Sunday, November 26, 2017

Opeth - Blackwater Park (2001)

So we have finally reached "Blackwater Park" in our discography review series of Opeth, the album that is considered to be the band's magnum opus. To most, this is a modern progressive classic, a must have in every metalhead's collection. It is also the album that elevated the band to the next level, from being an underground group that was getting some positive feedback, to being one of the biggest metal acts around. This record is monumental for the evolution of Opeth, and it has a place in many people's hearts, but is it really as good as the early material, or was it just lucky coincidence that this gave the band its big breakthrough?

Let us start with the basics, what separates "Blackwater Park" from its four predecessors? It definitely has a lot of the same elements that previous outings have, like the poetic lyrics and the guttural death metal moments, but what I think makes "Blackwater Park" a different album is that it is just much smoother around the edges. The production (made by legendary Porcupine Tree singer Steven Wilson) is cleaner, but it still has enough darkness in it to not hurt the album, helping to enhance all of those sweet melodies.

Another reason to why this album blew up might be because it is more accessible than its brethren. Yes, it is still a true progressive metal album, with a song span that could be everything from 6 minutes to 12, but the structures of the songs are more straight, giving off to some really catchy moments in this album, mostly thanks to the amazing instrumentation. It still has that Opeth vibe to it though, so the band is not selling out or anything, they are still the imaginative group that we got to know on all previous records.

Besides, let us be honest, the previous albums felt a little all over the place, having tons of influences from several different genres that did mash up well, but it is with "Blackwater Park" where Opeth perfected their sound, making it more fluid and cohesive. The band is truly hitting their stride with all of these fantastic, sweeping melodies that really helps in telling a story.

Yeah, there is not much else to say about "Blackwater Park" other than that it completely deserves all the praise that it has gotten over the years. It is a transcending album that just flows naturally through your ears, and it also have a cohesive sound throughout the album that set the band up for success. However, I do not think this is an all around perfect album. It could have benefited from being a little grittier in its production, and some of the lyrics here are not as good as in previous outings. Despite those minor issues, "Blackwater Park" is still an amazing record, a must listen for every prog metal lover. Is it the best Opeth record though? We will see eventually...

Songs worthy of recognition: The Funeral Portrait, The Leper Affinity, Bleak, The Drapery Falls, 

Rating: 9,5/10 Harvests

More reviews of Opeth
My Arms, Your Hearse
Still Life
Ghost Reveries
Pale Communion

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