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OPETH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Opeth picture
Opeth biography
Founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1990

Yes, some people would consider OPETH to be a pure (melodic) Death Metal band but you have to differentiate a lot. The four guys from Stockholm/Sweden feature a lot of different elements on their albums. We have the aggressive death metal with Mikael's growls (which are not generated with help of a computer, it's actually his voice) with lots of breaks, mostly acoustic including Mikael's clear voice. Mr. Åkerfeldt himself always underestimates his clear voice and often points out that he is a novice regarding this kind of singing. But that's not true, false modesty is the term here. His clear voice is warm and simply beautiful. The whole music is guitar orientated, on the one hand we have great riffing for aggressive parts, awesome melodic solos and on the other hand acoustic breaks with admirable melodies with some Scandinavian folk influences here and there and of course Mikael's clear vocals. Sometimes you even get some PINK FLOYD or PORCUPINE TREE like parts or whole songs.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2014 ⭐

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2008 ⭐

Sure, the band started out as a pure Death Metal combo regarding to their first release" "Orchid" but from their second release on the prog elements got more and more. The second album "Morningrise" for example features a pure Prog song with PINK FLOYD like parts as well as epic song lengths. Mikael Åkerfeldt who also is the indispensable head of the band, often mentions that he is a proghead and mostly likes bands like CAMEL and PORCUPINE TREE. No doubt, you can hear those influences on albums like "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" but their highlight regarding to pure Prog for sure is their 2003 release "Damnation" which features an entire album in the style of PORCUPINE TREE. Not really astonishing regarding the fact that Steven Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE is a good friend of Mikael and Peter and even worked together with the band for their double release "Damnation" and "Deliverance". Steven Wilson also produced their album "Blackwater Park" which is regarded as their best work so far, not only by death metal fans but also by many others normally disliking death metal growls (like me). "Damnation" for sure is the album most of...
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OPETH discography


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OPETH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.28 | 766 ratings
Orchid
1995
3.74 | 864 ratings
Morningrise
1996
3.97 | 883 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
1998
4.30 | 1829 ratings
Still Life
1999
4.28 | 1897 ratings
Blackwater Park
2001
3.79 | 1076 ratings
Deliverance
2002
4.01 | 1454 ratings
Damnation
2003
4.28 | 1772 ratings
Ghost Reveries
2005
4.01 | 1327 ratings
Watershed
2008
3.81 | 1403 ratings
Heritage
2011
4.16 | 1273 ratings
Pale Communion
2014
3.70 | 624 ratings
Sorceress
2016
4.00 | 557 ratings
In Cauda Venenum
2019

OPETH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 129 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003
2006
4.10 | 224 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2007
3.90 | 11 ratings
The Devil's Orchard (Live At Rock Hard Festival 2009)
2011
4.59 | 17 ratings
Lamentations Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire
2016
4.45 | 59 ratings
Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
2018

OPETH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.06 | 232 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush
2003
4.11 | 165 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2008
4.65 | 265 ratings
In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
2010
4.33 | 24 ratings
Live at Enmore Theatre Sidney Australia
2011

OPETH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.57 | 45 ratings
Limited Edition Box Set
2006
3.99 | 74 ratings
The Candlelight Years
2008
4.40 | 5 ratings
The Wooden Box
2009
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Collection
2014
4.03 | 21 ratings
Deliverance & Damnation
2015

OPETH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 26 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
1994
4.46 | 50 ratings
The Drapery Falls
2001
4.11 | 38 ratings
Deliverance
2002
4.46 | 57 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun 7''
2003
3.17 | 28 ratings
Selections From Ghost Reveries
2005
3.32 | 47 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
2005
4.58 | 12 ratings
Ghost of Perdition
2006
3.02 | 25 ratings
Watershed - Radio Sampler
2008
3.71 | 50 ratings
Porcelain Heart
2008
3.63 | 53 ratings
Mellotron Heart
2008
3.86 | 71 ratings
Burden
2008
4.00 | 3 ratings
Dirge for November - Live
2010
2.89 | 9 ratings
Slither
2011
3.48 | 75 ratings
The Throat of Winter
2011
3.69 | 95 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
2011
3.73 | 15 ratings
Cusp of Eternity
2014
3.36 | 22 ratings
Sorceress
2016
3.06 | 17 ratings
Will o the Wisp
2016
3.07 | 15 ratings
The Wilde Flowers
2016
3.50 | 4 ratings
Book of Opeth
2016
3.28 | 9 ratings
Live in Plovdiv (split with Enslaved)
2017
4.00 | 6 ratings
Ghost of Perdition (Live)
2018
3.82 | 17 ratings
Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand
2019
3.77 | 13 ratings
Svekets Prins
2019

OPETH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Damnation by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.01 | 1454 ratings

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Damnation
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by theaqua

5 stars Damnation is Opeth most different album, even from the prog-only lineage, coming after the brutal and heavy, Deliverance, its successor has a softer and more melancholic nature and originally together with Deliverance, it was supposed to be a double album with the first part heavy and the other soft, exploring in a fixed way the 2 sides of Opeth sound, and during my journey with Opeth, I already listened to it, however, after finishing all the albums of the heavy lineage, I thought about relistening because my opinions was not so formed about the album and... what an experience! I will be more different in this review and address what I think of the album in a more separate way.

Mixing: one of the best mixes I've heard on an Opeth album by Steven Wilson who already mixed the legendary Blackwater Park, it's very reminiscent of something from the 70s considering the influences of Opeth's prog bands (like Camel), the sound is clear and the volume is consistent and the instruments work very well, it is harmonious and very pleasant to pay attention to how each musician plays.

Composition: Because it is not heavy and the songs are softer, Damnation has the freedom to have several changes in the structure of the songs, and wow, everyone here plays with mastery, Martin Lopez is an excellent drummer, very jazzy, Mikael Åkerfeldt and Peter Lindgren are guitarists with a lot of chemistry and they present very memorable and dark riffs, expressing many different feelings as they switch from section to section, and Martin Mendez shines a lot as a bassist, the tones and his way of playing present well-planned melodies, a focused and subtle bass with its versatility, oh, and Steven Wilson plays here too, great mellotron and contributes well to the album.

Atmosphere: As said before, a soft and melancholic album, the atmosphere here is very immersive, the times I listened to this album, I felt like I was exploring someone's memories, and well, Opeth's lyrics were always about imagination, never in fact exploring specific concepts and quite open in interpretation, in this album, it is the same thing, all quite intriguing such as ''Death Whispered a Lullaby'' and ''Windowpane'' which gives even more atmosphere to this album are the Mikael's beautiful vocals, I love and love them here, he has always been a vocalist with duality between having powerful heavy vocals and calm and beautiful vocals and here, he fully explores the soft vocals, an incredible performance and a quality atmosphere.

In conclusion: Damnation is quite special and perfectly explores the soft side of Opeth, all the songs are fantastic and the album as a whole has a good replay factor, the melancholic and engaging atmosphere, a dark album that expresses many feelings of sadness in many ways with an eclectic composition, an incredible release, both for getting it right, being quite bold, in its proposal, if you, by chance, wanted to listen to Opeth, but don't really like the songs that contain Metal, this album is for you, perfect in every way and a release that I will find myself relistening to several times.

10/10

 In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall by OPETH album cover DVD/Video, 2010
4.65 | 265 ratings

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In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This release captures a compelling live performance from Opeth, hailing from right towards the tail end of their metal era; Watershed had been out for nearly two years when this April 2010 concert were recorded, and the band were still some months away from entering the studio to record Heritage, heralding their stylistic shift from prog metal to a more purely prog-based approach.

In this case, the results are excellent. The band are working with songs which have had extensive road testing. Moreover, the format of the concert makes this an apt tribute to Opeth's past before they moved on to a significantly transformed future - for the concert is divided into a first act in which the entire Blackwater Park album is performed, and a second act in which the band pick out and play one song from each other their other studio albums to date in chronological order.

Blackwater Park is, of course, a stone cold classic - an album where the band's prog influences and death metal roots achieved a seamless fusion, carrying enough of their past to be an appropriate album to focus on for this journey through their career whilst also exhibiting enough of their innovations to suggest the seeds of future developments. The second half of the set allows the band to take us on a whistle-stop tour of their musical evolution, and the "one song per album" approach allows them to showcase the absolute cream of the crop, with the band erring towards epic pieces to perhaps give each album a fairly expansive showcase. (All of the songs in the second half are over ten minutes long except Hope Leaves from Damnation - and none of the songs there hit the ten minute mark.)

With the recording of Heritage a few months after this concert, an entire new chapter of Opeth's existence would begin - but this concert is an excellent summation of their previous incarnation, and will be of interest to all Opeth fans.

 Deliverance by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.79 | 1076 ratings

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Deliverance
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by theaqua

4 stars Deliverance, the album that was made to be Opeth's heaviest, is quite infamous for Opeth fans who see that it is divided between albums of heavy lineage, it came after Blackwater Park, which was highly acclaimed and evolved into what the predecessor Still Life did, to be honest, Deliverance is almost a 5, ALMOST, but I feel like it's let down by the not very good mixing, and that's probably one of the reasons why a lot of people don't like it very much, coming after the aforementioned Blackwater Park doesn't it helps, as it was a very remarkable album due to its very high level mixing, here, the sound is more rigid and closed, which actually suits the album, but I will be critical when I say that it could be better, in all other ways, I like very very much Deliverance, the 5 songs (For Absent Friends is an interlude) present a lot of versatility and consistency that rivals much of the band's best works, it's an album that I always find myself revisiting and rarely not finishing, because of how interesting and consistent it are the songs, the album has a great sense of direction from section to section, as it is focused on being heavy, the acoustic moments are not as present, and that is an interesting choice, when they appear, they are very climactic and mysterious always, every time. the songs are essential to the album and none are weak with the title song of the album, being the best heavy song that Opeth has ever done, 13 mind-blowing minutes, all the musicians are incredible here, Martin Lopez as the drummer is phenomenal here, Peter Lindgren and Mikael Åkerfeldt release killer and incredible riffs all the time, and Martin Mendez and his bass are quite consistent and the tone is great, unfortunately, what doesn't make it a masterpiece is precisely the mixing that doesn't do justice to how good the compositions are, otherwise, Deliverance is excellent, but it loses to the other albums due to its not very good production, but it gets it right in every way and I highly recommend it, unless you don't like heavy music.
 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.16 | 1273 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Despite having a prog-heart at its core, I have almost always preferred the classic Opeth era until 2008, originally because of its progressive metal leanings but later even more because of the ominous and serious atmosphere, riffing style and acoustic vs brutal contrasts. Opeth have opened several doors for me: death-metal and other progressive extreme metal such as Enslaved. In 2012, at the time of the "Pale Communion" release, my expectations were relatively low after the average "Heritage" album. This album marked the most evident stylistic permanent change but still kept enough roots into progressive metal. 3 years later, Opeth paved way to a much higher dose of symphonic/psychedelic and 70's retro progressive-rock ( around 1970-1973. The improvements over Heritage is improved songwriting, more streamlined output as if Akerfeldt felt now more comfortably to ask as a prog-rock musician. Having said that, it's also the Opeth album with the highest amount of cliches (borrowed from prog-rock/hard- rock) and their own recycling a la Watershed unless Sorceress. We have three categories of songs, I'll start with the one I plainly dislike - straightforward hard-rock anthems. It was "Slither" on "Heritage and it's "Cusp of eternity" here. They have a good melody and a likeable guitar solo but the songs as such are boring to me.

The second, most populous category, is represented by retro prog songs. Here, I can't stop the feeling that many such intensive moments are more self-indulgent than they are good. Examples are overly loaded riffs, not naturally busy drumming, compare it to a normal car that gets 6 wheels instead of 4. "Goblin" is an example of an elaborate instrumental which plays more than what is has to offer.

The third category are mellow moments where Akerfeldt's voice, now having its clean vocal improved from the past, really shines and there is suitable instrumentation. "Moon above, sun below", "Elysian woes" and "Faith in others" are good examples. These two songs also convey that Akerfeldt is a good songwriter in the classic sense, having sense of melody, motives and exquisite taste of chord sequence. If you listen to the final chord sequence at around 5:25 mark in "Faith in others", it feels like a fork entering your heart, a true beauty.

My verdict is mixed - Opeth doing prog is not as good and original as Opeth doing death/prog metal. I'm saying that as a seasoned progger who listened to hundreds of prog--rock/metal albums. For a casual prog listener, this could be a much more rewarding listen. Regardless of any of my criticisms, this is the best Opeth album of the 2010's followed by their 2019 output. I will give it 4 stars because there are still multiple moments of treasure and beauty to be found.

 The Devil's Orchard (Live At Rock Hard Festival 2009) by OPETH album cover Live, 2011
3.90 | 11 ratings

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The Devil's Orchard (Live At Rock Hard Festival 2009)
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This one's a bit of an oddity. Released as part of the promotional work preceding the release of Heritage, the title track is one of the studio cuts form that album, which saw Opeth take a hard turn away from their metal roots into more purist prog territory. However, by far the bulk of the material - and what most Opeth fans will be interested in - is their live appearance from 2009's Rock Hard festival, which would have been in the wake of the release of Watershed. As a result, you get a quick preview of what is essentially a whole new style for the band (though The Devil's Orchard is one of the more energetic tracks on Heritage) followed by a festival set played in the style they were about to shift away from.

I suspect a good many Opeth fans who track this one down will find themselves simply skipping the opening track most of the time - not because of any problem with its quality, but simply because if you're an Opeth fan who likes their post- Heritage direction, you already have Heritage, and if you aren't this ain't going to sell you on it, and regardless of which type of fan you are you're really here for the festival set, not the studio album track you probably already have heard on the album itself. Still, it's worth a listen, particularly to hear the band interpret some of their metal works live at the point when they had taken that direction of their sound about as far as it would go.

 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.28 | 1897 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After "Still Life", the excellent album that positioned Opeth at the top of the general esteem for their special way of combining elements of progressive rock with those of Death and Black Metal, the expectations regarding the next steps of the Swedes had the bar set very high. And it is in this context that "Blackwater Park", the band's fifth album, confirms their outstanding level.

Although it doesn't have the conceptual character that unites all the pieces of a story, "Blackwater Park" does share similarities with its predecessor regarding the instrumental framework , and draws on concepts such as despair and loneliness to generate sharp and extensive corrosive narratives, such as the explosive and deathly "The Leper Affinity", the painful "Bleak", or the dark dynamism of "The Funeral Portrait", full of piercing and demonic riffs, a consistent percussion synchronized with the developments that each piece demanded, and the guttural and cavernous voices of Mikael Akerfeldt, maintaining that swampy and murky character, tinged with the recurrent acoustic bridges and aseptic voices that come and go, which give that characteristic stamp to the band. And with the contribution of the brilliant Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree, co-producer and guest musician, they round off with the intricate "The Drapery Falls", one of the most brilliant moments of the album.

The expected moment of instrumental oxygenation comes in the form of the melancholic "Harvest" and its semi- unplugged aridity that reflects on the acceptance of mortality, and the sober "Patterns in the Ivy", a brief and elegant acoustic exercise, precedes the final unloading of the infectious "Blackwater Park", which condenses the overall mood of the work with those devilish riffs from the Akerfeldt - Peter Lindgren duo, an intriguing arpeggiated interlude and again Akerfeldt's vocal chords snapping to the album's contrastingly austere acoustic close.

"Blackwater Park" is one of the cornerstones of Opeth's discography and an indispensable reference of the genre.

Excellent

4/4,5 stars

 Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003 by OPETH album cover Live, 2006
4.25 | 129 ratings

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Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Lamentations captures a truly excellent Opeth live performance. Recorded in September 2003, this meant that the gig took place around a year after the sessions which yielded the Deliverance and Damnation albums. The entirety of Damnation - Opeth's left-turn into quieter progressive rock - is served up here, followed by a selection of six louder tracks, three from Deliverance and three from Blackwater Park, providing a rounded view of Opeth's musical universe as it stood in the early 2000s.

With prior eras of the band's work pushed out of sight entirely, this finds Opeth at the cutting edge of their distinct style of progressive metal, steeped as it is in drawing on progressive rock and extreme metal techniques rather than following the trajectory of past prog metal practitioners such as Dream Theater. This certainly represented a fresh and eye- opening offering for prog and metal fans alike in the early 2000s, and remains potent to this day.

 Still Life by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.30 | 1829 ratings

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Still Life
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Far from the musty and dreary sunless scenarios of previous works, the conceptual "Still Life", Opeth's fourth album, describes the tragic love story of a couple in times when questioning ecclesiastical mandates was most often paid for with one's own life, and in the process, a critique of religious expressions and their rigid norms. The first-person narration is accompanied by the intensity with which the Swedes instrumentally interpret the dramatic emotions that the exiled protagonist must confront, and they do so with forcefulness and a highly polished and at times sophisticated musical richness.

Moments of piercing anger and helplessness are recurrent in the development of the album, as with "The Moor" and its passages of gravely guttural vocals and anguished riffs generated by the duo Mikael Akerfeldt / Peter Lindgren, tinged from the beginning by impeccable acoustic bridges, or with the determined "Godhead's Lament" and the devilish percussion of Martin López and its beautiful middle section followed by brutal metal riffs, contrasted with moments of melancholic hope, as with the sentimental and serene "Benighted", cleansed of impurities and distortions crowned by an elegant bluesy guitar solo by Akerfeldt, or the anaesthetised "Face of Melina", which towards its last stretch activates, adding to the plot a renewed energy and the illusion that maybe there can be a viable future for the couple.

And consistent with the dictates of death metal and similar obscurities, there is no happy ending. The bloody and powerful "Serenity Painted Death", one of the album's standout pieces, underpinned by Martin Mendez's bass, and the harrowing "White Cluster" and its impeccable instrumental construction, mark the deadly denouement of the characters, executed by the intolerance of a disturbingly oppressive system, and whose solace is to be found in the afterlife as the story's concluding notes suggest.

"Still Life" is a sign of the maturity that Opeth had reached at that point, and a leap in quality both compositionally and instrumentally, making them one of the most representative bands of the most extreme side of the progressive universe.

Excellent.

4/4,5 stars

 Still Life by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.30 | 1829 ratings

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Still Life
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by theaqua

5 stars Still Life, Blackwater Park, Ghost Reveries, the 3 albums that I always see many have one of them as their favorite, I met Opeth this year, dazzled and in love with the heavy and and beautiful sound, and then I started listening to the albums, I remember that when I finished listening to My Arms Your Hearse (my favorite album) I went straight to Still Life and I thought... strange, I mean... it was good but... something was missing... and that something took a while to appear, I went listening to Blackwater Park, I loved it, Ghost Reveries, I loved it, Orchid, I loved it, and then, in the end, the last album left to finally finish listening to the heavy ones, it was Still Life, and I've already tried to give it a chance a few times , but there was always something missing, but it grew on me, and after the last time I heard it, it happened, and nowadays Still Life is one of my favorite albums alongside My Arms Your Hearse and Blackwater Park, Still Life took time and mental effort to be able to appreciate it, its sound is quite complex and difficult to digest, and as it is one of Opeth's most popular albums, it was a shock, but it was all worth it, to talk about Still Life, first, its concept, is a concept album that revolves around the story of an unknown man, who was banished from his village because of his faith and who consequently returns to it because of his beloved, Melinda, the theme of the album ends up being loving and tragic, remembering me Romeo & Juliet and then, the music... god... THE MUSIC, every song here, is incredible, absolutely incredible, with complex structures, beautiful acoustics, heavy riffs, with a mix of death metal and progressive rock it's natural and well done, giving a sound that is unique and shows a lot of maturity, the sense of journey I had with this album was really cool as I listened to it more often, always noticing some part I had never heard before, be it the initial jazz section of ''The Moor'' which is one of the most powerful album starts I've ever heard or the country pop section of ''Godhead's Lament'' is so subtle, but once you notice it, it's so interesting that it ends up being an aspect that I really like about this album, the more you listen, the more you understand the album and it becomes like ''Wow, I didn't notice that before'', the without death vocals ''Benighted'' and ''Face of Melinda'' the melodic ''Moonlapse Vertigo'' the overwhelming ''Serenity Painted Death'' and the sensational ''White Cluster'', all the songs on this album are of the highest level, none are weak, and it ends up being difficult to say which one I prefer, most likely you won't like it at first, that's what happened to me and many people had a case similar, but anyway, listen, this album is phenomenal, it may not even be my favorite album, but Still Life is one of the greatest masterpieces ever released by Opeth, tragic, heavy and beautiful.
 My Arms, Your Hearse by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.97 | 883 ratings

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My Arms, Your Hearse
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Once again Opeth turns to the gloomy and icy imaginary to present "My Arms, Your Hearse", their third album and the first one with a conceptual theme. Set in hostile landscapes of a mouldy and darkened nature very similar to the standards of black and death metal, it configures the ideal framework to develop a story full of anguish, anger and impotence, and where the Swedes led by Mikael Akerfeldt unload their instrumental arsenal with raging forcefulness. And although the acoustic transitions persist, they are brief and less recurrent than in their previous works.

A rainy "Prologue" with its heavy piano notes begins the ghostly story of a soul in pain who, after passing away, is not resigned to leave this world and tries to continue by the side of his beloved companion. And as the story unfolds, the raw "April Ethereal" with the explosive double bass drum of newcomer Martin Lopez, Akerfeldt's guttural vocals and the piercing guitars of the Akerfeldt/Lindgren duo, begins to outline the dark path that "My Arms, Your Hearse" would follow thereafter, underpinned by the desolate "When" and its hurtful guitar riffs that accompany the feeling of anger at the presumption of betrayal, and the volcanic energy unleashed in search of revenge in the ruthless and spiteful "The Amen Corner" and "Demon of the Fall".

And after such an instrumental and emotional barrage, the spectral character understands and accepts his fate on the resigned and anaesthetised "Credence", an unplugged mid-tempo dominated by Akerfeldt's brooding, clean singing, paving the way for the ferocity of "Karma" to set things right and for the protagonist to finally find rest. The instrumental "Epilogue" and its Pinkfloydian airs bring the story to a close with a halo of peace hovering in the air.

"My Arms, Your Hearse" is another thumbs up in the band's career and an ideal preparation for what was to come.

Very good.

3,5/4 stars

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