Opeth – Blackwater Park

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Reviewed: March 2001
Released: 2001, Koch Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Opeth are a band that I’ve been hearing A LOT about this year. Everywhere I turn it’s Opeth this or Opeth that!! So what’s with all the hype? The answer is simple – BLACKWATER PARK.

This is the type of album that is genre defying! Opeth’s music smoothly flows from brutal to a melodic black metal feel then to beautiful acoustic parts to ballsy groove to atmospheric dreamy parts…etc. Pick just about any adjective to describe this band and you will find a section on here that will fit it. You could make two CD’s out of this album – one full of the beautiful/melodic moments and songs and the other with the brutal parts. The vocals also follow suit from the death grunts to clean melodic singing. Once you think you have a song figured out as being something it surprises you and glides into something else entirely. The other thing about the songs on here is their length. Many songs clock in at over 10 minutes. Attesting to their song writing ability is the fact that despite the length, the songs never drag on or become repetitive! This is quite a feat to accomplish considering the length. BLACKWATER PARK begins with “The Leper Affinity” which is one of the album’s songs that mix the melodic music with death metal vocals. This is followed by “Bleak” which is much heavier on the clean vocals. Up next is the surprise track, “Harvest.” It’s acoustic and clean vocals all the way through – amazing and it still manages to sound dark and even METAL. Another standout track is “The Funeral Portrait” which is 100% grove laden rocking death metal …again impossible to pigeonhole!

Bandleader and primary writer, Mikael Akerfeldt, has managed to create and album that encompasses 70’s-like prog elements with a melodic death/black metal feel. This is not an easy task to do and have the music still sound like “songs” and not a jumble of riffs. For these reasons this is the type of CD that I could listen to every day for a month and then only begin to appreciate. After a couple of months of steady listening I’m sure I could digest this better then I have at this point. That said, this is a great CD, one that is not something that will be digested and spit out a month later but will be getting many more spins in my player.


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