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11.02.08 Top Ten Not-quite-so-well-revered Opeth05.14.07 The Top 20 Mastodon Songs

Top Ten Not-quite-so-well-revered Opeth Tracks

Opeth are slowly beginning to become the quintessential metalhead's band, with the release of their newest album, Watershed. Unfortunately, because of that, people will look at live albums and see songs such 'Face Of Melinda', 'Bleak' and 'Windowpane', which, while being fantastic songs, often seem to overshadow some of the songs of their back catalogue that either are either on re-releases, are sometimes rendered a bit unlistenable in the face of the lighter songs on the album, or are simply on albums where other songs are better. With this in mind, I present a list of my personal Top Ten Opeth songs that don't get due credit.
1Patterns In The Ivy I/II
Blackwater Park/Still Day Beneath The Sun [2001/2003]

A fabulous little song that never truly saw it's potential, owing to the fact that the first half only stood out as being the only song on 'Blackwater Park' that was under six minutes long, and the only song that wasn't the title track on the 'Still Day Beneath The Sun' single. Why this continues to elude fans is no mystery, owing to it continually taking a back seat to other songs, but all should hunt it down - an ode to sadness and misery, if you will, but in a way that's almost so bleak, it's hard not to feel hope following first impressions.
2Dirge For November
Blackwater Park [2001]

Dirge For November is a sumptuous, well, dirge that plays almost as a yin to The Funeral Portrait's yang. The key point to this track was the complexly un-complex that was the centre of a much-ignored song outside of the Opeth circle, but much loved within.
3The Amen Corner
My Arms, Your Hearse [1998]

Personally, I've always felt that this, as well as the whole of 'My Arms, Your Hearse', has always suffered being in the shadow of Demon Of The Fall. This song could just as easily have taken it's place - that opening riff has Porcelain Heart weeping into it's handkerchief as we speak. Take away the experimentation and trim down the length, and Opeth would have their very own Enter Sandman. Well, maybe not. But you get the idea.
My Arms, Your Hearse [1998]

Another from 'My Arms, Your Hearse', a soulful poem, extravagantly bought to life by the sound of an electric guitar, it unfortunately now plays second fiddle to Face Of Melinda and Windowpane. A true shame - this one should have been a real keeper.
Ghost Reveries [2005]

Simple cascading guitar lines, some hauntingly good background ambience and vocals so smooth they could have been dripped in butter and rolled up in laminate flooring. Truly gave way to the old '70s progressive rock bands, and also provided an excellent link from 'Damnation' to 'Ghost Reveries'.
6Moonlapse Vertigo
Still Life [1999]

Almost a spiritual predecessor to the heavy rock leanings of the title track from 'Blackwater Park', this has stood the test of time well, although the sad fact is that it tries to be both deftly soft and unabashadly heavy, and on an album which features Face Of Melinda and Serenity Painted Death going to the best of each extreme, this wasn't going come up in live sets as much as either aforementioned song.
7Ending Credits
Damnation [2003]

Simple, basic, beautiful: this was Opeth showing that even when they take it easy, they're still more impactful than almost all others. Not technically dazzling but any stretch, and the majority of the track is a simple guitar solo played over a steady drum beat, and the keyboards allow some background ambience, but it hits hard and early as one of the best Opeth instrumentals.
8The Apostle In Triumph
Orchid [1995]

From Opeth's very first album, we get The Apostle In Triumph, which has always been given the endeavour award in comparison to Under The Weeping Moon and In Mist She Was Standing. True, it is overly long at 13 minutes, but couldn't it be said from all the songs from that album? If only they could have cut it down by a minute or so, this could have been looked upon more favourably. If anything, though, the song showed promise of what was to come with 'Morningrise'.
Morningrise [1996]

This is from the band's first album that could be considered a classic, 'Morningrise', and it's an early indication of the potential Opeth had as a band, laying out it's simplistically complex formula on the table for all to see. It's definitely a grower, but it's certainly not to be dismissed, considering the final two or three minutes are absolutely delicious in the way that it's morose, but you can't help but enjoy it, soaking in the sounds that fill your ears. Other than that, it's your standard Opeth fair - a cut above the rest, but not heart stopping compared to what else they have in the arsenal. If the final couple of minutes had been the norm for the song, it would be hard to deny it's power.
10Beneath The Mire
Ghost Reveries [2005]

What makes this stand out? It's heavy rock fare - but with signature Mikael Akerfeldt growling and the kind of civilised chaos we come to expect from the percussive faction of the band. If there was one song which managed to show how much more than metal this band is, it would definitely have to be Beneath The Mire. When the almost hopeless wail enters, it becomes beautifully entrenched in sorrow rather than boisterously pro-death metal. It deserves it's place on this list as a testament to the fact that their formula is still solid after nearly fifteen years, and that it follows almost a credo of theirs - it's the content, not the formula, that makes a song.
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