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So-so, average unmemorable prog rock/metal... - 50%

Manchester_Devil, September 26th, 2004

...give or take 5 from my final score if you like/hate Opeth.

I had intended to let others review more popular band’s albums until I decided to compare “Blackwater Park” to Esoteric’s SDitC as they have long songs but that’s where similarities end as Opeth are supposed to be a progressive melo-death band while Esoteric are an Atmospheric (in my opinion) Doom Metal band.

Now onto the music, sod everything else they did in their career because everyone and his motorbike has reviewed them, I’m concentrating on this release only.

When one listens to “The Leper Affinity” and a “heavy” mallcore song, the thing you’ll notice in repeated listens is that “The Leper Affinity” and the mallcore song have the same song structure, a la, heavy part of a song = harsh vocals, mellow part of same song = mellow, singing vocals, coincidence? Listen to Linkin Park and then listen to this song and you’ll know what I mean. In fact, throughout this album, this very formula is repeated apart from “Bleak” where you’ll get duo mellow vocals in some of the heavy sections before the eighth verse, “Harvest” which is an acoustic song all the way and “Patterns in the Ivy” which is an acoustic instrumental. Not very progressive, isn’t it?

It’s just mallcore with Heavy Guitar work that isn’t drowned in distortion but diluted enough to satisfy those who don’t know who sang in Iron Maiden before Bruce Dickinson but hate mallcore enough to search for heavier music.

Also, the heavy parts aren’t Death Metal at all; they sound Hard Rockish to diluted Heavy Metal guitar work. The Drumming also doesn’t make the grade in Death Metal as it’s been marketed as, one might feel ripped off if he gets into bands like Possessed, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Kreator, Slayer, Death et al after listening to Opeth for a number of years.

Of course, on one hand, the songs themselves are enjoyable but on the other, they don’t have the staying power in one’s list of favourites for long once you do dig deeper into the archives of metal (ha, ha). One of Opeth’s strengths though is vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt, who can growl but also sing in a clean voice with some conviction but he is held back by the material of his creation. He needs to create stronger, memorable, heavier material before the band can justify the “Progressive Death Metal” tag they received.

And what the hell is “3 Eggs”? Did the band run out of eggs for their toast before Markus Lindberg gave them some to crack? The world may never know…