Review Summary: The debut solo album of Opeth’s frontman is an expectedly eclectic soundtrack, and the best project he’s been part of since Storm Corrosion.
It was only a matter of time before the beloved progressive rock and metal singer/songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt would go solo, now over three decades since his career began. Opeth went through an incredible musical evolution in that time, and their controversial-with-fans recent work has been on the more eclectic and retro sounding side of prog rock. It’s fitting then that for his solo venture, Åkerfeldt scores a 1970s true crime political drama Netflix series centered on Swedish gangster Clark Olofsson. The soundtrack thankfully holds up and functions as a highly entertaining album for pure listening in its own right. The sheer versatility and genre-bending is astounding, as pieces will gracefully transition between psychedelic rock, pastoral folk, bluesy classic rock, and brief jazzy interludes. Tracks 6-15 in particular flow together very well.
While the newer Opeth material is great, it sometimes became wonky and unwieldy at times. Clark
however is fully focused, perhaps due to the sheer number of mostly instrumental songs and short run times for each one. Vocals are infrequent, only coming up at the end with some of the more rocking songs, I assume for the finale of the series. While this likely won’t convert those who long for the older glory days of Opeth, Clark
is a notably strong release that represents the best elements of Åkerfeldt’s more recent songwriting inclinations. While waiting for the next Opeth release, this solo effort holds up as an excellent album that allowed him to explore all the colorful musical indulgences he wanted, to glorious effect.