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Opeth - Morningrise CD (album) cover

MORNINGRISE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.72 | 739 ratings

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AndyJ
4 stars Opeth's 'Morningrise' was one of the cornerstone albums of my teenage years, and was the single album which put me on the path to becoming a progressive rock lover. When I first heard this album I was seventeen years old, I'd just started college and was already obsessed with heavy metal; but apart from the odd progressive Iron Maiden track I hadn't really ever heard progressive music before. I didn't even know there was such a thing as progressive music, focused entirely as I was on a love of heavy metal. Anything that wasn't fairly rigid and well defined heavy metal held little interest for me.

Morningrise changed all of that, in a big way. At the time I thought this was such a ground-breaking record, I'd never heard anything like it before and was under the impression that Opeth were totally one-of-a-kind. Little did I know at the time that Opeth were drawing heavy inspiration from the progressive rock bands of the 1970's that I had yet to encounter in my life. Oh the ignorance of youth!

Of course Morningrise is still at its heart predominantly a metal album. But its also a progressive rock album, at times. And there in lies the beauty of this record, it features a melding of extreme death metal with acoustic interludes, occasional folk leanings and progressive rock sensibilities. Mikael Åkerfeldt delivers his vocals in death metal growls as well as softly sung melancholic tones. The songs on the album transition through a wide range of emotions and styles, from full on death metal all the way through to pastoral acoustic music. As an album it holds your attention well throughout.

The difficultly I have in reviewing this album is that the album is tied up so closely to my teenage memories, and the sense of musical discovery that this album unlocked in me at the time. Fifteen years after first hearing this record I am writing the review for it - but its entirely subjective and coloured by my memories of teenage years and groups of friends sitting around listening to this album.

My heart tells me that this is a five star record, but my brain tells me this is a three star record. In trying to remain unbiased towards this album and reviewing it as honestly as I can then yes, this album does have its flaws. The production is fairly shallow and lacking a lot of dynamic range which would feature on later Opeth albums. The song writing at times feels forced with some of the transitions and some of the songs do tend to meander along without direction from time to time. Opeth definitely wrote better albums after this one, such as the phenomenal 'Blackwater Park'.

But to this day I still listen to this album semi-regularly, perhaps once a month. And if an album can sustain my interest for fifteen years as Morningrise has done then it deserves no less than four stars.

AndyJ | 4/5 |

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