Review Summary: Blackwater park was the first opeth album I ever got and I will never grow tired of listening to it. If you have been hestitent about buying this you shouldnt fear. For some this album is an aquired taste but when that taste has aquired its more delicou
Metal is like Alcohol. Some of it is very good, and some is very bad. Then we have some alcohol that is just an acquired taste. Although some metal may be to strong for certain individuals we sometimes are faced with something strong and yet having the technicality and melody to please. Opeth is such a band where they have the talent to be heavy and melodic all at the same time. Over time I came to love Opeth’s music more and more. My first taste of Opeth was several years ago when my cousin had first introduced me to what he considered the greatest metal band ever. At this point and time I found the growling to be a little too much for my taste and I left them out of my musical agenda for quite some time. Then over the years I gave them more of a chance and bought my first Opeth album Blackwater Park
For me Blackwater Park
was a whole new musical evolution. I had gone from strongly disliking the unclean vocals in music to starting to give more than just Opeth a chance. I started trying even more metal bands like Into Eternity. When I first listened to Blackwater Park
it was amazing. The riffs these guys were playing were so unique and captivating. Even Mikael’s signature growling started growing on me. The fact of the matter was the music I was listening to was beautiful, which is something I would never think I could ever use to describe any kind of death metal.
One of the things that prompted me to buy this was the addition of Porcupine Trees Steven Wilson. Long Before I listened to Opeth I loved Porcupine Tree and was told the two bands had some similarities. Steven Wilson without a doubt plays an excellent part in the entire album. The types of guitar lines Opeth uses throughout Blackwater Park
range from brutal to jazzy. In the opening track “The leper affinity” we have a good combination of some hard riffs to a jazzy feel in the mid sections of the song. Spread out through this album are innovative ways of constructing and formatting each and every track.
Something that always stood out to me about Opeth was the way they incorporated soft moments into seemingly heavy songs. In tracks like “Blackwater Park”, “The funeral portrait” and “The leper affinity” soft sections even out the hard parts in the middle and sometimes their placed at the end to provide the perfect song structure. Most of these songs start out softer and then build up to the metal moments. In the song “Dirge for November” we have nearly 2 minutes of beautiful guitar until we hit the more metal sections. “Harvest” is a good example of how Opeth can stay harmonious and beautiful using acoustic guitars and clean vocals throughout the entire song.
A problem that can often occur with metal is the music is repetitive. In the cases of many metal bands the songs can all sound the same showing no singularity in themselves. Opeth shows absolutely no trouble making each and every one of their tracks unique in their own little way. For example “Harvest” gives you the image of an October day spent walking through the forest. While in other songs like “The leper affinity” you get the feeling of loneliness and fear. Another characteristic about Opeth’s writing I rather like is the haunting affect of their songs. Just about every track although beautiful has an eerie feeling that made it stand out even more.
Another issue that we often find in modern metal is the unoriginality of the vocals. Many bands just follow a vocal trend and don’t stand try and stand out. Mikael Akerfeldt’s growls have a unique sort of demonic sentiment to them. Coupled with his unique growls Mikael’s clean vocals are clear and beautiful. “Harvest” is an excellent illustration of Mikael’s voice and how amazing it can really be. Like I mentioned Earlier Porcupine Trees Steven Wilson participated in the creation of Blackwater Park
. In addition to help write the album Steven also sang backup and played piano. Steven Wilson provides some great backups in songs such as “The funeral Portrait” and plays piano in tracks like “The leper affinity” and “Patterns in Ivy” exhibiting the fact that he is a great addition to Opeth’s lineup.
Providing the perfect beat is always an important task in metal. Opeth’s drummer Martin Lopez has a wide variety of drumming styles he demonstrates in Blackwater Park
. An excellent example of Martins drumming is shows in the opening track “The leper affinity”. In this track Martin uses a large quantity of double bass to provide a good adrenaline pumping feel. Throughout the rest of the album drumming never disappoints and keeps the beat very well. Bass is another shining point for Opeth. On bass we have Martin Mendez who uses a variety of bass lines from jazzy fast bass to metal style bass. One track that has outstanding bass is “Bleak” due to a short bass interlude and the constant impressive bass lines.
Soloing delivered by guitarists Peter Lindgren and Mikael Akerfeldt are quite breathtaking. Every full length song on Blackwater Park
has a good lengthy solo. Many songs like “Blackwater park”, “Bleak” and “The leper affinity” have quite a few solos incorporated throughout the entire song. Opeth’s solos are special because instead of just taking the normal beat of the song and making it a solo, a majority of the songs solos individualize themselves by being completely unique in sound. Aside from the soloing guitar work stands out all over this album. Some songs have a great main riff like “The funeral portrait” and “The Leper Affinity”. In addition to the great electric guitars there is a good deal of acoustic work in songs like “Harvest” and “Dirge for November”. The bottom line is Opeth has extraordinary musicianship delivered from every member.
I hear people use words like “Boring” and “Repetitive” to describe Opeth’s music. My only question to those people is why do you think that? Do you find Fantastic vocals, top notch musicianship, one of a kind song writing and originality boring? Blackwater park
completely changed the way I look at music today and is anything but boring and repetitive. This album will make you want to listen to it over and over again. For me Blackwater park is hard alcohol and soda. You take something brutal like hard alcohol and you mix it with something wonderful like soda to make the perfect beverage.