Review Summary: Opeth's Blackwater Park is more than just 8 songs on a compact disc, its the true definition of what a masterpiece is.
When I had first found out about Opeth about 3 years ago, I had heard nothing about the band. After looking up some information about them, I decided to go out and buy an album of theirs. Blackwater Park was the one I chose, mostly due to the incredible reviews and praise it recieved. My first listen to the whole album made me wonder exactly what made the album what it was up to be. Weeks later and a heap of more listens lead me to realize the incredible talent and musicianship that is present throughout the album. To this day, even now having listened to every Opeth album a good amount of times, I still consider this their best album to date and I'm sure many people will agree with me. Reviewing all 8 tracks would be to long because they all have their own amazing way of opening emotions up to the listener. So instead of reviewing all 8 thoroughly, I thought of just reviewing the opening track in its entirety and giving a short description of each remaining track. Well, on to the review.
Silence lingers for the first couple of seconds which evolves into an evil discording melody furthermore turning into an all out evil array of pounding guitar chords, bass and drums all being controlled by Akerfeldt's bone chilling screams and growls. This just about describes the first two and a half minutes of Blackwater Park's first track The Leper Affinity. A catchy guitar hook is followed that leads into a breathtaking solo, one of Opeth's best yet for sure. Another catchy guitar riff follows accompanied by Lopez's outstanding drumming. About halfway into the song, it starts to soften a bit into a more melodic atmospheric tone. Acoustic guitars fill your speakers with Akerfeldt's calming and soothing clean voice, but only for so long. Distorted guitars once again build up into another passage of Akerfeldts shrieks and growls. After an impressive shriek by Akerfeldt, the band once again never fails to let up on the madness. Drums and guitars fill the air once again which eventually leads to a soft yet haunting piano melody, thus ending the track.
All of these pulse pounding and moody moments are present on just the opening track.
Bleak seems to be more of an experimental kind of song. A groove is present throughout most of the track which is ridden with incredible work from each instrument and well done clean vocals and growls (as always). If you're looking for a track that easy to listen to, then this is the one for you.
Onward to Harvest, a fan favorite and its easy to see why. A softer turn for the better. Acoustic guitars give off a sense of ambience and relief as drums soften and the bass becomes more of a devastating force. Once again, Mikaels voice shines as the whole band gives you a track that lets you know that they can work magic in many different ways.
The Drapery Falls, this track seemed to get the most mainstream attention. This song is pretty much an eleven minute festival of many elements of Opeth's style. Words can not really describe this track. A must listen
Dirge For November gets right into portraying a vivid and lively image in your head, thanks to Akerfeldts' brillant lyrics. This song for the most part, has nothing new. Its still an outstanding track. But to me, it seems as if theres nothing in particular to point out.
An lone eerie acoustic guitar riff sets the tone for the next track, The Funeral Portrait. Before you know it, distorted guitars hit you with full force until each instrument makes it way into the track and stays there leaving you only wanting to listen to more. The track continues to unfold until something amazing strikes you. Mikael peforms a spectacular vocal performance towards the end of the song. Right after followed by a guitar solo which than leaves you eventually leaves you listening to a fading guitar riff.
Patterns In The Ivy. It not pack the lengthy punch its fellow tracks have seemed to have and it drops the drums and bass but it makes up for it with its unbelievable guitar hooks and piano melody which seems to be the driving force in this song. An amazing track throughout.
The last track of the album, Blackwater Park is only as epic as the listener makes it out to be. Now, in my case, its pretty damn epic. Opeth once again uses its ability to manipulate your emotions by pounding away evil chords and drum beats. A couple of minutes into the song and your left with various background noises and a lone clean guitar melody which is eventually succeeded by an acoustic loop. Terrifying shrieks and vocals come into play once again as an almost Mid-Eastern style guitar solo comes into form. More of Akerfeldt's signature growls and shrieks lead to another acoustic interlude. As the track ends, so does the album.
An album this brilliant needs to be listened to many times to get the full use out of it. Opeth has seemed to create a masterpiece here and should be listened. Since its very hard to classify Opeth's genre, I'd say anyfan of progressive should give this a shot. While surpassing almost every element of rock that is displayed, Opeth proves to be not only one of the most innovative bands of all time but also one of the most talented.