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... "progressive?" - 75%

DL_Alexithymia, July 21st, 2007

The fact that this is probably my favorite Opeth album they've released to date doesn't really compensate for the fact they they are one of the most boring progressive metal bands to date. And I don't mean 7-minutes-of-improv-and-solo Dream Theater-esque boring, either. What I mean is that almost every song is at least 60% filler; i.e., the same riff being repeated for much too long at a time with hardly ANY variation, at all.

But let's attempt to focus on the positives. The drumming's quite nice, and not that bad when you actually decide to focus upon it. The group's guitar-playing isn't very exquisite [I'm guessing that Ã…kerfeldt's vocals & guitar combo contributes to that], but they are good enough. Ã…kerfeldt's vocals are actually very good, especially on this album. Unlike most clean male vocals in metal, his pitch is mainly at the median, and still has power behind it. Needless to say, he's one of the best clean male vocalists in my own opinion. However, his guteral vocals -- at least Blackwater Park-era -- are quite giggle-worthy.

As for the songs, "Harvest" is the high point of the album, a very enjoyable song with some interesting lyrics and clean-sounding guitars. Below that, I would rank "The Drapery Falls" which is a great song tainted by repetitive [although good] riffs and the irritating second-half full of Ã…kerfeldt's growling/grunting and lack of conscious melody.

The rest of the songs really fall into eachother, hardly differing from eachother to the point of just melting together to the point of when the dreaded "What's this song called again...? No, that's the title of track 3, isn't it?" syndrome goes into effect.

All in all, it's half-amusing with a few good tracks, but Opeth definitely falls into the shallow end of the prog-metal gene pool. It's can be a greatly enjoyable listen once in a while. But if you're looking for something complex, thought-provoking, and/or attention-grabbing... I advice you to save your money, and distance yourself from this band.