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Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse CD (album) cover

MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 737 ratings

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AtLossForWords
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'm a younger member here. When many forum members talk about bands that have survived the test of time, they mention Yes, Genesis, ELP, and etc. As I already said I'm a younger member here, so don't laugh when I say Opeth is a band that has survived the test of time for me. Throughout the years, I always reach a time when I have a renewed intrest in Opeth's matierial.

My Arms Your Hearse is a cryptic Opeth album for me. Seldomly does Opeth make an album that I do not believe to be fantastic first track to last, but this is true of My Arms Your Hearse. Expectations were considerably high after Morningrise containg the ambitious twenty minute opus Black Rose Immortal. My Arms Your Hearse fails to reach the standard set by Morningrise, but somehow leads into Opeth's peak works of Still Life and Blackwater Park.

About the album itself, it has some excellent compositions and some that simply lack creativity. When and Demon of the Fall are certainly highlights showcasing the bands melodic prowess, but certain pieces like April Ethereal just don't live up to the band's standards. Another song like The Amen Corner has excellent potential, but includes passages that just do not fit the tune.

The first two Opeth albums did not showcase the excellent vocal abilities Mikael Akerfeldt has become known for. Akerfeldt's vocal ability was finally starting to come into form on this album. The song When is an excellent example of Akerfeldt's abilities at this time.

Akerfeldt's guitar playing seems somewhat inexperienced. His solos do not have the progression he showcases on later albums. Akerfeldt sounds like he is trying to do too much too early in his solos on this album. His composing didn't meet the previous (Morningrise) or future (Still Life) level. Not only certain songs, but certain parts of songs seems out of place.

Akerfeldt's original role in Opeth was not one of a vocalist, not of a guitarist, not of a composer, but that of a bassist. With the departure of DeFarFalla, Akerfeldt decided to do lay down the bass parts himself. (Martin Mendez's debut performance was Still Life). Akerfelt's performance on bass is solid, but not exactly notable. Akerfelt is able to fullfill the basic duties of a bassist, but fails to expand on more mature ways of playing.

Peter Lindgren doesn't have as important of a role as a rythymn guitarist on this album. Sure, there are some classic Opeth melodies on this album, but Peter Lindgren who usually does an excellent job laying down the chordal foundations had a lesser role on this album. More and more are the guitars in unison and less and less do the guitars create unique soundscapes.

Martin Lopez made his inaugural Opeth performance on this album. His style is one that perfectly fit the band. Other than Akerfelt's vocals, the drums are one of the only areas of improvement Opeth has on this album. Lopez's jazzy style provides enough versitility to fit Opeth's aggressive and melancholic sides.

The production is class. This was Opeth's first apperance in Fredrick Nordstrom's studio Fredman. Fredman has become one of Sweden's leading metal recording studios and Opeth's time was one of the studio's finest. The vocals are clear and aggressive when they need to be. The guitars are distorted just enough to enhance signature Opeth dissonance. The bass is quiet in the mix, but on this album the bass plays a minimal role, so this is excuseable. The drums are prominent and clear with a delicacy on the cymbals to improve the clarity of the mix.

It's not Opeth's best effort, but it shows improvement in select areas. It's three stars, not bad but not great either.

AtLossForWords | 3/5 |

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