without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
And now I could drink HOT MILK!
Blackwater Park is one of the more well-know Opeth albums. Now, what exactly does that mean, I would have to ask myself (after stroking my long, Opethian beard)? This means that Blackwater Park has sold more units than some of their other albums as, you know, Opeth’s albums I’ve heard are all exactly the same. It’s a funny thing with Opeth; their own fans (at their most stereotypical) may find it hard to decipher the differences between an AC/DC or Motörhead album. Me, a fan of both AC/DC and Motörhead, can’t discern any real difference between Opeth albums. Sure, there’s that one where they played a softer style – but does less ‘heavy’ Opeth (as opposed to clean Opeth) sections actually make any real difference? That would surely mean their ‘heavy’ sections would have had to have accomplished something different in terms of mood or feel, right? Of course, there’s no real difference in any of the Opeth I’ve heard (four albums, apparently… four fucking Opeth albums, yikes). Dishwater grey, dull as it is dreary, modern progressive metal. It falls into all the traps of being unexciting, overlong, tedious, boring and any other extended list of words for being absolutely sleep inducing you’d care to mention. It’s like the worst of seventies progressive rock (Rick Wakeman’s King Arthur – On Ice, perhaps?) given a fancy new package and marketed to virginal twenty-something men with beards (that’s a tad unfair actually, some of the said twenty-somethings do have fat girlfriends with mothering breasts).
Still, it’s not like they professed to be anything other than this – it’s not a case of being deceived by cover art or anything of that sort. The cover art is English-summer grey and the album title itself is a combination of some humdrum things with an archaic, deep meaning obscured from mere mortals like myself. Still, I fell for it; a younger version of my current model contemplated whether or not this would be ‘my thing’ in a record shop that’s now long since closed its doors. Yes, I handed over my pocket money and was well into being initiated as an Opeth fan (though I was too young for the beard and fat girls were never my thing). Listen after tedious listen – I struggled with this drab album; quizzically wondering that there simply must be something to a band with such deep, introspective song titles like ‘When the Drapery Falls’ and a name which referenced books that I’d not read (either that or Opeth is Swedish for “How’s it hanging, Grandma?”). I could have kept on lying to myself, progressed (which is an apt word for a band who’ve done basically the same album over and over, and sold it as progressive, without the progress, of course…) with Opeth and soon I would have been part of the thousands hailing this as interesting. Yes, it could have been me, apart from the tiny, insignificant fact that I like rock ’n’ roll/heavy metal music in many of its forms; I still believe in an excitement, a fire, and a power in rock ’n’ roll (call me immature, I guess I am!) – and funnily enough, the autumnal, grey, hairy men of Opeth can’t really deliver that excitement. It should be offensive that they’ve not done anything to contribute to the music scene in which they thrive (barring one fact that I’ll touch upon). But it’s not – being offensive takes some effort and Opeth don’t really manage that. They’re excellent, tasteful musicians and their music is meticulously well-played; but as such seasoned players this doesn’t take much effort. Their compositions are tiresome but not as ham-fisted in its construction as some might say, and though it’s often said that their acoustic sections do nothing in terms of the song, but that’s not really a valid criticism when considering that this is Opeth, and none of its parts really does anything. There is no effort; no one’s breaking a sweat and that’s probably the most offensive thing I can say about Opeth.
That said, I suppose some songs do almost stand-out; ‘Bleak’ for instance is somewhat catchy compared to the standard Opeth song – one can imagine it causing a mild-stir at an Opeth live gig (perhaps even moderate applause, but no cheering… this is art). Oh, that’s a fairly lively riff, too, I hope it stops soon as any more of this frantic excitement and my weak heart may give up. That’s much better; they’ve started with the ‘death metal’ vocals and now were back to the effeminate clean voice. Isn’t it worrying that the acoustic sections in this band are far more interesting than the metal sections? No, perhaps not, but it is worrying that the acoustic sections convey a lot more emotion than the metal sections… actually, wait, it’s not it’s Opeth – I’m not at all worried by anything. In fact, sometimes I wonder whether or not this album is actually playing and whether I’m actually sleeping through sort rather tame, uneventful dream about a band who convinced millions of people that the road of extreme boredom lead to the palace of fat girlfriends (it’s okay, though, her breasts are huge).
Hmmm, if this is considered interesting then would any Opeth fans reading care to fund the publishing of latest novel? Well, let’s try. Here’s a brief taster of Love through the Bathroom Wall by EJ Thribb (which is the name I shall publish myself under):
…Sarah was most anxiously awaiting the arrival of her eccentric, artistic boyfriend, Morris E. Smith. Morris E. had recently been cured of his most forward eccentricities via electro-shock treatment and ever since then they had been going steady. Yes reader, it could well be love between the two. But, of course, this love was not without its challenges – Sarah’s flatmate Rachel was secretly jealous of her hunky boyfriend and whilst Sarah was preparing for her and Morris E. Smith’s date she locked her in the bathroom. When Morris arrived she said that Sarah had been taken ill with TB and as such she was to accompany him this evening. Morris was disappointed but at least he had Rachel to keep him company.
Weeks passed and Sarah had to sustain herself on toilet roll and shampoo/conditioner; a meagre diet if there ever was one. Morris – whom I should mention works, as a window cleaner – happened to be cleaning the flat adjacent to Sarah’s. Realising her only chance Sarah quickly opened the window and beckoned to her lover. Morris couldn’t believe it! “Tell me it is not you!?” He cried. And quickly he set his ladder up against her wall and climbed it, embracing Sarah. “Oh, darling! These two weeks I’ve spent locked in the toilet have only strengthened my love for you!” Any takers?
Well that padded out this review nicely, much like Opeth have dragged out this album to excruciating long lengths. Guess I’m fighting fire with fire, huh?
Ok, I’ve had my fun (well, I did need something to keep myself entertained during this record). Anyway, Opeth aren’t a truly functionless band and I’ll give them their due credit for that – they act as a gateway into actually interesting bands. Read their lyrics, interviews and such, as Åkerfeldt and chums actually have good taste in music. The acoustic sections are often quite referential of Nick Drake or Comus; admittedly they aren’t nearly as strange as Comus and lack the fiery touch of Drake (note: Drake isn’t all that fiery – it’s just Opeth are all that lukewarm). So I think you should check those out. This reasons me to believe Opeth are men of some conscious – they know all too well that they’ve fooled people into parting with their cash and as such believe they should give them at least something for it. They’re giving you something for listening to nothing, how quaint!
Well, there you go Opeth: a complete non-entity (well, from Still Life to Damnation, at least, I’m sure their other works are vastly superior if that means anything). Still, whatever effort Opeth do put into composition or variation is ultimately useless as whatever life or effort they put into their music is sucked out by their delivery – it’s just banal. Yawn, I’m ready to go back to bed. Goodnight Opeth, you heavy metal Horlicks, you.