Opeth
Still Life


5.0
classic

Review

by e210013 USER (110 Reviews)
November 9th, 2015 | 30 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the best conceptual prog albums I’ve ever heard. The album that made the genre death metal widely more popular and appreciated.

“Still Life” is the fourth studio album of Opeth and was released in 1999. The line up on the album is Mikael Akerfeldt, Peter Lindgren, Martin Mendez and Martin Lopez.


Opeth was formed as a death metal band in 1990 in Stockholm, Sweden. During the years, the band has passed by several, but their front man, guitarist, and main songwriter, Akerfeldt, remained the Opeth's driving force throughout the years. The band has incorporated diverse musical influence like, progressive rock, folk, blues, classical and jazz into their usually compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works. “Still Life” was the first Opeth’s album to be released through Peaceville Records, following their departure from the Candlelight Records, after the release of their previous and first three studio albums “Orchid” in 1995, “Morningrise” in 1996 and “My Arms, Your Hearse” in 1998.

As with “My Arms, Your Hearse”, “Still Life” is also a concept album. As Akerfeldt explained, “Still Life” isn't a Satanic but an anti-Christian theme. The story took place a long time ago, in the dark times of the Middle Age, when Christianity had a bigger importance than it has today. It tells the story of a man who was expelled from his own town by the council because he hadn't the same religion's faith as the rest of the inhabitants there, the Christianity. However, one day he returns for his love Melinda, but he finds out that she’s no more a free woman. So, it will be much harder for him to reach her again. He does his best to reach her, and once he managed to do so, she tells him that despite the promise she made, her heart is only of him. However, Melinda is killed by the council because she is associated with the banned man. Then the man enraged, goes on a killing spree to avenge and only succumbs in the fight due to the exhaustion. So, he was arrested by the council, condemned to death and executed. At the moment of his dead he feels a hand on his shoulder and he sees Melinda. Then he was ready to join her in death, and finally, he could reach the serenity that he so desperately needed. Each song on the album concentrates on the different events of the story.

Musically, “Still Life” is a great masterpiece due to its clean expression and where the title is very well given. Of course, for those who consider the Opeth’s music as death metal, this album will be hideously boring and dull. However, Opeth isn't properly a death metal band. In fact, the best thing in Opeth is their versatility and flexibility in the music. They created an album where the complexity and everything else are truly brilliant. But the main thing is their capacity of adaptability. Each track on the album is a monumental painting done on the most unusual of media. From the serene hues of nocturnal romance and desire to the grimmest stains of hatred, revenge, and bloodlust, the artist's palette covers all the colours that the mind can think of, not necessarily the ones the eyes can see. Emerging from times immemorial and sinking deep into times to come, the struggles of the soul from the universal myths and folklore are depicted by the oscillation between the heavy and the mellow parts. Experimentation with jazz, progressive rock and renaissance style, made the album the band's most technical one ever. As many of we know, Akerfeldt is one of the most versatile singers alive. He has one of the best natural death growls and he has one of the most amazing clean and beautiful voices. He uses both vocal styles to the maximum effect and he reached the perfection on it. Technicality, progression, complexity and many other great things can describe the final effect of the Opeth’s music on “Still Life”.

“Still Life” was the Opeth’s album that caught the attention of the Porcupine Tree’s leader, Steven Wilson. After “Still Life”, Akerfeldt and Wilson began a long standing musical partnership, beginning when Wilson produced the Opeth’s fifth studio album “Blackwater Park” in 2001, and both continued to work together until today. The two began writing together for a new project, Storm Corrosion, in 2010 and both released their eponymous first studio album, in 2012.


Conclusion: “Still Life” is a great album and one of the best from Opeth, and remains as my favourite. The lyrics are excellent and I love the concept of the album, which is very beautiful and sad at the same time, one of the best, I think. The music, ranges from very melodic symphonic sections, counterbalanced by breakneck power progressions and soaring lead solos. The slower sections allow breathing space. The musical inventiveness is unsurpassed for the extreme tech metal genre, but we can’t ignore its very complex structure and innovative approach, reinventing the extreme heavy metal style. “Still Life” is the album that defines death metal. With its fierce and aggressive sound, the album made the genre widely more popular and appreciated. Whether you like it, or not, it’s historically a very important album, essentially for whom wants to find a good place to start listening to Opeth and death metal genre, in general.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (4072)
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4.5
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other reviews of this album
1 of
  • FlawedPerfection EMERITUS (4.5)
    ...

    kalkal50 (5)
    Still Life for now may be just another album due for file sharing, but it will have an imp...

    TheAnalyzer (5)
    NEEDS MOAR OPETH...

    jtswope (4.5)
    Still Life is a detailed and powerful juxtaposition of the light and the darkness....

  • Hatshepsut (5)
    ...

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

    Slowburner (5)
    I hide the scars from my past, yet they sense my mute dirge. This is when it all falls apa...

    metallicaman8 (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)
    ...

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

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

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

  • Benny243 (5)
    Powerful, beautiful masterpiece, my favorite album of all time....



Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Your comments are very well received, as usual.

Flugmorph
November 9th 2015


20774 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, man. I completely agree with you. This is their best work.

MO
November 9th 2015


22530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

second to mayh but yea killer albm

Wolfhorde
November 9th 2015


15373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ what MO said





chug73
November 9th 2015


3796 Comments


Always a bwp fanboy. The production is literally bliss

MrSirLordGentleman
November 9th 2015


12360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just can't get into this band

chug73
November 9th 2015


3796 Comments


Yes u can.

MrSirLordGentleman
November 9th 2015


12360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah I can't, extreme metal is not my thing

chug73
November 9th 2015


3796 Comments


Yes

KILL
November 9th 2015


81233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lord bro check benighted, sweetest camel rip ever

tef
November 9th 2015


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

got this last year, but haven't listened to it a lot.

what caught my attention was the fact that the drummer seems to be less talented than on later releases, different one?

Ocean of Noise
November 9th 2015


10529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nope lol they had the same drummer from MAYH to Ghost Reveries

Digging: Agalloch - The White

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hey guys. Thanks for your comments.

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Mo.

"second to mayh but yea killer albm"

What is your first choice?

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Wolfhorde.

And what is your first choice?

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@SirLord.

"I just can't get into this band"

Did you tried their less metal album, Damnation?

Your problem is probably the dead growls. Damnation hasn't any kind of growls and is a very beautiful album. Somehow, it has something of Camel.

Do that dude. Do the same as I did.

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, chug73.

"The production is literally bliss"

This is a great album with a bliss production.

e210013
November 9th 2015


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, KILL.

"lord bro check benighted, sweetest camel rip ever."

You have reached the point, man.

Aftertheascension
November 9th 2015


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good fucking god. Don't post 6 comments in a row.



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