Review Summary: Opeth finally finds equlibrium
It seems that when a band finally decides to follow the path that they undertook, without listening to feedback from their surroundings, it usually turns out for the best. What Opeth did after Watershed was impressive. They resigned from following a route that would eventually prove to be unproductive. That took a big amount of courage to do. For many, this was the end of Opeth. However, I figure that as long as you judge the music, not the band, anything goes. If the music is objectively good, the given band can play whatever they want. And I love Opeth, whether it be growl or singing, death or prog- they are just a bunch of great musicians.
The new album will not bring any relief to those who thought that the progressive period would last only for a trilogy of Heritage, Pale Communion and Sorceress. They still base their music on solid progressive fundaments, but it seems that they finally found a way to do it in a mature way.
I always a great fan of Sorceress, and could not understand why so many people were bashing it. After going through In Cauda Venenum, I think I finally get a grasp of the ideas lying at the criticism of their previous effort. It was getting there, but certainly lacked much of the complexity that can be found on this record. The album is constant, though it differentiates throughout. Starting from Garden of Earthly delights, which is a surprising intro, and then hearing the bluesy, western like guitar in Next Of Kin, the falsetto vocals in Dignity, Universal Truth and All things Shall Pass. Of course, we have the distorted battering ram of a guitar (to be heard in the broken riff of Charlatan). We have the acoustic guitars, one of the elements that fans of every stage of their carrier like (hearable throughout the record, a good example being Universal Truth). We also have a bit of Swedish thrown in between songs (I bought the English version, because although I respect the return to their roots, I just cannot imagine Opeth as anything else than singing in English), which is very refreshing. Finally we have the melodies, which pop up here and there throughout, and also end the album in All things Will Pass, making you want to listen to the whole thing again… and again…
There is nothing better than seeing that your favorite band is evolving, avoiding stagnation, and becoming a better version of what they were 2 or 3 years before. Complainers will always complain, Opeth has cut away from their roots that were their prison, and managed to do it with class.