Opeth breathes new life in heavy metal. They have since the day they started out as a band. Their first couple of albums were good, but Still Life changed things for Opeth. They weren't just a good band, they were a revolutionary group of musicians that were thinking outside of the box and conjuring some of the greatest metal of the past decade or so. Still Life, the band's fourth outing, is an example of this.
The album is a dark and mysterious ride that leaves you wanting more once the final second ends. One of the key aspects of Opeth are the vocals. Mikeal's vocals aren't just generic death metal vocals like that of Cannibal Corpse and the like. They are refreshing and excellent. When he does death metal vocals, he shines. It isn't just mindless growling. And even when the man does clean vocals, he shines. It's not like Trivium's clean vocals. And the musicianship is absolutely top notch. The guitar work is not like that of an average metal band. It is beautiful and melodic. The drumming and bass are superb as well, and they flow with the guitars perfectly. Mastodon's Blood Mountain has great musicianship, yet it goes all over the place. Still Life's musicianship flows very well.
The overall mood of the album is dark and gloomy. Every song has a highlight, and every song is an excellent track with unique and impressive moments that are immensely enjoyable. To single out just one track would be unfair to the others, because every single one of them is a breath of fresh and unexplored air for heavy metal. If I have to pick a few highlights, I would say The Moor and Godhead's Lament are my too favorites, because they are just big and epic masterpieces. However, like said before, every track is top notch.
The songwriting is also unique. Still Life is a concept album with a deep and elaborate story, dealing with love and death and many other subjects. It is about a man who is booted from his village for being openly atheist. He comes back to his village to see the love of his life, but she is married. I won't spoil it all for you, because the story is great enough to be made into a film.
This is my favorite Opeth album, with Blackwater Park being second. A classic of metal, and possibly the best metal album released in the past ten years. I highly suggest buying it, especially if you have never experienced the brilliance of Opeth before. These are their finest moments.