Opeth - Still Life

Posted By: Sega

Opeth - Still Life

A good review (excerpt from Ama_zon):
Reviewer: Lord Chimp (Monkey World)

The fact that I usually hate death metal vocals but love Opeth is a testament to their brilliance, I think. I am so impressed by this band's unparalleled sophistication, their originality, and the sheer beauty of their music. Most people wouldn't call them progressive metal, reserving such a distinction for a band like Dream Theater or Symphony X. However, Opeth is progressive in every meaning of the word. They are earnestly pushing the boundaries of style with each of their releases. They are entirely unique, blending myriad styles into their complex web of incandescent, ingenious compositions. There's many so-called progressive metal artists (who shall not be named) who seem to say, "Let's throw in random changes and styles to be esoteric and weird." Opeth's approach, however, seems more discriminating, meshing everything together so naturally and seamlessly without any adverse effect to the music's evocative flow.
More than any previous Opeth record, Still Life attains a greater balance between the vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt's aggressive, bowel-wrenching growls and his chilling clean vocals. There is also a wealth of vocal harmonies during these clean sections, supplementing the melody and the vibe. The songs "Benighted" and "Face of Melinda" are delivered entirely with the clean vocals, and they are paralyzing in their beauty. The growling vocals seem more vicious, powerful, and even emotional. Akerfeldt also enunciates extremely well when growling.

Just as the variance exists in the vocals, this is one of Opeth's most musically diverse records. The reams of acoustic sections seem more informed by a folk influence than before. The heavier riffing is less brutal than on My Arms, Your Hearse, and tends to be more melodic. I think I heard a bit of a Rush (!) influence on "Moonlapse Vertigo." The average song length is about nine minutes, and involves many unpredictable changes between the heavy sections and the acoustic passages. "Benighted" is the "simplest" song on the album, relying on the acoustic guitar throughout (though the solo is on electric), but it's absolutely exquisite. The opening track, "The Moor," is 11 minutes of such striking dynamics it scares me. It begins with a lengthy introduction of haunting guitar creating a haunting atmosphere. Then, after a brief-but-stunning acoustic section, the vengeful heaviness crashes through the ambiance. "Serenity Painted Death," with its tuneful riffing, creates a groove so infectious it could hook almost anybody. "Face of Melinda" is one of the band's finest songwriting moments, being largely acoustic but building to a crippling electric finale. The sheer punctilious fullness of Still Life is almost intimidating, but it ensures long-term appeal. I was blown away on the first spin, but it takes indefinite listens to grasp its magnitude.

Like My Arms, Your Hearse, Still Life is a concept album with a somewhat nebulous story. Akerfeldt is telling the tale of an exiled man, who returns to his home after fifteen years to find the woman he loved. It's a powerful, but tragic, love story. I'm pretty sure I get the gist of it, but I must confess that the poetry is extremely complex and not always easy to understand. This challenge, however, highlights the intelligence of Akerfeldt's lyrics. Very rarely does a Swedish band offer such brilliant poetry in English. There is some brilliant imagery and diction here, especially on the harrowing opener "The Moor" and the gruesome "Serenity Painted Death." "Benighted" has pleasant -- almost romantic -- lyrics.

The word "masterpiece" is tossed around rather carelessly, it seems. It is a title that should be reserved for albums such as this. For 62 minutes and 7 songs, your world belongs to Opeth.

Opeth - Still Life
RAR Split Archive + 2% Recovery
D/L Size: 138MB
ID Tagged, LAME 3.97 MP3 320kbps

Password: AvaxHome[09-01-2006]

Rapidshare Links:

Non-metal fans should enjoy this one! :)