Review Summary: Amazing.
Every Opeth album could essentially be summed up as a seemingly random collection of emotions expressed through some of the most bizarre and yet fantastic musical accomplishments out there. This is a band that, since the beginning of their career with Orchid, has sought to break boundaries previously untouched within the realms of music, combining extreme metal with progressive music to create some of the best experiences in the music world. Where they hit their peak is often debated among fans and music critics alike, with the three albums most often being listed as their best being My Arms Your Hearse, Still Life and Blackwater Park. No matter which of these three is your personal favorite, it is hard to deny the musical majesty of any of them.
Blackwater Park is an album that holds strong significance to me as a person. Prior to hearing this beautiful work of art, I was lost in a sea of hard rock music such as Thin Lizzy and without the guidance of this release, I would perhaps never have found the wonders of extreme metal nor of progressive rock. I feel as though I am not the only person this album spoke to either. Before the release of this album, Opeth were a band that were yet to release "that release" - the release that would shoot them onto the musical radar of many people. This is among their most successful releases and was the album that got so many people into Opeth, and with good reason. It is not a particularly short release, but in its running time this album takes you on an adventure unlike any other.
It kicks things off with the brutal and gorgeous The Leper Affinity, a staple song in "best of Opeth" lists for a good reason. As one of the longest tracks on Blackwater Park, this number could easily have descended into being a mindless snooze-fest of constantly adjusting time signatures and morphing instrumental work as many Dream Theater songs have done so, but it does not. This track is never devoid of excitement, from the incredible clean vocals of Mikael Akerfeldt that populate some sections to the brutal moments like the introduction (after a thirty second fade-in). Opeth are a band that has a habit of making long songs work, as they prove once again with Bleak and the title track. Bleak opens and closes with some of the most brutal and intricate riffing on this album, setting the bar high for guitar work in progressive metal. However, the middle section of this song is a gorgeous bluesy part. The title track is the exact same, structure-wise, except with no clean singing.
Blackwater Park is a fantastic release that I recommend to everyone for the simple fact it is so different throughout. Harvest and Dirge For November are two great mood-inducing tracks whereas the title track in particularly shows off a brutal side of this bands music. check this.