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4 stars O.k. here we go, Opeth found their Stile for the first time. This is what you get when you listen to Opeth! Melodic Death Metal with prog elements and lots of acoustic breaks. It's fascinating how Mikael can switch from his death metal growls to his warm fine clear voice. And his growls are NOT generated with help of a computer. You get lots of long songs on this album and the highlight for sure is the 20 minute Opeth classic 'Black Rose Immortal', a song that features all of Opeth's elements. But another highlight is 'To bid you farewell' maybe one of Opeth's best songs ever because it is pure Prog, sounding similar to some Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. Sometimes I consider Morningrise to be Opeth's best album but I think Blackwater Park is still my favorite. Is Morningrise a good one to start with...yes I think it is because this album features Opeth's aggressive and mellow moments, all of this great guitar solos, a 20 minute epic and a song that can be considered to be pure prog, a song that maybe showed their love for prog rock the first time. And there's no boubt that this band has the skill to play good pure prog (what later on will be evidenced when listening to "Damnation"). So go out and buy this record because it is really great and btw, don't mind the death metal growls in most of the songs, I normally don't like them, but when listening to Opeth I can't get enough of them...
Report this review (#30988)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This albums is by no means my favourite Opeth album, but it is still better than 90 percent of music released around the same time. The opener Advent sort of plans were the album is going and it continies from there, it seems like one large piece of music. This album is the sound of a band finding its sound, there are great Opeth moments on here but its a little meandering. The accoustic passages are some of the best i really love the guitar sound. My favourite track is To bid you farewell, its a beautiful song. I had the please of seeing them play it live and it was event more brilliant.
Report this review (#30989)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a perfect masterpiece of an 'prog-death-melodic-metal' (if that denomination exists) All this album is beautiful.. it's starts with a melodic guitar than Advent begins.. a heavy feelin' but this songs.. all the songs in this album has the same beautiful feeling.. The Night And The Silent Water is absurd, melodic guitars, almost clean and a gutural voice.. is perfect. I Think Black Rose Immortal is the best music of Opeth's albuns all this parts, it has so much emotion.. dramatic themes.. and this magnifique album ends with the most beautiful music of Opeth, To Bid You Farewell, this music requers no explications, it explain it for itself.. no reasons to not give 5 stars to this album =)
Report this review (#30992)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars It's evident when listening to Morningrise that some of my complaints about Orchid were addressed in this one. The production is quite a bit better (no more oddities like the strange volume jumps in the vocals or complete silences where they shouldn't be), and the clean vocals are quite dramatically improved--they are much easier to understand, and in general more effective. The screaming is still a bit too high-pitched for my liking, the twin distorted guitars are still annoying in some spots (especially considering that tone runs through the entire album), and the drumming, although done with a click track this time, is still not up to the same level later heard from Martin López (there's something Nordin does with the cymbals that sounds a bit too much like a train running than actual work...perhaps a bit too drum-machine like), but this thing flows much better than Orchid. There even starts to be evidence of a shared riff between songs as heard on later albums like My Arms, Your Hearse and Still Life. Do expect it to still share some of the same medieval/folkish influences as Orchid in the acoustic sections.

The opening track, "Advent", may well be the best track on the entire album. It's littered with interesting moments including an indescribably weird bass riff from Johan de Farfalla, especially when distorted guitar comes on behind it! The unusually low-pitched clean vocals in one section create a very strange, haunting effect, almost like Radiohead's Ed O'Brien (think "A Wolf at the Door"). The outro is absolutely amazing--and at no point during this song does one ever begin to think that it is far too long than it needs to be.

In "The Night and the Silent Water", Akerfeldt begins to find a slightly deeper growl that more resembles his sound on the next album My Arms, Your Hearse. Something slightly Eastern emerges in a few of the guitar riffs, although not overstated. Probably the best part of this one comes from about 7:40 forward where the song builds up in a way that reminds me of an onrushing tsunami: subtle at first but eventually crashing in with an absolute fury. That doubled whisper/growl is another tone that you never hear again in OPETH's work but it is strangely effective here. This is a close runner-up to "Advent"...while not quite as strong in the beginning, that section from 7:40 to about 10:30 is unforgettable.

"Nectar" may be overshadowed by some of the other tracks on Morningrise, but I think it catches more flack than necessary. I still think it's a listenable and worthwhile song. All I can say about the bass from about 9:05 forward--impressive! The abrupt stop, unlike in some other cases where OPETH has done a similar thing, works very well on it. "Black Rose Immortal", unfortunately, is this album's weak point, and I think it is highly overrated by some OPETH fans simply due to its length. The problem with it is, the various parts of this one do not fit all that well together and it ends up sounding like several different compositions rather than a united piece like PINK FLOYD's "Echoes" (an example of success at over 23 minutes). While the various pieces do have some promising parts, and the song still can be enjoyed--that's all they are: just parts. One riff even sounds...dare I say it... techno...and is a little bit difficult to take seriously. This is the one instance on Morningrise where I think that OPETH definitely overreached itself.

The final track, "To Bid You Farewell", is a very interesting case--OPETH's first attempt at a large-scale "mellow" composition. I do think that it gets a bit TOO mellow at the beginning, almost a bit "Weather Channel" ccould've done with a Rhodes or vintage synth or something to help de-emphasize the repetitiveness. But it definitely picks up after that, and becomes a very clear tribute to some of OPETH's 70s prog influences. Overall, "To Bid You Farewell" is a very enjoyable song and possibly my second favorite on Morningrise. The album in general is certainly a vast improvement over Orchid, although I think they still had yet to come to full maturity. That would be their next album...

Unfortunately, the bonus track on this album, "Eternal Soul Torture", really IS a torture and is just as bad as the one that was added to Orchid. I absolutely cannot understand why the record company felt the need to spoil what was (unlike Orchid) a great ending...while I don't blame the band for it, I definitely think that disaster loses this version of Morningrise half a star. It really IS that bad. It seems that perhaps I am being more harsh on it than the other reviewers, and I'm sorry to do it to a band I enjoy so much, but I really do feel that this album could turn someone off of OPETH if they started with it, and that this and Orchid should be reserved until a fan's last. They are interesting as part of a comprehensive collection, but don't quite stand so well on their own two feet.

Report this review (#30993)
Posted Saturday, December 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars When it comes to five star reviews, the argument is that the admitted masterpieces of Progressive Music are best albums by Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, etc. Yes, I know about it. In their own sub-genre, Symphonic Prog, 'CTTE', 'Lamb', 'Selling', 'ITCOTCK', 'Red' and 'In A Glass House' are definite masterpieces. These are the albums everyone should get, no matter what their taste in prog and even music in general is.

However, when it comes to Progressive Metal, nothing shines as much as this one diamond - Opeth's "Morningrise", the best ProgMetal experience you can find since Black Sabbath's "Sabotage".

Okay, so you will ask me, why is this so great. The album, better than any Opeth piece of work, did the best fusing Melodic Death Metal and Progressive Rock of the 70's. Each of the 5 epic tracks is a masterpiece by itself, especially the 20-minute long "Black Rose Immortal", that maybe is not as greatly put together as other 20-minute epics, like "Echoes" and "CTTE", but has tons of amazing moments that can simple destroy the listeners' mind and heart with awesomeness. Another great moment here is the "To Bid You Farewell" - a fully clean track, although done in the best traditions of the band. Even without death growling, it is still very very metal.

If you're looking to get into Opeth and the heaviest you can bare is Sabbath, Metallica or Maiden, I suggest you start with "Damnation", to see if you are going enjoy this band or not. But in the end, this album is where you will come at some point and will not be disappointed.

The best ProgMetal album in my point of view and my favourite prog album from the 90's, along with "Hybris".

Report this review (#30995)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Magnificent album! Opeth have blown me away with every record, and pretty much every track they have made! Morningrise, lacks some of the oomph of all their work after this as it sounds a little dated, as well as their debut. The production and quality isn't as good as their later works but it has a great rawness to it. The music here is top notch.

It is great to see how Opeth have evolved from their debut. Morningrise is a 5 track epic album, and quite an ambitious volume of works for this band. I think that Opeth know what sound they want to make and have gone the extra mile to perfect that sound here. I have to say that this album is the most different of all of their discography (along with Damnation). The riffs on this album have a very different style to them. I noticed this on my first listen and it put me off a little but the album has grown on my a lot since with repeat listens. The riffs on this album sound a lot more metallic and speedy. The albums after this concentrate on more powerful, melodic and gloomy heavy parts. This record suggests that Opeth had not quite gained their essence that would first appear on "My Arms, Your Hearse".

Like usual, Opeth make very long compositions but this album has the longest. Every track is over 10 minutes. Black Rose Immortal is a 20 minute epic. "Advent" sounds almost like a prototype structure for "The Leper Affinity", the riffs aren't as powerful and the vocals also lack oomph but you can tell that the band are passionately playing well written music, the production is probably taking away some of this albums spirit. The mellow vocals that appear on this album however, are top notch, with some rather interesting acoustic work. Some parts even sounded quite mythical and reminded me of Genesis.

Mikael Akerfeldt admists to being a huge prog fan and it is clear that Opeth are making progressive rock. Black Rose Immortal is something just short of a masterpiece. This epic travels through many different parts. It is very captivating yet it can often struggle to flow as most of the time there are brief gaps of silence that usual separate the change between heavy and acoustic guitar parts. This is something that Opeth have improved on as their albums after this flow incredibley.

"Nectar" has some amazing riffs in it and is a standout piece on the album. The outro is very effective. Some of the riffs can feel repitive on this album but it doesn't seem to lack in creativeness and ideas. "To Bid You Farewell" is just beatiful. A great moment for their acoustic abilities which always astonish me. This is one of the mellowest and most emotional pieces they have ever written and is truely an Opeth Classic.

I would say that Morningrise should be one of the last albums you by. I would start with "Blackwater Park" or "Still Life" and progress from there. A brilliant work of music that unfortunately gets held back by its production problems and dated sound.

Report this review (#30996)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth's second opus was a dramatic improvement in song structure, mature songwriting, and just plain beauty. Each of the only 5 songs on this album are long, complex, and changing in mood/tempo.

I found this album to be leaps and bound better than Orchid, which was in its own right a great debut, but quite unrefined. However, Morningrise also retains the rawness and originality of Opeth in their early throes, before the technicality and high-end production would take over (not that this was entirely bad).

This album and Blackwater Park are standouts in the Opeth discography to me, both for the abovementioned qualities, and for the perfect balance of light and dark, energy and beauty that they embody. My Arms Your Hearse was an unfocused album in my opinion, lacking in fluidity and grace, and Still Life was a great concept album, just a little off- balance with some of the heavier tracks (e.g. White Cluster, Serenity Painted Death, etc.). Still Life remains a distant third place for me behind Morningrise and Blackwater Park. The two newer 'twin' albums are an anomaly in Opeth's repertoir, but both have their strong and not-so-weak points.

Morningrise is given 5 stars because its only flaw (in my book) is the weak production of a wonderful band before they had the means to perfectly express the art and inherent greatness of their music. This album and Blackwater Park, to me, represent the pinnacle of balance, songwriting, and dualistic majesty that is Opeth. After quite a few albums now, Opeth still leave one anxious in anticipation for their next musical endeavor.

Report this review (#30997)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Morningrise" by Opeth used to be tied with "Still Life" for my favorite Opeth album. Then I realized how great "Still Life" truly was and it now holds that spot to it's self. "Morningrise" is now tied with "Blackwater Park" as my second favorite Operth album". "Advent" is such a brilliant opener words cannot be expressed to it's greatness. "The Night and the Silent Water" is an AWESOME song, yet it is my least favorite song on here, which shows you how great this album truly is. "Nectar" is one of Opeth's most underrated songs. It is truly awesome in almost every sense of word. It is LOADED with great riffs. The 20-minute epic "Black Rose Immortal" is my favorite on the album is one of my favorite Opeth songs as well. This song just never gets old. Whether it's the heavy riffs spread out all around, or it's the beautiful middle section, this song has it all. The ending is really cool also. "To Bid you Farewell" bids the album farewell (I know, lame) on a great note. It is my second favorite song on the album. It's my favorite slow Opeth song. Its ending is amazing as well, when the electrics kick in.
Report this review (#37027)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply my favourite OPETH album. I got it first, and only then I learned they're Prog! I mean when I was deep in Doom/Death Metal, I thought OPETH are really unique for that genre. Now I know that they're unique for Prog, and that they're unique without being pigeonholed to any existing genre. Death/Folk/Doom/Black/Prog-Metal, if you like? Anyway, the quintessence of early OPETH manner, both agressive and progressive and way more interesting than what they has to offer now, in my opinion. With 20-min long 'Black Rose Immortal' and 10 min of sheer brilliance in 'To Bid You Farewell' this album sets the standards for future Experimental Metal releases. What can be more eclectic? Probably, only MAUDLIN OF THE WELL managed to reach supremacy over OPETH in terms of experimenting in Metal. Amazing album and every progger should check it - especially if you've had already checked later OPETH, didn't like it and now wondering why everyone seems to adore this Scandinavian band. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#37425)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Opeth had perfected their sound by the time they recorded this album. At the time, to combine haungtinly beautiful acoustic work with thunderous guitar riffs was not heard of, and Opeth perfected this unique trait with this album. However, there is not much variety in sound. Besides the difference is guitar riffs, and the acoustic sections are great on this album, but they sound similar. There is not much variety in the arrangement of tracks, too. They all begin heavy, then turn to an acoustic section, then back to heavy, and so on... a bit formulaic if you ask me.

Despite this error, there is still a lot to like about the album. It features the astonishing 20 minute Black Rose Immortal, with a supremely exquisite acoustic section that turns into a great metal riff, one of their most innovative IMO. Mikael Akerfeldt's voice shines on this album. Although it is mostly roars and screams, the clean vocal sections are utterly beautiful, and they reveal the true voice of Akerfeldt. The guitar work is as intricate as ever, and the drumming is adequate for the material; but what surprised the most was the incredible bass work. Among the best the group has had.

Overall, I enjoyed this album. No matter how derivitive or formulaic it may be, there is something for all here IMO. 3.5/5

Report this review (#38645)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars MORNINGRISE is Opeth's only second album and as such a big accomplishment. Here we hear the influence of progressive music for real. Ĺkerfeldt even leaves a special thanks to Andy Latimer in the sleeve notes. And the influence is apparent, specially in "To bid you farewell", where he even sings like Latimer. This piece is the first mellow song Opeth ever recorded and is among Ĺkerfeldt's favourite songs. I can see why. "Advent" is a worthy opener and "Black Rose Immortal" is another triumph for the band as it is very compelling and multi-faceted, predicting the coming of songs like "The Moor","Blackwater Park","Deliverance" etc.

No song can be called bad here, but the weakest one is "The night and the silent water". The bonus track however suffers from extremely bad sound quality and the vocals are a nightmare, so it can't be called a success. It is interesting to hear what Opeth sounded like in their earliest phase though. I love the playing on this album, the guitars sound wilder and more energetic than on their latter albums and DeFarfalla's bass is pretty impressive, even if Mendez is better.

MORNINGRISE is an interesting album that stands as a very important work that played a crucial part in the band's development from pure death metal act to a progressive one. A work worthy of Opeth's name.

Report this review (#39561)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Is not a 4 star, because it is a very naive and album, however is impressive to hear that large amount of moods, from dark metal to cool jazz. The album is intended to be a whole, trying to experiment with a lot of ambient passages with acoustic guitars and some keys; in the end it reaches the goal, but has a lack of focus in presenting the musical changes, as a finished product. Anyway, to the curious listener the first song is "too heavy", but the record got is mildness until de 5th song, where it ends properly (becasue the 6th song is a leftover from the previous album that in some ways (and a lot of recompositioning) made it to the next album)... The main core or "strong moment" of the album is with BLACK ROSE IMMORTAL, and TO BID YOU FAREWELL, great pieces that mixes dark metal, growling, ambient and cool jazz. Don't get fainted with the review, the record is ***˝, but by any meanings is an essential or excellent addition to a "plain prog" collection, beacuse of the heavy burden of "metal" that needs to be polished; i've compared this record with some early nineties dark-death metal efforts, and is not that far from, for example: ENTOMBED- CLANDESTINE, or DISMEMBER-INDECENT & OBSCENE, fair records but with a lot of "metal heart"... OPETH is like SOUNDGARDEN, a heavy metal act for those who hate metal... this band has improved with time, and you'll discover in late albums, the great job they've done with the proper guidance.
Report this review (#41311)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars I think that Morningrise clearly surpasses its predecessor!

This was the most acoustic Opeth's album before the Damnation's coming. Some songs from this album are half metal, half not, like the beautiful The Night and The Silent Water. To bid you Farewell is the first attempt of Opeth to make something more relaxed and in a classical style from the 70's, and they made a great song, in that style that they will follow more deeply in the future. It reminds me of Face of Melinda.

Black Rose Immortal deserves a place of honor in the Opeth's career, their longest song, and it has brilliant moments, especially in the center of the track, with a wonderful mix of relaxed and strong parts. But in the opposite side, this song has some moment not very good, with a weak sound. Although that doesn't mean that it isn't a great song.

Conclusion: really, a great work, for me the best of their three first releases. I think it's the best Opeth's album to know the early years of the group. The production could be better, and the songs aren't too different between them, but the romanticism and the gloomy feeling that this album inspires it's wonderful. Like the bass guitar of Nektar, the powerful riffs of Advent.

Best Tracks: The Night and The Silent Water, Black Rose Immortal.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#41325)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album has some strong and some low points for me.Very strong points are the guitar melodies and the atmophere of the songs. Weak point is Mikael Akerfeldt's growling. Death metal has really grown on me in the last couple of years, but Mikael's geowling is far too brutal for this basically melodic and not too fast paced music. His clean vocals are far from his performance on latter day albums, and they are actually very rarely used on Morningrise. The opening track summarizes quite well this album, melodic metal riffs, beautiful acoustic parts, a well-written 13 minute mini epic. Black Rose Immortal features some brilliant moments, but some irritating guitar sounds(almost tecno like sometimes), too, and I think there are better epic tracks in the realm of progressive metal. The production basically is quite good, for an underground metal band in the '90s, but it would not help much if the songs were awful. Altogether this is a solid, enjoyable album, but in the light of Still Life or Blackwater Park can be viewed only as non essential, even if is actually a good album.
Report this review (#52313)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth has taken a different approach to all of their albums, but their second release, Morningrise, does carry a lot of the same styles, sounds, and moods as Orchid. The material here, however, shows improvements in all areas from the previous year's release. The compositions are stronger overall, and more memorable. Akerfeldt's voice has improved a bit, most notably in his clean voice, which is used more often. The acoustic passages are more frequent, and are noticeably more developed than those on Orchid. Pretty much every aspect, both good and bad, from their debut was improved upon here.

While Opeth has always written long songs, this is the only of their records in which all tracks topped 10 minutes. It is also their only album to feature a 20 minute song. The constant shifting from the heavy sections to the calm sections compliments the narrative lyrics almost as if the songs were audio movies, even more so because there is hardly any repetition of passages. One might argue that the structures of these songs are a bit formulaic within the band. Surely no other band does what Opeth does, still, all but one of these songs have similar structures: speedy riffs, heavy music, guttural screams, followed by rich melodies, acoustic segments, clean vocals, etc. and repeat, numerous times. The songs themselves also bear the same general sound as well. This is the only Opeth record that one could even think to use such an argument against it though. It really isn't a big deal to me, and it shouldn't be. If the same thing occurred beyond just one record, we would have a problem. Fortunately, that wouldn't be the case.

The final track, "To Bid You Farewell," uses no screaming, and is mainly acoustic and clean guitar based, except for 3 of the last 4 minutes, where the clean vocals remain, but the metallic music makes one last appearance before the song and album come to a close.

Every track is excellent. Even the 20 minutes song, "Black Rose Immortal" remains tight and interesting its entire duration. Progressive Metal fans, or fans of any metal for that matter, will enjoy this release.

Report this review (#63674)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe the most progressive Opeth album. The songs are long (and I mean *long*, not a single one below the 10 minute mark) with mood changing almost every minute, with heavy music then black metal vocals then acoustic music then clean vocals and so on... The vocals are similar to the ones on Orchid, nothing new here. Songs are maybe too similar to the ones on Orchid too.

"Advent" and "Nectar" are classic early Opeth. "The Night And The Silent Water" is a nice song, with a lot more clean voice than on previous songs (the mellow part is really beautiful here). "Black Rose Immortal" is the centerpiece: 20+ minutes of progressive extreme metal - starts with that strange metal riff with french folk influences (found that funny when I first heard it) and after a very heavy part (bleh) it simply stops and Mikael Ĺkerfeldt sings a cappella (yeah I would'nt imagine that on an extreme metal song, it's just unbelievable and the vocals are great too), followed by a very cool acoustic part before the music gets heavy again. "To Bid You Farewell" is the track I was waiting for from a band like Opeth: a mellow song, no growls, even when the distorted guitars come to play a heavier part toward the end of the song. A bit of relief after all that black metal trend.

Rating: 84/100

Report this review (#65868)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars Opeth's 2nd release "Morningrise" brings Opeth into even more progressive metal territory and is well deserved of people's claims of this being their most progressive. Musically Opeth have expanded and improved a fair deal since their last album Orchid. The variety of different guitar stylings and solo's is very noticable as in all Opeth albums. Acoustics are a bit faster than Orchid and still fairly slow tempo but still a great pace and atmosphere. Possibly some of their best but really pushes this album above their others is their guitar harmonies on this album. Simply phenominal even for Opeth standards! Not as many heavy guitar riffs (ala intro to Karma-MAYH) which turned out great with made this a slower tempo release as well as one of Opeth's softest (pre-Damnation) albums.

Mikael's clean vocals have improved quite a bit from Orchid, although not used as much as later outings, still a factor. The growl is still death growls with BM influence I think is pretty good and goes great with the music but I prefer later vocals (one semi- weakness). The last albums we are treated to some very good basswork from Johan De Farfalla. Drumming is great, above average rhythm to go with exceptionally beautiful guitars. What more could you ask for prog-heart? Production wise its not the best but definitely an improvement. But this is no problem for Opeth. One other noticable thing is the length of the acoustic interludes, which lengthen the songs but sets excellent variety of moods and atmosphere. This is surely one of the hardest Opeth albums to get into because of its progressive nature. Too much for some, but those who finally discover the beauty in Opeth's music will be rewarded in a very big way.

"Advent" is easily one of my favorite Opeth songs. I would almost say flawless intro building up to the verse and the guitar harmonies, acoustic blend was top notch as well as some great basswork near the end of the song. "The Night and The Silent Water" is also beyond amazing. Mikael's pain is clearly reflected in the beautiful yet mournful intro/verse distorted guitar melodies. Complete with great acoustics, well placed harsh vocals and one of the more memorable spots on the CD where Mikael softly speaks in a haunting, clean tone near the end of the song. "Nectar" is somewhat reminsicent of Advent, excellent guitar melodies and basswork to start but not quite at the same level of excellence. Not as much acoustic experimentation, but enough harsh vocals and chilling melodies to leave any Opeth fan breathless.

"Black Rose Immortal" is without a doubt the hardest Opeth song to get into by clocking in around 20 minutes long... from the melodic beginning that turns extreme in what seems an instant, to the endless soaring guitar melodies to the excellent soft acoustic passages. This song is a true tribute to what Morningrise and Opeth as a whole are about. Their defining song. Not afraid to have parts as rare as solely vocal passages and really stretch the boundaries of progression in metal. Even contains one of the most cryptic closing riffs I've heard. "To Bid You Farewell" is a very soft song for Opeth standards and the first long, epic beauty they tried without growls. Mostly played with vast amounts of well played, memorable acoustic material that actually stands out from most acoustics on the album and some very epic, almost heroic distorted riffs in closing that foreshadow what is to come in the near future (*cough* face of melinda). Showcases Mikael's singing ability more than ever, which is great and propelled this as another of Opeth's endless amount of excellent material. This is very progressive even for Opeth standards, but truly a piece of beauty.

It is beyond me why Mikael isn't as fond of this album (perhaps track 2). Anyone into memorable guitar melodies and progressive music altogether should undoubtedly check this out. One of my personal favorite Opeth releases and highly recommended to the prog-crowd out there.

album rating: 8/10 points = 82 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars /

Report this review (#76938)
Posted Tuesday, May 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I think what makes this album even remotely tolerable past the horrible vocals (well, other than the occasional moment of relief where the singing is clean) is just how great the music is. If you're on the bus with nothing to do, this CD probably won't satisfy you because it'll be all you're focussed on. But, if you're occupied with something else, it serves as amazing background music because the growling is a lot easier to ignore and you just get entranced by the excellence of the music.

If you ignore the bonus track (eternal soul torture) then there really isn't a bad song on here. I think that's what saves this album - the ability for a listener to ignore its flaws. And, because that's a lot to ask of someone, I hesitated to give this four or five stars and instead settled with 3.

Opeth should be an instrumental-only band. Or, at least, they should ditch the growling vocals altogether. Akerfeldt isn't all too bad of a clean vocalist, and the growls are what scare away so many potential fans.

Report this review (#81950)
Posted Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another one of my all time favorite albums, largely due to the awesomeness that is Advent and TNATSW. Along with that, Black Rose Immortal, still to me, has the most wonderful 5 minute passage of music that I've ever heard. Does it overreach itself at times? Somewhat. However, the section that I am discussing is still one of the most beautiful lines of music that you are likely to hear.

This is a definite upgrade from Orchid, and while some sections of the song tend to lose the listener and get off track, the powerful sections are most powerful and amazing.

Advent is still one of the best songs Opeth has recorded, and probably one of the most underappreciated by fans. The riff structures here are very much unlike Opeth's style, and that's one of the things that makes the song stand out so much.

TNATSW is a piece that Mikael no longer likes, mainly due to the family importance it had at the time it was written. It is unfortunate that this great piece may never be played again.

Nectar is the only dragger here, a song that never really finds itself, the only real low spot on the album.

Now I will shift courses and include my blog on the song Black Rose Immortal, which I originally wrote for the forums.

Black Rose Immortal : An Analysis

More so than any song, I believe Black Rose Immortal from Opeth's Morningrise shows the scope and presence of the prog metal genre. At 20 minutes in length, it certainly has the longevity to compete with other famous prog epics. I don't even consider it the best piece on the album, but by far the most important, and that's part of the reason I have rated this album so well in my review. But what makes this song so important? What makes it the defining piece of a genre?

For one, we are sent through a gamut of emotions. In no other song am I sent through such a range of feelings. We go from hate, to desperation, to pain, to pride and triumph, to fear, to love, to passion, all over the course of one song. It is a rare that a song has all of these qualities, much less 2 or 3 of them. But Opeth is not pretentious about any of this, perhaps the greatest quality they and more specifically Akerfeldt has is his songwriting ability. Too many times you will see band's pursue long epic style tracks with an attitude to them that would suggest that you shouldn't listen to this in the first place, because we (the band) are better than you. Not here. Black Rose Immortal does not cheat its listeners. It is a story with gripping poetry.

The Beginning (0-4:04)

The song starts with the most famous riff line in Opeth's catalog, the one they use in many, probably 20 of their songs, which has always been the one common denominator in the band's history. It is the most misunderstood aspect of the band, because this is where the growling vocals are prominent. People hear the vocals and instinctively think "hateful, dark music" when it is anything but. Block out the vocals and listen again. The music is not depressing. It is uplifting. The guitar riff pattern is upbeat, triumphant even. The pattern is an 8th note, followed by running 16th notes, in repetition of usually 4 or 8 bars. This is a triumphant riff that Opeth has used time and time again in countless other songs, almost exclusively with death vocals. The mixed death vocals with this heavy, uplifting style has probably caused more confusion among listeners than any other pattern in music I am aware of.

From this, we are lead into a slow, celtic style riff which ebbs and flows with the dual guitars creating a nice harmony from the previous dissonance. Then we are lead into an acoustic modification of this. This is a part easy to like on first listen. It is a folksy styled section that highlights the acoustic aspects of the band. The acoustic guitar work is one of the other defining parts of Opeth. They have never been particularly technical or mind-blowing virtuosos, but have always been tasteful and keen on song structure, as can be heard here. It's a wonderful transition into the next chapter of the song.

We are led to a medieval styled riff with some excellent backing bass work and more dual guitar melodies, really the highlight of Opeth's early work. From this we head to the section that will perhaps turn off most listeners. The song heads to a black metal direction, with tremolo picked guitars but with the pattern of the traditional Opeth riff structure which I described earlier. Akerfeldt lets out a roar (literally) that highlights his growling abilities and manages to show the pain and suffering of the character in the story.

The Waters (4:05-7:26)

We reach a muddy acoustic section that is reflective and emits a certain gloom. The entire passage brims with tension from the eerie water background to the build up of the electric delays. We are ready for a sonic explosion. Again the dual guitars come in with a simple but well placed riff. What's interesting to note here is how calm the drums are and there affect on the music. Unlike what might be common for a double bass drum passage with the heavy guitars, the drums are quite pleasant which enables the next transition to occur much more fluidly. There is a brief but engaging recapture point, in case one might have been too indulged or too put off by the heavy section, where the acoustic comes back in play and the word "whisper" adds additional effect to the brief transition in the piece. We return to the layered dual guitars in a classic Gothenburg style sound. This sound is built upon extensively until we come to the solo section.

The Solo (7:27-8:55)

In what can only be called a rarity, this is one of the very few expanded Opeth solos. The band usually does not opt for guitar soloing, but with a song of 20 minutes in length it's difficult to get away without one. The drums are intriguing at first, yet get cold during the middle of the soloing, a mark off here. There is a running type back and forth at the start, followed by a brief drum fill, and then the arpeggio section begins. This is some of the most complex soloing the band has ever done, as they usually stray from this approach. This section is take it as you see/hear it. I really wished something less conventional would have been done here.

The Amaranth Symbol (8:56-14:47)

Pure Beauty. Not enough words can describe how I feel when I come to this section of the song. Every part is perfect. I've never heard music and experienced songwriting this amazing in anything else they or any other band has done. If you don't listen to any other section of this song, listen to this one. It acts almost as an entirely separate song in itself. If you think Opeth is merely death metal, I urge you to listen closely here, you will find beauty and depth that is often sought for but rarely found.

We begin with just a voice, Akerfeldt singing clearly, emotionally, as if a soul scarred. It's nearly tearful. Then with the lines, "and the rising sun", we have a sense of hope, and we are greeted with a most pleasant of sounds, with a folksy, near mythic riff that speaks to the soul. From there, we head to a dual acoustic showcase. Drums build to add tension to the music. They rise until they are incorporated into the music with the bass. Clear, ethereal vocals begin again in a wonderfully poetic passage. By now I am overwhelmed with emotion, and I have yet to reach my favorite part.

Silence overcomes us once again, and we are presented with just an acoustic guitar. The music is even more uplifting, epic like in its presence. Another acoustic comes in to create contrast and the music reaches a certain height and then, silence again. Now the music is fuller and we have electric tonal power. We have the Epic Riff again, this time with full band and electric guitar effect, and gripping death vocals that are nothing like death vocals. They are moving, graceful, and speak of despair while at the same time one can not help but feel a presence of hope.

Lullaby of the crescent moon Took you Mesmerized, kaleidoscopic face

After this passage the Gothenburg dual guitars returns, incorporating itself in the mix with ease, then transitioning smoothly to the next section or Epic Riff Part 2. Though much briefer, it is extremely important for the vocal part and the ensuing riff, The Riff of Ages.

The Riff of Ages. The eternal riff. The riff of dreams. My favorite section of the entire song. Collisions of sonic ecstasy occur in the most sublime riff ears have heard. So much emotion is packed into this one section that I am often at awe at to how it was created in the first place. The guitars exude a walking arpeggio on the low end combined with a prideful march. It glides with an ease and passion that only magnifies the beauty of the lyrics in perhaps the most poetic lines the band ever wrote.

I have kept it The amaranth symbol Hidden inside the golden shrine

Until - we rejoice - In the meadow, of the end When we both, walk the shadow It will set ablaze, and vanish Black Rose Immortal

The final lines are spoken after a shift back to the single acoustic guitar, which repeats the Riff of Ages one last time. Then the words "Black Rose Immortal" are uttered, which breaks us from the previous gripping section. Followed is one last acoustic arpeggiated chord, and a glorious section of music is completed.

A Somber Escape (14:48-17:24)

An acoustic guitar in mourning guides us as if on a cloudy day in graveyard. Indeed, throughout much of this song the parts people would refer to as dark or gloomy are the acoustic passages which help give the work an easing flow and transition. Bass presence here towards the end is the highlight of Johan de Farfalla's career. It's simple, artistic, and coincides perfectly with the mood the song is establishing. The simple flowing drums lets the acerbic arpeggiated guitar chords really ring through and give it accent.

We are led to maybe my least favorite aspect of the song, the second solo section, which is really the song's only major blemish. It kills the mood that had been set and makes the really powerful finish seem to go in staggering somewhat. This section might have been placed more at the beginning as it fits the mood and atmosphere there much better than it does here at the close, which I have always attributed to being more subtle, the most emotional, and near dream-like in its quality.

At Night, I Always Dream of You (17:25-20:14)

Sorrow and anguish reach their peak here, in the most painful section of the story for our main character. If anything about this song is "dark" it is this section, with one of the most chilling of endings to any song. We have an acoustic guitar playing an arpeggiated chord pattern in repetition in order to create an eerie and tense mood. A slow and prodding drum section, along with Akerfeldt's clean vocals add to this effect. Afterwards, an e-bow effect on the electric guitar is introduced. Akerfeldt lets out a roar of pain, which to me signifies the loss of his loved one (which would go in hand with the last lines of the song, "At night I always dream of you"). It's literally creepy, because as in any good movie or book, at the end you are left uncertain as to what will happen next. Will there be revenge? A suicide? Exile? It's really anyone's guess.

We close with a sliding guitar that to me feels like a darker version of some of Gilmour's fine "moody" atmospheres he so carefully crafted. The sound of the slide fades into echoes and then into oblivion, and the song closes.


While Black Rose Immortal will never be looked at in the same regards among prog fans as Supper's Ready, Close to the Edge, or Thick as a Brick, I believe that it is without a doubt one of the most engaging and rewarding of journeys. There's more here than "immature death metal" as one ignorant forum member so bluntly put it. I would ask such dismissing listeners to especially take notice to the beautiful acoustic sections throughout this song and the poetic vocal lines which are quite a surprise from a Swedish band.

To Bid you Farewell could have had a lot done to it, and it would be interesting to see what Opeth would do with it now with their greater knowledge of music and keyboardist. Either way its still a very good song and recommended to those who do not like death growls.

Overall, an amazing album, a jewel in my collection.

Report this review (#84652)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.3 stars

Opeth took the Orchid sound, fixed some of their early flaws, developed their sound further, and focused on long songs. Remaining problems are some of the unremarkable acoustic sections, some pauses in the songs that break a bit of the continuity and fluidity of the album, and the drumming is not as excellent as Martin Lopez.

However, The growls are more in the mix since the guitars and drums are louder and heavier. Also, there are less growls out of place (though they still are a bit too high-pitched). Not to forget, the acoustic parts are less repetitive and fit better in the album (except for the epic). In addition, their double-guitar riffing is much more catchy and interesting (most notable improvement over Orchid). Finally, the melodies are stronger.

Advent comes off as the best track, and since the music in this album is similar throughout itself, I will describe the opener. It starts with an imaginative guitar riff combined with a neat bass guitar that will be prominent in a very short acoustic bit. More electric guitars continue for a while until a sustain growl stops it and helps a good acoustic guitar/bass duo take over for a bit, which is later developed with electric guitars. Suddenly, a fast paced bass is alone until the guitars kick in! More cool heavy stuff + grunts. Later, another acoustic parts with clean vocals comes in. The bass is loud in the mix again (something I miss in their next albums, where it is barely audible), the theme develops and a slow distorted guitar comes in for a few seconds while the acoustic music keeps playing. It coherently leads to a loud double-guitar part with "Shut uuuuuuuuuup" screams. The grunts are a bit high-pitched but I can tolerate them. Some clean vocals appear in this section. Later, the song changes yet again with another brutal guitar riff and awesome fretless bass guitar. A few seconds later, another new riff, a few seconds later: even another riff is introduced and those two alternate back and forth and a beautiful section stop the madness in the moment you would least expect it. The song ends with many different acoustic parts. Ha, it's good not to be repetitive in a song!

The rest of the album sounds like a whole big song as the songs seem connected and follow a story, as well as sound in a similar tone. The Night and the Silent Water has a few amazing riffs from Mikael as well as a beautiful mellow section in the early stages of it. Nectar is similar to Advent, but far inferior. However, it doesn't mean it is a bad song. Instead, it lacks experimentation and sounds a bit like if the band was lacking some good ideas, except for that powerful bass line near the end. Black Rose Immortal has coherence issues (some pauses within the song), and a very unimaginative intro. I do not like the song very much though I admit that the ending is pretty epic.

The last song is very different from the others. It is an extended growl-free track that starts with a simple guitar theme, then develops, then clean vocals and jazzy guitars appear and the song ends in a heavy fashion combined with strong vocals which sound very appropiate for this album: Epic! Unfortunately, the song is too repetitive for my liking.

Highlights: Advent

Let Downs: Nectar, Black Rose Immortal.

My Grade : C+

Report this review (#84979)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first Opeth album in their line of great albums, I think it is better than the rest because of this itself and the things that come with it. It is raw and real.

Lets look at some examples:

The riffage on this album is phenomenal only challenged on Blackwater Park. Advent has the most A+ quality riffs put in sequence one after another than any other song I know of. all the riffs are detailed and may only be rivaled by 'The Funeral Portrait' off of Blackwater Park.

The acoustic riffs are unlike anything you could get from any other serious black metal bands, they are intricate, even sharing melodies between the dual left and right guitars.

Akerfeld's voice is not as quality as it is on 'My Arms Your Hearse' or 'Ghost Reveries', but it has a certain raw voracity that goes along quite well with the sound quality of the whole production. It fits very well.

I personally like the raw sound the album brings forth and enjoyed listening to 'Eternal Soul Torture' despite the questionable songwriting skills. The harsh quality is more real and less processed, more virgin and less bored and corporate. It is something to get used to, but in progressive music, what isnt something to get used to?? There is much more enery in this album, it is one of the 3 that was actually all written down before the studio (Orchid and Reveries). The band is fresh and less formula.

The 20 so minute epic 'Black Rose Immortal' is one of the best songs in existance, only to be compared to 'Echoes' by Pink Floyd. In my opinion it is better, including more ideas and creativity that come with the 30 years in production time differance. The 5 minutes of soft, serene acoustic guitars and mild voices greatly balanced out by the harsh vocals (yet another acquired taste) and more heavy parts.

I cannot find any flaws in this album (not including 'Eternal Soul Torture' which isnt really part of the album.) It took me about 5 listens to really understand, but since then and since learning the riffs on my own, I would consider it Opeth's best work yet.

It may not work well as background music, but music is best when actually thought about. Give this album a try, if you listen to it with an open mind, you will find something in it for you.

Report this review (#85397)
Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars When taking into consideration the aspects that make up not just good, but great, music, and a great band, the main elements include engaging, powerful songwriting; instrumental proficiency and chemistry; a keen, collective (and original) musical vision; emotionally involving compositions and even captivating artwork and strong production values. Very rarely is there a band that comes along, regardless of genre, who not only meets these requirements, but exceeds them as well. Sweden's Opeth are such a band, and they have managed this only two albums into their career.

Carrying on with the musical themes found on their astounding debut (Orchid), on Morningrise Opeth seemed to have refined their overall approach, even taking their basic defining elements to new extremes. The songs are even longer this time around, with the shortest running time being 10.09 ("Nectar") and the longest at 20.14 (the stunning epic "Black Rose Immortal"). But once again, it's Opeth's ability to keep the listener attentive throughout the entirety of any given track due to the ever-changing musical climates and involving songcraft, ultimately making it seem like only five minutes have passed instead of ten. The individual songs are again highly involved, showcasing this band's incredible use of dynamics. However, there is an increased emphasis on acoustic based, reflective and contemplative passages on Morningrise. These sections play a more prominent role this time around, best represented in album closer "To Bid You Farewell" ( a true piece of musical art if ever there was one), which is almost entirely based on a mellow acoustic foundation, save for a brief midsection that sees the guitars become distorted, albeit still maintaining the laid-back vibe of the overall composition, and features Mikael Akerfeldt's clean singing throughout. Heavier, more abrasive moments are still in abundance, and the contrast between the two themes, as well as the various other musical themes, are strongly convincing.

As the band have taken on this tag of "extreme progressive metal", it must be noted that, while this seems to be a reasonable attempt at defining this music, it can also be misleading. Yes, Opeth songs are arranged in dramatic fashion, complete with twists and turns, various moods and themes, but they're nowhere near as complex as what most associate the term "progressive" with. The actual song structures are not really complex in the progressive sense of the word, rather more like elaborately told tales that leads one through an event filled journey through sonic peaks and valleys. There are musical passages that can be associated with progressive metal, such as the ending of "Nectar" and moments throughout "Black Rose Immortal" or in the offbeat, almost "jazzy" rhythms that surface here and there. To which credit should clearly go to Johan DeFarfalla (bass) and Anders Nordin (drums). Of particular significance is the bass talents of DeFarfalla, who's amazing playing takes an essential role in the band's sound, his wandering and weaving in and out of the riffs brings an improvisational feel to the material at times, and has a lot to do with the 70's prog rock element shining through. Rarely is this instrument ever given this much of a frontal role in metal music, and this is definitely one of the best performances from a bass guitarist to be found on a metal album (witness the mellow breakdowns in "Advent" for his masterful use of bass reverberations and the all out madness coming from his instrument during some of the more complex structures within "Black Rose Immortal" and "Nectar"!) Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren again create spellbinding moods and atmospheres, and as the sole writers of the music, have to be given credit and praise for their arrangement and vision as well as their impressive instrumental abilities. After all, it's not like they just piece sections together without any thought of compositional flow. Every moment, every passage within each song is there for a reason and carries the essence of the particular track within.

Provided a strong and clear sound courtesy of Dan Swano and Unisound Studios once again, and graced with a beautifully dark and engaging cover photo, Morningrise stands as my personal favorite in Opeth's rich discography and stands out as an album that sticks a sonic thumb in the eye of underground metal's naysayers, proving that there exists actual substance in the scene that transcends the usual stereotypes it's often associated with. Elegant and stunning, a breathtaking work of art.

Report this review (#86101)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars OPETH - Morningrise (3.5 stars really!)

I discovered OPETH with their mellow 2003 album DAMNATION and started to work my way back through the catalogue from there. So after DAMNATION I purchased BLACKWATER PARK (BWP) and DELIVERANCE.

It took me some time to get used to Mikael's growling and I still didn't get quite used to it. Even back on the 1996 MORNINGRISE you can already hear that OPETH is not your average Swedish Death Metal band; Their compositions and instrumentation is all great with many variations of tempo and moods in their music varying from atmospheric to bombastic with death metal grunts.

It is still my humble opinion that the grunting is not supporting the music when almost all lyrics are sung growling opposed to a growl or grunt now and then. On MORNINGRISE it is a big relief to me whenever Mikael uses his clear vocals. I would rather have him sing all the lyrics with his clean vocals with only a grunt now and then whenever it is necessary to put some emotion in the music, like for example Mariusz Duda from RIVERSIDE does. Fortunately Mikael Akerfeldt puts more variation in his voice on the later albums like BWP and Ghost Reveries. The final track (not the bonus track) "To Bid You Farewell" is the track I love most because it is somewhat mellow like the later compositions on the DAMNATION album. BEAUTIFUL!

Once again; this is not an album for starters, I suppose only for the Prog lovers who can cope with the growling and grunting. But on the other hand musically everything is overwhelming and played perfectly. Many changes in tempo and atmosphere of the music have become almost an "OPETH trademark".

3 stars because I simply find STILL LIFE, BWP and GHOST REVERIES a lot better than the "early OPETH", but MORNINGRISE is certainly worth it!

Report this review (#91046)
Posted Friday, September 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Opeth's second release, and probably their first inarguably progressive outing. While it still suffers from a few of the former album's lackluster traits (over-gained guitars and somewhat thin, static laden production), the improvements are quite clear. The individual tracks are much easier to distinguish from each other than on Orchid, which felt like one massive track, and Mike's vocals have improved a great deal. He still hasn't acquired the beautiful clean-vocal tone that he displays in the more recent albums (that didn't really start until Blackwater Park), but it is a definite improvement over Orchid. At the very least, he sings flat less often on this work. Additionally, the growling is higher pitched, more of a black metal sound than the later Nile-esque growls.

Put simply, I consider this to be a wonderful album. The harder work is still a little typical black metal sounding; the acoustic passages on this album, however, are often gorgeous. The acoustics are definitely the highlight of this album, covering every feel, from the swirling picked lines running through much of Advent to the classical feeling lines throughout of The Night and the Silent Water, to the beatific mellow portions also contained in The Night and the Silent Water, to the intense, building acoustic and tribal drum finale....also in The Night and the Silent Water, to well, you get the picture. Additionally, the bass guitar gets more of a focus on this album than on any other album the band has done, often stealing the show completely from the guitars. For examples of this, listen to Advent-where the bass is the primary driving force in the song, especially the section beginning at about 9 1/2 minutes, where DeFarfalla's bass simply explodes.

With all that said, this album does have its down moments. I found the entire song Nectar to be a bit of a low for the album. The song is indisputably metal driven, nearly entirely lacking in acoustic passages, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if well handled; unfortunately, this song has always left me with a bad taste. There is some nice bass work distributed throughout it, but the song as a whole doesn't seem to go anywhere, much unlike the rest of the album. It also feels a little disjointed, as if dissimilar lines were patched together without properly hashing out a transition. I tend to naturally space out during this song, sometimes even dozing off during it, which unfortunately causes me to miss a significant portion of the surpassingly excellent follow-up track, Black Rose Immortal. I usually only manage to wake up during the sour note in the clean portion about halfway through.

As I alluded in the previous passage, I find Black Rose Immortal to be one of Opeth's best tracks to this date. There are long metal passages in this, but they are manage to shift much more often than in Nectar; additionally, the long serpentine riffing that makes such a significant portion of later Opeth works show their face here. About midway through, the track switches rather abruptly to an acoustic-driven clean vocaled section, lasting about three minutes before the metal returns. After a bit, another acoustic passage begins, this time playing with the harshly dissonant lines that would become the band's bread and butter on the Damnation album (15:30-ish). This section (unfortunately) doesn't last long, but at least it is followed by a phenomenal metal solo. The song drops to acoustic once more before the ending. (In case you haven't guessed by now, the bulk of the song is driven by the acoustic passages, with the metal sections primarily providing transitions from one acoustic line to the next), Once this section terminates, a painfully (but in a good way) harsh line closes the tune. I don't feel that I have really done justice with this to Opeth's longest song to this date, but it is definitely an excellent listen, especially if you'd like to hear where the band developed their current sound.

The beatific To Bid You Farewell serves as an ethereal foil to the harsh ending of Black Rose Immortal. The first seven minutes or so are acoustic, lapsing to a harder edge to end but not forsaking its melodic qualities. I'd only complain that the metal element continues a bit too long at the end. When it initiates, it's refreshing, a wonderful contrast to the beauty of the earlier portions of the song, but it slightly overstays its welcome towards the end.

The inclusion of Eternal Soul Torture was an unfortunate choice on this album. The song was included to show what Opeth evolved out of, and the improvement is indescribable. I will refrain from downing the production quality too much-though the song is painful to listen to for that exact reason-on the grounds that the song was a demo recording. The problems are that the song is rather insipid at times, running the same riff for a few minutes at a time without much (if any) change. Consider the lighter line that runs from 4:45-7:15 with no real change for an example. That section could have easily been halved or even cut to a third of its length without damaging the track a bit; it would have actually improved the thing. I suppose this track is rather enlightening to listen to....once. After that, it's just the point where I pull the album out of the cd player.

Overall, I'd argue that this is one of the defining moments in the band's career. It's hardly the best, as Still Life (and possibly My Arms Your Hearse, but I want to allow that album a little more time to process before I judge it) do this sound much better. It is, however, one of two albums where the band evolved significantly, the other being Blackwater Park. (You could make a case for Ghost reveries being a third such album; however, I hold that it's just a new member, no significant sound change.) As such, the album is definitely worth a listen or seventeen. I won't argue that the album is "phenomenal" or essential, but it is an excellent album, especially if you're a fan. As such, this album falls into that wonderfully nebulous space between three and four stars. I'll go ahead and round up, to four for my rating, though, since I threw Orchid a 3 star rating, and this album definitely deserves a higher rating than that.

Report this review (#92505)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Morningrise is the first Opeth album I heard and also the first death metal in general. I got it about 2 years ago. At first I didn't like it at all - the fast drumming, distorted guitars, mellow parts that seem to have no connection with other parts of the song and of course growling vocals. I couldn't listen to it for more than 10 min. After a couple a listens it's magic started to reveal to me. I discovered a web netted from beautiful acoustic parts and harsh, cold and furious death metal parts. Songs range from 10 to 20 minutes of epic Black Rose Immortal. All song combine clean and death metal vocals except the beautiful mellower song To Bid You Farewell. I have to mention De Farfalla's bass playing which deserves the highest mark and it really shines on this record. From a technical point of view the band isn't at it's peak; Ĺkerfeldt's voice has not yet developed it's present greatness, Nordin's drumming isn't as good as Lopez' but is more than adequate for the type of music on this record( this I don't mean to criticize, it's just an observation). But this album also has it's flaws - the production could be better as it sounds a bit flat. Maybe songs really are a little bit to formulistic and I can understand why some people have a problem with this. This album is not perfect but I enjoy it that much that I'm going to give it a 5 star rating since I can't give it 4,6 stars which would be more objective. I recommend this album to every progressive rock fan especially to those who like metal. For Opeth fans this one is of course essential.
Report this review (#98116)
Posted Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
el böthy
3 stars Something is about to happen...

That something is the best metal band ever and this is the seed of what one day would become this band, but just as a seed there is still some blossoming to do! Morningrise would mark the turning point in Opeth´s music. The progressive elements, always present since the first chord of Orchid, are stronger than ever and the result is not shy about it; this must very well be Opeth´s proggiest album, and although lenght is not necessarily synonymous to prog, a 20 min epic song is a strong representative of their new path to follow. In fact, no song is short here, they are all above the 10 min duration and there is even the key prog number of songs: ... 5!

Now, this new found glory is promesing, but it´s just the begining of what would come, for I see this album still to inmature from what now are Opeth´s standards, and I have heard Mickael feels the same way, and it´s easy to see why. The song structures are yet not that strong, no song goes down without one of two "flaws" here and there, specially Black rose inmortal, which is still very enjoyable, but I garantee you Mickael could now do so much better when it comes to an epic... wouldn´t that be sweeeeet?!? Getting back to the album; the production doesn´t help much either (I´m sorry Swano), for the whole thing seems flat all the way through, Mickael´s voice is still not "up there" (the change would come in My Arms, your hearse... and what an improvement that will be!), specially his growling. But, all in all, although this "flaws" might seem like a big thing, they aren´t really that big of a deal, the album is very enjoyable and The Advent, the album opener, is still one of Opeth´s best songs in my ears. It´s a big step in the right direction, that´s for sure!

Report this review (#142550)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The monstrous OPETH sound is prominent on this, their second album. Five ten-minute-plus tracks, each with distinctiveness and creativity well beyond the run-of-the-mill melodic death metal genre. Witness the bent bass of the opening track, the combination of riff-laden passages and acoustic interludes, this time interwoven with far more skill than on their debut, the more powerful singing in both growls and 'clean' vocals. This is a tighter, more focused outfit, building on the successes of their debut without significantly modifying the formula.

They still had a long way to go, however. The riffs would become heavier still in future albums, the acoustic breaks more melodious and central to the songs; and, most importantly, OPETH would integrate more and more progressive tendencies in their music. Nevertheless, 'Advent', 'The Night and Silent Water' and parts of the patchy epic 'Black Rose Immortal' (the only time OPETH overreach their abilities) are excellent. The wonderful 'To Bid You Farewell' shows how sophisticated OPETH were already becoming.

With this album OPETH set about redefining a genre. The fact that they have largely succeeded is a tribute to their creativity and hard work. This is one of the essential albums of the prog-metal genre... yet there is so much better yet to come.

Report this review (#147718)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars As a fan retroactively working his way through Opeth's catalogue, I can appreciate and forgive this early release its faults given the band's relative infancy at the time. Songwriting is generally strong, with the group experimenting with the elements which will later become their signature sound. Taken as a whole it's hard to say that "Morningrise" is anything other than slightly more ambitious death-metal of its day, and more than likely will not please newer fans as much as Opeth's amazing later albums-- but it's easy to see how fans who were here from the beginning latched onto this unique group. However, I don't recommend it to any who haven't already experienced albums like "Ghost Reveries" or "Blackwater Park"; it will be hard to latch on to "Morningrise's" sound without prior exposure.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#149276)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second album from Opeth called Morningrise is by many metal heads I know considered a classic within the doom/death genre. Allthough more progressive than most other important albums in this genre like: CATHEDRAL´s Forest of Equilibrium, PARADISE LOST´s Gothic and MY DYING BRIDE´s Turn Loose the Swans, Morningrise is still first and foremost a metal album.

Opeth have developed their style since the debut album Orchid which I found pretty good. There are now more acoustic sections between the melodic death metal parts. The tempo is still slow to mid. All songs are generally well composed and played and as always when talking about Opeth there are moments of pure bliss in some of their songs. Just listen to the wonderful fretless bass in Advent.

The sound quality has always bothered me on this album though and it is a major problem IMO. You can hear everything that´s happening but the instruments have an irritating sound and the vocals are also badly produced. I´m sure this is an aquired taste but I can´t stand this production.

Drummer Anders Nordin does not play in a style that I prefer and I like Martin Lopez who would play on the next album much better. The other musicians do a great job though. There is nothing wrong with the skills here.

All in all it is a good album from Opeth, but I do feel they miss that something special that would later send them to the top of progressive death metal. It´ll be present on the next album though. For this one I´ll give 3 stars as it has about as many flaws as it has beautiful moments.

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Posted Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
4 stars How on earth this album is rated so low surpasses me. It is a brilliant album, and probably one of their proggiest efforts in my opinion, and this is from someone who listens to Still Life, Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries on a regular basis. Admittedly, the production leaves a bit to be desired, but the whole dark atmosphere surrounding this album is untouchable. What i love also about Morningrise is the direct folk influence that they abolished post-My Arms, Your Hearse, you can hear it all over this album, but most notably at the 8 minute mark on Advent and the acappella section in Black Rose Immortal. I would probably say that this is one of Opeth's mellower albums as well, the acoustic passages are more abundant and the closing track is almost entirely acoustic. If you enjoy their acoustic sections in other albums, you should in theory love this one. One final thing i miss about the old Opeth that is so evident in this release: Johan DeFarfalla. He is such an astonishing bass player and a wizard on the fretless, I have no clue as to why he left Opeth after this album.

Now a track by track:

Advent -

Excellent opener as always, this one rocks pretty hard. There are, as expected from old school death metal, a good few dramatic tempo changes in the first few minutes of the song, with enough riffs to satisfy any prog-metalhead's needs. It's pretty much standard Opeth up until the mellow section at around 6 minutes. This is probably one of my favourite tense acoustic moments in all Opeth's catalogue, it seems to resolve and put you on edge at the same time, up until the incredible folk-metal riff comes in following a small drum count. It only gets better from there, kicking off with a fantastic prog metal phase and ending on another eerie acoustic passage. Probably the strongest effort on the album, bar To Bid You Farewell.

The Night And The Silent Water -

This song kicks off with a gorgeous riff over some sycopated drumming. This masterpiece combines mellow with heavy so perfectly it's almost to the standard of tracks like Godhead's Lament and Deliverance, no joke. It is a slow one, but that really doesn't matter when it's Opeth. They seem to make even the most obscure slow song sound anthemic. Once again, the acoustic section at around the 3 minute marker is beautiful and melodic. We then are whisked into the Baroque period with a very Purcell-esque duel distorted guitar melody that cheekily modulates to great effect. Not much more can be said about this song other than some more folk influence is unveiled and the ending is legendary to Opeth fans.

Nectar -

In my opinion the weakest track, it is possibly the most upbeat of them all. Nonetheless, it is quite a good track, it just seems a bit messy to me though. The bass playing on this really does shine as brightly as on the opener, superb, and the drum intro is basic but great. This song mainly comprises of an onslaught of folk metal riffs interrupted by gentle acoustic guitar lines, nothing we haven't seen previously.

Black Rose Immortal -

Now this is seen as Opeth's best effort to date by some. I'd have to disagree. It is brilliant, yes, but it is direly overated by fans and i will explain why. It is nowhere near as epic as classics like Supper's Ready or Close To The Edge, not because of the length, but because it lacks a sense of return and nostalgia. They could have created it so easily by repeating just one of the many melodies in this huge song, but they didn't, which bewilders me. You don't feel like you've been on a journey at all... nevertheless, it is fantastic and has it's great moments, including Mikael Akefeldt singing acappella, one of the greatest guitar solos ever, a very creepy acoustic passage at around the 5 minutes mark and if you love your folk riffs, there are more than enough here. Doesn't really touch the standards of Advent and To Bid You Farewell, which is surprising considering it's THE EPIC of Opeth, but it is a good listen and is favourited by some.

To Bid You Farewell -

Oh my god, this is possibly Opeth's best song to date. Well, i say that about a few of them, but the point is that To Bid You Farewell is at the same musical standard as the greats: Godhead's Lament, Bleak and Deliverance. Unlike those masterpieces however, this song is very mellow and has me almost sobbing when hearing it. The acoustic guitars in this song take my breath away on a very personal level, the harmonies are so skilfully crafted and the singing is without a doubt from Mikael's soul... The build up, however, is the highlight of this track and possibly all of Opeth's discography. It kickstarts at exactly 5:13, and builds and builds up until the huge climax kicks in. I don't want to spoil any of this for you, but the climax is superb and I could easily listen to the whole tune over and over and over again, it is simply that good and timeless.

Overall as an album, it is not stunning. The two tracks BRI and Nectar bring down the other three masterpieces. However, the only possible way i see of doing those three great songs justice is to rate Morningrise as a 4star effort, an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Even if you do not like Opeth's music, at least buy this CD for the pure genius and emotion that lies within the song To Bid You Farewell: every progger should have heard it at least once. It is monumental.

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Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I think I'm missing what everyone else sees in this album.

Some people think that this is one of Opeth's masterpieces, but I don't see anything that resembles masterpiece quality. In comparison to Opeth's debut, Orchid, this album does have a few redeeming qualities. We do get to see the mature development of a few of the ideas presented in Orchid, but most of them are left out of this album. I do think The Night and the Silent Water is a fairly good track and a classic Opeth song (I've had the pleasure of seeing it performed live). But except for that song, I really don't get a whole lot of enjoyment out of this album. It's still lacking the clean vocals that I love from Akerfeldt, although his death growls are starting to improve slightly. The instrumentation is slightly better as well, although the drummer is still awful from what I can tell. And worst of all, Opeth still didn't fix the problems with the production quality present in the last album! I'm sorry, but in order for me to fully enjoy an album, it needs to have that quality, or else it'll drop the album's rating from me by a star, sometimes more. If it had been better produced, I could actually accept this as an average, 3 star album, but since it suffers from that issue, I have to drop a star off and only give it a rating of 2. You can try this album out if you wish, but only at your own risk.

Report this review (#189556)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Morningrise is the second Opeth album and it is a decent improvement over Orchid. Orchid was a decent album but had a big problem: the songs could have been much better composed since the majority of the tracks out of that album sound disjointed. On songs like "In the Mist She Was Standing" there are absolutely no transitions between the guitar riffs, at times Akerfeldt and Lindgren just stop playing them, there are some seconds of silence, and then another riff kicks in. As a result, the album was absolutely chaotic (in a bad way, obviously) and the whole listening experience was just a nightmare, since it's very hard to get into the record.

Morningrise is, fortunately, better, the songs don't sound that disjointed and are generally much better composed. However, some tunes could have been a bit more polished, an example is the longest track of the album, "Black Rose Immortal", which clocks in at around twenty minutes. I love that epic song and I consider it to be the best track of the bunch, but it shows some big compositional problems. It flows pretty well until the eight-minutes mark, when a beautiful acoustic riff is unleashed. The problem is that the transition between the heavy part and the mellow part is too abrupt, it could have much better worked, in my opinion. Anyways, "Black Rose Immortal" still is the best tune of the whole album, containing lots of different segments, both heavy and calm. The highlight of the track is the mellow section that I've already mentioned, absolutely beautiful mellow prog there. An essential Opeth song, all in all.

So, by looking to the song lenghts, it's easy for you too see that the band hasn't lost their ambition: Orchid had a couple of very very long songs, but this album just takes the band to another level: all the songs are more than ten minutes long and the majority of them don't sound overlong, fortunately. Well, yeah, I said the majority of them because "Nectar" really should have been shorter. As a heavy song, it lacks energy, and as a long song, it lacks variety. I really think the band should have developed this track a little more, because there are a couple of riffs on it that are pretty damn good. On the other side of the spectrum is the album's opener, the mighty "Advent", which probably is also the faster tune of the bunch. It also contains a nice bass solo near the end, which is always a nice thing to hear. In fact, the bass playing on this record is very audible and just stellar: Farfalla's style is admirable and it really is a shame that he had to abandon the band. The drumming is pretty good too, the sticksman isn't as good as Martin Lopez though (few are, in fact!), but he still delivers a solid performance, albeit not flashy at all.

"To Bid You Farewell" is another highlight of the record, showing an experimental Opeth: the track is mostly played with the acoustic guitar (well, there's a section with some heavy riffs, but it only last for one minute, I think) and Akerfeldt uses his clean voice many times. While he was not, at this point, the wonderful clean singer he is now, he still delivers an heartfelt and emotional performance during this tune. On other hand, his growls are as ferocious as ever, aggressive and very very raw. Returning to "To Bid You Farewell", its structure is very complex and it's not an easy track to swallow, it's, in fact, a track very hard to get into. Still, it deserves attention, it is one of the most underrated Opeth songs. It's also their first proper ballad, as they later released more ballads similar to it, albeit shorter, like "Credence" and the marvellous "Face of Melinda".

Morningrise is a pretty hard album to get into and it contains lots of epic songs, full of varied elements and segments. Expect many acoustic parts and also many heavy sections filled with raw growls and aggressive riffs. The calm face of Opeth kind of reminds me of old prog rock bands like Camel and the raw face of the band is close to death metal (the growls) and even doom metal, since some riffs are played very slowly and are generally pretty heavy. Although not a memorable piece at all, this is a good album and you should give it a try if you like your prog rock/metal melancholic and original. Highlights: "Black Rose Immortal", "To Bid You Farewell".

Best Moments of the CD: -the calm middle section of "Black Rose Immortal".

Report this review (#194508)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Morningrise' - Opeth (8.5/10)

Opeth have proven themselves over time to be one of the most innovative and quality-consistent bands out there in the metal world. Even as early as their debut, Opeth was writting some pretty great material. However, it was not until 1996 when this band from Stockholm, Sweden released the first album that was truly representative of what the band could do together.

'Morningrise' is best described as a 'flawed masterpiece.' There are some of Opeth's best ever songs on here, and the acoustic work on this album has never been topped on any other Opeth album. This album also has the first song that makes primary use of Mikael Akerfeldt's clean singing abilities. The ballad 'To Bid You Farewell' is the best ballad Opeth has ever done, and it builds up to a great, dramatic climax that is both intense, emotional and moving.

The highlight of the album is the epic 'Night And The Silent Water,' which is a masterpiece on it's own. It's possibly the greatest Opeth song ever done, and never gets old. It covers the entire spectrum of sound, going from heaviness, to a more acoustic sound, to a slow but steady buildup that erupts into a gut-wrenching finale that cannot be described as anything other then epic. Not only is it one of the best Opeth songs of all time, but it's one of the best progressive metal songs ever written.

The 'epic' of the album, 'Black Rose Immortal' while it's definately good and interesting for the most part, is a little bit of a dissapointment. When thinking of a twenty minute Opeth song, I thought of something that could possibly rival 'A Change Of Seasons' or 'Supper's Ready.' What 'Black Rose Immortal' ends up being is a song that while being a good song, doesn't meet up to my standards even close of what I thought it would shape up to me. Not to say it isn't good, and I know alot of Opeth fans who think that it's the greatest thing, but it's never hit me as being a mind-blowing song. Some of the parts in the song (after a few listens) get a bit sickening.

'Advent' and 'Nectar' are both songs that never hit me the first few times listening to them. The only difference is that as of writting this review, 'Advent' blows my mind, whereas 'Nectar' ranks as just being alright, and sort of forgettable.

This is still a work of a band that's growing and developing, and Opeth wouldn't find their perfect voice until the masterful 'Still Life' a few years later. But this album is the greatest of Opeth's early works, and while it might not have the flow or grace of a masterpiece, it's still a great album, from a great band. While some may have a problem with the production quality, and the 'black metal' feel of the music, it's a very intelligent work. Four stars.

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Posted Sunday, March 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the 2nd album of the Swedish band.

Opeth come from a really sympathetic debut, Orchid. Their second album appears to be the harbinger of the famous Opeth style. In fact, in this album, Opeth start to develop their unique style, which consists of Death Melodic Metal, accompanied by out-breathing brutal vocals, that is often interrupted by beautiful acoustic guitar parts and clear, crystal vocals.

Mikael Ĺkerfeldt composes the most of the music, and writes the most of the lyrics. His incredible ability of passing so easily from brutal to clear vocals, is noted from the first moment. Peter Lindgren is his long time college. Both of them have a special way of playing the guitar and also an exceptional sound. The album's music consists of what exactly is said at the beginning.

This marvellous style of Opeth arrives at progressive paths of extrememly difficult and technical music to be composed and played. So does appear in Morningrise. The album's production is perfect, despite the complexity of the music. Clear, dark and well done...

A must have for an Opeth fan. A highly recommendation for any prog listener. 4 stars really...

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Posted Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm giving Opeth's second release four stars, but I'm half-tempted to five simply because of how underrated this album is. It seems to me like anything before their fourth album, "Still Life", gets way too much criticism. This is a great album! It is not quite as good as some of Opeth's other releases, but it is certainly in the same league.

One of the things you'll notice while listening to this is that this album was before Mikael Akerfeldt's growl deepened and matured greatly. It's still good, but is not what it would soon become. Also, every song is over 10 minutes, proving that this is not your typical 90's death metal act. This also includes the 20-minute epic "Black Rose Immortal". Strangely enough, this is my least favorite track, and is possibly why I'm giving this release four stars. I'll explain all of this later. Now that you have a short overview of the album, I'll explain the songs in more detail.

"Advent"- This song has a very cool opening with intense double bass pedals. I love the way the fretless bass is used in this song, and shows how much Johan DeFaralla added to the band. This also has a nice acoustic break that progresses nicely into a proggy riff. A great opener!

"The Night and the Silent Water"- Mikael Akerfeldt wrote this song about the death of his grandfather. This could very well be my favorite song on the album. It starts heavy, and goes into a nice acoustic section with Akerfeldt's clean vocals. This progresses into another heavy section that goes into a dark, melodic, and awesome last few minutes. The song ends on a cool acoustic guitar harmony. Another great track!

"Nectar"- This song begins on a drum intro that goes into the main riff. I love the way the riff is heavy and melodic, and the way the acoustic guitars blend beautifully with the electric. This song is very good as well. "Nectar" has a proggy and complex ending that is very enjoyable for any prog fan.

"Black Rose Immortal"- The 20-minute epic on Morningrise. This is the longest song Opeth has ever recorded. Sadly, it is my least favorite song on the whole album. While it has great music, it lacks what creates a great epic. There are NO repeating themes in the song. All of the music is very good, but it has nothing that makes it feel like one epic track. With that said, it is still an excellent prog metal song that is not worth skipping.

"To Bid You Farwell"- The closing song on this album features no death metal growls, which is another thing proving that these guys weren't your average death metal act. This song reminds me of something off of their "Damnation" album. This is a very good song that any prog fan (not just prog metal fan) needs to hear.

This isn't the place to start listening to Opeth (that would be "Still Life"), but it is a great, highly underappreciated album. It's a shame that this was the last album with bassist Johan DeFaralla. It's clear how much he and his fretless bass added to Opeth. This is a highly recommended album to anybody who already is familiar with some of Opeth's other music.

4/5 stars.

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Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The first two Opeth albums are an acquired taste. Two of the most alluring qualities of Opeth were still very under-developed:

First of all the singing. There's almost no clean singing at all here. There's bits and pieces scattered throughout the album but they are still very insecure. Even worse is the fact that Mike's grunting here resembles more a black metal rasp then his full-bellied demon attack we all came to love him for on the later albums.

Secondly, the progressive rock element is still missing. Yes sure, the songs are long and long and long and long, but they're made up of folksy riffs that are just sequenced, rather randomly, one after the other. The intricate epic metal riffs with their jazzy and Camel flavours is still far away.

Even so, this beautiful bleak album, what it that lacks in song mastery of later albums, it makes up with its haunting and chilling atmosphere.

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Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars As Orchid had a very raw approach to the Opeth sound, this album, albeit I don't feel that they had achieved their perfect sound on this album, was still an amazing album, and is probabbly my favourite off the Candlelight Years.

The songs were alot longer, and the album had a more prog feel to it (over an hour of music and 5 songs, a bit too prog almost). Each song has an almost unique quality, there is alot more melody than in Orchid, the songs are more memorable than Orchid and the epic Black Rose Immortall is a masterpiece.

Being critical, I felt that there was very little hooks and some examples of poor production.

Opeth themselves feel that this album was their weakest, but I disagree. I felt the album alot stronger than Orchid & My Arms, Your Hearse, and even felt it better the slightly disapointing Watershed.

1. Advent - Intresting intro. The jazz inspired guitar riff gives a colourfull tone to the imminent death metal section. The clean acoustic pars have an almost dance like feel to them. The clean vocals and acoustic guitars are better produced and alot more melodic than those of Orchid. The acoustic sections are also a lot more stronger and prominent. This song also has a bit of eccentric influence. I love the ending acioustic section. Very eeire.

2. The Night & The Silent Water - The vocals seem to be more rapsy. I feel that the acoustic sections are quite random and need better links. The clean vocals are very melancholic. I like the almost doomy melodic death metal approach to the song. The folky acoustic section is very well crafted and effective to the whirlwind of emotions presented.

3. Nectar - The lyrics of this song are very imaginitive and there is a colourfull use of language used. More Iron Maiden like riffs are flung out. The production is a but muddy and the guitar sounds a bit weak. The acoustic section is very interesting. The funky discordant guitar is very cool and works well with the a weird way, obviously.

4. Black Rose Immortall - This epic kicks off with an evil black metal sounding passage with a great vocal performance. The folky melodic section which follows is very cool. The weird time are changes are dramatically done well with weird sound effects to add to the atomosphere. the evil sounding growls are enhanced with a dark accompaniment. There is another weird funky prog bit, which again, suprisingly well pulled off and enjoyable. The guitar solo which comes up sounds like it was played by Dave Murray himself. The acapella section is very beautiful and reminds me of plainsong. The accompanying acoustic section is very sad and beautifull. The melodic passages are well presented and keep the songs intresting pace.The re occuring theme is presented beautifully before another intresting melodic instreumental section. The ending versw is very eerie and is very dramatic. Mikael deilvers proabbly one of his best screams ever at 19 minutes within the song. An absolute mammoth.

5. To Bid You Farewell - The instrumental which starts this song is almost predicting Opeth's later musical future. The first Opeth ballad song of many t come. There is also alot of instrumental sections within the song.

CONCLSION: As I said before, buy the Candlelight Years. This is the best one out of the 3.

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Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opeth's second album is basically the first one bigger and better- great to see a band that learns so quickly from their mistakes. Only one year after Orchid, Morningrise visits the same territory but sounds like

A) the budget was much higher, and B) a lot more thought was put into what the songs were about.

With better production the force and skill of their playing comes across, with some phenomenal bass and rhythym moments, and that swirling guitar riff that closes Black Rose Immortal is one of the best encapsulations of despair and madness I've ever heard. Akerfeldt still growls most of the time, but the sqawky high moments on Orchid are fewer and after Orchid's abortive mumbly echoed attempts at clean vocals, he continues to develop his voice here- I love the layered choral effect that suddenly appear in Advent on the line "We survey the slopes."

Something different is attempted on To Bid You Farewell, the first of what would be a series of big ballads, usually one per album. It's probably their worst as the music doesn't develop much and Akerfeldt still seems to be holding his voice in but it is their first and does contribute to the album's structure. I used to think the record would be stronger if it finished with Black Rose Immortal but I tried listening to it like that and what I got was a depressing, harsh, finish to the album. To Bid You Farewell sweetens the blow a little bit and balances the record out.

The biggest improvement is probably emotional. I couldn't really tell you about the feelings on Orchid, it was just nice playing. But despair and awe and dread seep out of the massive Black Rose Immortal, heartbreak and loss out of Nectar, grief for a lost one on The Night And The Silent Water. As a result, I don't get the various parts of the songs confused with one another as I did on Orchid, they have individuality this time out.

Looking back, it should've been clear from Morningrise that Opeth had the potential to be gods. Morningrise is not the greatest album, but it is one of the clearest cases I've ever seen of a band fixing things without sounding like they're trying to fix things. It may be a little lacking in variety for those who aren't keen in death metal, but otherwise this is a thoroughly respectable second album.

(And they were only 22!)

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Posted Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opeth's sophomore effort is strong, with numerous highlights. More like its predecessor than its follow-up, this album is not as progressive as other Opeth albums, and it in fact is fairly heavy.

The album begins with Advent, which is still played frequently at Opeth shows. This song, like most others on the album, is played in a slow tempo. Following this song is The Night and the Silent Water, a requiem to Mikael's deceased grandfather. Beginning with dual guitars, the song has morbid lyrics and features a very nice acoustic break only 2 or 3 minutes into it.

However, a lot of the album is unmemorable, and some parts are a little overplayed. The atmosphere is very heavy and bleak. Opeth, I believe, would later refine this sound and add more progressive elements, changes which I like.

Highlights: The Night and the Silent Water and Black Rose Immortal Overall: 3.4

Report this review (#294957)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Morningrise, second album by Opeth is one of the weirdest Opeth releases. Black/death metal growls, some parts of clean vocals (today we know how good Mikael's voice is), jazzy sounding bass, beautiful acoustic guitar parts and specific electric guitar harmonies with classical feel about them.

Art-medieval-extreme-prog metal I would call it if somebody asked me. It's a unique record, really. Harsh sounding and very long, complex compositions take the listener to the world of dark, cold nights and lonely moon. Very dark music, very emotional and thus beautiful. It's fantastic manifestation of virgin genius of Mikael Akerfeldt, devoided of later acquired experience and composition skills.

If you value atmospheric music, aren't afraid of growling vocals or harsh sound and first of all you love genuine emotions, this record is for you. 8/10

Report this review (#308105)
Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opeth's second studio album, "Morningrise", has been surprisingly highly regarded among fans or even critics. Considered one of the best death metal sophomore albums, this album before listening to it seemed really, really good. But I'm overall disappointed with the result, which could have been easily more ambitious than how it tempted to be.

This album is part of the first Opeth period, keep that in mind; like every progressive metal band, the first albums have a very rough production, very influenced by thrash and doom metal. "Morningrise" is no different. Frankly this is an element that always annoyed me, even though the sound might have been very much intentional. Mikael Akerfeldt, the lead singer and one of the best metal singers ever, here doesn't bring at all his immense talent in both songwriting, singing or guitar playing. His vocals are always put into the shadow of the noisy guitars, whether they are clean vocals or growls (very blackened in this album). The acoustic guitars are the only thing that sound really good and not lo-fi in any way. Anders Nordin's drums are a little too rigid, but the bass playing is outstanding in some points, played by Johan DeFarfalla.

Musically the album is very basic blackened death metal, with some acoustic interludes. In fact, in each of these five songs, the rough metal moments, where the guitars always use counterparts instead of simple power chords (another thing that I do not like much), are immediately followed by acoustic, folky passages, somewhat tense and ready to open up another violent part. These constant alternations definitely give the label to the album "Progressive". The thing that mostly disappointed me is that this structure is repeated in every one of the five, extremely long songs, without one of these tracks being different or more experimental from the others if not for the change of melody. It definitely gets monotonous in many points. But I never said that these melodies can't be gripping in the best moments. "Advent" has really good melodies, and it is with "To Bid You Farewell", the song that features no growls and is for a good half of it acoustic, the best song of this record. "The Night And The Silent Water" however Is a little dull, and didn't move me in any way. The twenty minute epic "Black Rose Immortal" had much more impact on me, and you can definitely feel the progressive influences here.

So it is in the end a good album, with weak points that often are brought up, but generally it's a decent metal album, recommendable to who is a big fan of the band and decided to look back at the first works.

Report this review (#427535)
Posted Monday, April 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Morningrise ? 1996 (2.8/5) 10 ? Best Song: 'To Bid You Farewell Surely enough, I can readily assess how and why the band was saddled with the (in my view) demeaning title of melodic death metal. The folks who attributed this style to them probably did more harm than good, but Opeth eventually managed to rise above that muck. The mistake the ignorant classifiers made was assuming that because the guitars have the same tone, and the singer has the throat of a hell-hound, and that sometimes they have soft segments, that the band must be a clone of In Flames, which is hardly the truth. In Flames never had the chops and playing ability Opeth had, who, despite their abrasive demeanor, have been plunging deep into progressive territory. Morningrise has fewer songs than Orchid and it's longer, which only accentuates their aims. The band has become more accessibly fluid in their soft-to-hard transitions, and songs like 'Advent' can only reap the benefit. It more prominently features clean singing (a whole once!) The same flaws that plagued Orchid are present here. The songs are too long for their arduous death metal purposes, and the band hasn't reached full maturity. It's still exciting when it wants to be. I suppose the album's centerpiece is the epic, 20 minute 'Black Rose Immortal', but it comes off sounding like any other song off the record?just twice as long. There's a greater importance placed on the softer element, and I suppose the band is slowly evening things out.
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Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even though Opeth is my favorite band of all time, it is my job as a reviewer to review an album as non-biased as possible to the outside world.

Opeth's second release is when the prog elements of Opeth's style begin to take notice. Like Orchid, this album also contains five long songs (not counting Silhouette and Requiem from Orchid). The twin guitar melodies are still being used in this album, so it is still not quite the Opeth most people know and love.

While this album is enjoyable, it suffers from the main symptom its predecessor suffered from; songs that are too long but filled with good ideas. All of the songs on here are over ten minutes long, and sometimes can take a little too much out of you, even for a prog fan. They could have made shorter songs and incorporated some of the thoughts of the longer songs, making it less taxing to listen to.

The final song on the album, To Bid You Farewell, shows that Opeth did have a soft side to them that they were afraid to reveal. Its a nice little song, but nothing great, unlike some of their later songs (Benighted, A Fair Judgement, Windowpane, Hours of Wealth). It showed what they were capable of doing it, but it didn't measure up.

However, this album does contain the one gem that any Opeth fan should listen to: Black Rose Immortal. Clocking in at twenty minutes, this song features many twists and turns in its music, featuring riffs of all kind; heavy, epic, soft, beautiful, etc. It is the culmination of everything they worked for in their first two albums.

I don't feel quite as bad for giving this album 3 stars. Even Akerfeldt said this was his least favorite album and said this was in the day when they were "very pretentious." I agree Mr. Akerfeldt. By this mainly for Black Rose Immortal, and see if you can find some interesting parts in the other songs.

Report this review (#600581)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Morningrise was my introduction to Opeth and while it took me a few listens to truly grasp the intricacies that envelope this masterpiece it eventually became one of my favorite albums of all time.

Like most great music, Morningrise takes a while to completely comprehend. For example; the first acoustic passage on the opening track "Advent" absolutely astounded and inspired me the first time I heard it but I couldn't quite get past some of the longer distorted guitar harmonies and, at times, out of pitch clean vocal melodies. I think it was somewhere between my eighth and fiftieth listen to the album as a whole that it truly clicked how masterful and wonderfully organic it all was.

To this day, when I spin the needle on my Morningrise record I am taken back to that awe inspiring moment I heard the bass groove over that beautifully crafted, yet simple, acoustic guitar moment on "Advent."

From that aforementioned opening song until the last clean vocal on "To Bid You Farewell," Opeth's Morningrise is an album that should not go unheard by any fan of progressive heavy music.

I recently revisited Opeth's entire catalog with the intention to review each album and every individual song fairly. So, as a fair result this record gets a 49/50. My only imperfect song score went to "Black Rose Immortal" as I felt it was a tad (and I mean tiny) bit drawn out. In conclusion, I think a 49/50 definitely warrants a perfect 5 star review.

Morningrise: Advent - 10/10 The Night and the Silent Water - 10/10 Nectar - 10/10 Black Rose Immortal - 9/10 To Bid You Farewell - 10/10

Report this review (#734612)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Morningrise continues in very much the same direction that was left off from the previous album Orchid, where a folky, black metal style where classical acoustic moments are present throughout. The album before this one, also had quite a few songs that were over the ten minute mark, while this one is composed of five songs which only exceed ten minutes (with "Black Rose Immortal" eclipsing twenty minutes). The formula for this album feels very much similar to the previous album, only this time there is a noticeable improvement to how this album was structured compared to the previous one. The songwriting has improved and matured with an album's worth of an experience under the band's belt and Mikael has noticeably grown more confident in his role as a lead vocalist, showcasing more of his wonderful clean vocals (particularly in the part-ballad "To Bid You Farewell") and further enhancing the quality of his harsh screams which will get even better with every succeeding album. Each of the five songs serves as a wonderfully crafted piece of audial art for people to absorb and take in, almost like mini-albums unto themselves. Highly essential album from Opeth's earliest years.
Report this review (#1064290)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars There are two most common approaches to Morningside. One is to regard it as some sort of a lost masterpiece, another - as a warm-up to what was to come. There are a lot of things to like here. It stays true to the trademark Opeth style - frequent changes between extreme metal and vocal sections and softer, more melodic. But it actually is less aggressive than the following albums. A poor production, paradoxically, makes you hear all the instruments, and you can find one of the better Opeth guitar harmonies and melancholic melodies this side of the Damnation album. I can never fully like an album with this much vomiting vocals, especially as poorly produced as here, but Morningrise, nevertheless, is a must for Opeth fans.
Report this review (#1283030)
Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
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 Ĺkerfeldt 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.

Report this review (#1432712)
Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2015 | Review Permalink

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