Opeth
My Arms, Your Hearse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Justus USER (32 Reviews)
May 30th, 2007 | 3641 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse

INTRODUCTION TO MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE

Opeths’ third album was different from Orchid and Morningrise in three obvious ways; songs were a bit shorter; Morningrise had extravagant songs like Black Rose Immortal, a whopping 20 minutes, while the longest song on MAYH is a little under 10 minutes. This was their first concept album (I’ll get to that soon), and this album is heavier and darker than anything they’ve done before, using Drop D on most songs and a heavier, thicker atmosphere on which the insturments and production both contributed. Now, for the concept...

So the story begins when the character, who is now a ghost, is at his own funeral, watching his lover (Prologue), chossing to stay behind rather than go 'beyond'. At the second song, April Ethereal, he confronts his lover for the first time, but as she only sees white mist for a second rather than seeing him as himself, ("Embodied in faint vapour"), he decides to wait in a forest and endure, waiting for another oppurtunity and dwelling on his backfired plan ("I will endure, hide away, I would outrun the scythe, glaring with failure") . On When, the ghost tries again, but only to see his lover with another man, and happier too ("And I cried, I knew she had lied"). So the haunter leaves, with a feeling of utmost despair and fear. Madrigal rolls around, and we find the character self loathing, wishing how he could have her back, as he thought they were both in love...and thats when the plan is concieved; I must force her to love me. Thus Demon of the Fall begins, a second, more real, scary confrontation of his lover, more violently too. However, not only does this confrontation turn disastrous, he turned his lover against him (You keep the dagger close at hand, and you saw nothing, false love turned to pure hate). She does see him, however, (She turned around and faced me for the first time) but is so overwhelmed with what he had done she flees (Run away, run away).

And so he lurks in his widows house (in Credence), but she uses hurtful sayings (You speak to me through the shadows, walking in closed rooms, using cold words) and he knows that she doesn't love him anymore, because he confesses why he is here, and she spits in his face (I confess my hope, recognize my loneliness, your laughter weeps the truth). The character blames his utter defeat on karma, on his past deeds he used to find unimportant, but now realizes their effect on him. Karma tells us all that and more, the ghost realizes he has nothing to gain or lose by staing here, his love won't love him anymore, thus he yeilds back to the forest described in April Ethereal. Epilogue is on this record to emphasize that, as he discover while he cannot be loved, he will never fade from her memory, and says his goodbye at sunrise...

If that sounds like a deep, sad, heavy story, that’s exactly what the music is like, as Mikael says on the official website that the music was revolving on the lyrics. And now for…

THE LINE UP-
Mikael Åkerfeldt-Vocals, Lead/Rhythm/*Bass Guitars
Peter Lindgren- Lead/Rhythm Guitars
Martin Lopez- Drums
Martin Mandez- **Bass
*-Only for this album
**-1998- Today

The album begins with a short prologue, aptly titled Prologue. We hear water falling of some sort, a soothing and calm sound. It gains volume, and suddenly, hard hit high-register piano notes, and the album takes a mood swing"and only 31 seconds in! Ominous and loss of hope are the things that come into my mind when I listen to the first track. Then the piano takes a seat, and some operatic-esque choir notes come in…then…distortion, fast double kick, then Death growls! If I had to pick a track to summarize MAYH, it would be the second track, April Ethereal. The riff here isn’t necessarily fast, more Doom-like, but the fast kick drum makes up for that. Mikaels’ growls are much more profound, deeeeep they are, clear, and no ‘gurgling’ like that on Morningrise...

The Goods-

That and much, much more is on MAYH, almost a completely different band it seems from Morningrise. The longest song on here is about 9 minutes long, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any loss of Prog-Metal on this album, oh no! Acoustic passages are inspirational and original (When, April Ethereal), simply bliss. Riffs are varied, spanning from slow, creepy parts (The Amen Corner) to fast, furious riffs, like those found on Karma. Most are low riffs, down tuned, not as trebly as those on Morningrise, but still as amazing and catchy as they ever were. There’s also solos, which show two sides-shredwise (The Amen Corner) and a calmer, more subdued but perfectly done solos (Epilogue). Opeth will just keeping you coming back, back, and back again, all for those guitars!

Ahh, Mikaels vocals. How legendary they are, with such mellow, uplifting singing, along with such scary, crushing growls. His clean singing is a talent you’ll find nowhere else; it varies in style just as much as it does with volume, strength, and emotion. Now for those so called ‘Cookie Monster’ growls. I’ll be the first to say that Mikael is not as nearly as annoying as Cookie Monster, his vocals are a beast to be reckoned with. He pushes every line he spits out with confidence, for he knows what he can do, what his abilities are now, and with that comes control, and control is good. He mostly uses a low-profile tone, rarely does he ever shriek, which I think is a pro.

The drums are excellent. Varied use of rhythmic patterns, and from heavy to subdeued in an instant is something that always gets me. Martin knows what he’s doing, and he’s in control for the beats. He can pound away at the double kick and yet be able to produce soft overtones in nearly every song. But…is that it? Of course not! Technicality is Martins game, he makes use of every piece on his drumset, and makes different and difficult patterns and fills with seemingly no effort. Martin is definitely talented; it shows on every record he’s ever done with Opeth.

The Bads-

So what could possibly be bad, you rated it a 4 and yet praised it with all your might! Well, the production is somewhat muddy with the guitars. Allow me to elaborate; notes/chords seem all mixed up, and especially when electric meets acoustic on songs like When, it’s hard to make out. Also, the shortening of the songs leads to shortening of acoustic passages and stand-alone acoustic time. This could either be good or bad, depending on how much you love Opeths’ acoustic, but don’t expect to find a Ghost of Perdition type of passage here, there is just not enough time on this record. However, Credence is a breather, as it's an all clean-song. Mikael does stretch his voice now and then, and that’s an irk, even if he doesn’t mean too. There’s no Mandez on this album, thus theres realy no awesome bass from Mikael. Finally, there are 9 songs on here, three of which are instrumentals, and I don’t think that was really necessary.

Pros-

+ Mikaels voice improved a lot from Morningrise
+ First concept album by Opeth, and it’s great
+ Lyrics
+ Nice variety of riffs, soft/heavy, and unexpectedness

Cons-

- Shortened songs, not enough time for things that could’ve been put in
- Somewhat muddy production
- Three out of nine songs are instrumentals, not totally necessary

CONCLUSION

Overall, if you need a break from any Opeth album with 10+ min. songs, this is the right album for you. If you are any type of fan from Opeth, you must have this. While nowhere near Blackwater Park or Still Life, it provides a darker, different side of Opeth not really seen on any other Opeth record. In short, amidst all the classics this band has put out, this sticks out with the shorter songs and ominous feel.



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user ratings (2199)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Altmer
May 30th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My least favourite Opeth record with my favourite Opeth song.

Ok review.

Meelk
May 30th 2007


126 Comments


good review

Epilogue
May 30th 2007


1601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, I thought I could do this cause nobody defended a 4 rating...I like the pos

rattlehead42147
May 30th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

what's with all the opeth reviews lately?
nice job btw

NOTINTHEFACE
May 30th 2007


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. You have my vote. Short, sweet, and poignant.

This is my third Opeth album after BWP and Still Life. Out of the three, I can't decide which one I like best since each one fits a different mood... this band might not be as godlike as some say they are, yet they are incredibly, incredibly amazing. After I get a new album from them, I find myself totally turned off to almost everything else I normally listen to for about 2 weeks.. it just has that effect on you.

But anyways, enough with the Opeth love letter. I agree about the "muddy" production, but although I am a fan of Opeth acoustic passages, I found the sections in here to be of perfect placement and length, unlike Still Life where it felt like sometimes they were adding one just to say they had one. Examples are "Madrigal" and the end of "Credence", which are both breathtakingly beautiful but wouldn't be had acoustic been overused in the sections preceding them.

Epilogue
May 30th 2007


1601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't decide which one I like best since each one fits a different mood

AgreedThis Message Edited On 08.20.08

Eakflanderyof
May 31st 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. I've really been wanting to get this album. I love the mood in April Ethereal. Demon of the Fall is excellent too. I haven't heard the others.

muchtallerthanu
May 31st 2007


648 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

When is such an awesome song. The drums at the start were insane, but I managed to play it on my drumset

Confessed2005
May 31st 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I saw When live and it was awesome.

This album grew on me so much - definitely one of their finest pieces of work.

Wizard
May 31st 2007


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I saw them play The Amen Corner off this album! Awesome song. Good review by the way. It was organized and well thought out.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Epilogue
June 1st 2007


1601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've only seen them once, at Gigantour . Petty badass though, I loved 'The Grand Conjuration'...awsome...This Message Edited On 08.20.08

Epilogue
June 13th 2007


1601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I underrated this album just a teeny bit. Im making some changes to the review

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2008


16485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DEMON OF THE FALL

rasputin
October 24th 2008


14555 Comments


good one man

Epilogue
October 24th 2008


1601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh god not this review plz

BallsToTheWall
October 24th 2008


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Never heard it, or this album. Sue me.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2008


16485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Demon Of The Fall is tied with The Drapery Falls for Opeth's best song. However, it's easily the single best song title ever. Amazing.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2008


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

more like it is tied with the funeral portrait!

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2008


16485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're both awesome, but imo Drapery Falls is better.

Epilogue
October 24th 2008


1601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ugh why whyyyy



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