Nearly nothing can actually motivate me to write a review of an album that already has a fine review. Call this an exception.
Yeah I love it that much.
After having listened to nearly nothing except Opeth and Circle Takes the Square for about three weeks (besides some albums I listened to just to hear if they're good or not) I've been...clueless, if you will, about any other music or band. Opeth's Still Life
has grabbed me, inspired me, even, like few other albums have, such as As the Roots Undo
had just days before writing this review. After listening to the same seven songs nonstop for about four or five days, I've come to the conclusion that this album is my favorite album of all time. I cannot find one part of a song, not even for a few seconds, where I'd say "When will it end, because this is getting annoying" or anything close to that. It sounds fan-boyish, but I can't help it. I can't pick a favorite song, as it changes from one song to the next, going to all seven songs, then going back and starting over.
Starting from The Moor
and ending with White Cluster
, I have been completely addicted to each of the seven songs on this CD. The instrumentation is flawless. The musicianship of this group is excellent. The mix of pounding, punishing death metal, complete with the evil riffs and fantastic drumming, and soft, depressing acoustic ballads (often in the same song) is amazing. I never thought my favorite band would have a growler as a vocalist, as I thought I'd actually have a grudge against that kind of singing. I thought I'd prefer normal singing, as in "normal" rock/alternative bands. But it happened, and I don't want to let go.
The guitars are wonderful. Peter Lindgren and Mikael Akerfeldt's guitar riffs, as in songs such as Godhead's Lament, Moonlapse Vertigo, Serenity Painted Death, or any other song besides the ballads, are addicting. Mixing normal, fast, single-note riffing adding an evil touch with octave chords, with more of a happy note, is interesting as well. There are quite a few solos to compliment the song and riffs, with my favorites coming from Godhead's Lament, Moonlapse Vertigo, Face of Melinda and White Cluster. Some are slower and are easier to play, such as Godhead's Lament's solo, but is still beautifully played and can inspire some mediocre players to solo, like myself. Moonlapse Vertigo's and White Cluster's solos have a tremendous buildup from the drums, and their solos are much faster, but equally as addicting. Face of Melinda's solo isn't even single notes; they're chords, but it's obviously a solo. It still grabs you attention, as well as being fun to play. As for the ballads, Benighted and Face of Melinda, they are nothing short of beautiful. They're two of my favorite songs to play on guitar, since I've basically converted to only acoustic/clean electric guitar songs. Benighted is fully acoustic, with the drums coming in much later than the start, and is very mellow, depressing and quiet. Face of Melinda actually has the distortion and electric come in later in the song, but the growling stays out, which is very interesting. The solo, as I mentioned, is actually chords, but is very enjoyable.
Martin Lopez rules. His drumming adds an extra kick into every song, including my favorite drum part, White Cluster. About 5 and a half minutes into the song, I focus in on the drums. It's a drum solo, pretty fast, then the double bass kicks in and it blends everything together. Then some tom rolls, and a few drum rolls, mixed and matched, and then a couple of hits on the high hat later, there's about five seconds where it's just drums and nothing else. The guitar solo comes in after that, making for one of my favorite moments in music. This one drum part is reminiscent of the rest of the album's drumming. It's not nearly as good, but it's pretty darn solid. There are a ton of tom rolls just where the song needs a fill, double bass used to blend in and bridge two parts of a song and then some, and drum rolls to release the tension set just before it. Lopez adds a vital touch many bands can't offer. Not many bands have a Martin Lopez to make their music that much better. Not even Opeth have him now, as he has quit due to back problems.
Now for the Mikael Akerfeldt part of the review. Both his singing and lyric-writing (guitar playing too) are key parts of the band, arguably the most important. His vocals change the entire mood of the song. If he growls during the electric part of Face of Melinda, the song would gain a darker look, instead of the peacefulness it has without it. As I said before, I never thought I'd enjoy growling, let alone have it in my favorite band. Not only is Akerfeldt's growling interesting to hear, but his clean vocals are tremendous as well. This man has some voice. In every song except the two ballads, he uses both his growling technique along with his clean singing, making the same song sound like three or four. His lyric-writing is great also, as most fans expect nothing short of pure poetry in every song and album. "Adoring what never has been...Some will bring with them all they have seen," bellows Mikael during Godhead's Lament
. "Once you’re into this night, all minds are stable. Forget all your needs; lose the grip of all control", he sings during the mellow Benighted
. Or perhaps "Each and every one would die at my hand, choking in warm ponds of blood. At last, weak and torn, I went down, drained from strength, flickering breath" would do it for you, off Serenity Painted Death
. There's plenty more where that comes from. He has a rather large vocabulary as well. What's a dogma" Decrepit" How about miasma, marauder, or paragon" These aren't exactly every day words, but I take it that he's using the words correctly.
As you can see, I cannot get enough of this album. All the songs grab me in a way that I don't want them to let go. Mikael Akerfeldt's growing and clean singing, his lyric writing, his and Lindgren's guitar riffs and solos, and Martin Lopez's drumming are top notch. This is an easy classic in my eyes, and always will be.
Overall Album Rating: 5/5 [Classic]