|Review: Opeth - Blackwater Park|
Label: Music For Nations
Year released: 2001
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: April 21, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.7/5 (74.1%) (61 Votes)
I'm a newcomer to Opeth. About two or three months ago I had never heard the band (but of course I had heard OF them.) Well after resisting for a while I decided to give it a try, and Blackwater Park is my first Opeth album. Opeth is one of those band that's pretty much unclassifiable. Reading interviews, I can see that their roots are in Death Metal, but when I listen to this, I hear a lot of other "sounds" that sometimes border between rock and metal, with some classical thrown in and there. There's a mix of Death and clean vocals in this as well. Add to this the fact that the songs are in the 6-12 minutes range (except for a small instrumental interlude), with the opening song clocking over 10 minutes, quite unusual. I won't go as far as calling this "Opeth Metal", but this band's sound sure is unique and I don't think anyone will really want to attempt to put them in a specific category. Let's just say they're Opeth and leave it at that.
While Opeth's root may be in Death Metal, Blackwater Park is in no way a "brutal" album - at least not to my ears! I find it pretty relaxing actually (sometimes a little TOO relaxing - hehe.) The opener "The Leper Affinity" for example is quite "rocking" but also includes some "calm" interludes and ends with some piano playing. This variety keeps the interest of the listener for the duration of an admittedly long song. What's surprising is that they manage to keep this up for the whole duration of the album. Variety is the key word here, for I don't care too much about how awesome or technical a musician plays his instrument, to me the end result is what is important (some of those "technical bands" are a fucking bore.) Opeth are not only accomplished musicians, but they also know how to write interesting songs that you can just get lost into. Anyway, I think enough has been said about Opeth's musicianship and I don't feel the need to add more or repeat what others have already said on that topic.
Having since bought all other Opeth releases, my only complaint about Blackwater Park is that it is sometimes too mellow. Some will see that as a plus, your call really! Opeth is something you have to experience, what's the point of trying to explain it more? I can only warn that some people may not be able to get into this music at all. Find out for yourself, go buy it already...
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