Review Summary: Download "Would?" and forget that the rest ever existed.
A few weeks back, Opeth released news of a very “special” digital EP that would contain three rare tracks. Despite the use of the words “special” and “rare” in the news article, the actual content seemed very underwhelming. Additionally, the whole decision to call this an EP instead of a single seemed wrong. I know I’m just arguing semantics here, but why call this an EP in the first place? In my mind an EP should be new material or at least mostly new material. This, on the other hand, is basically the radio edit for Burden and two B-sides. Despite their questionable labeling decision, the main focus should still be the music but it turns out that it is lacking too.
The EP starts off with the edited version of Burden from their Watershed
album. The seven minute original version suffered from being overly long without enough going on to justify the length. This edited version fixes that problem by removing all the extraneous sections and consolidating the song down to a compact four minute offering. The problem is that fixing the length issue probably just caused more harm than good. The reason is that people who liked the original probably aren’t going to like sections being removed and the others that found the original boring are probably going to find this version boring as well. Unfortunately, things don’t get any more interesting on the following track, “Mellotron Heart”.
“Mellotron Heart” is a reinterpretation of the song “Porcelain Heart” through the use of a mellotron, subtle percussion, and clean singing. “Porcelain Heart” was a tolerable song on Watershed
, but to strip it down to almost nothing isn’t creative or special, it’s just boring. Quite simply, they managed to take a song that didn’t have a lot of life to begin with and completely remove the rest of it. The only real reason to be interested in this EP is because of the cover of Alice in Chain
’s song “Would?”. If you’ve heard the original then you’ll recognize it instantly here. Opeth’s cover is a fairly faithful recreation that doesn’t ruin it by attempting to add growls or a heaviness that the original didn’t have. It’s definitely not a “must-have” song, but it was certainly cool to hear Opeth’s version of it after all the hype on the net.
If there is one thing I can thank the band for it was their decision to release this digitally, thus allowing people to only download what they want. Opeth’s cover of “Would?” is certainly worth the 99 cents that it costs (or whatever comparable amount it is everywhere else), but it wouldn’t be worth the $2.97 it would cost if you had to buy the whole thing. With that in mind, I would definitely recommend that fans of the band log into iTunes or Amazon and download “Would?” as soon as they can, but don’t be tempted by the other two tracks or you’ll be sorry.