Opeth

Opeth

Blackwater Park

Koch/Music For Nations

Brilliant. Seriously, folks, what else were y’all expecting? For the better half of the ’90s, Opeth have gladly played the role of critics’ darlings by cross-pollinating ’70s prog-rock with various modern metal idioms (namely, death and black), all with an unbridled n’ unrivalled ambition scarcely seen since ’87-era Celtic Frost (that•s the groundbreaking Into The Pandemonium, youngsters). Blackwater Park, the four-piece’s fifth full-length thus far (and named after an obscure ’70s prog-rock band, no less • of course!), finds Mikael Akerfeldt and company elaborating on • or, more accurately, just plain sticking to • the tenets of the preceding Still Life: basically, “the Opeth sound” (windswept melodies, labyrinthine song structures, patience-defying dynamics, and busy-busy-bee time signatures) with increased • and, more specifically, more improved • emphasis on acoustic passages lead by Akerfeldt’s occasional and similarly improved clean tenor. Although it may be a gross understatement to say that Opeth are NOT a “singles band” by any stretch of the imagination, that matters not here, both in the respect of the band and Blackwater Park, for the two are to be taken as a whole, absorbed free of distraction, and preferably with headphones; after all, few bands • metal or otherwise • know the importance and impact of crafting an album, let alone a whole blindingly brilliant canon of them. Sure, Opeth have some great songs (arguably, the womb-like warmth/paralysis of Morningrise‘s “Black Rose Immortal” being the best of their bunch) in this canon, but altogether, these songs (most exceeding eight minutes and reaching a maximum of 21) comprise remarkable albums, which thusly comprise said remarkable canon, which thusly could comprise one long and mighty “song” that would be the epitome of “remarkable” • to put it simply, that is, which Opeth’s music is everything but. And granted, some lesser pundits (this writer, initially) might argue that Opeth have finally and forlornly painted themselves into a corner of predictability with Blackwater Park, that they’re being multi-dimensional so often has somehow now become one-dimensional, but you can•t really fault a band with such a cosmic, interstellar directive, one which consistently creates a unique sound and exotic flavor neither challenged nor attempted by none. Again, “brilliant” can only be the most accurate description here • accept no substitutes. (Note to readers unaccustomed with Opeth: The convoluted and sidewinding style of this review approximates the musical language of these four Swedes•kinda. Or something.)

Koch, 740 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; http://www.kochentertainment.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Comin’ At Ya!
    Comin’ At Ya!

    The Blu-ray reissue of Comin’ At Ya, a 1981 3D Spaghetti Western movie falls flat.

  • Bobby Rush
    Bobby Rush

    Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush ( Omnivore Recordings). Review by James Mann.

  • Geezër
    Geezër

    Geezër brought their old-school show all the way from their Miami rest home, and Julius C. Lacking thinks they were quite spry.

  • Bully
    Bully

    Bully greets Orlando with apathy and anger toward one of its theme parks. Jen Cray smiles and thinks, “Man, this band would have fit in well in the nineties!”

  • Luther Dickinson
    Luther Dickinson

    Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Conway
    Conway

    Big Talk EP (Self-Released). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Freakwater
    Freakwater

    Scheherazade (Bloodshot Records). Review by James Mann.

  • The Haymarket Squares
    The Haymarket Squares

    Light It Up. Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • Ani DiFranco
    Ani DiFranco

    Years pass, and so do our legends, but one constant remains: there are always artists living and breathing that are worth your time and attention. Ani DiFranco is a major one, according to Jen Cray and a whole legion of fans.

  • Javier Escovedo
    Javier Escovedo

    Kicked Out Of Eden (Saustex Media). Review by James Mann.

From the Archives