Opeth
Still Life


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
July 23rd, 2006 | 3250 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


Immediately, Opeth looks like a different metal band. The name of this album, Still Life, shows a side of Opeth that most metal bands do not have. Most other bands may have titled this album "Still Death." Life and the beauty of it clashes with the gritty, death obsession that comes with the genre of metal. Examples are abundant, including Metallica's Kill 'Em All, Children of Bodom's Are You Dead Yet, and Dimmu Borgir's Death Cult Armageddon. While the album storyline results in death, most of the album revolves around love, another representation of Opeth's almost Bohemian ideals.

Still Life is Opeth's 4th studio release and the first since the debut to represent a full band rather than a few permanent members playing with studio musicians. The album showcases more complex riffs and more originality due to the fact that the band is made of entirely permanent members. Another aspect of Opeth shows they are not just another metal band as well. Many of Opeth's songs enter incredibly melodic acoustic passages and give the listener a break from the huge metal riffs that pound eardrums worldwide. Singer Mikael Akerfeldt screams intense, powerful metal growls and still shows his ability to sing clean, beautiful vocals when needed. Martin Lopez never falls into the metal stereotype of relying on double bass. While he does kick the double bass sixteenth in the climatic moments, he knows how to make a great metal drum feel without it. However, he and Martin Mendez serve as background and an undercurrent for the guitar riffing, which is nearly always the instrumental theme.

As far as the death metal section of the Opeth formula goes, the riffing is original, powerful, and tight. Often, the bass will follow the guitar riff if it isn't a chordal riff. Peter Lindgren's lead parts harmonize and create an extremely evil and dissonant aura about them. However, the harmonization isn't overdone like a band such as Avenged Sevenfold. The harmonizations are mixed much better and often sit on top of the guitar riff, not heard unless the listener tries to find them. Typically, Opeth allows the riff to be heard by itself for a few repetitions with the lead guitar soloing before Akerfeldt enters with his powerful metal growling. When it is time for a full out guitar solo, whoever is soloing lets all hell break loose. He covers the entire fretboard and plays tastefully. Unlike so many metal guitarists,both guitars know how to make an enjoyable solo rather than playing as many notes as possible within 3 seconds. They usually extend the color tones (3rd, 7th, 9th, etc) of the chords and create jazzy melodies, or as close to a jazzy melody that a death metal band can get.

The melodic acoustic side of Opeth is in some ways better than their metal sound. The guitar patterns, again, are the instrumental theme, but the bass often creates a hidden countermelody with the guitar. Martin Mendez makes a much better bassist in this style than the metal, holding his own melodies and never succumbing to the guitar lines. Akerfeldt sings beautifully, and if Opeth produced an album entirely made of these dark, brooding acoustic passages, he would never be expected to be able to scream, let alone scream well. His tone is dark, warm, and round, like the perfect euphonium or tuba sound. The chord progressions are often dissonant and dark. The passages are reminiscent of riding horseback in a dark, quiet night. Lindgren or Akerfeldt play very bluesy solos, often on a clean electric guitar. Both men's solos, both in the metal and acoustic sections have influenced my bass soloing as a jazz musician although Opeth is a metal band.

Putting these two formulas together creates a full, epic album that sets the stage for their follow up and breakthrough album Blackwater Park. Songs reach past 10 minutes, trading off between these two feels, each song with a new energy and aura about them. Song formats never follow anything typical, and listening for the first time is often mind-blowing because of the unexpected climaxes, transitions, and virtuosity in every second of the album. Unlike other Opeth albums, the acoustic passages make a much larger appearance on the album, being mostly the entire song in Benighted and Face of Melinda. However, huge metal epics like The Moor and Godhead's Lament are still here. This album put Opeth in the direction of becoming one of the greatest metal bands in the 21st century thus far, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Recommended Tracks:
The Moor
Godhead's Lament
Benighted
White Cluster



Recent reviews by this author
Das Racist RelaxLil Wayne Tha Carter IV
The Weeknd ThursdayJay-Z and Kanye West Watch the Throne
Shabazz Palaces Black UpFleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
user ratings (3117)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Justin Swope (4.5)
    Still Life is a detailed and powerful juxtaposition of the light and the darkness....

    J2e2c (5)
    There is not much to say in the summary other than: this is a genius prog-metal masterpiec...

    ugh pop punk i'm not hong (5)
    One of the masterpieces of Opeth, rising to be one of their classics with its smoothness a...

    TheAnalyzer (5)
    NEEDS MOAR OPETH...

  • SadlyMisinformed (3)
    Unmemorable and frustrating at times, which is dissapointing considering the frightening a...

    Sean (5)
    Truly Opeth's most defining album. Still Life is an absolute masterpiece, which, in my opi...

    Jorn van Schaïk (5)
    If aliens landed on earth and asked us to show the best record for every genre, this is a ...

    Kalle J. (5)
    Still Life for now may be just another album due for file sharing, but it will have an imp...

  • Andrew Barr (MM8) (4.5)
    Next time you come to a fork in the road and you're not sure whre to go, think of this alb...

    yellowmomma (5)
    ...

    Hatshepsut (5)
    ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cygnus Inter Anates
July 23rd 2006


721 Comments


Opeth win.

Shadows
Moderator
July 23rd 2006


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was just about to write this.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. Benighted is one of the most beautiful songs I\'ve ever heard.This Message Edited On 07.23.06

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still Life isn't a song, Chan. I think you meant album.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Whoops, I meant Benighted.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well in that case, agreed.

spoon_of_grimbo
July 23rd 2006


2241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i always thought this played second fiddle to blackwater park, but having listened to it the other day, i think the two are about equal in quality, that quality being "ABSO-FECKIN-LUTELY EXCELLENT!!!!"

ditto for the review, good work man!

DeafForever
July 23rd 2006


50 Comments


I've only heard one 'Opeth' song, and I couldn't get intp it. I don't even remember the song, it just randomly played on launch.com. So I've always put them off. Good review however.This Message Edited On 07.23.06

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 23rd 2006


721 Comments


Do yourself a favor and get Blackwater Park.

DeafForever
July 23rd 2006


50 Comments


Do yourself a favor and get Blackwater Park

If I had the money I would. I've got a list of albums I need to buy, and I'm short on money. I can't DL stuff either. But I'll see if I can find it around and preview it or something.

Neoteric
July 23rd 2006


3243 Comments


I was just about to write this.
Please do :D

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 23rd 2006


721 Comments


Go to their MySpace.This Message Edited On 07.23.06

Neoteric
July 23rd 2006


3243 Comments


MX disabled disguising links.

EDIT: Ha, you quickly edited that!This Message Edited On 07.23.06

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Blackwater Park is definitely the starting point for those looking to explore Opeth.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

While I do agree that BWP is where to start, I think this is a stronger album. It's my favourite Opeth album, in fact, though only by a hair.

Elmo McCheese
July 23rd 2006


32 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Face of Melinda is a great great song. Good acoustic for the first half and when the distortion comes in it just fits perfect. If only Opeth would do more songs with clean singing, but distorted guitars.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I find every song on here quite enjoyable, but Benighted is a better acoustic song than Face of Melinda in my opinion.

Elmo McCheese
July 23rd 2006


32 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just love the ending. You're right, there isn't a single song on Still Life that I skip when I'm listening to it, unlike most other albums.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just couldn't get this a 5. I don't really know why.

Shadius
July 23rd 2006


203 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Best Opeth album.

The only one I could give a perfect 5, having said that, I give MAYH, Damnation, Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries all 4.5's.

Such a good band once you get into them, one of my favourites, and definately the darkest band I listen to.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy