Friday, December 5, 2008

Album of the Week: 12 - 5 - 08

Whoa. It's Mac. You miss me?

I've been dormant... down in my cave researching music of old and new, updating my catalogue "What I've Heard", not to mention hitting my bank account hard with the purchase of many a CD. Recently, albums bought either on disc or through the evil iTunes have been Opeth's Blackwater Park, Slayer's Christ Illusion and Hell Awaits, Tool's 10,000 Days, and The Sword's Age of Winters and Gods of the Earth. The last two records being sparked by seeing The Sword live in New Orleans with Metallica and Down a few weeks ago: EPIC!

Anyway, the album being spot-lighted today is Opeth's 2001 creation, Blackwater Park. I'm a metal fan, not so much a metal head. I like some metal bands, despise others; even misunderstand others. Opeth is one of many that embody the latter, solely due to their vocal style. You know it as cookie monster vocals; I know it as that unintelligible filth that creates no better reason in history to either never write any lyrics or provide an event of burning a lyric sheet. What's the reason for listening to it if you cant understand anything said? If anything, make it into an instrumental to spare those with ears of the sane. That's my stance on that topic for the most part. I say for the most part because, after being jabbed at over the past few months by a friend about these guys, and seeing the album listed as the fifth best (out of 100) metal album ever by Metal Storm, I finally was urged enough to buy this thing.


Kinda wish I could've made that bigger, because that would've better articulated how astonished not only at how well done this record was but how so positively received it was by myself. I really should've read the fine print on this Sweedish band before passing any judgment in the past: Progressive and Melodic Death Metal.

Okay, so it wasnt that small but to someone who's entirely ignorant about a certain artist it sure does seem like that fact is kept hidden. The first two terms insinuate that these guys arent only good for pedal-to-the-metal riffs and screaching vocals, but also slower tempos that incorporate acoustic interludes and actual singing (SINGING!) to better counter-act the first aspect of their abilities. "Harvest" is the only song on the album that was a non-cookie monster induced track, and it was entirely driven by acoustics.

Of the many things that excited me about this listening experience, the most notable ones were how well they'd transition between hammering riffs and drum-play and roaring gutteral vocals to angelicly soothing pieces during songs. Songs that would clock in at over 10 to 12 minutes at times, and they'd do these things numerous times during marathon tracks that didnt exude any feelings of said title, to boot. Even better was how they'd rattle on with double-bass play for what had to have been one to two minutes at a time during various songs (HOLY SHIT THAT'S HARD) and others, where, they'd come in bursts, both inbetween heightened speeds and the combination of that and softer sections. The musical ability and genius was overwhelming. And possibly the most impressive was how well it was all kept together and how it blended perfectly.

Naturally, you'll have to check up on the lyrics to each song to get a better idea as to what the concepts were, but if you're like me, you'll be able to release yourself to the musical rollercoaster that makes up this record. And if you're really like me, you'll agree that the vocal style, at least when it comes to a band like Opeth, becomes somewhat of an engrained piece to the musical puzzle.

If you ever feel like experimenting, give this 67-minute titan a listen -- I guarantee there's someting there for you.

1 comment:

Robert Langellier said...

Soo tempting, but...soo cookie monstery.