Opeth – Blackwater Park

Opeth – Blackwater Park

I must begin my 202nd review/write-up/blurb/post/whatchamacallit with an apology. I’d said I only spent over $5.99 on one CD while I was in Toronto recently. Clearly, I forgot about this one, found at BMV for $5.99. Oops. Sorry! But I really think that’s it now. I think. Apparently my memory is completely untrustworthy, even only days after the event. I assume I’ll be forgetting all of your names next week, and how to type by next Friday…

So. Blackwater Park. 14 years ago, this was Opeth’s 5th album. According to Wiki, it didn’t chart in North America or the UK. Weird. But it received positive notices in the press, so that’s… something? I dunno. All I know is I played this thing twice before writing it up and it’s friggin’ EPIC!

There’s just something about Opeth’s sound. It’s just so huge… Reviews said this was a departure from their older stuff, as they were working with a new producer here, but all I heard was great heavy metal, at times blistering and growly, at others sweeping and achingly beautiful. Often all in the same song. This is complicated, ambitious and aggressive music. A tune like The Drapery Falls is a bit more accessible, acoustic guitars and tremolo effects making the whole thing eerie. Well, that’s before it explodes into full-on metal again… Dirge For November is gorgeous (and compelling in its velvet glove on an iron fist approach). The Funeral Portrait has one of the most satisfying new-to-me metal riffs I’ve heard in ages. What a sound! Patterns In The Ivy is a delicious, short acoustic guitar/piano reminder that I need to play my guitar more often… And the title track is so huge, so everything they do that the mind just reels. The rest are just as great.

This is one helluva gigantic record – actually, it’s a lot to take in and process all in one sitting, but I promise it’s worth it. I still don’t go for the growly vocals all that much, but here they just sound like they’re supposed to be part of it. Besides, he also sings, and the gorgeous instrumental passages temper the whole thing. These guys must just be monstrous in a live setting. Whoa.

Two thumbs up. Hells yeah! \m/  \m/

7 thoughts on “Opeth – Blackwater Park

  1. latindrummer says:

    One of my favorite metal records of all time and definitely my favorite Opeth record, aside from the classic Morningrise. There’s a mysticism to this kind of aggressive music that’s hard to describe. The production is spotless, the mood and vibe is otherworldly. It’s ghostly, haunting metal. Intricate and beautiful, complicated and brooding. What was especially interesting to me that this was a Swedish band with a South American rhythm section. Martin Mendez on bass and Martin Lopez on drums were a classic combo and gave this group a unique flavor and dynamic. I was listening to this album heavily along with Pain of Salvation’s Remedy Lane which was released some months after. Required listening, definitely.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Full agreement from here on your assessment, this record really impressed me greatly. Not bad for $6, eh? 🙂

      Great point on the rhythm section, I totally hear what you mean.

      And now I’m adding Remedy Lane to my list of records I wanna check out, too! Thanks for your comment!

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      1. latindrummer says:

        No problem. Pain of Salvation – also a Swedish progmetal group. Whenever I think of Opeth I think of the Fall, cold overcast days, rain and fog, melancholy. Whenever I think about POS I think about Spring time: rebirth, growth and a sense of optimism. About Remedy Lane: You will crank it, gloriously sing along, play air drums, and probably try to figure out the guitar parts, pulling your hair out in the process. I think I’ll play “Trace of Blood” right now 🙂

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        1. keepsmealive says:

          I love your association with the seasons. And after that description, you’ve just bumped Remedy Lane up in the list for sure! I will be in Toronto (and record shopping) again in June, but for now the Tubes of You have the full album posted for free! I’m off to the races. 🙂

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    2. keepsmealive says:

      Meant to add, I fully endorse playing this one through the good headphones. It sounds great as it fills the room from a good set of speakers, but there’s something about having these sounds enclosed and right against your head that brings it even more power…

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