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Opeth My Arms, Your Hearse album cover
3.97 | 888 ratings | 51 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prologue (0:59)
2. April Ethereal (8:41)
3. When (9:14)
4. Madrigal (1:25)
5. The Amen Corner (8:43)
6. Demon of the fall (6:13)
7. Credence (5:26)
8. Karma (7:52)
9. Epilogue (3:59)

Bonus tracks on 2000 & 2001 reissues:
10. Circle Of The Tyrants (5:12) *
11. Remember Tomorrow (5:00) $

Total Time: 52:38

* Celtic Frost cover recorded in 1995
$ Iron Maiden cover recorded in 1997

Line-up / Musicians

- Mikael Åkerfeldt / electric & acoustic (6- & 12-string) guitars, bass, piano, vocals, producer
- Peter Lindgren / guitars
- Martin Lopez / drums, percussion

- Fredrik Nordström / Hammond (9), co-producer
- Johan De Farfall / bass (10)
- Anders Nordin / drums (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Tom Martinsen with Peter Lindgren (photo)

2xLP Displeased Records ‎- D-00083 (2001, Netherlands) Limited edition w/ 2 bonus tracks

CD Candlelight Records ‎- CANDLE25 (1998, UK) 1st pressing cover w/o band's logo
CD Candlelight Records ‎- CANDLE055CD (2000, UK) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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OPETH My Arms, Your Hearse ratings distribution

(888 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

OPETH My Arms, Your Hearse reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
4 stars Now, this is painful to do because I would LOVE to say that this album was perfect. Even though it's not, I think it deserves your attention anyway. While it lacks the same sound quality of the albums that follow it, My Arms, Your Hearse is without doubt an excellent work. This is probably, along with Deliverance, one of OPETH's heaviest albums; however, I consider MAYH the better of the two, by a wide margin. Even though there are audible glitches in the way the drums were recorded, Mikael Akerfeldt's bass (yes, you read that correctly) comes through much more clearly than on Blackwater Park and the albums after it. He really shines in particular on "Credence", but can be heard throughout.

Even if you aren't a metal fan and have doubts about the screaming vocals, they are very much in context here. MAYH is a concept album; this is the anguish of a soul that lives on after his death, but cannot find peace because he sees his beloved being consumed from the inside out by her grief for him. In fact, I think it's because of this unremitting grief that for most of the album he cannot reach her, and their one contact while she still lives (through her dreams in "April Ethereal") is disastrous. It comes far too soon and only deepens the pain, an outcome that grieves this spirit far more even than the mere fact of his death.

He watches as she buries herself more and more, turning to religion--but not as the comfort it can be; instead she practically becomes cloistered in the "Amen Corner", unable to embrace and celebrate their lives and the memories. (I don't believe this is anti-religious--only addressing a potential misuse. I think the spirit despises it because of how it further separates them in their case, not because religion itself is somehow inherently bad.) In "Demon of the Fall", she eventually comes near the point of suicide and even begins to hate him after a fashion--though it is most likely her own life she hates. She no longer even believes in him--with that, the last connection he has to her is severed ("Credence"). By the end, he realizes that the only thing left to him is to let go: she has become nearly as dead, if not more so than he is ("Karma"). It does seem, though, that they are reunited after her death, in a glorious "Epilogue".

The story is told in strange, convoluted lyrics (some never even sung, just printed in the booklet) which are hauntingly beautiful nonetheless. Particularly heartwrenching are the spirit's words in "Madrigal" when his separation from her really hits home: "I would comfort you if only I could, but as we all know...I am just thin air. Unaware as you are of my presence, you are losing yourself. Hiding in the amen corner." The standout tracks, for me, are "April Ethereal", "Demon of the Fall", "Karma", and the stunning "Epilogue", which may be one of OPETH's most moving songs ever. With its gorgeous Hammond organ and electric guitar work, it seems almost to resemble songs like "Mudmen" from PINK FLOYD's album Obscured by Clouds.

The only weaker points on MAYH are the two cover songs which, while not bad, do not quite come up to the same standard as the rest of the album, perhaps owing to their age. "Circle of the Tyrant" especially suffers in comparison to MAYH, and probably should have been released with an earlier OPETH album. "Remember Tomorrow" works well, however, especially after the classic rock vibe of "Epilogue". In my opinion, this should have been the only bonus track to follow MAYH proper. And, of course there were the recording issues with the drums (in no way a matter of Mr. López' playing ability, of course!). I can't give My Arms, Your Hearse a perfect score. Still, this is definitely a must-have album for fans of OPETH, metal, and of quality music in general.

Review by frenchie
5 stars By the second track you will imedietly recognise that this is a huge step up from the first 2 albums. The production, riffs and musical exploration have all became so much better. Opeth have really grasped the kind of sound they want to make here. This album is full of great progressive moments. They still stick to their formula of having very heavy parts that lead into acoustic breaks but they sound so much more organised on this album. Mikael really starts to push himself vocally by including some of his most heaviest vocals of Opeth's career as well as starting to express his more emotional side by showing off some of his amazingly talented mellow vocals properly. This album is so much more pleasing to the ear.

I would have to say that this is a strong contender for being the heaviest album that Opeth have made. Though it is not pure death metal as the classical guitar influences are very strong here. This album is incredibly energetic with some of the best and heaviest riffs they have ever written. Things havent got heavier than this till 2002's "Deliverance". This album gleams with Opeth's trademark ghostly, gloomy and haunting essence, represented well with the album artwork. Even the solos here sound better than before and the drums are just incredible, adding to the heavy atmosphere. You can always hear the bass drums pounding at machine gun speed and it is near perfection for the uber metalheads!

i would say that this album is directed more for the heavy fans but the mellow moments here are undeniable. Maybe this album is not for beginners, though it is an excellent journey that really tests just how heavy you can take your music. For me, i love heavy albums, the heavier the better! This is one of the heaviest albums i have ever heard next to Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill", Dream Theaters "Train of Thought" and Slipknot's "Iowa".

Opeth have clearly recognise the type of sound and structure that they want to make here. This album is quite unique in their discography as it is the only one to have an intro and an outro, named "Prologue" and "Epilogue". This instantly suggested to me that the album was gonna flow like a dream. This album plays without gaps, and is one continuous journey. "Prologue" enters brilliant with the sound of rainfall, followed by a ghostly piano intro that leads into a fade in vocal harmony from Mikael. This explodes into "April Ethereal", one incredibly heavy and explosive tracks. This album flows excellently with an endless amount of sonic fast riffs, sown together with smooth mellow breaks.

This leads into "When", now judging by the intro this sounds like one of Opeth's mellowest moments, with a soft clean guitar intro and the style of very classical acoustic influence. If you thought this was going to be a soft ride with a built up intro you were wrong, about 20 seconds in this soft clean piece explodes into one of the most frighteningly evil pieces ever! This actually made me jump when i first heard it! Talk about contrast! This song is a real teethkicker, which will have you headbanging for the whole 9 minutes that it lasts for. This track instantly flows into "Madrigal", a soft yet energetically moving piece that takes you into the next heavy outburst, "The Amen Corner", smoothly, keeping the albums flow going with no breaks.

The softest piece on this album is probably "Credence", where the listener really gets the best out of Mikaels mellow vocals. Opeth really hav great lyrics though sometimes they are hard to hear because of the harsh death metal vocals, this gives you a chance to hear the amazing poetry of Opeth. Not only does this band have some of the most original, heavy and incredible riffs i have ever heard, but they are masters of the acoustic guitars, which is very evident on this track. "Credence gently fades away and then BOOM! Opeth are kicking your ass once again with the insanely heavy, "Karma", perhaps a song that you would expect to be so heavy with a title like that! It does start to thin out with some great harmonies and screams.

My Arms, Your Hearse manages to show off some much more atmospheric music, which Opeth didn't deliver so well on their first 2 albums. The true sound of Opeth is born on this album, and is definetly one of their strongest pieces.

This monster is gently rocked to sleep with the beautiful guitar soloing on "Epilogue", one of the best album closers i have ever heard. This is a classic album, breaking new boundaries of metal, prog and acoustic work. This is essential for any Opeth fan. Those who like their music heavy will also fall in love with this album. Highly recommended.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Among the heavier Opeth albums, echoes of Akerfeldt's distinct roar are etched upon my mind as I write this review. From the beginning grand piano to the ending Hammond, this is a modern metal masterpiece. There is nothing disappointing about the album at all (although my sound quality was great).

The album begins with a haunting Prologue, which features Grand Piano as the lead instrument. The dissonant notes are the perfect intro the what would become some of their heaviest material. Throughout, Akerfeldt roars with emotion (if that is possible), and the brief acoustic ventures are among the most haunting they've ever accomplished. The lyrics on this album are also among the best they've produced, with lost love and remorse seering through the monstrous guitar riffs. My favorite tracks are Demon of the Fall, with a memorable guitar riff and stand out vocal work by Akerfeldt, and the instrumental Epilogue, which features an awesome guitar solo from Lindgren and awesome Hammond work, as well.

Overall, this is the best Opeth album to date in my opinion. 4.5/5.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My Ears say No Prog Here

A pleasant enough intro, with running water and lazy, mournful piano - a simple melody over open 5ths suddenly gives way to a riff that Mountain would have been proud of, and then the vocals start...

Now I'm very used to "Death Metal" style vocals, and appreciate them in their place - but this is really not the place. The scene has been set, and the mood destroyed in a single stroke.

The riffs are still huge, and the arrangements well thought-out, in a technical thrash style - but here as with many other so-called prog-metal bands, the emphasis is largely on how complex the rhythms are - which is but a single element of prog.

Unlike many other metal bands, however, Opeth develop the riffs and manage to bring about a cohesion and unfolding of thematic material with a symphonic approach to development that is much more interesting than many of their peers. Flavours of Metallica waft in, and are also developed nicely, but sometimes the riffing gets chaotic seemingly for the sake of doing something different rather than structurally, so the overall effect can get lost at times. There is overall a good sense of melody, but this is more often repeated - as is metal's wont - rather than developed, as we would expect from prog rock.

Despite the occasional patchiness, Opeth hold it all together and keep it moving very well - but I still feel that those vocals are unsuited to the music.

"When" is even more in the "Death Metal" vein to start, and bears many similarities to "April Ethereal" in style and development, but surprisingly sinks into power metal territory for a while. It is when the dreaded acoustic passages start that the real musicianship of the band becomes apparent, as one might suspect. There is a very basic approach to harmony with sudden changes that I feel do not quite work, but Opeth stick with this until a sudden change around 4:20, as if they'd completely changed their minds and realised that the previous section plain didn't work. The rest of the track is largely unremarkable, with harmonic "blackspots" smudging what could have been a reasonable bridge section - but it's notable that form progression in this 9- minute + track is very weak, and the direction gets lost very quickly.

The non Death-Metal vocals are very welcome, and the vocal harmonies are very pleasant, but the song as a whole just flounders and never truly develops or breaks new ground.

"Madrigal" is an intrguing title, but is a rather simplistic guitar piece with very pleasant ambience, but no relation to the Madrigal form. It simply serves as an acoustic intro to "The Amen Corner" - a fact which is underlined by the re-use of the acoustic material.

Large crunching riffs give way predictably to Death Metal growls and the main "headbanginging" riff comes in around 1:45 giving this song the shape and feel of the average Judas Priest (circa 1975) track but with better production. An acoustic passage is presented around 3:15, but is completely out of place. It's nice enough, but if you're going to break formal rules, you should at least prove that you understand the rules first. This style might appeal to fans of "prog metal" as a genre, but it's not a satisfying or "classic" style - more one that I would expect of a band finding its feet musically.

Again, a slower section is introduced, and the average musical ability is showcased to the full, with predictable lines and sudden, inappropriate changes spoiling those lovely, crushing riffs.

Demon Of The Fall is a superbly original track, once you've become accustomed to this style, but still tends to suffer from the same patchiness and weaknesses I've already outlined. Nevertheless, it is the standout track on this album.

The drum intro to "Creedence" reminds me a little of "Criminally Insane" (Slayer) - but on mogadons. When the guitars enter, we don't get the massive riffs, but instead get another acoustic passage which is nice but insignificant from a prog rock point of view. Proggy ideas are introduced, and sudden changes are made but these are never developed - merely repeated - a classic tact of metal bands (think "Changes").

We kind of expect the slamming riff at the beginning of "Karma" - and really, this is Opeth showing their true colours. It's all very applaudable wanting to play in a progressive style, but Opeth should really have found their own style and developed it, IMO - especially by the third album. The acoustic entry is annoyingly predictable and breaks the flow of what would otherwise be another standout track. Opeth do themselves no favours by persuing these

"Epilogue" has the nice and welcome addition of a Hammond to the texture - but Fredrik Nordström is no Pete Bardens and Peter Lindgren is no Andy Latimer... There are odd flavours more of Barclay James Harvest than of Camel here, which is all very nice, but Opeth simply do not have the feel for harmonic, melodic or formal progression of the former, so this ends up as nothing but a pleasant wash of aural wallpaper.

This is NOT "An excellent addition to any prog music collection", as it is in no way progressive enough (Deep Purple are more progressive), and the musicianship of the band needs to develop - although it is a good metal album. I would suggest that it is mainly for fans of the prog metal genre in a certain age group - I would suggest late twenties max. This is not to belittle it, just to give guidance to the curious!

Review by The Crow
3 stars This is, in my humble opinion, the weakest Opeth's album of their first years.

The main problem I have with this record is that the songs are very similar between them: April Ethereal, When, Karma... The songs of this album have a composition and structure very similar between them, what makes this album some dull and boring sometimes. It's a bit repetitive for me, and talking of a band like Opeth that's a sort of letdown.

In addition, the sound of the drums is bad, same with the bass. It's obvious that Mikael isn't an experimented bassist, because he plays the bass guitar in that record, and it sounds very low and with a lame sound. Same with the acoustic parts, too dark and sometimes strangely uninspired.

Nevertheless, I don't consider this a bad album at all, because although it's repetitiveness and lackluster production, songs like the great Demon Of The Fall and Creedence are pretty good, same with the Prologue and Epilogue. In addition, here we can see an anticipation of Still Life, in some guitar riffs and the fantastic choirs like the song When.

Conclusion: I think this is a transition album, and although that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case the result was an album which is far from being a highlight in Opeth's discography. They suffered the lack of a bassist and a weak production.

Nevertheless, the record has great moments and it's an obligated stop for technical death metal lovers or Opeth's fans.

Best Tracks: Demon of the Fall, When, Creedence.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded down to three stars.

Review by FishyMonkey
3 stars MAYH sees Opeth finding their true sound that has developed all the way to now with their latest prog masterpiece, Ghost Reveries. After their wonderfully atmospheric and overall excellent debut, Orchid, the band went on to do Morningrise, which is still considered their best by some. This is a huge change from Morningrise. Pure growls now from Akerfeldt, and quite a bit more of straight singing than Orchid. Maybe a little more than Morningrise. The sound is really full and is just a behemoth to be reckoned with. This is not my favorite Opeth album, and it's a little repetitive and can even get boring, but is absolutely essential to any prog metal lover's collection and would be fine among a classic prog rock fan's collection too. It's also worthwhile to note that this is probably the most brutal Opeth album of any. Just listen to When, April Ethereal, Demon of the Fall...this stuff is evil as hell.

The album opens with Prologue, which, as the name suggests, builds up some nice atmosphere with rain and some piano. This track is rendered completely useless by the entry of the second song, April Ethereal, which has a such a brutal opening riff that you wonder why they even bothered doing the Prologue if they were going to destroy it so quickly. Akerfeldt's vocals are actually really brutal here. The song blasts along for about four minutes and then starts cooling down. Some great fading clean vocals throughout after that four minute mark, and a great section at around 5:40. The song starts exiting out with a simple riff Then the song decides to kick your ass one more time, then fade out with a wonderful riff that almost seems anxious. When is next, and after the brief acoustic entry, in comes probably the most crushingly heavy riff and growl Opeth has ever done. It blasts along like April Ethereal, has some nice acoustic interludes, then eventually returns to that sorta questioning, anxious and melodic riff at around 5:20. After it cools down, and Akerfeldt does some clean singing. Akerfeldt actually sounds kinda sick here, like he has a cold...but whatever. At around 7:48, one of the best parts of the album comes in, with some great singing and overall a great desperate and barren feel to the section. Good stuff.

Madrigal...instrumental filler, but nice. Whatever. The Amen Corner isn't quite up to par with the other two big songs so far, but it does have a crazy cool opening section that is catchy as hell. Otherwise, it kind trudges along with some uninspiring riffs. The predictable acoustic and clean vocal part at the end really does sound predictable and strangely lame.

The big standout of the album, and easily one of Opeth's best songs though, is the next song, which is Demon of the Fall. awesome. It's ridiculously heavy, even with some layered growls to add to the vocals. The acoustics interludes are awesome, and the end is extremely well-done. This song has EVERYTHING you could possibly want in metal. Beautiful stuff, this song alone is worth the price of the album. It flows seamlessly into Credence, which resembles To Bid You Farewell. Completely quiet. Too bad it's not nearly as good as To Bid You Farewell. It gets a bit boring.

Karma brings back the quality, with some bone crushing heaviness complimented by a very long acoustic sections. Luckily, this is one of the best acoustic sections in the album. This is basically the closer, and it ends wit ha brutally long growl and some great riffage, then an acoustic twang...we're done. What a ride. No. Wait. We got one more. But no one cares. Scratch it off. It's worth nothing. Opeth tries a semi- Pink Floyd metal song, and it doesn't work.

Still, this album is worth it, even if it is a little repetitive, there's enough to like about it to warrant a purchase. A non-essential album, absolutely an essential prog metal album.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Marc Baum
4 stars This album was a slightly different direction for the band. The production is much better. The bass is not a big part of the music anymore, or at least for this album. The clean vocals are much better and trained and have finally become what they are known for. The distorition on the guitars are much heavier. One of the big things here is the length of the songs. There's 9 songs with the longest being 9:16. Most are in the 6-7 minute mark on average. That's short compared to most other Opeth songs. But this album is still progressive nonetheless. There are lesser amounts of standout songs here, for this is a more consistent album.

Opeth is an interesting band, if for no other reason than the amount of love and hate they garner. It can be difficult to find someone who does not either worship the ground they walk on or curse that same ground. All that aside though, is there anything to the hype. In this reviewer's opinion: there is...if not always, at least sometimes. My Arms, Your Hearse is one of those times.

Moving on from the beautiful, extensive but somehow unfocused Morningrise, Opeth changed their sound somewhat. From here on out, composition was decidedly tighter (though many would say still not tight enough) and things got...well...formulaic. Before the formula had time to become formulaic, though, there was My Arms, Your Hearse.

This album exudes an autumnal atmosphere, much like their debut Orchid. The music is decidedly Gothenburgesque melodic death, with intermittent acoustic passages to break the flow. These passages are at the heart of what makes Opeth interesting, as they provide a certain measure of unpredictability to a genre that is pretty predictable. Akerfeldt's vocals range from clean singing to death growls, and he does both well enough.

Of the songs, the best would have to be "April Ethereal", "When", and "Demon of the Fall". However, none of the tracks are particularly weak, from the mood-setting "Prologue" to the instrumental "Madrigal" to the completely acoustic "Credence". There's steady enjoyment to be found throughout the entire album.

The smart thing about "My Arms, Your Hearse" is the length. By only being around 50 minutes long, it avoids the here and there overindulgence that characterizes the later releases. By avoiding the meandering compositions of the previous releases and the fatigue of the next, you essentially get some of the best of both worlds.

In sum, if you already hate Opeth, My Arms, Your Hearse isn't going to change your mind. And if you already love them, then you've already listened to this album. But for those out there unsure of what to make of all the testimony concerning this band, My Arms, Your Hearse is a worthy addition to your collection. I'd get Still Life or Blackwater Park first if I wanted to get into Opeth though. These two albums are the most representable ones to the main-direction of the band at best.

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 85 % 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

Review by imoeng
5 stars My Arms, Your Hearse

This album is Opeth third studio album, which was released in 1998.

This is my second Opeth album, after Ghost Reveries and also it was my first time to listen carefully to death metal song. At first, I was surprised, because many folks on Dream Theater forum said Opeth is pretty much like Dream Theater. So, I bought Ghost Reveries without even try to download it from the internet, just to find out what are the songs like. But then lately I found that progressive (death) metal is very good, its better than the conventional death metal style, it has more feeling.

Anyway, My Arms, Your Hearse is Opeth first concept album, means that it has one story behind it and the songs tell us the story. The story is about a grudge, a man who died because of his relationship with a woman. So the man died and becoming a ghost who try to find out about his death. In my opinion, its pretty much like the concept of Dream Theater's Scenes From A Memory, but here, I am not really sure whether he was murdered or not. The woman also realizes the existence of his soul that she feels a great sadness. The complete story can be seen on the CD cover which is also the lyrics of the songs..

Prologue - Just by looking at the title, it explains everything, the intro of the album and its just a short song, more like the introduction of the story. The song represents the funeral of the dead man I've mentioned above.

April Ethereal - The continuous part from Prologue, starts off with heavy guitar and vocal style along with crazy drumming. The song composition is just amazing, and at some part, I feel like the composition is somewhat like Metallica's Nothing Else Matter. My favorite part is at the fourth minute, real good composition. "I knew it was the coming of Spring, and thus our April Ethereal", that is taken from the CD cover. It was the time when the story began, it was the time when his spirit came to earth and tried to find out about his death.

When - The intro is a clean acoustic guitar, very relaxing and mellow. However, it changes when the vocal begins, just like Ghost Of Perdition, starts of with mellow intro and followed by death metal vocal. The story is just the process of the soul finding out about his death. This is when the soul or the man knew that the woman was involved in his death, although its not physically.

Madrigal - This song is considered as one of mellow songs in the album, besides Prologue, Credence and Epilogue. The song also quite short, just about one minute, there is no vocal in this song, just clean acoustic guitar sound.

The Amen Corner - The season had change, and now its summer. "Hiding within The Amen Corner. White summer. So far I have gone to see you again." The song is just very metal and heavy. My favorite spot is the guitar solo section at 5:01, the solo is quite long, although its not really hard-fast-shred style, but it really fits the song, perfect. However, its such a shame that the song composition of the song is not really different with other songs, just a combination of heavy death metal and a bit of mellow spot in each song.

Demon Of The Fall - The songs starts with some keyboard synth, really cool, follows with great guitar riffs. The intro is quite simple but really can create a certain ambience of sadness and darkness. Now, its autumn, and the soul still finds the secret about his death. Now he knows that the woman's pure love had change to pure hate which involved in his death. At 4:47 I heard Mikael Akerfeldt's sound like he never sang like that before, along with beautiful composition (rhythm guitar and drum section), really good, that I can feel the sadness of the story. The song ends with clean acoustic guitar section, represents the sad and hate ending.

Credence - Another slow and mellow song. Even though the composition is very simple, but the song is plain amazing, really beautiful with sad and dark lyrics. This is when the woman faces the Karma, that she was involved in the man's death.

Karma - Without any single clean slow intro note, the songs starts heavily, very dark death metal. For me, the best part of the song is at 4:41, when the sound changes to more metal style, very good. After that, follows with another death metal part. The story is about Karma of course, that the woman will pay what she has done that creates the man to die

Epilogue - Means, the ending of a story, and now, the time is winter, a farewell of a long journey to find the mystery behind a death. ".and always welcoming Winter's Epilogue. There is was. The final destiny. A sunrise that never came, still the nightlamp that never faded away. Farewell was the word, and the afterglow was the brave morning. Rising and telling everyone about the beauty of its Prologue." The song is an instrumental song, quite simple instrumentation but really beautiful.

If you notice, the story is about repetition, that after winter, spring will come, and after Epilogue, there will be another Prologue, and I believe it's the main thing here. I give five stars to this album, because of its great musical composition and great story behind it.

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Review by Zitro
4 stars 4.4 Stars

It is impressive how much Opeth has progressed in less than a year here. My Arms, your Hearse is in almost every way an improvement over Morning Rise. There are no more coherence problems; in fact, the whole album flows really well. Also, the growls are finally very effective in the music as they are lower pitched, which makes them blend with the guitars. Talking about guitars, they are much louder, meaner, and more brutal than before and don't make me think about Iron Maiden or Metallica anymore. The clean vocals and growls are always in the correct places and the acoustic parts are used more sparingly and are less repetitive, giving a relief after brutal guitars and growls, yet not bringing tedium to the listener. There are only 2 low points here that didn't happen in the previous two albums: moderately short duration, and lack of a good bass player (Mikael had to play the bass).

Prologue opens up with a dark piano sound and quickly gives April Ethereal the permission to kick major a$$! Here, it really shows that the band has evolved. The drums are extremely well done, the guitars are cooler and heavier, the grunts blend with the music perfectly, and the acoustic parts no longer are tedious and overlong. Also, the heavy/acoustic changes flow better. Not to forget, the sound quality is a clear improvement over the previous albums. In this particular song, I love how the two guitars combine and are separated if you are using headphones. The riffs are excellent.

When starts with a brutal riff but it is another fantastic song similar to the previous monster track. The two guitars keep creating wonderful leads and rhythms in the heavy parts, and gorgeous harmonies in the soft parts (especially on minute 3). Madrigal is a short acoustic part that serves a purpose musically and does not feel out of place unlike Orchid's instrumental short songs. The Amen Corner is darker and emphasizes more the metal of the album Demon of The Fall has very evil growling vocals never heard before by Mikael and is overall the best heavy song from this album. Minute 2 is my favorite section as it has an aggressive acoustic riff followed by an explosion of growls and electric guitars. The rest of the song is amazing and has everything that you would want in an Opeth album and a death metal album in general.

Credence is a needed relief from the brutally heavy "Demon of the Fall". This is a very pleasant song with 2 acoustic guitars used to make great musical themes while Mikael uses clean vocals and shows the beauty of his singing voice (it makes me wish that he would form a band that has no growls). and minimal drumming and bass playing to compliment them without overwhelming them. The last minute of the song is goosebumps-inducing because the guitar riff is perfect. Karma starts sounding like another Amen Corner but the second half of the song is excellent and probably the heaviest moment of the album. Epilogue is an amazing closer to the album. While the song itself is repetitive, it allows Mikael to show off his true talents on his instrument. He doesn't really shread. Instead, he uses a beautiful guitar tone and plays with a lot of emotion. The song is made even better thanks to the rest of the band and the Hammond organ.

All in all, an amazing heavy album. This is probably their heaviest album in their whole career, so I would never recommend a newbie to start here because the intense double guitars and growls would put them off (although I actually think Demon of the Fall could be a great song to show what the band is all about and Epilogue shows their beautiful side).

Highlights: April Ethereal, Demon of the Fall, Epilogue

Let Downs: None

My Grade : A/B

Review by OpethGuitarist
5 stars The 2nd best Opeth album after Still Life.

MAYH, however, will be the hardest for hard line proggers to get into, especially with the lack of what is seen as "traditional prog"

This album goes by many names, and one of them is brutal. However, what is progressive here is often difficult to pick up on, often difficult to see. After first listen, many not used to the scathing vocals and low notes will be turned off immediately. Ill take a lyrical line, one of the best Opeth has ever done, to show you this has a lot to do with prog.

From April Ethereal

The rain was waving goodbye, and when the night came the forest folded its branches around me. Something passed by, and I went into a dream. She laughing and weeping at once: "take me away".

No vocals about death and horror. This band has more to offer. Do not be mistaken, this is a gem of an album.

April Ethereal and When are the best songs on the album, followed by the "single" and signature Opeth song, Demon of the Fall(has more to to with it than its title would suggest).

A hard album for non Opeth likers to enjoy. I wouldn't start here, nor would I bother if you have any distaste for metal or death metal, as it's perhaps the heaviest and most unforgiving of Opeth's material. A real gem here, and debated between Still Life among classic Opeth fans as their best album.

Review by russellk
4 stars From the opening prologue, leading into 'April Ethereal's gigantic riff, the listener knows something special is about to be served. The question is, what is it?

It's inevitable on an archive site that there are as many questions directed at classifying a sound as there are explaining and extolling it. So. To those wondering if this is progressive rock, I'll let you answer that question yourselves. If you are rooted in the 1970s I have no doubt the bludgeoning riffs will convince you there is little or no 'prog' here. However, I do think this album, while displaying fewer prog tendencies than later OPETH albums, still showcases progressive sensibilities.

We all know about the impressive polyrhythms and time signature changes. But there is far more to OPETH than technical ability. Foremost among the band's many impressive qualities is that of songwriting. This album demonstrates the fruits of two previous outings: the songs are tighter and much shorter (having learned from their inability to pull off 'Black Rose Immortal' on their previous album). From a compositional perspective this album could be seen as regrouping, perfecting the shorter form before launching themselves back into the epic with 'Still Life'.

Though the songs are shorter, there are still many tracks on 'My Arms, Your Hearse' with an epic feel. 'April Ethereal' is magnificent, a nearly ten minute track (with the prologue) that never loses intensity. 'When' opens with an ear-bludgeoning sledgehammer, and doesn't really work for me - though here's where we first learn to appreciate MARTIN LOPEZ's drum work. 'Madrigal' shows the band beginning to separate some of their quieter moments, allowing the listener respite from their assault. 'The Amen Corner' doesn't quite work for me: I find it a little too ponderous. Nice opening growl though! 'Demon of the Fall' is rightly a fan favourite. 'Credence' and 'Epilogue' showcase OPETH's melodic side, separated by another stormer in 'Karma'. Two excellent bonus tracks round out your money's worth.

There's a maturity and sophistication here not common in the genre. This is not music for spotty-skinned sixteen year olds. It is challenging enough to be enjoyed by a much wider diversity of listeners. And it sounds like prog to me. The music is complex, the lyrics are thematic (in fact 'My Arms, Your Hearse' is a loose concept album) and the arrangements give the album depth. All it lacks is a sense of playfulness, but I suspect that's a bit much to ask of a death metal band.

A definite four-star album, lacking only the super-hook riffs, improved vocals and the mid-range songs that OPETH were soon to bring to the table.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The third album from Opeth is a giant leap and a massive improvement to the two previous albums Orchid and Morningrise. My Arms, Your Hearse starts the sound that Opeth is famous and known for today. The monumental and massive wall of guitar blended with more mellow acoustic moments and Mikael Åkerfeldt growling and clean vocals. My Arms, Your Hearse is generally a very heavy album, so don´t expect seventies prog rock here even though there are traces. Opeth comes from the Doom/ death metal tradition and even though Opeth is a bit more progressive than most bands in that catagory there are still many doom/ death moments on this album. There are plenty of the more mellow moments though to keep ones interest in the album and give you a breather between the massive metal riffing.

The sound quality could have been a little better. It´s raw and pretty unpolished which is an aquired taste. Personally I like my metal a bit more polished normally, but when the music is as good as this I´m ready to forgive everything.

The musicians playing here are very competent and I can never seem to get enough of Mikael Åkerfeldt´s clean singing even though it´s still quite imature here compared to later releases. His growling is also an aquired taste for sure, but I enjoy it. Being an old death metal fan helps of course. The biggest difference in the lineup is the addition of Martin Lopez on drums. He is such a good drummer for this kind of music and even though this is metal he gets to show his latin background some places. There are no latin parts though, it´s more a matter of touch. A brilliant addition to Opeth. Mikael Åkerfeldt handles both vocals, guitar and bass on My Arms, Your Hearse as Opeth had not yet drafted a new bass player for the recordings. Martin Mendez who would soon become the new bass player for Opeth, are on the pictures on the sleeve though. Peter Lindgren plays some nice guitar on the album as well. The dual attack of Lindgren and Åkerfeldt is very much the melodic focus on My Arms, Your Hearse.

The music is as mentioned above made out of massive and monumental metal riffs with growls and softer acoustic moments with clean singing and sometimes there is clean singing over the metal parts as well. This is a cocktail most metal bands use today but in 1998 this was the exception to the rule. Especially the way Mikael Åkerfeldt sings is very exceptional in metal. Very soft and melodic. Standout tracks for me is my favorite When, Demon of the Fall and the soft acoustic Credence. The ending song Epilogue is a nice instrumental with some exciting dual guitar leads and some nice Hammond organ from Fredrik Nordström.

The two bonus tracks are worth mentioning as well even though I´m not that excited about them. Celtic Frost´s Circle Of The Tyrants is covered in a good way even though I prefer Obituary´s version on their album Cause of Death. The problem with this song is that I´m not too fond of Celtic Frost. I never understood why they were hailed as metal gods by especially death and black metal bands. The other cover song is Iron Maidens´s Remember Tomorrow from their debut album. Opeth plays an ok version but again it doesn´t excite me very much. Just don´t think of the two bonus tracks as part of the album, but take them for what they are.

All in all there is still some way to the masterpieces Opeth would make later in their career, but My Arms, Your Hearse is an excellent progressive extreme metal album and I´ll rate it 4 stars.

Review by The Pessimist
5 stars So far, Opeth have written, IMO, three masterpieces: these are the incredible Still Life, fan favourite Blackwater Park and this astonishing piece of art, My Arms, Your Hearse. This is a personal favourite for many reasons, the main reason however being 1. It's really, really, really heavy. Not just instrumentally, but atmospherically. This may well be their darkest album, simply because of the very prominent growling vocals and the lyrical content. The riffs are also extremely dense in texture, and there are many twists and turns around every song. 2. It symbolises Opeth solidifying their signature sound. Before in the underated Morningrise they were well on their way to this standard, but lacked something this album achieves: continuity. It can also be said that the songs were too long compared to its successor, but that never bothered me anyway. Finally, 3. The songwriting maybe the tightest I have ever heard in an extreme metal band. Especially in April Ethereal, the album just keeps moving forwards, never boring the listener, and always striving for diversity. Yes, this is Opeth's first notable masterpiece, and I don't plan to revert my opinion on this monumental album.

Now to the tracks.

The album kickstarts with Prologue/April Ethereal, possibly being the best track off the album. As always, Opeth open with all cylinders firing, and this is no exception. There is only one clean vocal break, and it is very short, but man does it haver a great effect! This song is packed with well-flowing riffs that leave you breathless, but my favourite section of this song has to be its finale. The vocals are simply poetic in most forms of the term, and I love them. The final line I don't know how and why, and I'll never know when get's me every time. The arrangement is so tight on this track that you can keep listening to it and you will be satisfied every time.

When is also an extremely strong track, and the heaviest on the record by a mile. It is notorious for its surprise intro which is simply stunning, and it's non-stop Opeth from there. This may well be the darkest track also, for a reason that I can't put into words. This is also a favourite at live shows, and is played on the live album The Roundhouse Tapes, and doesn't disappoint whatsoever. The ending, as on April Ethereal, is brilliant. Mikael Akefeldt's poetry kicks in once again for a this time clean vocal performance topped with one of Lopez's greatest drum fills. Madrigal follows, and is another nice filler done with clean guitars.

The next track is the most obscure off the album, The Amen Corner. The intro needs to be mentioned, as it is Opeth's near greatest, topped only by the wonderful The Moor of the Still Life album. Very technical, Lopez being on top form, and a very avant-garde bluesy feel about it, on top of being heavy as hell. Regardless of having the best intro, this is my least favourite off the album.

Demon of the Fall. In the top 5 Opeth tunes for sure, this one annihilates a crowd. Short and sweet - by Opeth standards - I thoroughly enjoy this song. It is very consistent throughout and is a favourite live for, once again, the tight arrangement and listenability. If there were ever to be an Opeth single release, this would be it, it employs all elements of the band into 6 minutes, I especially like the acoustic guitar break at around the minute mark. True genius, another worthy song off MAYH.

Credence is the band's first purely acoustic ballad type song, and it is quite a track. Direly underated, I find this actually the most interesting acoustic song they have ever done. The chorus is amazing and the guitar lines are abstract yet simple. Credence has a very mysterious air surrounding it.

The penultimate track is an aggressive number called Karma, and it finishes the heavy sections of the album with a bang. Although the most obscure song on the whole album, and probably the least talked of, I think this is one of the many standout tracks in Opeth's catalogue. The mellow section is phenomenal and the vocals are top notch emotionally. This is a fantastic closer to the Melinda concept, with some great chord sequences and guitar solos to keep you hooked.

Epilogue is a recapitulation on the entire Melinda story and end quite emotionally taking the album to a sympathetic level reach by not very many modern bands. This song is quite obviously a Pink Floyd influenced piece, and seems like a filler from far off. However, it is quite the contrary. A worthy listen and maybe even a favourite of some fans. This is the progger friendly track on the album, but I recommend it to anyone.

Overall it is a masterpiece album, the concept hard to judge as the lyrical content is obscure even by Opeth's standards, but you'll find it just as entertaining as Still Life. I love it personally, and although it is an acquired taste, it is worth getting into. 5 stars from me, yet another epic masterpiece from the greatest band to ever live.

Review by horsewithteeth11
3 stars As anyone who knows me, be it on this site or in real life, has learned by now, I am an obsessive Opeth fanboy. They're my second favorite band and there are few things I can say about them that I really don't like. Unfortunately, most of the negative feelings I have toward them stem from their first two albums and some things from this one as well.

I suppose that instead of a track by track review, I'll simply highlight what I like and dislike about this album. Let's start with the negative things first. Looking at the credits, one immediately notices that, one notices that Opeth is at this point a three-piece band with the departure of DeFarfella. Akerfeldt himself took up bass duties for this studio album, because even though Mendez had at this point joined the band, they were restricted to time constraints, which caused Akerfeldt to take up the instrument which originally got him into Opeth. However, after listening to this album enough, I can understand why I think Akerfeldt made a good decision in switching to lead guitar. I find him to be only slightly above average in terms of bass skills. And then to make matters worse, I think Akerfeldt's tone on bass isn't that great to my ears. To me, it drags down a bit the songs where it is more prominent. The other thing that still bothers me, like the previous two Opeth album, is that the production quality is still slightly subpar. However, the quality has certainly improved much over the previous two albums to the point where I can actually tolerate it, even if I don't enjoy it.

With that being said, I should mention some of the things I enjoy about this album. Some people say that this, with Deliverance, is some of the darkest music Opeth has ever made. I would happen to agree with those people. The tunes on here are all brutal and relentless, and while we see less of the folk influence and guitar harmonies on this album, more and more progressive metal types of riffs are beginning to emerge. While not quite in the spades that they would be fully developed on in Still Life, the change in sound is very noticeable. The traditional Opeth sound is finally beginning to emerge amidst all the chaos from before. This also happens to be Lopez's first album with the band, and the Latin influence in his drumming definitely makes this album more enjoyable.

If I had to pick my favorite tracks, I would probably go with When, the beautiful Credence, and the brutal Demon of the Fall, a live favorite and one I've had the pleasure of seeing myself. While this album has some very noticeable weak points, it also has many redeeming qualities. If you are an Opeth fan, you will want to get this album eventually. If you are new to the band and more of a traditional prog fan, do not start here. You might be turned off if you are not used to the brutal sound of death metal and it's raw production. For all the high and low points this album has, I think a 3 star rating fits it perfectly for both this site and for me. A good listen, but not the first Opeth album I'll go for if I want their heavier material.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've been holding off posting this one in order to celebrate my 500th review. Opeth, and certainly this powerful slab of dark metal, seemed the appropriate party music for that.

My Arms Your Hearse marks the entry of new drummer Martin Mendez and melodic death metal top-producer Frederik Nordstöm who would both stay on board with Opeth for as long as Ghost Reveries and Deliverance respectively. Largely due to Mendez' versatile drumming, the album marks the beginning of the progressive Opeth albums. While it doesn't have the finesse of Blackwater Park or the compositional mastery of Ghost Reveries, it simply rules in heaviness and merciless darkness. Olé!

The sound is a lot more aggressive and harsher than the chilly and frost-bitten atmospheres of Orchid and Morningrise. In fact this is Opeth's most surging attack. Later albums gradually became less intense and more polished. And no matter how much Mike announces each new album as "Our next album will be really brutal and awesome and evil", don't believe his enthusiasm, Opeth never equalled the fierceness and awesomeness of this one and they never will.

That doesn't mean this is their best album. I honestly wouldn't know which Opeth album is "the best". For one thing it depends on which album deflowered you and also on the amount of fury you can handle. If you compare My Arms Your Hearse to Ghost Reveries, then the composition and execution became more accomplished, the production improved and Mike's clean singing took leaps forward. But again, MAYH is darker and simply totally evil. Yes, as a reviewer you got to stick to the artist's idiom. So there you go.

The clean singing is used only sparingly but that fits perfectly with the material. The heavily distorted chromatic riffs, the furious pace and intensity of the music simply demand for a full-blown cookie monster attack and - rumour goes it was due to a cold Mike had during the recording - his death vocals are in great shape here. The low register and powerful grunts turn this album into a scrumptious chunk of bleak metal. But the main secret for success is the restraint that they applied in the song writing. With only one track over 9 minutes and many short interludes, this is the album with Opeth's most concise song writing. Each track has plenty of variation and short tracks like Demon of the Fall and the bluesy instrumental Epilogue are unique in their catalogue. There's not one dip on the entire album and with April Ethereal, When and the opening minutes of The Amen Corner it has some of Opeth's most gripping moments.

Opeth would still grow in execution and this album's production could certainly have been better - making me long for a tasteful reissue like Still Life received - but it has such impeccable song writing and contains such raging intensity that it deserves no less then gold status for me.

Whichever of the Opeth masterpieces that I last hear, usually ends up being my favourite for a while. This one got stuck in the CD-player of my car for almost a year so you can imagine how long this has been a favourite. In my book this is the first in an exceptionally strong string of albums culminating with Blackwater Park.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'My Arms, Your Hearse' - Opeth (8/10)

Following their flawed masterpiece 'Morningrise,' Opeth decides to turn up the brutality and heaviness a notch with this album, as well as introduce the idea of 'concept albums' into the bands catalogue. As a running song cycle without breaks, this became the first album they ever released that let the whole compliment the parts, so to speak.

The first thing one might notice by listening is the great improvement in production quality. While certainly not up to par with the Wilson production era starting with 'Blackwater Park,' theres a very audible development. The traditional formula (heavy/soft passages) Opeth has become known for is still here, albeit in less balance than usual but if you have heard an Opeth album before, there isn't going to be anything here that sounds out of the ordinary.

'My Arms, Your Hearse' was the last Opeth album I bought before I completed my discography, and even though it's nowhere near their greatest, it somehow feels like their most consistent effort to date. 'Demon Of The Fall' seems a fair contender as the highlight track, but aside from that, everything balances out a rather uncompromised level of quality; a feat for any album on it's own.

The predecessor to Opeth's first perfect album 'Still Life,' 'My Arms Your Hearse' shows Opeth experimenting with a binding narrative that would later be improved on with the next. In terms of lyrics, Mikael Akerfeldt weaves together a story that fits the music very well, although it isn't quite as engrossing or effective as the story in 'Still Life,' it helps to tie the album together. More or less, the story revolves around the spirit of a man who died looking down on the woman he loves and being dismayed that she does not grieve for him. However, it is later revealed that her love has blinded her to the reality that he has in fact died, and is therefore in a state of denial. It's a very simple concept, but Akerfeldt works both his music and lyrics to maximize the dramatic effect.

'My Arms, Your Hearse' is probably the Opeth album I've listened to the least overall, and while it has it's share of faults and problems, this is an excellent album and things would only get better as time went on for this brilliant band. A great example of what a four star album should look like.

Review by SoundsofSeasons
4 stars Awe inspiring, head banging metal !!

This is a concept album that is probably 90% metal, and 10% prog. The great thing about this, is that it's extremely accessible for those who... well like the extreme. Of course if you don't appreciate growling don't bother with this one, its all growls, it might be the most intense of all of Opeth's albums. The production on this album is very raw, and although normally i prefer a clean production, this albums pulls of its raw, rough sound quite well. It works, maybe because the album has a very primal sound? *POSSIBLE SPOILER* The album is after all a concept about about a woman being in love with a man who is now a ghost and memory, and she falls out of love for him, so he feels he has been betrayed and reincarnates as a 'demon of the fall'. *POSSIBLE SPOILER*. This is the first time that Martin Lopez is seen on an Opeth album and let me tell you, he is one of the greatest drummers in metal or prog. period. I am a serious drummer myself and he is a big influence of mine. So i highly suggest getting this album if you want to hear some amazing metal drumming.

Although this album is more an AMAZING metal album rather than a progressive one, it has enough prog to be justified as such. It's certainly not straight metal that's for sure. But i mean, it's Opeth people. They are the kings of Prog Metal these days.

If your into metal, and don't need too much prog in it, this is the album for you. If you even remotely like Opeth you NEED this album.. It has consistently the catchiest and overall best riffs of any Opeth album.

4 stars. ( 5 in the metal only arena )

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My Arms, Your Hearse marked the start of the classic Opeth lineup that would go on to create such classics as Still Life and Blackwater Park.

After the departure of a big chunk of the band's rhythm section the bassist Martin Mendez and drummer Martin Lopez were recruited into the band, although Mendez did not contribute or record any basslines for the album. This had to do with the limited time that he was given to learn the already pre-written lines that eventually were recorded by Mikael Åkerfeldt during the recording sessions. The final result still sounds like an Åkerfeldt album which I guess is all that matters.

The album also marked the first concept recording in Opeth's repertoire and there were a lot more on their way over the next decade. Personally, I've had a surprisingly negative reaction to all of this band's concept album indulgences but there might be other reasons for that as well. First off, I consider the Steve Wilson years to be the peak of Opeth career because Steve managed to fuse together all of the pieces that are incorporated in each and every performance into solid works of art. This is not really the case with My Arms, Your Hearse. Even if the different song sections sound good, the transitions are far from perfect and the compositions lack their own identities outside of the concept album's constraints.

Still my biggest concern with the band's third album is the lack of any real stand-out tracks. The closest to this title would be the songs When, Demon Of The Fall and Credence but all of them have a strange barrier around them that prevents me from getting to the core of these performances and really dig what Opeth is doing here. Oh well, to each his own.

The third album from the Scandinavian maverick simply known as Opeth is definitely an important part of the band's discography but I wouldn't go as far as calling it an excellent piece of music that most people should seek out. The realms of My Arms, Your Hearse should probably be explored only after hearing all of the albums between Still Life and Ghost Reveries. Therefore a good, but non-essential rating is in order on my part.

**** star songs: Prologue (0:59) April Ethereal (8:41) When (9:13) Madrigal (1:25) Demon Of The Fall (6:13) Credence (5:25) Karma (7:49) Epilogue (4:02)

*** star songs: The Amen Corner (8:43)

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars Opeth's third album is a huge step forward from the first two albums. With "My Arms, Your Hearse", finally the band starts going towards the way that will lead them to glory, "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park". But it's obvious that they aren't quite there yet. Despite being really good, it still shows how much the band still has to accomplish.

What I was most relieved about this is how the production didn't sound so rough like in "Orchid" or "Morningrise" and I also noticed that they aren't any more counterparts, but only strong power chords. Musically the album is very different; having a cleaner production, the experimentation increased; the use of strange guitar effects that accompany some acoustic passages, the increased complexity of the structure and the melodies of all the songs, the much better musicianship from each single member.

"My Arms, Your Hearse" is a concept album, like many Opeth albums, and there is also a storyline; a man passes away and becomes a ghosts, and he constantly watches the girl he has loved in life, fearing that her grief for his death would be weak. He then realizes that she finds it hard to keep on living. Maybe not genius storytelling, like the following album "Still Life", but it's still a concept that can easily be respected and liked.

Some songs here will be for me great Opeth classics: "April Ethereal" is a ver well constructed and done song, with many time changes and great, evocative, slower passages. Another one of my favorites is "The Amen Corner", another excellent song. I was disappointed with some songs, like "When" which seems to be a great hit of the band. Also, "Demon of the Fall" didn't grab my attention much. I do love both the prologue and epilogue, as well as the "Madrigal" in the middle of the album, that really enriched the idea of the concept. "Karma" is another good, with plenty awesome metal moments as well as nice arrangements.

In conclusion, a really solid album, with some weak points, but still very muh worth your time, or money.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The lo-fi shot of a wintery forest gracing the cover of My Arms, Your Hearse might give the impression that this release has Opeth drifting in a black metal direction, and that isn't altogether inaccurate - whilst they don't go full on black metal, this is easily the heaviest release I've heard from them and their brand of death metal with progressive sensibilities has perhaps never been darker.

Part of this was born of necessity - following the release of Morningrise, the band parted ways with their entire rhythm section, and they hadn't yet recruited a new one at this point - Martin Lopez had been recruited as drummer, but Mikael Åkerfeldt was handling bass duties on this one alongside his many other tasks.

Equally, there also seems to have been a conscious attempt to shift the band's sound at this point, and head into murkier and darker territories (though there's still calmer acoustic sections here and there which come through outright pristine, though these moments of tranquility seem to me to be less frequent, though if you're missing them Credence is more or less entirely acoustic).

This murk means that it can be tricky to discern some of the more intricate qualities of the music, and it's only when giving the album another chance more recently that I found I started to "get it". (Part of it is that I think the album is meant to be cold, chilly, and a little distant - you don't put that cover art on a sunny, warm album after all...)I'd previously felt that the music here was carefully calculated and technically polished but emotionally insincere, but I think I have a better ear for Opeth's music now, in part because of my appreciation of their previous albums. (That said, I do still think that the clean vocals are a little sterile.)

I certainly wouldn't recommend it as your first port of call when exploring the band, but I understand it better now. For best results, listen on decent-quality speakers or headphones to get the subtleties which can otherwise be slightly lost in the mix.

Review by Necrotica
5 stars The sky is dark and dismal, rain plummeting as if to cover every surrounding inch of earth. Soon, a lone piano enters to fully flesh out the mood. A few melancholic chords are played, and the scene is set. From the distance, a crescendo of cappella vocals gets stronger? stronger? stronger?

...and from this point forward, Opeth would rewrite the blueprints of progressive metal for the next decade.

My Arms, Your Hearse was a turning point for the Swedish metal act. It's the very reason we were able to have masterpieces like Still Life and Ghost Reveries in the first place, as it's the opus that cemented Opeth's standing as one of extreme metal's titans and foremost innovators. But beyond just its legacy, My Arms, Your Hearse still stands strong as its own powerful creation because of its near-seamless blend of death metal, black metal, progressive rock, folk, jazz, and blues into one cohesive offering. The twin guitar attack exhibited by Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren got more fluid, and while Johan De Farfalla was sadly absent from this point onward, Akerfeldt himself filled in the cracks nicely on bass. On top of that, we also got a new longtime addition to the group with drummer Martin Lopez, whose musical chemistry with the rest of the band is staggering on this release (and most subsequent releases, I might add).

Whereas predecessors Morningrise and Orchid often seemed like a bunch of great ideas strung together in an arbitrary fashion, My Arms, Your Hearse builds upon much more conceptual and coherent groundwork. Because of this, the songwriting is often incredibly flowing and focused, with each idea progressing into the next in a logical way. This also makes for a lot of emotional peaks and valleys, especially when the band sways between death metal savagery and folk-like contemplations. Some of the quartet's finest moments of melancholy and sheer melodic catharsis are on display here, such as the mindblowing finales of "When" and "Demon of the Fall." But the reason these moments work so well is the balance of moods and dynamics on offer. For instance, the decision to have the reflective acoustic folk ballad "Credence" after "Demon of the Fall" provides a contrast that's as beautiful as it is stark. The way it calmly rests as a lonesome trench between two of the album's heaviest tracks provides a nice moment to sit back and rest before the brutality comes back. And even the brutality is multi-faceted in its own unique way, right from the jazzy a cappella chord that kicks off "April Ethereal" to the densely layered guitar chords in the doom metal portion of "The Amen Corner."

Speaking of layering, the production values are spectacular. Frederik Nordstrom captured the essence of a raw extreme metal recording while letting each instrument move and breathe as if having a life of its own. The "clear-meets-murky" approach was a great choice, retaining just the right amount of melodicism and accessibility while still letting the sheer intensity of the heavy moments shine through. Case in point: during the chugging one-note riff in "April Ethereal," check out how those lead guitars are playing at two separate octaves above the simple riff. The combination of the eerie leads and the crushing nature of the breakdown is exquisite, and the same goes for the complex riff patterns that cover a good chunk of "Demon of the Fall." The harmonies are bleak and depressing, a good fit for the relentless guttural vocals and the aggressive rhythm guitar assault. There's even some jazz influence in the guitar chords during its finale! Really, the only criticism I'd level at the record is that "Karma" and "Epilogue" weren't quite the best pieces to end on. "Epilogue" feels like it could have been cut in half, and "Karma"'s death metal sections get a bit overlong and bland, particularly during its ending.

It's fascinating to think we'd eventually (arguably) get an even more brilliant album with Still Life, but I like to consider My Arms, Your Hearse the album that made it possible in the first place. This was the true stepping stone, the record that brought Opeth to a new level in both their music and their acclaim as one of Sweden's most promising metal acts at the time. My Arms, Your Hearse is a masterwork steeped in brutality and despair, and it hasn't aged one bit with time.

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Once again Opeth turns to the gloomy and icy imaginary to present "My Arms, Your Hearse", their third album and the first one with a conceptual theme. Set in hostile landscapes of a mouldy and darkened nature very similar to the standards of black and death metal, it configures the ideal framework to develop a story full of anguish, anger and impotence, and where the Swedes led by Mikael Akerfeldt unload their instrumental arsenal with raging forcefulness. And although the acoustic transitions persist, they are brief and less recurrent than in their previous works.

A rainy "Prologue" with its heavy piano notes begins the ghostly story of a soul in pain who, after passing away, is not resigned to leave this world and tries to continue by the side of his beloved companion. And as the story unfolds, the raw "April Ethereal" with the explosive double bass drum of newcomer Martin Lopez, Akerfeldt's guttural vocals and the piercing guitars of the Akerfeldt/Lindgren duo, begins to outline the dark path that "My Arms, Your Hearse" would follow thereafter, underpinned by the desolate "When" and its hurtful guitar riffs that accompany the feeling of anger at the presumption of betrayal, and the volcanic energy unleashed in search of revenge in the ruthless and spiteful "The Amen Corner" and "Demon of the Fall".

And after such an instrumental and emotional barrage, the spectral character understands and accepts his fate on the resigned and anaesthetised "Credence", an unplugged mid-tempo dominated by Akerfeldt's brooding, clean singing, paving the way for the ferocity of "Karma" to set things right and for the protagonist to finally find rest. The instrumental "Epilogue" and its Pinkfloydian airs bring the story to a close with a halo of peace hovering in the air.

"My Arms, Your Hearse" is another thumbs up in the band's career and an ideal preparation for what was to come.

Very good.

3,5/4 stars

Latest members reviews

5 stars I wanted to take this chance to write about my favorite album of all time: My Arms Your Hearse by Opeth. The title derives from a lyric from an obscure psychedelic folk album from the 70's called First Utterance by Comus. In a complete terrifying abyss of a song called 'Drip Drip,' the vocalist ... (read more)

Report this review (#2695788) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Sunday, February 27, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With each album until My Arms, Your Hearse, Opeth made a giant progress taking contemporary influences and own dose of originality into the mixture of brutal death metal and clean acoustic driven music. My Arms, Your Hearse is a departure from the black metal-influenced "Morningrise" and classi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2137843) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fluid stories of an undead: 9/10 This is it, this is where it all began. From here onwards, OPETH would only mature the innovations they decided to adopt in their musical style. Vivid, lush and seamlessly fluid storytelling is the band's paramount (and most noteworthy) achievement, fueled ... (read more)

Report this review (#1803404) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Sunday, October 15, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Raw, unpolished diamond that drags you deep into the depths of anguish. Opeth's first epic record 'My Arms, Your Hearse' offers us the heaviest of all Opeth records. Gone are the overly repetitive slow riffs from 'Morningrise' - the album opens with 'Prologue' to setup the dark mood and immediat ... (read more)

Report this review (#1565850) | Posted by RuntimeError | Monday, May 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After the more doom-ish Morningrise, Opeth's third album is the full-fledged demonstration of the style that made them famous - mix of aggressive death metal parts with growling, double kicks and dissonance with slow acoustic passages sometimes linked by more melodic metallic intros and transiti ... (read more)

Report this review (#1281860) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, September 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My Arms, Your Hearse displays a great change of pace from the previous two albums that Opeth had to offer. The songs this time around have become much more concise than those of the previous two, in fact this is one of the very few Opeth albums to have no songs breach the ten minute mark, and with t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064291) | Posted by Codera the Great | Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a thrilling and magnificent concept album by Opeth! And what a great, unconventional title, lifted from a line in the legendary Comus' masterpiece "Drip drip" off "First Utterance"! Sharp contrasts between highly aggressive and more melancholic passages dominate the album. The overall atmospher ... (read more)

Report this review (#983598) | Posted by real_relator | Friday, June 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars From the hauntingly beautiful piano chords of the Prologue to the last chorus in Karma, My Arms Your Hearse is definitely Opeth's darkest endeavor. I mention Karma as being the album's closer only because the song Epilogue is the album's only weak point as it doesn't seem to flow with the broodin ... (read more)

Report this review (#761884) | Posted by sindali | Saturday, June 2, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars My Arms, Your Hearse ? 1998 (3/5) 10 ? Best Song: Epilogue Opeth are, if you haven't guessed, a very 'rainy day' band. They don't play happy music, and they don't intend to get you dancing, although some of their more energetic metal pieces could get your feet moving. In general, they want to ... (read more)

Report this review (#441748) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I know this is not a 100% prog album. At first glance it sounds like mix of black, death and doom metal. I thought it over carefully though. I really think it deserves 5 stars. Songs from My Arms Your Hearse aren't as long as these from two previous albums, but they are still much longer than ave ... (read more)

Report this review (#299406) | Posted by bartosso | Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My Arms, Your Hearse was a major turning point in Opeth's career - after the gigs supporting Morningrise half of the original recording line-up departed or were fired, and Mikael Åkerfeldt grew tired of their early sound and composition style, which resulted in a new band with a new approach. ... (read more)

Report this review (#295725) | Posted by Pekka | Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Opeth's first masterpiece, on which they perfect the metal aspect of their sound. The opening to April Ethereal is one of the most titanic moments in music as a haunting and thoroughly unexpected high vocal harmony is brutally demolished by Martin Lopez' drumming and the huge guitar riffs. Ake ... (read more)

Report this review (#267635) | Posted by Textbook | Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the album, where I find that Opeth had found that sound they were looking for. Yes, the riff were constructed better, there was more clean vocals, intresting acoustic passages and the songs were alot more rememerable. Having said that, I feel, that only with their next album, would the ... (read more)

Report this review (#262986) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Striking album with mind blowing harmonies. This album is one of the "dark" albums that bear harmonical elegance. (Even though Mikael Åkerfeldt has a progre..yeaah! kind of composition insight. That brings harmonical division between riffs and can seem less cheesy to listener. I must allow that ... (read more)

Report this review (#211886) | Posted by squadron | Monday, April 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars My Ears, My Confusion I have just about every Opeth album thanks to my brother-in-law, and, Damnation aside, they all sound the same to me. Some might be heavier than others, and production quality may differ, but I really can't grasp why this band is so heavily praised.Opeth has two sounds: d ... (read more)

Report this review (#205873) | Posted by Sgt. Smiles | Monday, March 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now, i've been listening to Opeth since they released this in 1998, and this is the cd, obviously, that turned me on to their beauty. Although this album is much heavier than the proggier albums, it still contains some of the most eclectic and downright dark riffs i've ever heard. I listen to al ... (read more)

Report this review (#181164) | Posted by Naglefar | Saturday, August 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My Arms, Your Hearse. This was the album that put Opeth over the top and differentiated them from Melodic Death Metal. To be honest with you, when I downloaded their discography, this was actually the last album of theirs I listened to. I regret it, as it has become my absolute favorite of their ... (read more)

Report this review (#174164) | Posted by Treasure | Tuesday, June 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Opeth is maturing! i love this CD and it pains me that i cannot in clear conscience give this five stars. Opeth has discovered something here, a sound or atmosphere and while it isnt fully developed or explored, they come close and in doing so take a gigantic step away from Orchid and move closer ... (read more)

Report this review (#147884) | Posted by keiser willhelm | Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Their darkest release so far..... This is my second favorite Opeth album, after "Delivirance". On My Arms, Your Hearse their sound is much more death metal than the rest of their albums. Its also a concept album, and its about the anguish of a soul that lives on after his death, but cannot fin ... (read more)

Report this review (#120896) | Posted by Kid.A | Sunday, May 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Opeth's third album is a step backwards. Outside of the phenomenal Demon of the Fall, this is essentially Morningrise with better recording and worse songs. Its recording quality is still a touch lo-fi, though it has improved greatly from the past album. Additionally, Mike's voice has not finishe ... (read more)

Report this review (#117294) | Posted by epifreak | Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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