Review Summary: The absolute peak of an all-time great band
By the time Blackwater Park was about to be released Opeth was already established as one of the top acts in the international metal scene releasing by then a total four albums each one being better that its predecessor.
Still Life had somehow ended what I call the first era of Opeth where their overall sound leaned more towards doom and death metal. Still Life incorporated new elements to the band’s sound which would mature beautifully on Blackwater Park.
Blackwater Park is easily Opeth’s brightest moment and its success can be linked to a couple of key elements:
1) Blackwater Park is the second album featuring what is considered the classic Opeth lineup. This is huge because even thou Mr. Akerfeldt writes most of the music and melodies this lineup proved to be the one combination that made the most out of Michael’s talent and inspiration.
2) The influence of Steven Wilson – Mr. Wilson not only is an accomplished producer but he is as talented a musician as Mr. Akerfeldt and in Blackwater they formed a tandem who took progressive metal to a whole new level by melting beautifully crafted melodic passages with brutal riffs and growls. Mr. Wilson’s input did not meddle at all with Opeth’s aggressiveness and overall darkness but it did help bring out the most out of the melodic and progressive passages in the album.
It’s important to notice that the production values of Blackwater Park are just perfect; it’s cleaner and crispier than previous albums which actually does justice to the musicians (and to the complex songwriting) without going too far as to sound hi-fi like so many mainstream metal bands sound today.
BWP flows seamlessly through its 8 tracks and 68 minutes of delicate brutality. Each song is special and memorable on its own although I consider “The Drapery Falls” and “Blackwater Park” stand out as two of the best tracks ever recorded by the Swedes.
Anybody who’s into metal can appreciate an album like Blackwater Park as it incorporates everything metal should be in its purest form.
You could argue that albums this complete come up once every five or ten years which makes Blackwater park an absolute pillar of metal.