief acoustic passage that last from 1:50 until about 2:40. This type of clean acoustic passage is again repeated from 3:20 until 3:45. This song, while certainly as heavy as Godhead's at times, is still chock full of nice acoustic passages for people who can't handle the heaviness all the time. The melodic solo comes in a bit after 4:30 and goes a little over a minute. Quite a stunning track overall. 10/10. Face of Melinda starts off melodic and calm, while still dark of course, and makes you think that you're going to be hearing another fully melodic song like Benighted, but after the 4:30 mark, a powerful riff comes in accompanied by Mikael's clean vocals for awhile, followed by his growling. Another truly stunning song. 10/10. Serenity Painted Death, THIS is one of those Opeth songs that will make your blood boil and take you on a wild roller coaster ride. One of the heaviest songs on the album, but it also happens to be one of my favorites. I absolutely love the section that comes in at 1:27. It might be my favorites section of the entire album to be honest. I love hearing Mikael growling "SERENITY PAINTED DEATH" every time I listen to it. This is a song I can never get enough of, and it's one of my favorite Opeth songs of all time. 11/10. White Cluster is another song that has a good mix of melodic, acoustic, and heavy passages. A great closer to an already fantastic album, and even though you would think that the song is just a melodic/heavy/melodic formula, you find it's quite multi-layered amidst all those different sections. 10/10. This is, in my opinion, the best progressive metal album of all time, and while I've heard many others come close, I haven't found another prog metal band that has been able to pull off an album like this. Even if you don't like harsh vocals or even metal, I would still at least recommend you try this album out. It has a little bit of something for every type of musical tastes. This is a type of work that I honestly believe is a member of the top tier of prog albums. If you like music at all, you'll probably eventually like this album. Truly a masterpiece that is a one of a kind deal and can stand the test of time. 6+/5 stars.
Review by crimson87
4 stars Well , this is my first review as regards this subgenre: Tech Extreme ProgMetal. Until hearing Still Life , I have never heard a death or black metal album in my life , the most extreme album I knew was Metallica's Kill em all. That fact alone may make some metal experts on this site to laugh.

In this review I won't try to focus in the progresiveness of the music I am hearing since I just don't know what Yes and Opeth do have in common. This band sure is technical , both guitars and the drummer are very capable on their instruments and the music can get complex sometimes. But don't expect multi part suites or the use of mellotron on this record , this is metal fast loud and agressive but with a twist.

The Moor is one of the highlights on this album , the track starts with a beutiful acustic melody ( there are plenty more on the record) and then... The growling vocals. What do I have to say about them? They certainly are an adquired taste , the point is Mikael Akerfeldt can sing really good when he is not growling , his voice is calm and it suites the pastoral interludes present on the record. Most of the music on Still life with the exeption of the other highlights Face of Melinda and Benighted is based on a wall of sound created by the guitars and fast drumming. The point is , Still life is much less heavier than lets say Metallica's first four albums or even Pantera. This fact made me appreciate the record much more.

Suming up , I think that enjoying this record was quite a surprise for me since I do not like metal , much less the extreme genres. This record does not count as a masterpiece to me because it's a bit monotonous and still I prefer Akerfelt when he sings normal but I guess I ve accustomed to his extreme style.

For a Prog Metal collection: It's an exellent addition

For a general prog collection : It's good but not essential.

3.5 stars

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Heavy and beautiful but far from masterpiece

"Still Life" is considered by many to be the finest Opeth album and by a few others to be one of the greatest albums ever made. I'll leave the first part of that sentence for the Opeth faithful to debate but the second part of the sentence strikes me as a stretch to put it mildly. The two-disc Peaceful Records deluxe edition release is one of the most beautiful presentations of a concept album you will ever find. It's a gorgeous hardcover little book featuring color prints to go along with each track's lyrics printed in full. The digipaks are glued to the inside and rear covers and hold the regular CD and the 5.1 surround DVD. The DVD comes with a bonus video of a live performance of "Face of Melinda" from 2006 which was a really nice touch. They should have included more live material from that show, why stop at just one? On top of that they give you the personal recollections of Akerfeldt concerning the writing of the album as well as the insatiable smoking habits of the band members. While working on the drums tracks, where Opeth begins their recording process, he notes they would practice for 25 minutes followed by a 30 minute smoke break.

I was impressed from the outset by the drama of the album and the care taken in its creation. They obviously worked very hard on this album and it shows. I have played this disc to death trying to find the passion that so many have for it, but unlike so many of the cool prog-metal albums I have heard it kindles little enthusiasm. There are numerous gorgeous melodic interludes throughout the tracks that were very enjoyable and the band possesses a power and presence that is undeniable. But it's an album that suffocates itself in too much repetitive activity (Akerfeldt admits as much right in the notes: "There's no space whatsoever on this record, every gap is filled with..stuff." ) This has the effect (to me) of making the album into one long track, which I don't object to generally, but here there is not enough compelling variation to hold my interest. One long sheet of grey which may work fine in the poetic rain of Agalloch's musical approach but it doesn't have the same effect here. This album, with the story being conveyed, could have used more variety in the sound, more thoughtfulness in the storytelling. They are good at what they do here but where is the change-up? Someone else mentioned the very contrived feel of the light/heavy sections here and how it almost feels like the band is flipping a light switch on and off arbitrarily and I agree with that. It gets so predictable after a while when they go from their ferocious growl mode back to their pretty acoustic mode, both modes always the same as the previous time, with seemingly equal time allotted to each (did they use a stop-watch or what?). That said I can justify the 3rd star here by pointing to some of those darkly beautiful passages that are around the corners of each track, always alluring but never ultimately paying off. There is the pure tenacity of the growls and the cloudy mood of the acoustic guitars that can be enjoyed. "Still Life" is almost more appealing to me as background music than active listening music and that is rarely a good sign for progressive music. Compared to works like "Strange in Stereo," "Remedy Lane," "Deggial," or many others, this album is just not near the top of the curve. A special nod to Travis Smith and Opeth for the art design of this special edition booklet.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Still Life' - Opeth (9/10)

This is the first Opeth album (their fourth chronological release) that can widely be considered to be a near-perfect masterpiece. While albums such as 'Morningrise' did show signs of brilliance, the overall execution was imperfect, and there was still room for improvement. 'Still Life' is a fine representation of what a dose of intelligence can do for the metal industry. The end result is a cohesive, beautiful and technical album that seamlessly blends metal, progressive, and jazz leanings into a rich musical tapestry. However, possibly more so than any other album in my collection; this album took a long time to truly sink in, but it was certainly worth it.

At first few listens, I found the album to be technically 'good' but lacking in structure, and void of the mind blowing quality I felt while first listening to 'Ghost Reveries' or 'Watershed.' It was only after my fifteenth or so listen of 'Still Life' that it suddenly clicked in... The truly profound enjoyment of the album first sprouted in listening to the album's closer 'White Cluster.' The jazz contrast with the metal riffage was interesting and beautiful all at the same time. This newfound appreciation quickly spread to the other songs, and before too long I was listening to the album start to finish and loving every immersive second of it.

Paired with the haunting music is an equally haunting storyline. I won't go into detail about the plot in fear of spoilers, but the album revolves around a man banished from his village, returning to find his lost love. As you might imagine, there are some unfortunate consequences and the lyrics (beautifully written, especially for a death metal record) help to heighten the sense of drama until the heartbreaking, tragic end.

It has been said that the only way to truly test the quality of an album is how well it ages over time. This album is only getting better with time, and although it was a bit hard to truly appreciate and get into, it was certainly worth it, and since then, 'Still Life' has since risen to become one of my favourite records of all time.

A must-have for fans of metal music.

Review by J-Man
5 stars This is the second album I bought from progressive death metal band Opeth after "Damnation". This album shows you Opeth's true sound at its best. They combine heavy sections (with growled vocals) and beautiful acoustic sections perfectly.

If you think you're afraid of growled vocals, give this a shot anyway. I couldn't stand growls, and then I heard Opeth's Still Life. I've determined that I actually never had anything against the growling itself. I had a problem with the music that (usually) comes along with growling. Opeth is an exception. The music is incredible, and I love the clean and growled vocals of mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt. I thought that I would hate growls as a symphonic prog fan, but here I am giving it a 5 star review. A prog fan with an open mind to music can't turn down the entire tech/extreme prog metal genre without listening to Still Life.

The story of this incredible concept album is one of the greatest I've ever heard (though it is very dark and proves every story doesn't need to end with a happy ending). If you don't want me to spoil this incredible story for you, skip the next paragraph and go to the next.

The story begins with a man who is an atheist, and his entire community hates him because of this. He was tortured in horrible ways, and left the town for years. He returned to see his love, Melinda, to find out she has become a nun or "godhead" as used in the title of the song. He realizes he would be killed if he stayed in the town. The man tries to bring Melinda out of the town, and successfully does so. He finds out that she still does love him though she is a nun, and he is an atheist. Once he awakens he finds she has been taken away and she got killed for being unfaithful to the Council of the Cross. He goes on a rampage and kills as many soldiers as he can before he collapses. When he awakens and gains beck his sanity, the church is there to take him and kill him. As he is being hanged he sees the ghost of Melinda at his side, ready for him to be dead with her. In case you can't tell, this isn't a very uplifting story, but still an excellent one nonetheless. The music and singing lives up to the high expectations of the story. Now I'll do the usual track-by-track review.

"The Moor"- This song begins with a haunting guitar melody, and it only gets better from there. A beautiful acoustic guitar section begins, and then the awesome metal riffs come into play. Mikael's growls sound particularly good on this track.

"Godhead's Lament"- It starts with some heavy metal riffs and growled vocals, but later on has a great guitar solo with acoustic guitars in the background. Clean vocals are very present on this song, and it really shows what a great singing voice Mikael Akerfeldt has.

"Benighted"- This is easily the softest song on the album, and features no growled vocals. It is mostly acoustic, but it has a great jazz electric guitar solo.

"Moonlapse Vertigo"- This song has possibly the best opening on the album. The proggy guitar solo opening has many tempo changes and has dark and light themes. This has great singing, along with growling. I also like the drumming on this track a lot. "Face of Melinda"- This song, like "Benighted", has no growled vocals. Opeth considers it a ballad. It has some metal riffs near the end, but it ends up being used as a build to some more beautiful vocals.

"Serenity Painted Death"- This is possibly the heaviest song on the album, but features a nice acoustic break and has a very emotional guitar solo. I still can't get over how much I love the riff at the beginning of this song. This is quite possibly my favorite track off of this album.

"White Cluster"- This has an intense opening that is simply amazing. I love the double bass pedals on this song. As a result, the drumming really stands out, and the guitar riffs are awesome as well. This features many cool tempo changes. The guitar solo at the very end is very dark. After a fadeout, it has some nice guitar chords, and there you have it, the album is over. This is an excellent way to end a great album.

There's not much more to be said about this album except for "go buy it". You can't say you don't like growled vocals until you listen to Opeth's Still Life. This album opened new possibilities for me and changed my life. This has to be in my top 10 albums that have changed my life forever, because it introduced me to a new genre of music. An incredible album, fully deserving of the highest honors; 5/5 stars.

Review by Negoba
5 stars Melodic Progressive Death Metal Concept Album ? Yes!!!

After immersing myself in Opeth over a year ago, I'd taken a break for awhile. Recently, however, I've been dabbling in harder death and extreme metal, and felt a need to return to some of my old favorites and see what my impression was now. I was completely and totally blown away. Opeth is more harmonically complex, melodically sophisticated, and emotionally expressive than any other metal band of its kind and perhaps ever. STILL LIFE represents the band just reaching full maturity and taking a risk by making a cohesive story / concept album. Though previous albums had consistent themes, STILL LIFE is a death metal tragedy about an exiled man returning home to retrieve his love with typical terrible Greek styled consequences.

In a genre that loves altered minor keys and dissonance, Opeth bandleader Mikael Akerfeldt utilizes harsh harmony like no other. One of Opeth's trademarks is riffing on complex chord shapes rather than power chords and from the brilliant opener "The Moor" on through to the closer "White Cluster" the thick texture of this style puts Opeth's stamp all over the music. Of course the other signature element is the transition from the crushing prog death metal to an acoustic prog with Akerfeldt's ethereal vocals. On this album, the Mikael is really just starting to ramp up the latter part of the Opeth sound. This freshness gives the ballad-y "Benighted" and "Faces of Melinda" a legitimacy that some of the later purely clean Opeth songs lack. In fact, from a songwriting point of view, I don't think any Opeth album is as strong top to bottom as STILL LIFE. I do a lot of mix and match of Opeth tracks on every other album. Not this one.

Of all the labels attached to Opeth, there will arguments against almost all of them except one. This band is clearly prog. Where many Death metal bands use time changes jarringly, few (especially before Opeth's rise in popularity) used seamless changes into complex time with such musical purpose. Opeth also employs epics to great effect, moving the listener through multiple stages of development with completely new musical ideas often appearing seven or eight minutes into a song, as in "Godhead's Lament," "Serenity Painted Death," and most strikingly in "the Moor."

The only criticism I have for this album is that the record is still young. The production has some issues (vocal echoes, etc.) and in fact I like the live version of "Faces of Melinda" a little better. Even more striking is how much Mikael's vocals have improved in the 10 years since this record was released. The Ghost Reveries version of the band would have made the record nearly perfect. Still, this is a minor quibble.

Like it or not, if you want to listen to the cutting edge in metal these days, you have to get used to some harsh vocals. Mikael's are among the best so Opeth is an easy entry point. I still can't say I enjoy them, but after seeing Opeth live, there is no denying their power. Neil Young and Bob Dylan's vocals aren't exactly pleasant either but also have an emotive power once one gets used to them. (Mikael will never be the poet either of these men are, but neither man has produced music 1/10th as complex as Opeth either).

So if you can imagine beautiful death metal alternating multiple time signatures, riffs both crushing and grooving, complex harmony, and medieval balladry all combined into a story- album, you get an idea of the prog-feast that is STILL LIFE. Within metal, this is the definition of 5/5 star album.

Review by The Sleepwalker
5 stars Still Life shows a more mature Opeth than ever before. This can be heard through the music, which is arguably Opeth's most solid work ever, but also through the production. Still Life also is a concept album, and though the story isn't very complicated it is definitely good and gives the album a dark and gloomy mood. This mood really is very present on the album. Some moments in songs sound like they are supposed give some hope, but most of the times the music is dark and haunting. This, in my opinion, is a very good thing, as I really like the dark mood.

The music on Still Life is simply said amazing. The album takes the listener from striking death metal riffs to beautiful clean, psychedelic sounding parts. The album opens with the soft, haunting intro of "The Moor", which will soon into a heavy masterpiece. The second song, "Godhead's Lament" is even better, and probably is my favorite Opeth song ever. It starts of very striking, with a brilliant intro riff. The song knows many different riffs though, of which some are soft and acoustic, and others are rough and heavy. "Benighted", the third song, is the shortest on the album. It's abeautiful acoustic track, and one of the few moments on the album that doesn't have a gloomy mood. The following track is "Moonlapse Vertigo". This song has a brilliant melodic intro, and after about two minutes it turns into a haunting masterpiece. This song really is among Opeth's best ever.

Next is "Face Of Melinda", which opens in the vein of "Benighted". The song features excellent fretless bass playing by Martin Mendez and jazzy drumming by Martin Lopez. The second half of the song is not soft and acoustic anymore, but features lots of distorted guitar playing. It doesn't become as heavy as for example "Godhead's Lament" though. "Serenity Painted Death" is the next song and is, though probably the weakest song on the album, very good too. The song features lots of striking guitars and vocals, but knows some softer parts too. The song ends very strange though, as a beautiful clean part suddenly stops. "White Cluster" is the album's epic final track. This song really features some of the best riffs and musicianship I've ever heard. Many solo guitar playing can be heard in the song and there are many changes between soft and heavy.

This definitely is my favorite Opeth album. It features some excellent musicianship and music, and also some of Opeth's most memorable moments. The music is pretty variated, though most of it is dark and gloomy and connected by the concept. This album definitely deserves a five star rating in my opinion as I think this album definitely is a masterpiece.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Even though Opeth didn't change their song writing approach much compared to the previous album, Still Life is quite a departure from My Arms, Your Hearse. It's lighter, melodic and more melancholic compared to the oppressive blackness of My Arms, Your Hearse. Also, the influences of Camel and early King Crimson became more noticeable.

Many Opeth enthusiasts will point to Still Life as Opeth's crowning achievement. While it is sure one of their best albums, there are a number of flaws that made me rate it below Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries. The rating must be seen in that context. This album is a 4.5 star creation but I knocked it down to create some perspective within the entire Opeth discography. In other words, add one star to all my Opeth ratings and you get an idea of how I rate them in comparison to other bands!

Now, instead of citing words of praise at every possible marvel here I thought it would be more fun to just criticize the flaws on this album.

The first one is about balance. There is no other Opeth album that is so crammed with ideas, melodies, riffs, changes and layers of guitars and vocals as this one. All of it gives ample proof of the high creative flow that raced through Akerfeldt while writing music. But on the other hand it also shows that he needed a tutor to help him weed out the chaff and guide his creative profusion into a more focused and superior result. Steven Wilson would prove to be that person on the ensuing Blackwater Park. Still Life has the most ideas on any Opeth album but not the best.

A second point might seem more trivial but nevertheless it's important. Akerfeldt has never denied being hugely influenced by Camel, but literally stealing melodies from them without openly admitting it goes a bridge too far. The opening bars from Benighted are entirely nicked from the opening bars of Never Let Go from Camel's debut. It's just the opening bars but still, the plagiarism might have been less obvious.

The third criticism concerns the vocals. The clean vocals are very prominent here and prove that they were the way forward for Opeth but some of vocals lack the harmonic wealth of later works. Especially during the metal sections, the clean vocals don't have the depth nor the range or dynamism of later albums. For an album that relies so heavily on the clean singing that is a real flaw. The 2008 re-issue of Still Life indicates that Akerfeldt must have similar quibbles as he stripped some background vocals from the remix. Especially the harmonies on Serenity Painted Death have been revised drastically. Not really to good effect either. The clean vocals during the more laidback passages are very strong however, by consequence songs like Benighted, Face of Melinda and White Cluster are the most accomplished compositions here. They also have a better balance and suffer less from the musical over-abundance that decreases the effectiveness of most other songs. Akerfeldt's clean voice still needed some excercise.

Still Life is a more then excellent album and it's the first Opeth album that will please progressive rock fans. However, as a heavy album I find it less accomplished then MAYH, while as a progressive album it doesn't compare to the more mature BWP and Ghost Reveries.

Review by Matthew T
5 stars Recorded and released in 1999 this is an essential album for anyone into Metal or for someone like me who truly likes good music whatever the genre.This album is simply stunning from woo to go and contains some of the best hard driving songs with some absolutely beautiful accoustic arrangements as well on tracks.The band must have fantastic roots with a Black Sabbath and a Led Zeppelin influence eg.( especially with the accoustic moments through out which are recorded with an absolute clarity in sound) but Opeth have their own distinct approach as you will discover when listening to this recording

The vocalist Mikael Akeredlt who provides us with some simply stunning death vocals with a sound as though it is coming straight from hell,wonderful stuff. Also the album was mainly written by him as well but is creditted to the band on the album.

The particular songs that I will mention are Serenity Painted Death which is extremely high octane with fantastic riff under the whole driving tune with a great lower section and back to it and for me is one of the standouts on the album. The Moor which is the first track is simply outstanding and true progressive music as is the whole album.There is not one poor track on this album.

I would recommend this album to people around my age bracket :50 and it is well worth giving this a go and not to think of this as just another metal release for the youngies.

Simply stunning music and an absolute masterpiece in modern music.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
5 stars 10/10

"Still Life" is the album that defines Death Metal, it's fierce style and it's aggressive sound.

Opeth is now regarded as the best and most loved Death Metal band of all time. When it comes to pick their best album, fans are in conflict; Some give the highest praise to the 2001 masterpiece "Blackwater Park", while others prefer "Still Life". The truth is that these two albums are magically equal and very different sounding.

If "Blackwater Park" has a cleaner sound and more accessible melodies, "Still Life" has a rougher production and the music is even more complex and less melodic. "Still Life" still belongs to the first Opeth era, where like I said the sound of their albums isn't at all clean, sounding a lot dirtier, and giving the impression of being more aggressive. The guitars are a little muddy, Akerfeldt's vocals are dirtier sounding as well. Even the drums aren't as precise as they will be in following albums. But "Still Life" wouldn't be the LP it is without these characteristics.They actually accentuate the Death Metal, while the progressiveness is really just context, highlighting more the structure of the songs, the buildings, the hooks, more than the music itself. It is in fact Progressive Death Metal only because all these seven songs are pretty long and have a complex and almost hard to follow structure, but its typical of an Opeth album: a quiet, melancholic, acoustic moment can follow immediately a bunch of different aggressive metal hooks, enriched by Akerfeldt's growling. But the singer also gives us great. great clean singing, in the softer moments that are here abundantly present.

"Still Life" is a concept album, about a man that had been banished from his theocratic town because of his misbelieves. He goes back after fifteen years to look and hook up once again to the one he loved, Melinda. I'll only say the end is quite sad, but it's still a great story. The album is solid as a rock, these seven songs are all immense monoliths; from the opener "The Moor", the eleven minute epic, features slow passages, as well as fast, heavy ones. "Godhead's Lament" works pretty much the same way, in nine minutes, another fantastic song. "Moonlapse Vertigo" is another classic, thanks to it's more memorable melodies. "Serenity Painted Death" is probably the fiercest and heaviest song here, while "Benighted" is the softest acoustic piece. "Face Of Melinda" is another acoustic piece with more than a few jazz influences. "White Cluster" ends the albums marvelously, with its epic ten minutes of death metal heaven.

"Still Life" is the album that defines Death Metal, it's fierce style and it's aggressive sound, the album that made the genre widely more popular and appreciated. Whether you like the music or not, it's historical importance precedes it. Essential for whoever is into metal music, and for who wants to find a good place to start listening to Opeth and Death Metal in general.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Opeth twist Death Metal into new shapes, resulting in a triumphant album.

Opeth are a band I have steered clear of as I am not into death metal, having a distaste for death vocals growling like someone possessed; it was the type of puerile juvenile nonsense I used to listen to as a young metal head, I used to enjoy thrashing to Slayer, Believer and Mortification, but I have no time for it now. However, Opeth are an exception to the rule. I adored their "Damnation" album, the vocals by Åkerfeldt are stunning, warm and lovely to listen to, yes even uplifting despite the dark lyrics that are centred on death and spirits wandering about haunting the living. But I loved that album so much I listened to "Deliverance". Unfortunately it was all death metal growelling and nauseating metal at that. I gave up. But the reviews of "Still Life" are glowing and respected prog reviewers here are giving it the masterpeice status, so here we are, reviewing an album from a genre I am just not into.

What I discovered was the influences of Porcupine Tree meets Morbid Angel. What a combination. You get blasts of death metal at its most brutal mixed with passages of melancholy ambience. It works! Just when I think I cannot stand another second of those growls, the music takes over and really so well executed that it is impossible not to like. The guitars scream and soar, the bass pounds. The double kick drum embellishments and triplets are incredible. They are not kidding around.

The album begins with 'The Moor' with a beautiful acoustic guitar, a storm brewing, a brief moment before the distorted riffs blast in without remorse. Åkerfeldt's growls are brutal and soul chilling and unwelcome as far as I am concerned. I put up with it. I had no idea what the lyrics were and did not bother to check. There is a clean vocal chorus and it is so refreshing. I longed for more of this. The growling reminded me of the black metal I used to listen to with the likes of Bathory or Morbid Angel. At 6 minutes in the riffing stops and we have an acoustic interlude, a moment of respite. The "Damnation" style clean vocals chime in and they are so good, like a different band. I was drawn into the music at this point. Suddenly the caustic roars return scaring the hell out of me. Perhaps I am too timid to take this type of music. Let's move on.

'Godhead's Lament' has a fantastic riff but the brutal Napalm Death vocals infect the track again. The vocals are deep and angry reminiscent of Napalm Death's 'Suffer The Children', or Bolt Thrower's 'Cenotaph'. I told you I used to be a death metal addict. Now into prog I have discarded this type of metal so I am biased, I have no appreciation for this death stuff anymore. But if you do, Opeth are for you. The clean vocals return after 3 and a half minutes. It settles into a gentler mood, and lunches into a wonderful lead guitar solo with acoustic guitars. There are more warm vocals and I love this part of the album. The growls of course return but it is not as overbearing with all the softer sections. This would have to be among the best tracks of Opeth, a definitive highlight of the album.

'Benighted' is my favourite song on this as there are no growls and it has a beautiful melody; it is like "Damnation" again. The acoustic and jazz fusion electric guitars are fantastic. I love the lyrics; "Come into this night, Here we'll be gone, So far away, From our weak and crumbling lives, Come into this night, When days are done, Lost and astray In what's vanished from your eyes, What came and distorted your sight, Saw you benighted by your fright..." A great song that is as mellow as Opeth get. Atmospheric, melancholy and sinister.

'Moonlapse Vertigo' opens with a strange layered guitar riff. It is a moderate tempo and melodic chord structure. The lengthy intro is terrific, and it lapses to an acoustic treatment and clean vocals again. I began to really enjoy the album more at this stage. The growls are even more intense when they begin. They are deeper and evil sounding, ruining it for me. Then the clean vocals return again. This is weird. I half love, half loathe it. It's like an angel conversing with a demon. There are a myriad of time signature changes with soft and hard textures painted on the canvas. At 5:20 there is some delightful violining on the guitar, a crunching riff locks in and an emotive lead break. Moments of brilliance once again.

'Face of Melinda' is a lilting acoustic gentle ballad with some beautiful vocals from Åkerfeldt. He is so lovely to listen to, it is astounding how brutal he can sound when he is growling. I love this track, one of my favourite Opeth songs. The lyrics are quite disturbing though, "And conceded pain in crumbling mirth, A harlot of God upon the earth, Found where she sacrificed her ways, That hollow love in her face, Still I plotted to have her back, The contentment that would fill the crack, My soul released a fluttering sigh, This day fell, the darkness nigh..." The heavier sound returns towards the end but it is a nice break from all the serenity. The clean vocals remain and I was so pleased as I would rate this track highly.

'Serenity Painted Death' is an ultra heavy song with some respite of acoustic flourishes. The killer riff is incredible and yes, the vocals are grimly caustic. I could actually make out the lyrics, "Voices fell like marble, No longer by my side, Gone all that would linger..." It settles down again and a new time sig kicks in, a very good riff. The death metal vocals are so turgid in comparison to the sweet vocals or previous tracks it is a shock to the system. There are passages of dark and light, tension and release that make up for the brutal vocals. Opeth are musicians of virtuoso standard.

'White Cluster' is very powerful featuring an awesome intro and very fast double kick drumming. The intense riffing is angular with a plethora of time sig shifts and metrical patterns that are complicated and dark. It has a false ending and some structural guitar breaks. It is played effortlessly and with complex arrangements: Opeth on a grand scale. At 1:46 the track changes direction in another time shift with soft vocals and gentle guitar. At 4:13 there is another time shift, a half time feel. At 5:10 a minimalist guitar is plucked gently. It builds again and at 6:30 a cool riff and blistering lead solo take over. The lengthy instrumental break continues with a new time sig, and violining guitar and gentle vocals again with a strong melody. It fades at 9:10 then an acousotc guitar plays away quietly and it is all over.

In conclusion, one of the best Opeth albums that rang a chord with me apart from the death metal vocals. The music ranges from very melodic, symphonic sections counterbalanced by breakneck power chord progressions and soaring lead solos. The ominous atmosphere of pervading doom is punctuated by the broken drum patterns and shattered metrical shifts. The slower sections allow breathing space. The musical inventiveness is unsurpassed for the extreme tech metal genre. "Still Life" is not quite a masterpiece, but its growing on me with each listen. I love it, then I loathe it, but I can't ignore it's complex structure and innovative approach, reinventing extreme heavy metal.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've felt underwhelmed by Still Life ever since my first encounter with this release and I'm afraid that I will continue feeling this way about it. The material is just not as likable to my ears as Opeth's later work and I lack the great hooks that the band is so good at delivering both instrumentally and through Mikael's vocal intonations. What surprises me about the band's pre-Blackwater Park material is that everything I like about Opeth is already in place like the long song format, unique style, skillful playing. Still the combination of these particles isn't yet perfected and the songs easily loose a sense of direction every time we get a new transition section. This last part could be explained by the fact that the band was eager to show off their skills while loosing the general composition flow in the process.

Even though I seem to be displeased with only a few of these compositions the problem is actually more in the general tone that this album offers. Therefore there are only marginal differences between the good and excellent material for me here. Still, it would be a lie if I claimed that there weren't a few magnificent moments featured on Still Life. One of my all-time favorite Opeth tracks titled White Cluster is definitely as great as this band can ever be. This composition gives us an awesome riff that kicks things off and the vocal hooks easily carve this song's title among the band's greatest masterpieces!

This review made me realize to my own amusement that I seem to only really be a fan of Opeth's short-lived period Steve Wilson-era that began with the release of Blackwater Park. Still Life was definitely a step in the right direction but I feel like the lyrical content overshadows the instrumental moments. I don't consider myself a big fan of Mikael's lyrics to begin with since they seem very ambitions on paper but ultimately come off sounding very pretentious. Even Mikael himself admitted a few times that in his later interviews and even during the Progressive Nation 2009 concert here in Stockholm that he himself wonders what he meant by some of his early scribblings.

Still Life is an interesting album for everyone who is already familiar with the band and wants to go on and explore the origin of Opeth and their sound. This is definitely a great time to do this since the album was re-released in 2008, with reworked album artwork by original artist Travis Smith and, besides the remastered stereo mix of the original album, has a second CD added in a form of an Audio DVD containing a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album.

***** star songs: White Cluster (10:02)

**** star songs: The Moor (11:28) Godhead's Lament (9:47) Face Of Melinda (7:59) Serenity Painted Death (9:14)

*** star songs: Benighted (5:01) Moonlapse Vertigo (9:00)

Review by JJLehto
5 stars My favorite Opeth album, (I really enjoy all their stuff). This is a work of pure brilliance. Now, this is Opeth so if you are not a fan of heavy guitar and especially may want to turn away. I would personally say go for it, because the music is superb and isn't prog about experimenting? But just be warned, there will be growls here, alot of it so yeah...

The Moor. Begins with a haunting yet calming keyboard launched into, a dual acoustic guitar melody. With a surprise though, the heavy kicks in. As does the growling. On a side note, while the vocals are understandable...musically, Opeth does not bear too much with death metal. It is rare, and short, to hear tremolo picking or really fast riffing. The heavy parts are really slower and more crushing. As Allmusic described the riffs, "jagged". Anyway, the ending is beautiful.

Godhead's Lament. Kick's off strong. Has that classic dual guitar harmony and quickly gives way to a cool and unusual sounding lead guitar. The Opeth wall of sound continues on, though the pace slows somewhat. Also, take notice of Martin Lopez's drumming. One of my all time favorites and I think a very underrated metal drummer. Perhaps tough to hear in the wall of sound, listen for it in the clean sections of the song. Great stuff. The middle part of the song is great, and the second half is more "metal" but the complex work is bar none. Lots of great solos in this song, courtesy of one of Mr. Åkerfeldt's influences, Allan Holdsworth.

Benighted. Need a break? You're in luck. An entirely acoustic song, just sit back and let the melodies, and Mikael's vocals take you away. I mentioned Holdsworth for a reason, just listen to this song and enjoy!

Moonlapse Vertigo. The opening guitar work is amazing. Akerfeldt and Lindgren are terrific players, and can lay down some wonderful harmonies. The acoustic melodies come in and oscillates with growling for a while. In the second half is a great solo and more dual guitar work. Martin's drumming in the outro I really enjoy.

Face of Melinda. Starts off beautifully. Continues for a nice long time. Though heaviness does come in over the second half clean vocals continue, over heavy chords being played. Such a great heavy atmosphere. Lots of Opeth's twisted guitar work as well.

Serenity Painted Death. Perhaps the most intense song on the album. Real heavy. The intro riff is amazing though. LOTS of growling on this song, and some of it is intense! Even for me. A nice short acoustic hold is ended by a great crunching and Opeth-esque riff. The next part, where Mikael says "Serenity Painted Death" a few times has some excellent guitar and drum work, and his vocals are almost terrifying. Great solo follows.

White Cluster. Amazingly composed song. Some of the best guitar work on the album. Complex and again, well structured. Lopez's drumming also is some of the most intense with a lot of fairly blistering double bass. Classic Opeth song, and really strong way to end the album.

An amazing piece of music, this is Opeth at it's finest. Death Metal, Prog Rock, throw in some Latin Jazz. Some compelx, dual guitar work, technical breaks, beautiful acoustic melodies, and of course Mikael's seemingly inhuman shifting between bellowing, death growls and chilling clean singing. As with most of Opeth's stuff, not for the casual progger due to excessive growling, but try to look past. Great for any prog-metal and metal fan! As well as you proggers with tolerable palettes.

Five Stars

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars It's high time to separate the facts from the hyperbole regarding this album.

When reviewers claim that something is the best ever in the history of the genre--and then often with the gall to bolster this with phrases such as "unquestionably" or "hands-down"--they do the actual review a disservice, undermining the legitimate critiques that are usually included as well.

Unfortunately, I expect to find some of this for any set of album reviews, but for some reason there seem to be a lot more for Still Life. I can't figure out what drives this passion. Can I enjoy the album without believing that I'm listening to the work of gods handed down from above?

But, I digress.

Still Life has much going for it, such as the compelling storyline, the nicely-done album art and sleeve, and a very distinctive sound, complete with plenty of delicate passages and both guitar and vocal harmonies. Here Opeth show creativity, musicality, and restraint...that is when they are not howling, growling, double-bassing, and generally piercing eardrums and crushing skulls.

On the downside, I don't find much of the music terribly compelling beyond the guitar harmonies and delicate parts. Transitions also aren't very good--that is, unless you enjoy listening to music by putting the volume on low and instantaneously cranking it up to eleven. Much of the album sounds to me like relatively simple hammering away in 4/4 time. They are good at it--and have a good sound for it--but it's not enough to keep me interested for long.

Highlights: The Moor, Face of Melinda. Unlike much of the rest of the album (i.e., play loud and fast, then play slow and quiet), these songs use dynamics much better to build tension and create a flow to the piece. The Moor is particularly distinctive, with its creepy, brooding buildup to the bone crushing middle section, followed by a beautiful delicate section.

Overall a solid album with a great story and a compelling sound, but certainly no masterpiece in my book. If even the great Clapton is indeed mortal, then I'm going to remain skeptical about the godliness of the Opeth boys until further notice.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A lot of 4 and 5 star reviews for this album. Yikes. I was aware of these guys in the '90s but never listened to them. When this came out I no longer listened to current metal. I never liked growling. I thought it was silly. I thought it was a fad and wouldn't last long. Consider me as ignorant as people who said "that rap stuff will be gone in a few years" back in 1990. Obviously, my favourite parts of this album is where there is no growling. This is the first full Opeth album I have heard. To me this about 75% metal and 25% prog.

The best part on the whole album is the first 2 minutes of "The Moor". Absolutely great guitar sounds. The rest of the album is a let down after that. The song then goes into acoustic guitar territory. Then gets heavy with the awful growling. Nice riff halfway through with harmony vocals. Acoustic guitar again and then harmonized guitars. Some great tremolo/vibrato guitar before everything gets ruined with more growling and heavyness.

The best part of "Godhead's Lament" is when the acoustic guitar and 'normal' vocals come in. The harmony vocals near the end are good and remind me of Alice In Chains. "Moonlapse Vertigo" has a bit of Hendrix-style guitar playing in the middle. "Face Of Melinda" has more Alice In Chains style harmony vocals. First half mostly acoustic and slightly jazzy. Jazzy snare drum with brushes in the middle. Gets heavier later.

"Serenity Painted Death" has yet more Alice In Chains harmony vocals. In the middle there is some great guitar sounds before the growling comes in. Nice jazzy guitar at the end. This is not a horrible album nor is it great. I've heard better non-prog and prog metal. This would appeal to prog fans who enjoy non-prog metal. Basically this is death metal with some folky and slightly jazzy strains. I think this deserves 2.5 but I'll round it up to 3 stars.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, Opeth, always divided me!

I mean, I like their progressive side, really like it, but I don't like the gutural vocals, even known that is part of their sound, their 'personality', it's always bothers me a little.

The album, is their best till that specific moment (1999) and here we have a variety of sounds, lot of acoustic guitars, some keyboards, and background vocals here, there and everywhere, which makes a nice contrast with the gutural vocals and the heaviness of the band.

I guess it's the favorite of a lot of people because of this, variety in sounds, combining two very diferent worlds: the heavy and the melodic!

Review by Warthur
5 stars It took a long time for Opeth's music to fully grow on me, but even when I didn't quite "get" their appeal I could immediately appreciate how their Still Life opens with one of their best ever tracks - the progressive death metal epic The Moor.

Previously, I'd usually find myself losing focus after this, with the sobering acoustic piece Benighted throwing me off, but having better-digested Opeth's preceding albums has made me better appreciate the role of acoustic moments in their music. Even from their earliest phases, before they'd put out entire albums of essentially non-metal material, such interludes had been a significant part of their sound, and whilst I still think the vocals on it sound a little off - perhaps a few studio effects being deployed to cover for the limitations of the band's clean vocals at this time - I think it's a remarkably effective piece whose role in the pacing of the album I think I now understand better.

Perhaps my previous mistake was coming to the album in a primarily death metal mood, because whilst there is still a healthy dose of death metal here, especially in some of the harsher and more aggressive passages and in the harsher vocals, Still Life is arguably the point where the balance of Opeth's music shifted from progressive death metal to progressive metal which incorporates death metal within its musical palette, but which more overtly includes ingredients of more mainstream varieties of metal or progressive rock - check that glorious moment of calm about five minutes into Moonlapse Vertigo before it goes into a harsher section in which extreme metal vocals and blast beats on the drum are set against a progressive rock guitar solo building to the climactic section at 7-ish minutes in.

I'm glad I tried to reassess Opeth, because I had taken far too long to fully appreciate what they accomplished on this album, which is far subtler and cleverer in how it's put together and how it balances its different influences than I had previously given it credit for.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Sometimes, having a bad first taste with a band can have unexpectedly delightful consequences. Take the highly revered progressive metal band Opeth. I tried to get into them through the debut ORCHID, and haven't been exactly excited about them until try number 2, STILL LIFE. I actually did set my expectations higher due to the album's reputation, but didn't quite go full-blown excited seeing how ORCHID bombed for me.

The two major differences between point A and now are that first, the production is much better. I have said that ORCHID's production was ''decent'', but this album is better to the point where I notice. This is crystal clear progressive metal production that doesn't overbear on anything (especially since there are no keyboards anywhere). Second, Mikael Akerfeldt has vastly improved his songwriting and compositional skills. There's no plodding from death riff to death riff here.

The whole album feels seamless. Transitioning among the many different themes feels so natural that any change in direction doesn't feel forced or abrupt. The dynamic levels sound just right; the first few minutes of a song might be very metal, but halfway through the song, the pacing will breathe and allow gentle acoustic passages. Many of the heavier, meatier riffs actually have sort of a bright tone to them despite the dark content. The listener, in a sense, gets the most upliftingly morose album they've ever heard in their life.

As far as band comparisons go, the big one that comes to mind for me is Camel, believe it or not. Okay, Akerfeldt did irritatingly swipe the opening of "Never Let Go" for the opening of "Benighted", but that track eventually morphs into its own serene track (still, the swipe will always bother me). Even after the fact, listen to the opening of the album again and tell me that doesn't remind you of THE SNOW GOOSE if you've heard it.

As long as the tracks are, there's rarely this sense of checking the run time to figure out how much longer the song has to go. The transitions and dynamic levels really do help the flow. It helps "The Moor" and "White Cluster" become progressive metal classics in their own regard. "The Face of Melinda" might be my choice pick due to the constant inside progression of the piece and the fact that it's (nearly) absent of death growls. Akerfeldt is better of a singer than I had initially realised, and the softer, serene moments where the instrumentation is not much more than an acoustic guitar and Akerfeldt's voice are some of the album's better moments.

Other than a lack of instantaneously memorable quotes, STILL LIFE is indeed a classic of progressive metal.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Prayer for our still life. Regardless of my first OPETH, I could not help feeling as if this album should be one of my musical roots. Based upon melodic core metal, they keep sending out fresh troops of sensitive sound shower. Their musical box is full of sound essence of Swedish metal scene ... heavy riffs with grindcore vibes, sensitive melodic Fantasia, refined chorus along with strict rhythm section plays, extreme sharp-edged guitar solos ... all of OPETHeoretical energetic progressive strategies would be accumulated and integrated like a powerful pyramid.

On the other hand, I guess they might play fully with artistic delight for letting the audience listen to their complex melody lines in such a complicated manner, of course their playing skill, instrumental technique,or composition faculty should be awesome though. We can get immersed in their world just as if we would fall into catastrophic illusion via this massive production.

Cynically mentioning aside, their theatrical schemes and movements can be felt pretty innovative. Assume that such a death-metallic style could be heard via North European progressive metal originated with the giant vanguards in North Euro melodic (non-progressive) metal scene ... basical metal sound visions with explosive loudness and deathcore voices would be shifted to mystic gorgeous rock phrases tinged with classical flavour somehow. The first repetitive confusive conductive phrases, beautiful acoustic storytelling, aloud hardcore voices plus deep explosive phases, and polished chorus or verse ... they all hold their hands and merge themselves into others completely. There is no useless tone nor unnecessary sound. On a natural course.

We cannot frequently come across such a colourful creation filled with nonpartisan sound variations, let me say. Afraid there might be pros and cons for / against this album but this innovative cornerstone was / is another multi-flavourful gem.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 85

"Still Life" is the fourth studio album of Opeth and was released in 1999. It was the first Opeth's album to be released through the Peaceville Records, following their departure from the Candlelight and Century Black Records after the release of their previous third studio album "My Arms, Your Hearse".

As with "My Arms, Your Hearse", "Still Life" is also a conceptual album. In short, it tells the story of a man who was expelled from his home town because he hasn't got the same faith as the rest of the inhabitants, the Christianity. He returns for his love Melinda and he finds out that she isn't now a free person. He does his best to reach her, and once he manages to do so, Melinda is killed and the man, now enraged, goes on a killing spree and only succumbs due to exhaustion. He is executed and finally he reaches serenity. Each song concentrates on the different parts of the story.

The line up on the album is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals and guitars), Peter Lindgren (guitar), Martin Mendez (bass guitar) and Martin Lopez (drums).

"Still Life" has seven tracks. All songs were written and composed by Akerfeldt. The first track "The Moor" lyrically tells that the protagonist of the story has been banished from his own village and now he is coming back to take his love Melinda with him. Musically it begins with a mystical acoustic sound which leads to a great acoustic riff. After that, the song becomes fuller by aggressive metal, joined by Akerfeldt's nice growling vocals. This mini epic contains both acoustic and heavy parts with both cleaning and growling vocals, staying very progressive as well. The second track "Godheads Lament" lyrically describes how the protagonist of the story watches Melinda from afar, fearing that he will be detected, and doubting that he can make contact with her without attracting the religious authority of the town. Musically it continues as pretty much the same. It continues with high and strong power music which is very nice to hear but it has also an excellent melodic line. The third track "Benighted" lyrically perfectly conveys the man's longing for Melinda and how he desperately hopes that they might yet be together, despite her becoming a part of the controlling religious organisation since his banishment. Musically this track is the only completely acoustic in the album. It's a great ballad with a very good guitar solo. It has a great combination between great acoustic guitar work and a beautiful voice line. The fourth track "Moonlapse Vertigo" lyrically shows that the things become desperate and how much danger the man puts him in just by being there, and that he has very little time to try to convince Melinda to come away with him. Musically "Moonlapse Vertigo" is one of the most progressive songs of the album. It brings the music back to the high energy of the album. However, this time it's performed softer with great combination of electric and acoustic guitar workings. The fifth track "Face Of Melinda" lyrically shows that Melinda initially rejects the man and hides behind her religious beliefs. Disheartened yet not defeated, the man makes one more attempt to win her back and we learn that she still loves him now, as she always did. Musically is the only song of the album with no growling vocals, along with "Benighted". It's also one of the best singular songs of "Still Life", being of the lighter track here. The sixth track "Serenity Painted Death" lyrically shows that before the reacquainted couples can leave, the outcast wakes to find they have been found out. Melinda has been taken away and her throat slit for her association with him, which leave him consumed by fury and a longing for vengeance. He goes on a rampage, killing numerous soldiers before finally being captured by the Council of the Cross. Musically this is probably the most aggressive song of the album. It has a crashing metal riff and truly impressive natural growling vocal working by Akerfeldt, as only he is able to do. The seventh and the last track "While Cluster" lyrically completes the tragic story, with the man refusing to repent before being taken to the gallows to be hanged before a large gathering of townspeople. It closes with the man having a vision of Melinda right before he is executed, suggesting that he will soon be reunited with her in death. Musically it continues at the same musical line with the whole album and it has also a wonderful guitar solo.

Conclusion: "Still Life" is a very balanced album with a clear theme, both lyrically and musically, and its quality stays excellent from the beginning to the end. Compared to the other Opeth's albums, this is my favourite studio album from the band. Opeth made a commercial success with their next studio album "Blackwater Park", but I still prefer "Still Life" compared to it. "Still Life" stays clear and balanced throughout the album and has no weak points. However and in general, all the Opeth's discography seems to have no truly weak points at all. All of this made of "Still Life" as one of the best and truly classic progressive albums. So, I recommend strongly this album to all progressive rock fans.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Opeth's fourth album, 'Still Life' is for many where the band finally established their classic sound in all its glory. 'My Arms, Your Hearse' brought in two new musicians and a serious alteration in the band's music writing style: heavier, more brutal, and with a more natural inclusion of lighter parts into their now heavier songs. But Mikael Akerfeldt was deeply influenced by progressive music by this point and claims that 'Still Life' was their most progressive album up to that time.

What is interesting to note on this album is how the heavier guitar chords are very well balanced with higher tone riffs, allowing for complex riffing to coexist with the more thunderous side of the band's heavy sound. As if intentionally in complement, Mikael's death vocals also show two sides: a deep guttural bellow and a wet, back-of- the-throat, blasting roar. These two vocal styles are best heard in the chorus to 'Serenity Painted Death', where the first part is sung (or vocalized?) in the deeper voice and the second part in the higher, shredding voice. In fact, it is this song that finally made me appreciate the skill and talent behind death vocals. Previously I had likened this style of vocalizing to a demon with severe stomach troubles the night after an ungodly pasta binge and heavy drinking. Perhaps somewhat unfortunately now, all death vocalists I hear will be compared to Mikael Akerfeldt.

I'll admit that in the beginning this album was a slow grower for me when I brought it home four years ago. At first, only 'Serenity Painted Death' and 'White Cluster' stood out as memorable. But earlier this year, I this album on frequently and my brain become awakened to its overall charm. Mikael's clean vocals are stronger than they were on the previous three albums and can now create an atmosphere. The acoustic part in 'Godhead's Lament' makes me think of Jethro Tull a bit, and the use of acoustic and clean electric guitar passages in the heavier songs has really become a natural development within the song frameworks. Daring to go further than before, Opeth give us 'Benighted', an all-acoustic track plus some clean electric guitar with a smooth jazzy feel and all clean vocals. 'Face of Melinda' also spends the first four minutes delivering an easy-swaying acoustic number with light jazz-influenced percussion. The inclusion of these tracks shows that the band is not driven towards an album of brutal auditory assault like many or most of their death metal contemporaries but is instead striving for texture, mood, and melody alongside the expected aggressive music.

Looking at 11 lists ranking Opeth's albums, 'Still Life' has an average rank of 3.1, second only to 'Blackwater Park' with a 1.9 average rank. It is, in my opinion, one of the four essential Opeth albums from their progressive death metal period, along with 'Blackwater Park', 'Ghost Reveries' and "Watershed". And 'Serenity Painted Death' is one of my top 3 favourite classic Opeth period songs! I'd love to give this 4 1/2 stars but I'll settle with 4.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Opeth, the epitome of the chameleonic prog metal/death metal scene, here use their sonic assault to fill brains with gruel. I'll repeat my one compliment of Mikael Åkerfeldt's death metal growls: at least I can understand his words.

1. "The Moor" (11:28) (18.25/20) = 9.125

2. "Godhead's Lament" (9:47) a straightforward run through the juggernaut in hell. Technically, the musicianship is impressive (as always), but musically it does nothing to lure me back. Perhaps the lyrics would propel it into a higher realm, critically, but that's not my style. Again, Mikael's "normal" human voice is quite nice, almost choir-like. A song I won't ever need to hear again--despite my curiosity over what "godhead's lament" might be. (16/20)

3. "Benighted" (5:01) multiple tracks of acoustic guitars playing delicate yet intricately picked music. Mikael's whispered vocal joins in the second minute. This guy is so talented! (8.75/10)

4. "Moonlapse Vertigo" (9:00) full band opens at a good clip, though not as dense as #2; the instruments are moving slightly out of kilter with one another--which is actually a cool effect. And the drum pattern is fairly simple and spacious. I like that the instrumental opening establishes melodies that keep me interested. At 2:00 there is a hard left into acoustic-guitar based music for the singing to begin. The right-turn around 2:45 is hard but rather cool, musically. . . until the death growls arrive. These two themes repeat until 4:30 when there is a jazzy instrumental section. (18/20)

5. "Face Of Melinda" (7:59) another multiple acoustic guitar-based opening with soft (brushed?!) drums and multiple vocal tracks (all Mikael). Interesting in an EXTREME "More Than Words" kind of way. At 4:26, several spaced apart WHO-like electric guitar power chords announce the transition into the more aggressive metal version/section of the song. The singing stays nice and the music is not too abrasive, but there are no attractive melodies to hook me in, make me want to stay. Nice build up and presentation for the low-key guitar display at the end. (13/15)

6. "Serenity Painted Death" (9:14) a hard-driving opening within which Mikael chooses to present his lyrics with his death metal growls. Nice guitar bridge into quiet shift to section B. Still choosing growl vocals. The instrumental expression may be a little too tame for these vocals and their lyrics! In the fifth minute the music moves to a more acoustic guitar-based section for some cool instrumental exposition. In the eighth minute Mikael lets loose with a nice lead guitar shredder, then the music returns to strummed electric guitar chords and normal voice singing--until 7:45 when the earlier theme and growls return. Interesting how the song ends with such delicate though intricate guitar picking. (17.75/20)

7. "White Cluster" (10:02) kind of bland, repetitive "metal by numbers" with growls for the first 1:45. Then turns acoustic guitar strums with Mikael singing in his normal voice with nice, long, protracted notes/words. Weird break for "silent" acoustic guitar in very middle before bursting back into full force. Nice drum play with long sustained growl. More power section followed by acoustic section. Such a roller coaster ride! Nice lead guitar work as music starts to fade. Interesting song, just not always keeping me engaged. (16.75/20) = 8.375

Total Time: 62:31

B/four stars; an excellent display of prog metal. This may, in fact, be a masterpiece of metal/death metal music, but, in my personal opinion, this is not representative of mastery of progressive rock music.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars Fourth Opeth album which, according to the Progarchives Top 100 of all time, should be their masterpiece.

1. The Moor (11:28). Mini suite with heavy metal rhythm, Akerfeldt's death metal growl and Peter Lindgren's guitar chase each other for a long time, alternating different atmospheres: the best are the instrumental acoustic one of the incipit, and the semi-acoustic one that arrives at around 7-8 minutes (sung with the normal voice). The death metal parts are bad, like the final one, where the death metal growl returns which to my ears is somewhat kitsch. Rating 7+.

2. Godhead's Lament (9:47) Accelerated and overloaded death metal start, then progression to an acoustic phase, almost a rock ballad, then the excited death metal phase returns. Weak song. Rating 5.75.

3. Benighted (5:01) Slow guitar ballad, almost entirely instrumental, which comes alive only in the final but which overall sounds subdued and monotonous. Sweetness is appreciated. Rating 6.5.

4. Moonlapse Vertigo (9:00) Third mini-suite that alternates grotesque atmospheres with clear parts, heterogeneous and unequal song both in singing and in music. Rating 6.5.

5. Face of Melinda (7:59). It may be the only really beautiful and meaningful song of the Lp, able to go from acoustic ballad to heavy metal without forcing and without the kitsch of death metal singing. Not a masterpiece, but beautiful. Rating 8.

6. Death painted with serenity (9:14). Another minisuite that alternates slow acoustic parts, classic rock parts and death metal parts, insisting (too much) in the changes of rhythm and atmosphere. Overall, however, an appreciable result. Rating 7.

7. White cluster (10:02). Final mini-suite, perhaps the most proggy song on the album, which after a bad start in death metal gains quality over time with pause, acceleration and even melody. Rating 7.75

Total time 62:31

Overall, according to the canons of its genre, Still Life is, in my opinion, a good album which, however, does not achieve the objectives of its ambition; the songs are almost all decent, with no real peaks but overall without serious drops. Final rating 7+. Three stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Opeth - Still Life I'm pretty sure anyone who's been in the death metal scene has heard about this band. Opeth became popular and highly praised (quite understandably) for their masterful blend between the brutality of death metal and the tender, soft and beautiful melodies of progressive rock. W ... (read more)

Report this review (#2595938) | Posted by Maw The Void | Tuesday, September 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There's been a few middling to negative reviews on this album in recent months, so i'd like to put in some good word for this legendary release. This record follows up my favorite Opeth record: 'My Arms Your Hearse,' and to me, these two albums go together very well and act as somewhat of a seco ... (read more)

Report this review (#2583940) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Friday, August 6, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Giving this album the same rating as Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries because of the same reasons. It's an essential album, revolutionary in anyway, it's a masterpiece for its genre, therefore it's for 'fans only'. I must say that I like this album more than the two mentioned previously, but the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2583386) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Tuesday, August 3, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of Opeth's best albums, that's for sure. Still Life explores the story of an atheist in a religious town back in the past. He comes back to the town to take his girlfriend Melinda with him, but while he was away, she had become a nun. So yeah the album is very dramatic. There's no weak trac ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581506) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Monday, July 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars - Review #18 - So it's pretty obvious that this was the album where Opeth's creativity blew up. Even though I love Morningrise, it doesn't sound too much like the Opeth we all know. My Arms Your Hearse would be the first with Opeth's trademark sound, even if I don't like it that much. Still L ... (read more)

Report this review (#2542863) | Posted by King Brimstone | Saturday, May 15, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is probably the most overrated album in the history of music. There is nothing here that can make me interested in anything. This is poorly played death metal. Bad melodies, incoherent and similar structures of songs. The usual song for opeth is done like this: 1) A passage or a bunch of chords ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536687) | Posted by buzykin | Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Opeth's fifth best album in my opinion. Dynamic, consistent, and with a great concept, I can't say it's essential however. Still Life follows the story of a man who escaped a religious town because he was an atheist, years after, he returns to get his girlfriend "Melinda" (who became a nun) so th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2509212) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Friday, February 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Searching my way to perplexion..." Well, I guess it was time for me to start reviewing my personal favorite genre of music, as I previously had steered away from reviewing Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands because I felt that the metalhead in me would explode at the mere thought. I think I'm fine ... (read more)

Report this review (#1370395) | Posted by paragraph7 | Thursday, February 19, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While sticking to My Arms Your Hearse formula of long songs with alternating death metal and acoustic sections and some more traditional metal riffs and solos, Still Life improves in major areas. Songs are longer, extreme parts are better integrated, creating for some interesting textures, as op ... (read more)

Report this review (#1285959) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, September 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What else can be said about this album that hasn't been said? This album is an absolute masterpiece of the genre. I am the first to admit that growling vocals rub me the wrong way, but Akerfeldt's performance is such a nice juxtaposition between dark and light, that I appreciate the growling in Op ... (read more)

Report this review (#1089967) | Posted by Umph1348 | Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have not been a fan of music where the singers growl, I feel kind of offended. When I knew Opeth, I had the same impression. Then, I listened to DAMNATION and my perspective towards this band changed completely. I could learn and admire the intelligent musical arrangements in every song and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1024531) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 There is a reason that this album is rated the highest of any Tech/ Extreme Prog Metal album. It's because it is the best one. Pros The musicianship. This is the album that really got me into Opeth, and really the only album by the band that I continue to listen to on a regular bas ... (read more)

Report this review (#1008957) | Posted by Meegan | Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is clearly my favourite album by Opeth. Altough I started with Damnation, as many people do, and not being very familiar with death metal gutural voices, the music, the concept, the production... well, everything that concerns this album is just amazing. This album, also, is very importan ... (read more)

Report this review (#987805) | Posted by walbumina | Friday, June 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Before beginning, I should preface this by saying that before stumbling upon this album in the top 100 list last year when I discovered this website, I had never heard of Opeth and was not a fan of death metal. I had a preconceived notion that screaming and growling scuttled musicality and wou ... (read more)

Report this review (#946314) | Posted by Neo-Romantic | Friday, April 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Still Life" by Opeth is the most widely aclaimed extreme prog metal album on this site. Released in 1999, Still Life tells the story of a man in the dark ages who was kicked out of his village due to religious reasons, and comes back to find his "babe" and ends up causing alot of trouble. Ive no ... (read more)

Report this review (#842921) | Posted by lmaorofllollmao | Monday, October 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is it. Opeth's grand opus. Despite common fan opinions, I believe this is a greater achievement than the much fabled Blackwater Park. The entire album revolves around a style that is both brutal and beautiful, with stunning moments of melodic goodness, with some truly headbanging riffs in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#744340) | Posted by Gallifrey | Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OPETH: The leaders of progressive metal. "Still Life" is regarded by most as the best progressive metal albums ever. And i would have to agree with this statement 100%. Unmatched acoustic guitar work; "widdly" as Mikael says. Amazing and original guitar riffs, complex drumming, and most impor ... (read more)

Report this review (#566431) | Posted by theRunawayV | Friday, November 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Still Life is one of the greatest progressive metal records of all time and one of the best albums Opeth has done. It combines flawless technique, beautiful singing, brutal growls, creepy atmospheres and all of the elements that turned Opeth into the monster they are today. This record has some o ... (read more)

Report this review (#493193) | Posted by jav1919 | Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Opeth has a lot of great music, but Still Life is the one album where it all came together the most. It combines their mellow and beautiful passages with their bone-crushing metal stylings in a tremendous way, and their songwriting, song by song, from start to finish, has never been better. Every so ... (read more)

Report this review (#478803) | Posted by Biff Tannen | Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Still Life ? 1999 (3.4/5) Almost 4 stars 11 ? Best Song: Benighted? According to Progarchives, and the whole of the progressive community, this, and not Blackwater Park, is the band's creative zenith. Well, that's all and good, they are entitled to their opinions, even if said opinions are wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#441756) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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