Opeth
Blackwater Park


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
May 27th, 2012 | 2522 replies | 46,413 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A breathing canvas of overwhelming beauty, Opeth's Blackwater Park is one of the biggest landmarks in the music of the 2000's... and rightfully so.

Rarely does there come a band like Opeth. Opeth present a certain sound and atmosphere that always create a cause for conversation within the rock community, good or bad. Trademarking their style of progressive death metal, they seem to follow the formula better than most, of course creating the frightening metal/soothing prog combo that a fan or detractor can smell a mile away. In essence, they may be the ultimate definition of "love 'em or hate 'em" in the realms of metal. However, there should be no argument on their best album, 2001's Blackwater Park.

The heaps of acclaim sitting atop this recording seem overly massive, but it's only because of how true the claims are. This is truly the defining album of Opeth's career, after many high-quality albums that seemed to be building toward this grand moment. The riffs are titanic, the melodies seamless, the vocals heavenly (and scary), and the rhythm section explosive. Basically, imagine if your favorite artist was making an immense mural of the best moments in your musical life; then, somehow, he uses a form of magic to let you step inside and see for yourself.

We start with "The Leper Affinity", most likely the best piece written in Opeth's history. A dissonant chord fades in and introduces the first riff... a massive, pounding, intensely atonal chord progression that really digs into your core. Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals, while gutteral and raging, are also very cold and bone chilling. The sheets of guitar distortion offer a very vivid backdrop of the same effectively hollow atmosphere that haunts this album's duration. Riff after riff pounds the listener into submission until a very neoclassical melody kicks in, leading into the solo. The solo here is absolutely mind-bending, showing that a guitarist doesn't need to show off or wank on the instrument to get the point across. The acoustic section in the middle is also bone-chilling, but for a different reason. It's remarkable how effective such a simplistic guitar melody is when paired up with Mikael's vocals thrown in, and nothing feels contrived whatsoever. Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson leads the song out on an eerie note, with sparse piano notes played for about 2 minutes.

Even with such an amazing opener, the rest of the songs never disappoint either. "Bleak" lends its hand with a dark Middle-Eastern beginning before hellishly crawling across the eardrums in a great 3-minute mosh-fest. Steven Wilson, once again, provides vocals; this time for the chorus. The acoustic passage, once again, is stunning and well-placed as a nice respite from the musical war taking place. Meanwhile, the peaceful "Harvest" gives the listener some good ear-room with nice folk melodies. "The Drapery Falls" begins as more of a power-ballad, before morphing into heavy (but emotional) interlude where the growls return in very nice form.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how well Opeth combine multiple styles together without sounding disjointed in any way. Take the epic title track for instance; the song features many sections of repetition, but they're complimented by the extremely pleasant layers of instrumentation... it's like a monolith that takes many listens to fully open up in full. "Dirge For November" is the same way as well. It begins with an acoustic intro/passage that could've easily fit on Still Life's "Benighted", but then explodes into a fully realized metal song with the same dark guitar sound layering it. While the sound is loud, it also has a magically subtle quality about it, which is absolutely remarkable in and of itself.

The band members are no slouches at their instruments either. Mikael (the man himself!) shows incredible diversity with his vocals and guitar work, ranging from genres like metal, progressive rock, jazz, folk, classical, and more. Martin Lopez gives a suitably percussive-yet-shifty tone that compliments each swift change in the music. Peter Lindgren holds his own very well against Akerfeldt's style, and even throws in some nifty soloing of his own. Martin Mendez is stunningly underrated in this record, giving the dark, swift basslines his own personal stamp of quality as his instrument weaves in and out of the other musical action.

All I can conclude with is this: This is a record that everyone must own. Every generation and every country should adore an album like this, as one like Blackwater Park rarely makes itself known. If you like music and consider it art, this is a must.

For this album, Opeth was:

Mikael Åkerfeldt – vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar
Peter Lindgren – guitar
Martin Mendez – bass
Martin Lopez – drums
Steven Wilson (Guest): Piano, Backing/Harmony vocals



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user ratings (4501)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DeadBeat
May 27th 2012



529 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, Pos

MichaelSnoxall
May 27th 2012



12163 Comments


I don't know, there's a pretty good argument for Still Life being better than Blackwater Park.

mvlamborghini
May 27th 2012



16 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

An incredible album from a monumental band, good review

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2012



4377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sputnik was made so that we could review the albums we love. I honestly dont understand why people get upset when someone reviews an album even if it already has a bunch of reviews.

anyway, good review. have a POS. Ive literally been going back and forth from this and Heritage all day.

MeatSalad
May 27th 2012



14111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is there an album with more 5 reviews than this?

Digging: Love - Forever Changes

johnnydeking29
May 27th 2012



8970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's kinda annoying how people review the same stuff over and over again, but I love this album and it was a good review, so who cares? Pos'd
However, I wouldn't necessarily say that this is definitely the best Opeth album; I don't normally think of them as having a best album, just loads of great albums and Heritage

MeatSalad
May 27th 2012



14111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've always considered ghost reveries my favorite but yeah they have a top-tier of albums that are all pretty much on the same level of quality

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2012



4377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

just loads of great albums and Heritage

Do you not like Heritage? I dont see why everyone hates the album. I mean its much more mellow and atmospheric. And a
further deviates from their heavier sound but i found it to be really great. Or maybe i just my love for Jazz Fusion and Prog that
makes me appreciated more.

johnnydeking29
May 27th 2012



8970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't hat Heritage, but it's nowhere near as good as their other stuff. I think it's pretty inconsistent and sometimes incoherent (Famine), but there are some decent songs there

HitlerIsGod
May 27th 2012



746 Comments


"I honestly dont understand why people get upset when someone reviews an album even if it already has a bunch of reviews."

its not a huge deal but they could be writing for something that could actually use a/another review.

conesmoke
May 27th 2012



5170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

absolute beauty expressed through the medium of death metal.

TheNotrap
May 27th 2012



7962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One of the most influential albums of the 00's.

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

SaneTBP
May 27th 2012



1643 Comments


unfortunately

Steven28
May 27th 2012



85 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review

conesmoke
May 27th 2012



5170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

we entered winter once again.

BodomThrashMachine
May 27th 2012



316 Comments


Still Life is better. Pos'd though because it's well written.

VisionsFromTheDarkSide
May 27th 2012



1767 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Pos from me dude, and congrats on getting 50 reviews. This still isn't my favourite album though from opeth.

SaneTBP
May 27th 2012



1643 Comments


because it's not even nearly their best

VisionsFromTheDarkSide
May 27th 2012



1767 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Still more than a 2

SaneTBP
May 27th 2012



1643 Comments


mayhbe



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