Occasionally, a band comes along that creates so much more than just musical sounds. That band takes you away to another place – a place that feels so peaceful it’s like a realm within your own spirit. It’s a place where you can explore your own mind, find out who you are as a person, and reflect on the events in your life that made you who you are. It’s bands like this that allow people to lay down, turn on the music, close their eyes, and think… almost contemplate the meaning of anything that means anything to you as a person. Make no mistake; these bands are an extreme rarity. It’s unfortunate that musicians like these don’t often gain a great deal of popularity because the music is often above and beyond what people expect of artists. Opeth is easily the greatest of all of these borderline spiritual artists. Their earliest works, most notably Orchid
, are albums that provide an emotional escape from the world that surrounds us.
This escape is offered through different means. At times, it comes in the form of beautiful acoustic work with stunning sung vocal harmonies. Other times it comes from the tortured screams and harsh riffs with layered lead guitars that create a somber atmosphere. The riffs here on Morningrise
are some of the most distressing yet most captivating in metal. From the galloping introduction of Advent
, the sounds are grave yet pleasurable, a dangerously addictive combination in the metal world. Almost as a demonstration of the strength of the music, Mikael’s grandfather passed away sadly during the recording of The Night and the Silent Water
, a song featuring incredible melodic electric/acoustic guitar interplay, written about death itself. The band had never been able to play it live until ten years later. Nectar
features an almost jovial bass-driven start/stop guitar riffs, which precede another gloomy masterpiece. Throughout the song, guitars are harmonized with a beautiful sense of bereavement that nearly invoke tears. Black Rose Immortal
, the band’s longest song (clocking in at 20:14), delivers a bombardment of savagely chugging riffs as well as the equally conflicting musical concordances by way of lead guitar. If nothing so far has invoked tears in listeners, the best is yet to come.
The essence of brutality evident throughout the record may account for much of the music, but the preponderance of the album’s strength and attributes delving into emotional effects spawn from the softest sound of Morningrise
The acoustic passages present on Opeth’s second album far surpass that of their first. The interludes have become deeper, rich with atmosphere and emotion. Mikael Aferfeldt has taken his voice to new levels by improving his clean singing and employing more frequently throughout his music. Acoustic guitars open and close the song Advent
with a gorgeous clean vocal harmony near the end. Acoustic guitars also back the rhythmic riffs of Nectar
before taking the lead of the song’s sound. The epic and legendary song of the album, Black Rose Immortal
, acquires some unconcealed acoustic folk interludes that nearly screams out their Nordic heritage. However, no mere interlude can match the emotion or incomparability of the two remaining songs. The Night and the Silent Water
creates the most ominous of atmospheres and mournful soundtracks with solemn distorted harmonies and dark acoustic strumming.
Finally, the album concludes with a song so moving and memorable it deserves a section all to itself. Opeth expected the record’s fifth track to be hated by their metal fans, but the song now remains one of the band’s beloved songs. It is the hard truth that no artist has or ever will write a song so overwhelmingly beautiful and emotional and Opeth’s To Bid You Farewell
. Opening with a series of duel acoustic guitar riffs and leading into one of Akerfeldt’s most peaceful vocal performances, this song has fueled many to reflect upon themselves. With this one song alone, Opeth has accomplished the art of creating music that affects people in deeply profound ways. A clean guitar solo precedes the flowing into a gentle, bass-lead section with calming synth effects. The song concludes with a flurry of distorted riffs and the most heartfelt lyrics ever written in music.
There’s no sense in attempting to describe what makes something beautiful. Emotions are complex things that come in many forms. They are evoked in all sorts of ways, whether they are pleasurable or exasperating. It's not an easy things to channel emotions so proficiently into music, but it’s become obvious that this group of musically gifted Swedes has mastered the ability to put their feelings into sounds. These sounds have become the music of Opeth, which connects to people in such a way that there’s no doubt that the souls of Opeth's members are in the music they create.
- Five songs filled with incredible acoustic work and harsh yet melodic guitar harmonies
- A step forward for Mikael's voice
- Indescribable qualities giving it a dreamlike quality
Personal favorite moments:
- Advent (8:53) – Mikael's clean “survey the slopes” harmonized singing
- Black Rose Immortal (1:54) – folk guitar interlude
- Any part of To Bid You Farewell
- To Bid You Farewell
So few tracks, all of them high quality. You can't go wrong with any of the songs from Opeth's Morningrise