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




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 759 ratings

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4 stars What a thrilling and magnificent concept album by Opeth! And what a great, unconventional title, lifted from a line in the legendary Comus' masterpiece "Drip drip" off "First Utterance"! Sharp contrasts between highly aggressive and more melancholic passages dominate the album. The overall atmosphere is dark and depressing. Typically, the compositional structure of the songs is linear in the following sense: riffs and motifs are introduced one after the other, each repeated a few times, before giving rise to the next, typically of a contrasting character. There does not seem to be a pronounced verse-chorus structure underlying any of the songs. Some of the riffs do appear similar among each other, especially the more mid-paced ones, but the overall richness of ideas in this album can only be admired.

However, despite the impressive heavy and brutal passages that one finds here (think of the initial onslaughts in "When", "Demon of the Fall", and "Karma"), I personally think that the death metal-oriented bits could have profited from being conceived in an even more brutal, faster and less compromising way. That concerns especially the drums by Martin Lopez, no doubt an impressive musician, which appear to me slightly one-dimensional in some passages and not fulfilling the true death metal potential as we know it from other legendary death metal drummers such as Sandoval and Hoglan. Mikael's guttural vocals are very strong and expressive in their aggressiveness here. The plain ones, in contrast, I find much less impressive, at least when laid over heavy guitars. (They are perfect, however, in the "slow movement" of the record, the enchanting and introvert "Credence".)

The concept of the album centres on a deceased hero and his mourning beloved, and it fits the darkness of the music perfectly. Coherence is achieved not only musically, but also by ending each song with the title of the next and the last with the title of the first. Outstanding tracks include fan favourite "Demon of the Fall" (with its genius opening riff that counts among the most captivating moments in metal), the menacing, multicoloured "When", the already mentioned "Credence", and the closing "Epilogue". The latter gains its magnificence in how it lifts the oppressing tension that has built up over the preceding tracks in its guitar melody lines and allows the listener to relax and gain some sense of relief.

real_relator | 4/5 |


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