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Opeth - Still Life CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.30 | 1659 ratings

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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.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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