The band Opeth may be new to our American readers but Blackwater Park is actually their fifth full-length release. This Swedish band has distinguished themselves as one of the top metal bands in Europe with their previous four releases. One listen to Blackwater Park (Their first album to be released in the U.S. thanks to the fine folks at Koch Entertainment) and it is easy to see where all the hype came from, in fact it's not hype at all but well placed praise. I will point out for the record that I am not a regular listener to either Death or Black metal, it's not my cup of tea, while Opeth could conceivable be classified in either genre, their music really transcends both styles. Half of the vocal treatment on Blackwater Park lands firmly in the deathmetal growl category, but vocalist guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt has a more melodic side to his voice, which he utilizes throughout the album. That contrast between growl and melodic vocals is just one of the elements that helps Opeth cross genre lines. The closest comparison that comes to mind for the dueling vocal styles was the 80's metal band Pretty Maids, although Opeth sound is about 1000 times heavier.
Fans of progressive death metal should feel right at home with Opeth. Their music even reaches into the territory of epic metal that is really popular in Europe at the moment. But by far the most impressive elements to this band and album is the musicianship, instrumentation and the composition. Songs like "The Leper Affinity," "Blackwater Park," "Harvest" and "Dirge" for November go beyond the confines of rock or metal and take on the intensity of classical music. It's like listening to a metal orchestra.
Blackwater Park is an album of Epic proportions that can easily be called a modern metal masterpiece. Even if you are like me and just can't get into the death or black metal sound, this band transcends both styles in such away that it might just open your mind to those genres; I know it has for me.
Get your copy here.
#TBT: Opeth's Blackwater Park
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