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Blackened Prog Immortal - 84%

EzraBlumenfeld, May 2nd, 2018
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Candlelight Records

Morningrise is by far the most-despised album from Opeth's most-loved period, the progressive blackened death metal stage that began at the band's formation and ended with the somewhat disappointing release of Watershed in 2008. People's feelings on this album, as with most of Opeth's diverse discography, are mixed; it's easy to point out its fair share of human errors, yet it also boasts some of the best compositions on any metal album.

With only five songs (plus a bonus one, if you're lucky), this would have been an EP if written by any other band. Of course, none of the five album tracks fall short of ten minutes, which makes this longer than most 11-song albums. And while Morningrise never fails to lay on the acoustic guitars and lullaby-like clean vocals in each song, it has a healthy portion of devastatingly good and riffy metal to match it. The acoustic bits are akin to some folk music, with catchy and beautiful melodies. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the heavy parts are like a mixture of Rush and Maiden with black metal vocals; progressive and melodic yet with moving high-pitched screams which subtly speak of Satan and sacrifice in a way only bands from the Norwegian forests had ever tried before.

The production here is nearly perfect; the mix reflects the mood of the music well and compliments the intertwining harmonies of the duelling guitars. While it doesn't sound quite as polished and professional as some of Opeth's later work, I think that the crushing tone and reverberation arpeggios of later albums like Deliverance would not have suited the content on Morningrise. While maybe each song doesn't completely showcase the band's full potential, it sure is fun and interesting to listen to.

Among the best songs on the album are "Advent" and "Black Rose Immortal," the latter of which is possibly Opeth's greatest musical achievement. "Advent" begins with an extremely intense, fast-paced riff and later transforms to show of the proficiency of bassist Johan De Farfalla. "Black Rose Immortal," as most people know, is Opeth's longest song, packed with numerous distinct segments and two rather impressive, shreddy solos. Additionally, "The Night and the Silent Water" shows off the dual guitar skills of Mikael Åkerfeldt and Peter Lindgren better than any of their other songs, and who couldn't love the clean first half of "To Bid You Farewell," which features the band's most beautiful intro riff?

Maybe this isn't Opeth's best album overall, but it definitely is good. If any of their releases can be classified as art, it's this one. It displays all of their signature characteristics well, and maybe better than any other album does. It can't really be classified as any one subgenre, or even as wholly metal for that matter. But besides that, it's an incredible and diverse album and, while it isn't for everyone, I would recommend it to any open-minded metalhead.

Magic in the madness - 73%

gasmask_colostomy, November 22nd, 2017

That one of the main criticisms for Opeth's sophomore album bears exactly the same content as their Wikipedia entry shows rather a lack of attention on the part of the critics and rather a lack of focus for Wikipedia's editors. The phrase that used to emblazon Morningrise on that site was "this is Opeth's only album where every song is more than 10 minutes long", meaning that in the post hoc, ergo propter hoc line of reasoning, it's either the Swedes' best or their worst. There are good arguments for both of those views to be held as well, not least because the expansiveness of the band's songwriting has always drawn as much scorn as praise. Their early career suffered the most from progressive tendencies, not managing a refrain in any song until the following album, their third. On the other hand, the sprawling melodeath odysseys created in the five songs here are made all the more depthy and potentially intriguing for their length, rewarding listeners for repeated listens.

It has taken me a few years to get the hang of Morningrise, particularly because there are almost no vocal hooks to be found (the slow balladry of closer 'To Bid You Farewell' and the whispered ending of 'The Night and the Silent Water' hardly count as hooky) and the riffs adopted a less direct style to those found on Orchid, the marginally more focused debut. For pure musicianship, this is an absolute treat though, Mikael Akerfeldt having relatively few lyrics to get through considering the song lengths, while every musician busts his balls to make himself distinct from the others, an effect heightened by a clear and unfussy production that dirties the guitars, easily detects the bass, and pushes the melodies to the fore, only Anders Nordin having complaints to make in the lack of presence in his kick drums and toms. Following Johan De Farfalla's bass through a song like 'Advent' is a journey on its own and that's without counting the epic melodeath riffs that should make In Flames and Dark Tranquillity blush if they could hear how evocative they are of particular situations and atmospheres.

What Opeth were close to on this effort was a balance between technical excellence and memorability, since the music that they crafted has amazing potential to be transformed into magnetic songs as it was on the later Still Life, though the organization of the material just sucks, rarely keeping the listener's attention from the start to end of any given song. The lack of hooks and repeating parts are the killer here, because there is simply an excess of ideas, many of which cannot be remembered or appreciated: Opeth would have done much better to throw away half the content, develop some repeating sections and go from there. Therefore, what we end up with is the template for about three or four albums all stuffed into one, which is arguably where the more straightforward units in the genre gained a more powerful stance.

With this in mind, it comes as a surprise to note that 'Black Rose Immortal' (Opeth's longest song - the Wikipedia voice returns) might be the best organized, certainly as far as the outset goes, bursting quickly into life with determined riffing that borrows a few note sequences from Emperor and a little folky lilt that always suited these guys very well. I'm not sure if it's the surprise of the rampant folk riff coming back round again within the first eight minutes that makes me want to say this, but I would have been a really big fan of early Opeth having non-vocal choruses, because this part sounds like a wild as fuck ceilidh that is suddenly broken by Akerfeldt doing a super-serious clean vocal over acoustic guitars, making me kind of imagine that the village people (from an actual village, not YMCA) went outside and then the boy and the girl walked into the forest for a bit and probably discussed their upcoming marriage. I don't know, 'Black Rose Immortal' just has that sort of storyline quality to it, which I don't get so much from all the other great riffs and cool instrumental ideas.

At the risk of making this review as long and rambling as the album itself, I just want to make it clear that I both like and don't like Morningrise. I definitely do like the way the riffs sound and the band crafts atmosphere in the heavy sections (much better than most of the acoustic sections, though some are alright), while there are lots of little highlights scattered about through the songs, such as the superb doom riff five minutes into 'The Night and the Silent Water', the bass-led breakdown in 'Advent', and the aforementioned folky riffing in 'Black Rose Immortal'. I'm not so keen on the regular transitions from heavy to acoustic playing (there are other, better ways to break tension) and the haphazard nature of the compositions, which lose a lot of their appeal from the randomness of their structuring and abrupt shifts between sections. In the right mood, I am also a huge admirer of the cover artwork and gorgeous closer, which are both achingly melancholic and worthy of contemplation. If you ever have a break-up you regret or if life leaves you behind, come back to this album and let it wash over you. There's magic in the madness.

A pallid malaise - 89%

richieblackmetal, February 15th, 2014

Amid the zeal of loyal fandom, Opeth has thriven in a niche area within the elite albeit roomy genre of Death Metal. With the help of both creative and complicit bandmates, as per what is necessary for what is rightfully his very own endeavour, Åkerfeldt has captured the ears of many selling over 1.5mil albums worldwide and boasting a fair release-to-year ratio of 1:2 since the band’s inception in 1990. But with a quarter-century under belt, the theme most undying in the renowned & pioneering, dynamics-centric, change-is-the-only-constant progressive/death-with-a-melodic-kicker-metal band from Stockholm is an insatiable hunger for rebirth; blazing through ideas and physical forms in a continuum of inspiration (or regression?), indeed, to no real end in sight. Opeth fans were quick to know they were locked in whorl, evolution upon evolution, until pigs rode aloft.

The blazing began with the turn of the century and their fourth release, Still Life, just prior the new millennium. In contrasting the compartmental structures of earlier releases, and in weaning away from the grimness and austerity akin to these widely deemed ‘messterpieces’, themes of new musicianship began to take form; choruses in repeat, solos as separate entities as opposed to the layering of multiple melodies atop one another, and the institution of much tidier recordings exemplify changes that would ultimately entomb the titan they once were and redefine who they were to become in their maturity. This perpetual manifestation of elements would reveal a death metal chameleon, sometimes driving revelation and other times transiently wading in the confines of the genre. Weak aside, here we track backward in a history rooted indubitably in progression and death in entering the dark vine-clad cast of Opeth’s second album, Morningrise.

In parallel with their debut release, Morningrise follows an itinerant structure, unrestricted by frameworks of traditional musical phrasing. Lyrical themes speak to the institution of sorrow and loss, often depicting scenes of darkness and ominous serenity. The underlying tone of the album is sullen however clearly wades through different levels of energy and general heaviness. A generous number of interludes bedeck it often times swung in a ‘3/4’ feel in accentuating the characteristic folky undertone of the band’s early opus. Songs at large fuse well together, each riff fully portrayed yet seldom repeated thus melding into a rather protracted albeit compelling psychedelic experience.

Introducing the album is Advent – a riff jungle kick-started by a salvo of double kick and then bodied by soft-swung feels that build atop a score of elegant interludes. A duet melds in the composition of any one riff, at times narrowly yet safely scraping the barriers of dissonance. Åkerfeldt calls on a mix of clean and harsh vocals in a classic duo-entity to support a similarly arranged medley of progressions. And that is, in the end, what this song in particular proves to embody – much progressiveness – flowing from riff to riff in a delicate manner detailing the ups, downs, and plateauing of moods throughout. At large, it is a lack of deviation – where riffs are not so much repeated but may recur eight+ times devoid of aberration – which paints a continuously dreary scene while still eluding any semblance monotony, playing well into the feel of the album and rightfully setting the tone for what lies ahead. Night & The Silent Water follows in the footsteps of Advent in the sense that it also consists of melodious dualities that together comprise each melody. Tremendous atmosphere is cast with clean harmonies and a dry bass tone, sustained by a warm, tempered drum beat and relaxing distant croons. Heaviest moments have Nordin and DeFarfalla refraining from driving rhythm, pace or feel, their accompaniment greatly enhancing the cutting of trebly distortion. A true candlelight track, Night does well to carry forward the mood. Nectar returns us back to the path laid in Advent, juggling between undertones of austerity, death and general folk feel. These two tracks alone provide an accurate snapshot of the nascent band because in listening one is almost unable to track the linkages in the face of their lavish flow, which is translated through not only Morningrise but their debut as well. Backward tracking is indeed hard to do, but to linger on this would be trivial because the distortions found (like pulling veins) or the warmth found of a hazy duet encompasses what an album like this is meant to do: create feel! Nectar, chock-full of dark grace, proves to embody the essence of the early band. Next, pace gets a kick with the highly divisive Black Rose Immortal. Indeed, the point of this 20-minute marathon is abridged to some in its assortment of riffs and salver of placidly swung acoustic duet and vocal-centric interludes. However, all limbs of this vicious beast appear incognito wading through, bridge to bridge, the 1/3-hour weave. And at the grueling mark the 19th minute we at last reach the nourishing teats of goat mother hell in a veil of blunt-force, whole-noted, blood drenched doominess adorned with the whining end-of-days wail of a vintage ‘O’-esque waning guitar. Perfection; but as a fan scouring the discography, seeking any further trace of this seed to quench my thirst, the void I find makes this feel as though I have fallen for the alien. Only eight bars were granted here, with nothing of the sort to ever return.

But in neglecting my love for the celestial, the burning question still remains: does the seamlessness of this composition justify the scrutiny it receives for its candid tiresomeness (at a whopping 20:15)? Had a craft been mastered; setting standards right from the get-go in epically long song writing? Likely not. And is there mediocrity here; ever-present in an endless arrangement of parts? Likely, yes. However, while these might be reasons for some to cut Black Rose short of glory what remains fundamentally genuine and good is found in its very animate listening experience. Sure, this track may be longer than necessary. But perhaps the intangibleness of creating a 1/3-hour pall of austerity is too often domineered by the technical aspect of the train-like linkages that comprise the effort. In its pallid nature, the record’s purpose is clear, so any tedium in its arrangement may need to be absolved in order to be appreciated.

The most melodic of the record, To Bid You Farewell, robed in melodies best fit for a time of solemn reflection, is nothing less (or more) than an elegiac ballad of woe. Clean vocals and kind percussions fuse into an inimitable harmony, resulting in a rogue track amidst the record. The slow yet swung, stringent yet free-lance tempo makes for absolute captivation as ten minutes wither suddenly away and the poignant, lingering picking of the final track marks the beginning of the end. It took me years to come to terms with Eternal Soul Torture as an equal constituent in the record. Dissonant and egregious in quality, resembling the very unconventionalities of “Black Metal” itself, it stands detached from the pack. Disregarding any atmosphere generated from the recording quality, here a hellish and nearly – or, if your raft floats, awesomely – blackened and doomy concoction is adorned to an otherwise solemn-sounding album as vengeance and retribution bleed through aggressive riffs and muffled vocals. Still, with so much to offer stylistically, I cannot blame myself for not necessarily itching to delve right into this one. But when feel is central to an album, any addition of dissonance can only add fuel to the fire, especially in the vital case of the final track.

And so. In terms of creative flow, Morningrise represents some of the best of what Opeth has to offer. The constant shift from theme to theme – darkness to grey – power to grace – accurately mirrors the longing portrayed in both lyrical themes and the album’s sleeve art in a skillful combination of wretchedness and beauty. However, this transient style cannot be without negative affect. For instance, scrubbed to the middle of a one song, it is difficult to immediately put name to riff due to the gushing flow from track to track; the haze cast makes it easy to get lost or forget what you were just listening to without a glance at the title. This aside, traversing through the record proves to be a sound and organic process ultimately culminating into an elemental Åkerfeldt-Lindgren experience. Nordin, and DeFarfalla deserve praise as well; their incorporating jazz-style influences into the multitude of interludes and melodies provide purpose, if nothing else, to the progression of energy. Bass licks seldom stray from guitar lines but at times climb up the octave to augment basic undertones in heavier moments and more open and free spaces. In effect, yet not so much as to take root anywhere near the field of “Black Metal”, the sound quality of the record is value added to the listening experience. There is a better clarity in audial contour than their debut while still retaining a tonal aloofness, as if played from just barely further than one would expect of a death metal record. That distant, grey colorant each track has to offer would later fall to the explorative nature of succeeding albums, bending at large to changes in influence, musical interests and to the life of Åkerfeldt as a father – so leading to the band’s progression as a whole toward more suitable themes and structures. Regardless, Opeth at Morningrise will always hold an especially unique place in the scene.

In welcoming your visitation a seat in the fog awaits. Grab some (good) headphones, ease up, and let the darkness embrace you.

A step back - 30%

The_Desolate_One, November 9th, 2011

Morningrise is Opeth's second effort, elaborating upon the style presented in Orchid that would somewhat become the staple for the band's sound. Orchid, however, while offering a fairly fresh style at the time, mixing melodeath, doom and prog, suffered, structurally, from being a huge mess. But, if we didn't know better, we could chalk that up to inexperience, as it was their debut after all. One could hope that Morningrise, then, would offer some maturation upon that formula. A quick glance on the length of the songs, though, suggests otherwise: 5 songs, all over 10 minutes. Is this pure self-indulgence or had Opeth matured and learned how to properly compose long songs instead of random collages?

Well, just try to guess judging from the score I gave! But here, let us take a brief look into the structure of the first minutes of “Black Rose Immortal” – a fan favorite, if only for being 20 minutes long – so that you can see what I'm talking about: starting off with a heavy, uptempo riff and growls, it soon breaks into a sweet but completely unrelated guitar melody that, even though it's only repeated a few times, wears out its welcome pretty soon. Then you have the typical Opeth random acoustics before hearing a slight variation upon that melody that inexplicably gives way to a fast, more metal-ish, riff with some more growling, and then... silence, some water noises and more acoustics. If you were listening to any other band you'd think this is another song completely, but we're still only 4 minutes and a half into this monstrosity. Also other bands could have made these 4 minutes into something memorable and interesting, but not Opeth. No, they're still on their intro. An intro to what, one may ask? Something awesome, hopefully? Nope. The rest of the song goes the same way, and so does the rest of the album. No build-up, no tension, no dynamic, nothing. Just riffs and sections and acoustic bits and pieces that sound OK by themselves, but when pieced together make no sense at all and leave no lasting impressions on the listener. In a way, Morningrise is the metal equivalent of elevator music: great for playing in the background as no moments are really jarring, but becomes increasingly annoying the more you pay attention to it and its faults.

Not that I condemn unconventional songwriting, but this is damn ridiculous. Even this same type of random stringing of different sections together can work, but in other bands and with different purposes. Soilent Green, the Melvins and Mr. Bungle, for example, are bands that can pull off the spastic, A.D.D., seemingly random songwriting and make it work in their favor, but they have a completely different atmosphere that leans towards a weird, dirty, chaotic sound. When you have a sullen black and white picture of a forest and some ancient ruins by a foggy lake on your album cover, it doesn't work too well, as it ruins any melancholy atmosphere you may be trying to develop, like a circus parade suddenly passing by your window while you're trying to look despondently at the landscape and focus on your own feelings of depression and lost love. Completely anticlimatic.

To be fair, though, there's exactly one song here that doesn't follow this (lack of) structure, and that is the ballad “To Bid You Farewell”. With most of it being just acoustics, mellow lead guitar melodies and clean singing, it progresses, slowly building up tension and suspense towards a heavier climax (though still not really extreme) at the 7th minute before the song's quiet denouement. As such, it works as the best and most emotional song on the album (though it certainly wouldn't if it were randomly broken up by faster and heavier riffs and growls), and the only reason I didn't give Morningrise a lower score. Looking back now, the fact that this, the only song with any cohesion, is the least metal song in the album should have been an indicator of what was to come in the future (2003's Damnation and now Heritage) and of what are Mikael's actual musical tendencies. Not that there are any problems with that, but if you think this is a metal masterpiece or a work of poetic genius, you're only fooling yourself.

"Dancing into the void, we are almost there." - 93%

blitzkraven, November 1st, 2010

Back in 1996, a little upstart band from Stockholm Sweden released a follow up to their previous year’s debut album Orchid. These first two LP’s, along with their third outing, My Arms Your Hearse, follow a fairly unique pattern of not following any pattern at all. Each song utilizes a myriad of riffs that never actually repeat beyond their initial use in the song. Only on Still Life did they even broach the possibility of repeating anything in more than one place in a song. Very few bands in the world of rock and metal can match the sheer amount of riffs employed in Opeth's first three albums. Moment after moment, the boys from Stockholm craft mystical metal masterwork without ever repeating anything.

This was the first album by Opeth I ever picked up. I happened upon it as referred by a Tool CD section in Borders. I can't say that Tool and Opeth run along very similar lines, but the recommendation was well worth it. I chose Morningrise specifically because it had the longest song lengths, and I like to get my money's worth if at all possible. At 1:06:05, this album is the third longest in their studio catalogue by only about half a minute, but they accomplish this all with only five regular tracks.

Opeth was actually one of the bands that got me into death metal vocals. I put up with and grew to love Mike's brand of screams all for the sake of the truly amazing music involved, and I assure you that the music on Morningrise is indeed amazing and beautiful. The highlights of this album include their longest song to date in Black Rose Immortal, and their first and longest all-clean-vocals song in To Bid You Farewell.

Upon first listening to Advent I was absolutely floored by the opening riff. It's arguably the most memorable in all of Opeth's catalogue. The song follows the typical high-low pattern of their songs by transitioning fluidly from aggressive metal energy to folky acoustic guitar. Around 3:20 they take an instrumental break that includes a very interesting interlude by Johan DeFarfalla on bass. They come raging back from another break just after 8:00 with another fantastic riff which bleeds into another that again includes a bass run by DeFarfalla. 10/10

The Night and the Silent Water runs all the way through it’s length with a mournful and contemplative feel befitting its melancholic subject matter. The boys never hit a false step, and Mikael croons over the loss of his grandfather during some of the most heartfelt acoustic passages in the bands history. The song ambitiously reaches for its ending with about three and a half minutes left with a semi-epic crawl up the song’s crescendo. 9/10

Nectar begins with a much more aggressive riff and follows a path of anger through the emotionally tortured lyrics up to a truly epic peak at the end of the song. The only calm in the storm of metal comes just before the seven minute mark with a peaceful acoustic and moment of lyrical resolve that abruptly segues to the climax. 10/10

Black Rose Immortal always stood as a test of willpower to me before I actually had the time and resolve to devote twenty straight minutes to paying full attention to this brilliance. It can effectively be split into two parts. The first half volleys back and forth heavy riffs and mystical acoustic moments before letting a bass solo introduce the first climax right at 7:27. It took me a while to notice the Easter Egg at 7:51, but Anders Nordin decided to bless us with a bass/snare nuance by breaking up the main beat to see if you’re really listening. The second half of the song begins just after the first lead solo and consists mainly of two large acoustic sections sandwiching a heavier one, the second leading into the final run of the song. The final solo is a truly epic moment. What it lacks in length it more than makes up with punch and a sense of finality. It seems to me as though the two solos in this song definitely build upon one another, and they sort of revisit (and to a degree improve upon) a moment from the beginning of the solo in Forest of October. This song deserves a perfect rating for actual content, but I must deduct half a point for the small lack of accessibility. It will likely take people more than one listen to fully appreciate this song, and many more than that to catch all of the nuances hidden within the notes. 9.5/10

The final song on this record, To Bid You Farewell, caries it’s weight in utter sorrow and then some. It has a slightly longwinded beginning, but it’s all still masterful acoustic phrasing. Just before 5:40 they begin to utilize keyboards bringing much appreciated depth and atmosphere to the song leading up to the final heavy section on the album. There is a riff buried in this area that sounds slightly awkward, but that could just be me. 8/10

I call this album the peak of Opeth’s songwriting career. They haven’t hit any wrong steps thus far, but as far as sheer creative force, Morningrise stands out aggressively for me. They’ve certainly grown in many great ways since then, but they cannot, and apparently, will not recapture the same utterly progressive and scenic metal feel that they illustrated so perfectly here. Go forth and dance into the void.

Progressive Assurance - 94%

marktheviktor, August 2nd, 2010

Like many metalheads, I too was heavily into Opeth in the early years. Additionally, I dried out on their long winded, over wound progressive dark metal. There are still some songs from their other records that are interesting but Morningrise (and perhaps half of My Arms, Your Hearse) stands as a masterpiece album. It's their magnum opus. Most of the other albums can be boring. It's true. But if I run into another person who says this band has zero musical talent, I will dismiss them at hand. It simply isn't true. They may put you to sleep, tax your patience or sound like a parody of themselves nowadays but they do have undeniable music ability. Such a band will have at least one masterpiece and this is the one. It's of grand length like all the others but the band uses every second of it constructively to bind it all so tightly together. Melodies are woven in simpler. Transitions are smoother. Rhythms are sensible and organic. All those attributes make for one reflexive context for compelling songwriting as this album is.

This is the record you want if you are more partial to Katatonia's classic material. It may not be as gloomy and sorrowful in the same way that Dance of December Souls and Brave Murder Day but it carries the same intent and production values. Morningrise was recorded early enough in the band's career where you can even pick up on some black metal residues in a couple of the riffs. Though they're not as apparent as on Katatonia's first LP. But really, if you are looking for speed and aggression above all else, what the hell are you doing looking for it in an Opeth album? There is a Metallica thrash metal-like aggression on Morningrise but Opeth incorporate it with a certain objective that is spoken for: to paint a baroque of tranquility and despair with apparition rising down to haunt a dirt nap. Yeah, that approach might be too rich for many as it certainly was on Still Life but on Morningrise it works to astounding success. Peter Lindgren's playing is invaluable when it comes to the faster sections of riffs. While Mikael Åkerfeldt pulls off his best performance in the harsh growls. And he is a damn good singer in general but I was never a huge fan of his growls on later works. What he does perform on here is a less gutteral and more screaming delivery. And his clean vocals on song Advent are effectively deadpan. He was much younger and you can tell he was a rather self conscious clean singer back then. That lends well to the sense of introspection and isolation of the track. Morningrise precedes the tenure of Martin Mendez. Johan DeFarfella is nowhere near as good as he but the spartan quality of his bass tone adds to the Mediterranean rhythm/acoustical enhancement on the album even when it comes off as a bit fart laden at his low strings.

For sleuths looking for more evidence to out Opeth's alleged claim of being a legitimate progressive band under the false pretense of mitigating keyboards, I got news for you: you won't find it here. The band accomplishes progressive metal fully without any of that(aside from a couple trace instances used for bass and other rhythm effect). It's just Mikael and Peter on guitars without either of the two Martins as a rhythm section. Progressive or no progressive, Morningrise is a great listen. But since we're on the subject, I grew up loving classic rock and progressive to begin with so this is an album that naturally will appeal to someone like me. Åkerfeldt is known to insert some of that artistry on an album and tastefully so. An album like this can be fun to play spot the influence. Pink Floyd, anyone? Ergo, Mikael's acoustic guitar happy sounding passage and singing on Black Rose Immortal is such a blatant nod to David Gilmour it will tickle the Floyd-ian fandom pink. And it doesn't end there. To Bid You Farewell contains a long acoustic intro with one small rhythm chord in particular lifted from Animals(from Sheep or Pigs on the Wing-I can't recall which right now but it's there, listen for it.)

While I tend to enjoy classic prog rock a little more than progressive metal, Morningrise persuades me how sweet it can sound when done right with metal. They succeed in employing the sound well with a theme. Morningrise portrays sadness, tragedy and downfall as it could be like a musical equivalent to an old Ingmar Bergman b&w unlike Opeth's more recent albums which feel more like a pitch to Konami to score a Silent Hill sequel. If you enjoyed Orchid and My Arms, Your Hearse and also a fan of early to mid Katatonia records, there is no reason to not greatly enjoy Morningrise. And it's better than all of those.

No Originality. How Shameful. - 62%

Lunar_Strain, April 28th, 2009

Morningrise, the sister album to Opeth's debut 'Orchid'.

Not much has changed in the course of 11 months it took to record and release this CD after Orchid was put on shelves. Opeth seems to have stuck to the tradition of writing very Melodic Death and, again, Black Metal riffs much in the vain of early Dissection and At The Gates. Their progressive attitude towards their music is fortified only by Mikael's signature style of singing, which is used much more abundantly on this album than on 'Orchid'. It's safe to call this a 'Sister' album, granted that there has not been any major change in song writing, style, or even their production -- which still makes me look back at 'The Somberlain'.

The process of such repetition for song writing has not gone well for Opeth this time. 'Morningrise' is a bland, and often times dull representation of Opeth's early career. It is an essential copycat of their first album; everything on this record was done on the previous one -- the sound quality and production included. It's a disappointing factor for me, because this band is .. a bit of a mystery. They seem to invoke a strong feeling nostalgia whenever I ponder their album covers and listen to their music. That's a good thing. I like bands who not only play solid music, but who can actually push my mind into deep thought as such. But, this may be Morningrise's only truly redeeming aspect. Everything else: See 'Orchid'

The album continues the same formula as the previous, with long, drawn out tracks (All of them over 10 minutes long. The shortest track is 10 minutes and 9 seconds. The longest track pushes 20 minutes and 14 seconds), epic sections of harmonized scales, acoustic passages, Mikael's Vocals (Representing Black Metal more than Death Metal), and drumming that can be rather jazzy at times.

However... it still falls short of the brilliance that was 'Orchid'. This is Opeth's attempt, I'm sure, to go beyond the limits they had set for their first release, but this album is no better, nor is it any worse. I, myself, find it boring. There's not a bad song on here, but there are all the same problems and all the same qualities that were on 'Orchid'. Ridiculous track lengths, the guitar riffs go nowhere, the tempo never changes, etc.

Unfortunately, 'Morningrise' is better left for use as background music, rather than something to sit down and enjoy.

Enjoyable, but with jarring structures - 90%

natrix, January 23rd, 2009

This was the first Opeth album that I got, and at first I didn't like it too much. A few parts had some nice acoustics, a Maiden-esque melody here and there, or a cool fretless bass fill, but nothing grabbed me. I had to listen to it front to back, chilling out to really appreciate it, and despite its flaws, I still like this album.

As I've said in my review for Orchid, Opeth is a pretty odd band. The production is once again kind of soft, never blasting you in the face, and the songs are longer than ever. It's not entirely that the band is throwing in random acoustic/electric/acoustic pieces, because in quite a few places they flow without a hitch (there are three movements in "Black Rose Immortal" that build quite beautifully, or the closing "To Bid You Farewell"), but the band shies away from using any type of coherent hook. It makes it difficult to remember anything from what you've heard, and rarely entices you back for more. What's even worse is that on here, there are quite a few places where the transitions are downright jarring, and that disrupts the flow.

If you've ever listened to Tangerine Dream, or even better, the Scorpions' Lonely Crow, you'll realize that these structures are quite similar, and though Opeth uses metal elements in their music, the concept is nearly identical. The album is like some sort of shaman's drug as opposed to drinking, where you spend time absorbing the artwork, the lyrics, and the music, to get some sort of bizarre, psychedelic feeling, rather than partying. You get a broad impression first, then later enjoy particular elements.

I certainly cannot recommend this to all metal fans, even though a lot of the music is really good. This is not headbanging music, it feels more like something you'd throw on to zone out on a rainy autumn day.

Enjoyable early Opeth. - 74%

Nhorf, November 8th, 2008

Morningrise is the second Opeth album and it is a decent improvement over Orchid. Orchid was a decent album but had a big problem: the songs could have been much better composed since the majority of the tracks out of that album sound disjointed. On songs like “In the Mist She Was Standing” there are absolutely no transitions between the guitar riffs, at times Akerfeldt and Lindgren just stop playing them, there are some seconds of silence, and then another riff kicks in. As a result, the album was absolutely chaotic (in a bad way, obviously) and the whole listening experience was just a nightmare, since it's very hard to get into the record.

Morningrise is, fortunately, better, the songs don't sound that disjointed and are generally much better composed. However, some tunes could have been a bit more polished, an example is the longest track of the album, “Black Rose Immortal”, which clocks in at around twenty minutes. I love that epic song and I consider it to be the best track of the bunch, but it shows some big compositional problems. It flows pretty well until the eight-minutes mark, when a beautiful acoustic riff is unleashed. The problem is that the transition between the heavy part and the mellow part is too abrupt, it could have much better worked, in my opinion. Anyways, “Black Rose Immortal” still is the best tune of the whole album, containing lots of different segments, both heavy and calm. The highlight of the track is the mellow section that I've already mentioned, absolutely beautiful mellow prog there. An essential Opeth song, all in all.

So, by looking to the song lenghts, it's easy for you too see that the band hasn't lost their ambition: Orchid had a couple of very very long songs, but this album just takes the band to another level: all the songs are more than ten minutes long and the majority of them don't sound overlong, fortunately. Well, yeah, I said the majority of them because “Nectar” really should have been shorter. As a heavy song, it lacks energy, and as a long song, it lacks variety. I really think the band should have developed this track a little more, because there are a couple of riffs on it that are pretty damn good. On the other side of the spectrum is the album's opener, the mighty “Advent”, which probably is also the faster tune of the bunch. It also contains a nice bass solo near the end, which is always a nice thing to hear. In fact, the bass playing on this record is very audible and just stellar: Farfalla's style is admirable and it really is a shame that he had to abandon the band. The drumming is pretty good too, the sticksman isn't as good as Martin Lopez though (few are, in fact!), but he still delivers a solid performance, albeit not flashy at all.

“To Bid You Farewell” is another highlight of the record, showing an experimental Opeth: the track is mostly played with the acoustic guitar (well, there's a section with some heavy riffs, but it only last for one minute, I think) and Akerfeldt uses his clean voice many times. While he was not, at this point, the wonderful clean singer he is now, he still delivers an heartfelt and emotional performance during this tune. On other hand, his growls are as ferocious as ever, aggressive and very very raw. Returning to “To Bid You Farewell”, its structure is very complex and it's not an easy track to swallow, it's, in fact, a track very hard to get into. Still, it deserves attention, it is one of the most underrated Opeth songs. It's also their first proper ballad, as they later released more ballads similar to it, albeit shorter, like “Credence” and the marvellous “Face of Melinda”.

Morningrise is a pretty hard album to get into and it contains lots of epic songs, full of varied elements and segments. Expect many acoustic parts and also many heavy sections filled with raw growls and aggressive riffs. The calm face of Opeth kind of reminds me of old prog rock bands like Camel and the raw face of the band is close to death metal (the growls) and even doom metal, since some riffs are played very slowly and are generally pretty heavy. Although not a memorable piece at all, this is a good album and you should give it a try if you like your prog rock/metal melancholic and original. Highlights: “Black Rose Immortal”, “To Bid You Farewell”.

Best Moments of the CD:
-the calm middle section of “Black Rose Immortal”.

An early Opeth classic - 92%

Thuggernaut, January 29th, 2008

At first I didn't like Morningrise; I thought that it was too progressive, too complicated for its own good. Filled with long, moody atmospheric passages that seem to meander through infinite themes, Morningrise is a difficult album to take in all at once. Nevertheless, it is an Opeth classic for many reasons, as it has all the great musicianship that made Opeth famous in their later releases. This release sees Opeth in their early phase, heavily experimenting with their unique metal techniques. It has death metal elements, progressive metal elements, and even some doom sections to it as well. Morningrise takes awhile to warm up to, but the dedication is worth it.

The opener "Advent" is an excellent example of Opeth's hallmark blending techniques. Soft passages with an interesting groove are interspersed between death metal riffs and growling vocals. These techniques are also used in all the other songs of this album (save growling vocals on the last song). Unfortunately Akerfeldt's voice isn't as good and deep at this point as on the later albums, but it still manages to get aggressive and raspy, with an interesting black-metal edge to it. The lyrics are also more esoteric on this album, and include some bizarre grammar which may turn off some fans.

The best part of Morningrise is the atmosphere conveyed by the music. The band weaves a series of rhythms that keeps you off-balance and thinking. The song "Advent" is a perfect example of this: the song manages to be so tangibly tense, that you almost crave the slow passages to come and give you relief. However, the slow passages only serve to increase your tension, with excellent use of contrast to keep you guessing. By the end of "Advent," the less intense "The Night and the Silent Water" actually feels like a great weight has been lifted from you. For this reason, I recommend Advent as the greatest Opeth song off their first two albums; it simply cannot be matched in terms of power.

Perhaps the most unique part of Morningrise is the heavy use of bass guitar. It is a very prominent and important instrument in the album, unlike later Opeth albums and many, many modern extreme metal albums. I think that Johan DeFarralla certainly played a huge role in the overall result of this album with his excellent bass-work. It would most definitely be interesting to see if they had used the more prominent bass on their later works, and I wish that the bass was this up-front and dynamic in more metal. "Advent" includes the best bass on the album, and it certainly ratchets up the tension of that song.

Morningrise is an Opeth classic. It would be a shame for a fan to miss this early history of the band, and see where their great works began to take form. Give it a few listens and you will come to be intrigued by the album and the craftsmanship of the music.

I MAKE LONG SONGS!!! AM I NOT AMAZING????????????? - 32%

caspian, June 24th, 2007

"Morningrise can be enjoyed by anyone with an open mind, and those who take the time to listen. Cheers to Opeth for this Fine work of ART."

"I'd recommend to anyone who knows this band, anyone who wants to know this band (although Still Life may be a better starting point) extreme metal fans and fans of beautiful, epic and mindblowing music."

"Now, you see, that there are few flaws (if any) in this album, and it's definitly a must-own for any true fan of metal."

"It takes only three words to describe Morningrise: UNIQUE, BEAUTIFUL and MASTERPIECE. "

What? Is this the same album that I've just finished listening too? Obviously I don't have an open mind, or I'm not a fan of 'beautiful, epic and mindblowing music.'

...Or perhaps Opeth aren't anywhere near as good as people think they are. Perhaps, instead of this band being a landmark in progressive metal or whatever, Opeth are a somewhat amateur band, who make up for a lack in songwriting and arranging by writing songs that are really, really long, because everyone knows just how arty and poetic really long songs are.

Yeah, there really isn't anything that great here. It's undeniable that the guys in Opeth are solid at their instruments- most of the riffs are of the melodic death variety, and they're somewhat melodic and enjoyable on their own. Mikael isn't a very bad vocalist- his clean vocals are decent and his screams somewhat powerful, although a bit contrived. Still, I must say I enjoyed his clean vocals. 'To Bid You Farewell' has some good clean vocals, which accompanies some pretty nice prog rock balladry. It's a nice song, with some really tasteful leads. There's no doubt that Opeth can play some pretty tasteful stuff when they want too, and they are all pretty good on their instruments. This, combined with the powerful but clear production, means that many people who've never heard Opeth may well be impressed by the first few minutes of this album.

However, it's after the first few minutes that you start realizing that Opeth suffer from some more serious problems. It should be obvious to everyone that if you're going to write really long songs, you had better get your arranging and songwriting up to scratch. Most 'long-song' band realize this, whether it's a post-rock band always changing the dynamics, or a funeral doom band using subtle variations in the riffs. Unfortunately, Opeth haven't grasped the art of making long songs.

Perhaps that's because every Opeth riff is completely interchangeable. The clean parts are thrown in in a very haphazard manner. Not really making any sense, just being there- perhaps in an attempt to make things more arty, or poetic or what have you. The same could be said for many of the riffs. Indeed, most parts exist for the sole purpose of making the songs longer. Admittedly, when I just got into the more epic varieties of music, I loved the idea of both listening and writing 20 minute long songs. It just seemed so different, so unusual, so avant-garde, so arty and poetic. However, during my amateur attempts at song writing, I quickly learned that not only are 5 minute long songs more enjoyable to make, they're much harder to write then a poorly written 20 minute long song. Any with a guitar can write a boring 20 minute long song.

This point brings me along to the main travesty of this album, something which is a really good example of everything that's wrong with Opeth. It's the centrepiece of the album, the 20 minute long snooze-fest that's Black Rose Immortal. Fan-boys love pointing out that this song is 20 MINUTES LONG!! Because that's a really unique thing, something that no one has ever done before, of course. Anyway, after about 4 minutes of competent death metal riffs, the song stops and a completely unrelated clean guitar part comes in. For most bands, this is where the next song would start. However, due to Opeth's obsession with being all progressive, the song continues, undaunted by the jarring, sudden change in mood and tempo. It's worth noting that this isn't the only time this happens. This album is full of terrible, pointless changes throughout, destroying any cohesion throughout the album and making the whole very forgettable.

As a conclusion, I would say that there's plenty of people going "Obviously you don't listen to any interesting music, you can't handle the brilliance.' Well, to put it simply, I listen to a lot of out there, interesting music. I listen to hour long drone albums, and they are more interesting then this. Which brings me to the point of this review: They are more interesting because they slowly build, the riffs follow a logical pattern and the songs actually go somewhere, instead of wandering around blankly then ending.

In short: Don't buy this album, unless if you like songs that are really long but go absolutely nowhere.

One of the greatest Metal albums ever! - 100%

Whiteman, March 11th, 2007

It takes only three words to describe Morningrise: UNIQUE, BEAUTIFUL and MASTERPIECE. I'm a long time Opeth fan and i like every their album (from Orchid to Ghost Reveries) and each one is amazing in it's own way but Morningrise is simply the best and has to be amongst ten greatest Metal albums ever recorded! It's almost impossible to describe it by words but i'll try.

First, it would be pointless to describe every song individually because they're all equally great, instead, i'll try to write a review for the album as a whole. Morningrise is a pure naked melody. Melodies, melodies and even more melodies. Mikael really has that killer death vocals here (similar to those he did on Katatonia's Brave Murder Day album) and very emotional clean vocals (it will tear your mind apart!). Guitar sound is very sharp edged and "thin" and suits the album perfectly. All riffs are progressive and are executed perfectly. Yes it's true this album lacks of guitar solos (there are only few) but it really doesn't matter, you will enjoy it anyway because melodies are so beautiful they'll stick in your mind forever. Acoustic parts are great and sounding unreal. Transitions between distorted and acoustic parts are so incredible that it simply hurts! Rhythm section is truly amazing and plays very progressive with few pollyrhytmic parts that will make you smile of pleasure. Lyrics are intelligent and dark (mostly about death and sorrow) but somehow easy to understand and remember.

Production is really perfect. Not overproduced but, as someone already mentioned before, everything sounds very natural and "analog" and the whole sound is crystal clear. Take this advice: when you go to sleep, turn off all lights, put your headphones on, close your eyes, play Morningrise and ENJOY. Also, b/w front cover photo (Palladian bridge in Great Britain) is really breathtaking (even on CD format and i can't even imagine how fantastic it looks on LP) and makes this album a complete experiance not only for dark / progressive / death / gothic fans but for all people with good taste and with sense for art in a first place rather than brutality (don't get me wrong, this album is heavy but not as much as their later works).

As a conclusion, i will say only that Morningrise remains a timeless classic and the most melodic album (in all Metal and non-Metal genres) i've ever heard in my entire life! Oh yeah, the sticker on the original CD says: "EXTREME PROGRESSIVE METAL FROM SWEDISH GODS! 5 TRACKS IN 66 MINUTES OF THE BEST METAL YOU WILL EVER HEAR!" Believe me, it's all true!

Oh, how the mighty have fallen - 100%

GravesOfTheFathers, February 12th, 2007

Opeth has released eight albums so far over their entire career. I own seven of them (still need Orchid to complete my collection), and I can safely say that Morningrise is a masterpiece towering over them all. The band, notably Mikael, dislike playing any of these songs live and don't particularly enjoy remembering the first two albums of their career. To be sure, the production is pretty bad, and the playing not quite as sophisticated musically as in their later records. However, Morningrise shows them doing something unique that they haven't done literally since this record was recorded, though Ghost Reveries takes a stab at it: ORIGINALITY. Yes, Opeth, you carved yourself a nice little metal niche in which you can go from soft acoustic passages to death metal sections, but a man cannot live on My Arms, Your Hearse alone. They've killed the formula by now, and although I do enjoy almost every album in Opeth's catalogue, Morningrise has a sense of mystery, darkness, and atmosphere that the others lack greatly. They become Opeth albums instead of images and words that combine to make a portrait of death, sadness, and mourning. They've lost their sense of self, and it's a shame they didn't make more records like Morningrise.

The album starts off with Advent, a wonderful opener with the typical Opeth soft-to-heavy transitions. This album has far fewer death metal passages than any of their other work, and they seem to have worked harder on just about everything here. Every note seems sincere, every harmony unique. This is especially true for the acoustic parts, which are far folkier than the jazzy and classical styles explored on their later endeavors. The only downside musically is that there are very few solos/leads, which is something that Opeth excells at. Still, the solos there are are beautifully fluid, and fit well.

The bass is notably loud on Morningrise, and this is one place in which I must say the production worked to the album's advantage. The bass is miced perfectly (though DeFarfalla did use a six-string, which probably helped) enough that it follows the guitars when it needs to and harmonizes with them at the perfect volume when it's intended. The drums are the weakest part of the production sound, with the bass drums being notably "small-sounding," almost like a lot of black metal. I've debated over whether Opeth intentionally recorded this way, because everything sounds a lot more natural and analog than their later material, which is heavily overproduced (see Ghost Reveries and Deliverance). In any case, the production suits the album perfectly, and you'll definitely grow fond of it.

The Night and Silent Water is a great track with some amazing harmonies and a cascading ending, while Nectar is probably the fastest song on the album and most "metal." The bassline at the end of this song is one of the greatest things you'll ever hear. DeFarfalla rips the fretboard up. The man was stupidly great at the bass, and it's a mystery to me why the band let him go.

By the way, the rhythmic musicianship here is miles above anything Opeth have achieved since. Martin Mendez simply isn't nearly as good a bassist as DeFarfalla, though he can come up with some killer lines, and the drumming here isn't as obnoxious as it was from My Arms, Your Hearse until Deliverance, when Lopez started to hit his stride. The last 3 Opeth albums had killer drumming from Lopez, but he was inexcusably lame from MAYH to Blackwater Park.

Next is Black Rose Immortal. It's twenty minutes long, epic in every sense of the word, and definitely one of Opeth's best songs. The melodies here are amazing, and the lyrics are indubitably the best Mikael has ever penned. To Bid You Farewell is the last song, and is a soft, ballady number. Some wonderful vocal melodies and a jazzy guitar solo from Mikael, and the album comes to a soft close.

If you're trying to get into Opeth, get Deliverance first- it's a great album and shows their entire catalogue off better. But for a second or third purchase, be sure to pick up Morningrise. I haven't heard Orchid yet, but so far I would say it was the pinnacle of their career.

Their Best / Their Worst - 75%

OlympicSharpshooter, February 23rd, 2006

Ah Opeth, you devils and angels of the modern metal landscape. You intrigue through your duality, not simply your affection for combining acoustic and electric, but through the very contradictions that form the basis of your existence. Opeth have a singular blessing and curse within their subgenre because their appeal is simply too broad for across-the-board acceptance. Consider will you, the sheer number of mind-numbingly artsy and proggy bands who inspire such passion within the tiny subset of people with the patience and temperament to wallow through them. If Opeth's Morningrise were this band's only album, these folk would be celebrating it as one of the masterworks of the 90's and despairing that they were never able to record a follow-up. The average score for this album would be roughly 97% (on the basis of about four reviews), and the band would be sparingly brought up as one of the great unsung bands in metal. Problem is, Opeth somehow achieved some semblance of underground success bordering even on mainstream acceptance and suddenly Opeth's name is on everyone's lips. Suddenly, the band is being heard by people outside of the progressive death-doom circle jerk and suddenly complete neophytes are flooding the web with their badly spelled and hyper-enthusiastic rants about how great this band is and how everyone else should listen to them. And of course, the thesaurus-readers (and, in a rare alliance, the thrashers and brutal deathers) close ranks and mutter about how Opeth has nothing on [insert band].

The fact of the matter is, Opeth is neither the best nor the worst of their genre, merely the one that by hook or by crook actually got popular. I honestly don't know why Opeth were able to breakout beyond contemporaries and (in many cases, better bands) like Tiamat, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, At the Gates, or Celestial Season without a complete revision of their sound but there you go. Now we all get to see kids who slot Opeth in between Killswitch Engage and Unearth, and while it annoys me that these trendies know jack about the genre, maybe Opeth will help them learn. At the very least it should help their concentration skills, because Opeth challenges even mine and I’m the guy who awarded a 96% score to “Light of Day, Day of Darkness”.

Morningrise is exhibit fuckin' A of the duality I mentioned earlier. Riff for riff, break by break, what this comes down to are probably the best Opeth songs we're ever going to hear. Unfortunately, this is a result of Akerfeldt and company abusing the hell out of a loophole in the Metal Almanac, one found in the old maxim that the fan-favourite of any given album will be the most epic cut. So, Opeth theorizes, five ten minute plus songs will mean every song is everyone's favourite right? Not so fast say I as my eyes glaze over as yet another very good but insufferably long track gets rolling. Simply put, there's simply too much here, this relentless prog-pounding of dead-similar songs which renders the listener listless and bored as the album grinds mercilessly on by, through, and even over. It's fair to say that any one of these songs would be the best song on any other Opeth album or better yet, an album by some fictional band with the ability to compose capital E Epics like this along with songs demonstrating the great virtue known as brevity (lowercase b).

The opening track here, "Advent" is quite possibly my favourite Opeth song, and it showcases everything that is great about this album, all of the things that Opeth may well do better than anyone else in metal, and here doing it better than even they manage to do on other records. In my opinion, the song construction on the early Opeth records is quite a bit more advanced than on subsequent offerings, the songs flowing if not logically at least smoothly, cobwebbed acoustics seemingly growing from the twisted thickets of electrics rather than simply chopping their way through because Akerfeldt and Lindgren had gotten lost in their own riffs and needed a new starting point. The music also strikes much more directly toward the heart of folk that everyone from Einvolk to Ensiferum has realized is such a vibrant basis for metal music, the electric guitars performing many more harmony-based riffs and even dropping a few Maidenisms into the mix at times while the acoustics are much more folk in the Renaissance Faire medieval sense than the much more 60's folk-pop inflected acoustics of later efforts.

This is also a more truly progressive sounding Opeth in that they have a more complex sonic pallet, Dan Swano's mix highlighting every instrument and, while sacrificing the absolutely gorgeous sound the band would receive on later, simpler, and pricier albums, pays the listener back two-fold by allowing us to hear the bass chops of the extremely talented Johan DeFarfalla. Compositionally, DeFarfalla is given plenty of time to shine, his extremely tasteful and dauntingly flexible leads often overlaying the sturm and drang of the guitars, the man bringing an extremely melodic and full-bodied tone to the proceedings and reminding me of a similarly talented 'lead bassist' in Dream Theater's John Myung. Ironically, both bands would in later years begin burying their bass players and leaving them the more traditional role of guitar-Xeroxer, much to the chagrin of those of us with a serious love of a tasty groove or even simply another instrument to focus on sometimes. You notice how bands rarely if ever begin highlighting the bass as the years go on? Being a four-string samurai is a rough gig, lemme tell ya.

One of the major downsides of the album is the laughable lyrics, pretty much as bad as you can get in the field of broody, hyperverbose mopetry (mope + poetry) and unfortunately adding another layer of malaise as the band blathers on about 'achromatic voices' while battering you over the head with "I bet this would be awesome if I was stoned" psychedelic noodling. It's all just a bit too much, the band as earnest and naive in every respect as their lyrics, pretty much hook-free. Point of fact, I can't recall if there's even one single song on this whole droning bore of a record. And those who've been closely reading might have noted that I started talking about "Advent" and never actually stopped. This is because, to reinforce the point I made earlier, every song is pretty much the same other than closing snoozer "To Bid You Farewell", which is the same thing but mostly unplugged.

So yes, I think the songs are very good. They showcase both Opeth's extreme talent and crippling shortcomings but in the end come out as striking examples of extremely artful, and extremely graceful progressive metal songs. On the other hand, as a whole this album is more of an insufferable bore than any of their others. It is, I'm largely thankful, their last record before My Arms, Your Hearse opened up their sound and made it more palatable from an album standpoint, and since then the progression of Opeth's sound has been rather glacial, the band sorta haphazardly throwing slight variations at it and seeing what sticks. I remain deeply impressed by what these guys can do and deeply saddened by what has been lost because nobody had the balls to tell the band that they could use some editing back when they were grazing at their most verdant creative fields. Duality strikes again.

Stand-Out Tracks: "Advent"

Meanders, meanders some more, eventually ends - 25%

Cheeses_Priced, August 31st, 2004

Ah, Opeth. I used to have a lot of respect for this band. “My Arms, Your Hearse” made a pretty big impact on me when I first heard it, in large part because I’d never heard anything like that before. That’s a big selling point with me. I couldn’t quite get into their other albums so much, though, and in time, as the newness (novelty) wore off, “My Arms” dropped out of the playlist permanently as well. It got to the point where although I figured Opeth were a great band, I seldom actually listened to the music. It sort of plays into the old joke that Opeth’s music is so boring that even their fans have to pretend to like it, doesn’t it?

After a while, I did get a wakeup call. That would be “Blackwater Park”, the Opeth's fifth album. I’d anticipated its release heavily, hoping it would renew my interest in the band. When it finally came out I hated it so much it really made me rethink the way I looked at the band. By that album, the fact that they were a prog rock band in a metal disguise was difficult to miss. Aside from the growling vocals and heavy guitar tone it was more tame and mainstream than actual mainstream progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd – no offense to Pink Floyd, of course. “Animals” makes that thing look like a bad pop album. And the worst of it was... going back and listening to the old music, it wasn’t really all that different, in a lot of ways. The emperor never had any clothes all along. I was suckered. Well, live and learn, right?

I haven’t listened to the albums they’ve released since then. Are they any good? No, you say?

Anyhow, “Morningrise” is arguably the definitive Opeth album, as it more than any other shows off the full range of the band’s dynamics, their propensity towards long songs, their progressive rock influence, their impressive technical dexterity, and the moods they aim to convey. Going back and having another look at it though, I still must say that it’s not such a great album.

You see, the real trouble is that Opeth can’t really write long songs – as in, lengthy, fully developed, unified compositions.

Since everyone knows that to be a real intellectual metal artist and not some slovenly mullet-head you must of course write ten-minute songs, they have found at least two ways to circumvent this problem. In much of the newer material, they simply write three or four minute verse-chorus songs, then stick in extended proggy bridges and intros and outros here and there to pad the running time to properly epic proportions. An added benefit to this is that when it comes time to make the radio cut of the song and film the video, it’s very easy to figure out what to chop off.

The other way, as heard on “Morningrise”, is to simply lay a series of vaguely-related riffs and segments end-to-end until the song is as long as necessary. Also: repeating each riff many, many times helps, of course. The quintessential Opeth song “Black Rose Immortal”, the fourth track on this album, is the ultimate Opeth song simply by virtue of the fact that it stretches out for twenty minutes. However, one gets the sense that the riffs could be rearranged in almost any order and the song would work about as well... or half of the riffs could be cut out... or riffs from other songs could be spliced in at random... or all of the above.

And that’s the problem all over the album. Often the only way to be sure that one song’s ended and another’s begun is to look at the track counter on your stereo. I mean that quite literally. If you’re forgiving, you may be able listen to each riff in isolation (a few are very good) and appreciate this on aesthetic grounds, or out of admiration for the musicianship, or you might just be grateful that it at least doesn’t follow strict verse-chorus format. Personally, I’m not inclined to be forgiving at all: when there are so many bands out there making an effort towards fully-realized compositions, there’s no reason to listen to this unless you’re singularly fascinated with the idea of alternating between acoustic and distorted guitar parts. Also annoying is that, as I said above, much of the band’s playing style is derived from progressive rock music, meaning that in spite of all the band’s progressive pretensions, their style is one step forward, two steps back in terms of originality.

By the way, the best-written song on the album is “To Bid You Farewell”, in which Opeth completely shuts off their metal influences and simply writes a prog rock ballad – I almost get the feeling that’s what they’ve really wanted to do from the beginning of the album. But listen to it back-to-back with King Crimson’s “Starless” and see how well it comes off...

Beautiful - 92%

meedley_meedley, August 15th, 2004

This may be called Morningrise, but i find it more appealing to listen to very late at night. This is the first high point in the band's career (the second being Blackwater Park) This has some crushing riffs and melodic acoustics all over. What's interesting is that there's only 5 songs to be found, which may also ass interest. Clean vocals make a huge impact here, as opposed to Orchid, where clean vocals were tough to find (but theyre there.... somewhere) This is the bands 2nd best album in my opinion.

Advent builds up into some great riffs. A dark setting is put through. Some of that patented acoustic work in the middle of a song is found. A fretless bass is also used which helps to add to the atmosphere. One of the most melodic riffs I've ever heard comes in after a short palm muted, clean guitar riff. This carries the song for the next minute. The rest of the song is very dark and is just one of the best.

The Night and The Silent Water is heavy but later gives way to some sad sounding material. When the clean vocals come in, you can hear that singing need to be improved, which it eventually is.

Nectar is amazing. It starts off with a grooving beat and has an Advent sounding riff, with some nice bass work. This is probably the high point of the album. This is probably the most intense song on here, as most of the material on this album is a bit less intense as most of the bands catalogue. A very progressive feel, ala-Watchtower is felt in parts. The 8 minutes mark just made me jump in my seat. The surprising intensity that comes without warning just knocked me out. Nice riff at 8:50.

Black Rose Immortal may be a bit hard. Why? First off it's over 20 minutes long. To break this down piece by piece would take me all day, and there is just so much to cover, you may also lose interest. I will say this, it works as if it were a movie. Each piece moves like scenes in a movie, one after the other. I dont think theyve played this song in its entirety, ever. Still a great song.

To Bid You Farewell is the mellow song of the album. They would continue with this in the future. That fretless bass returns and leaves a great impact. That atmosphere mentioned before hits highest here. This is just one of those songs you can relax to if you've had a rough day. Great musicianship as always. This is also one of their best songs ever. And it does, bid you farewell.

This band is like the Pink Floyd of death metal. And much more intense. As a music lover and metalhead, this gets rotation every so often. I will admit this though. Opeth is not a band to listen to all the time. Much like Metallica's "Ride the Lightning". You dont listen to it more than twice a month, because it is so good, you dont want it to get old or overlisten to it.

And now i bid you farewell...

Oh my god... the music.... - 96%

WitheringToSerenity, March 31st, 2004

Opeth's 2nd release Morningrise brings Opeth into even more progressive metal territory and is well deserved of people's claims of this being their best. Musically Opeth have expanded and improved a fair deal since their last album Orchid. The variety of different guitar stylings and solo's is very noticable as in all Opeth albums. Acoustics are a bit faster than Orchid and still fairly slow tempo but still a great pace and atmosphere. Possibly some of their best but really pushes this album above their others is their guitar harmonies on this album. Simply phenominal even for Opeth standards! Their best album musically without a doubt in my opinion. Not as many heavy guitar riffs (ala intro to Karma-MAYH) which turned out great with made this a slower tempo release as well as one of Opeth's softest(pre damnation) softest albums.

Mikael's clean vocals have improved quite a bit from Orchid, although not used as much as later outings, still a factor. The growl is still death growls with BM influence I think is pretty good and goes great with the music but I prefer later vocals(one semi-weakness). The last albums we are treated to some very good basswork from Johan De Farfalla. Drumming is great, above average rhythm to go with exceptionally beautiful guitars. What more could you ask for? Oh yes, this track is five long, progressive metal masterpieces. Production wise its not the best but definitely an improvement. But this was is no problem for Opeth. One other noticable thing is the length of the acoustic interludes, which lengthen the songs but sets excellent variety of moods and atmosphere. This is surely one of the hardest Opeth albums to get into because of its progressive nature. Too much for some, but those who finally discover the beauty in Opeth's music will be rewarded in a very big way.

Advent is easily one of my favorite Opeth songs. I would almost say flawless intro building up to the verse and the guitar harmonies, acoustic blend was top notch as well as some great basswork near the end of the song. The Night and The Silent Water is also beyond amazing. Mikael's pain is clearly reflected in the beautiful yet mournful intro/verse distorted guitar melodies. Complete with great acoustics, well placed harsh vocals and one of the more memorable spots on the CD where Mikael softly speaks in a haunting, clean tone near the end of the song. Nectar is somewhat reminsicent of Advent, excellent guitar melodies and basswork to start but not quite at the same level of excellence. Not as much acoustic experimentation, but enough harsh vocals and chilling melodies to leave any Opeth fan breathless.

Black Rose Immortal is without a doubt the hardest Opeth song to get into clocking in around 20 minutes long... from the melodic beginning that turns extreme in what seems an instant, to the endless soaring guitar melodies to the excellent soft acoustic passages. This song is a true tribute to what Morningrise and Opeth as a whole are about. Their defining song. Not afraid to have parts as rare as solely vocal passages and really stretch the boundaries of progression in metal. Even contains one of the most cryptic closing riffs I've heard. To Bid You Farewell is a very soft song for Opeth standards and the first long, epic beauty they tried without growls. Mostly played with vast amounts of well played, memorable acoustic material that actually stands out from most acoustics on the album and some very epic, almost heroic distorted riffs in closing that foreshadow what is to come in the near future (*cough* face of melinda). Showcases Mikael's singing ability more than ever, which is great and propelled this as another of Opeth's endless amount of masterpiece material. This is very progressive even for Opeth standards, but truly a piece of beauty. It is beyond me why Mikael isn't as fond of this album(perhaps track 2). Anyone into memorable guitar melodies and progressive music altogether should undoubtedly check this out. One of my favorite Opeth releases and highly recommended.

Whoa! Not Quite Shit - 25%

Osmium, March 23rd, 2004

Barely skating the line between "bad" and "mediocre" and falling toward the former comes Opeth's Morningrise. Before I even opened it, I looked at the titles of the songs and the album itself. Unconvincing pseudo-depressed "poetic" imagery is all there is here, folks. This album could easily be described as something that goes against the metal stereotype - that this is beautiful - both in lyrical design and music, and that there is beauty in metal. Of course there is, just not here. Having good ideas and implementing them well are two completely different things, as I soon realized when I stuck this into my CD player.

First impressions are important, right? Well, a boring intro leaves a lasting mark - one that foreshadows a boring album. Some kind of weird echoing guitar begins the first track, followed by a moderately promising deathy style intro... Except that it was good for about 20 seconds. Then it slows down again for some reason. I have no problem with accoustic passages but when they come at random times and lack any real melody (that's right, these stupid accoustic intervals lack melody. they are sets of 5 or 6 notes being repeated over and over). Blast beats are great in aggressive, violent, or chaotic songs. Aggressive, violent, and chaotic this is not, however there are blast beats. Yet another anomaly. The riffs are not very fast, are incredibly repetitive, and lack AGGRESSION. I don't think it's possible to objectively describe a good riff, but most will agree that some riffs are simply NOT VICIOUS. In this case, they are "just there," the same as the blast beats and the vocals. I do not get why Akerfeldt is roaring his head off if he's trying to sing about some lost romance or some cheesy shit like that. I lost count of the accoustic passages in the first song and they seem to come and go randomly. I have a problem with this. I do not have a problem with Iced Earth's "Solitude" because it is two minutes of accoustic guitars that build on one another to create a beautiful melody. Ten minutes is a bit overboard though, especially since there seems to be only one accoustic guitar and no variety in melody. Apparently at the 7:40 minute mark I have run out of things to write because this is one LONG accoustic passage. Okay, it's still going. Yay, more boring riffs. This is starting to annoy me: I can write a moderately spiteful review faster than it takes these guys to cycle through their stupid accoustic passages. "SHADOW!!!" Bah, oldest imagery in the book. Okay, I think that for the remainder of this song, I will do my AP Biology homework. Whoa, it speeds up at 9:30! And a nice bassline, too! Yes... yes... no. Too fucking long with the same riff. Okay, back to the same boring one that was at the start of the song, more seemingly uninspired growling and roaring. Akerfeldt is a good vocalist, but not a very good song writer (or whoever the fuck writes the songs for these douches). JESUS CHRIST, THIS RIFF IS GETTING ON MY NERVES. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Moaning?! Is this supposed to be beautiful? It sure as hell isn't. The same four notes for another bloody minute. ARGH. Boo-hoo, here I am listening to this when I could be writing about secondary ecological succession. I think it takes this song about as long to get going as it takes an old man after an ice cold shower to get an erection. That imagery somehow seems more entertaining than what is currently "assaulting" my eardrums. Okay, it slows down and down... BUT IT'S NOT OVER?! I hate to sound like Boris (well, not really) but... OH SWEET! IT'S FINALLY OVER!! On to track two.

A good riff, I admit, albeit a bit slow begins this next monstrosity. 40 seconds later it slows down again. Bloody hell, more slow riffs with Akerfeldt's un-emotional vocals. I can growl while ordering a McChickenBurger (though I never would be caught dead at McDonald's) and sound more inspired and convincing than this. The growls are good, but they have no direction; they do not support the music, the music does not support them, and JESUS GRANDMOTHERSODOMIZING CHRIST. It was more pleasant writing to this when I wasn't paying any attention to it. At around three minutes we get yet another accoustic passage. I wonder, is there a point? To these passages, I mean. Or even to these songs? OR TO ANYTHING THESE SCHMUCKS PUT OUT?! I'm diabetic and if I have a seizure from this, I'm suing Opeth. It's infuriating how THE SAME NOTES CAN BE PLAYED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AAAAAHHHHHH. I'm thinking that maybe after listening to this I could write great atmospheric black metal instrumentals like Varg - the frustration of this is REALLY FUCKING argh... getting to me. Oh god. No. It's only at six minutes. SKIP, BITTCH!! (obligatory Dave Chappelle reference).

Ooh, here comes nectar. This song should either be sweet or have stingy consequences (bee-stings, anyone?). Not surprisingly, it is neither, starting with the standard deathy riff, playing it for however many minutes, with more unconvincing growls. I am starting to see a pattern between these songs: nothing has a real point, and none of these passages or instruments are connected. Ah, if only this wankery was a bit more varied. I feel sorry for the schmucks who convince themselves that they like this. Holy shit, I just realized something. These guys seriously lack solos. I think there was one earlier, but I may have missed it. In either case, the solos should sound detached from the rest of the instruments - leading them, or going much faster than the rest. Wait, here comes one at about 4 minutes. It isn't shredded (which is how solos should be done), it is moderately short, and it, like everything else on this album, is hard to distinguish from the other melody played by the various other instruments. I kinda lost track of what he was singing about, but all this hypermetaphoric crap gets on my nerves. The riffs and vocals seem to really fall apart at around 5:30, with one lagging behind the other. Oh, and more moans/chants with the same riffs. Goddammit, this isn't getting anywhere. Obligatory accoustic..... YES, I was right. 4 notes. And the most horrid thing about this is that it seems to completely fade away, and yet it does not end. It starts back up, almost to the point of a transition, but doesn't do that either. The music is unpredictable when it comes to conventional wisdom in accordance to what GOOD music should sound like. However, the pattern is incredibly simplistic and not quite original: just done far too many times. Wait. Did Akerfeldt just whine "I miss you?" COME THE FUCK ON. This is metal, not emo. And even if it was emo, what the hell is with the 13 minute song average? 9 minutes, houston, WE HAVE A RIFF. But it kinda fades away to another, weaker riff... Interesting how that played out. Remind me never to write a song by song review for Opeth again. Or listen to them. Or do anything that has ANYTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THEM.

Black Rose Immortal starts off with some promise: a nice riff that doesn't get old even after 2 minutes, until the accoustic passage gets here. It even seems somewhat in place. There is something of a transition to the next set of deathy riffs and it sounds almost like a solo. But I guess we can't go without murdering the riff, now can we? After the first two minutes, I do NOT want to hear this again. Akerfeldt actually does some pretty cool roars in this song, but it's twenty minutes long with pretty much the same riff... Come on now. The second accoustic passage does not transition nearly as fluidly as the first and enters the next section of the song with none at all. At about 7:30 the whole damn thing speeds up, giving way for some new riffs which are decent but once again get boring. Just because you play the same four notes a bit lower doesn't mean you're playing a new melody. At 8:15 there is a moderately cool solo but it's only about 20 seconds long and then we're back to the original riff. DIE OPETH DIE!!!! Was I biased when I started writing this review? Yes, I was. It's this album's fault. I'll skip the rest of the song until the end - you can guess what comes next. At the end there's a nice scream, but that's about it. God, what a wasted 53 minutes so far.

At least they had the common decency to stick to one type of melody in this song: accoustics. They are BORING AS FUCKING HELL, but hey at least it makes some sense, right? Oh no, here come the weak deathy riffs again. If this album is smote from this earth, I will convert to Christianity. ARGH. Vocals are t3h bad. WHINY EMO BAD!!! I PREFER GROWLS (even lame ones) over this stupid shit. Whatever, I can't take any more and my essays aren't getting done by themselves.

Do your blood pressure a favor and avoid this album. Or use it to play frisbee with your dog (which is what I will do tomorrow).

Opeth's best work - 83%

Orion_Crystal_Ice, October 10th, 2003

Opeth - Morningrise. Death tinged ultra melodic metal with gothic, grandiose progressive tendancies. 5 songs, over an hour long, no song under the 10 minute mark. Depending on the person, this sort of album is usually either the epitomy of all that is supposedly 'wrong' about music, or a portrait example of so many things done right. I fall into the latter group, and quite deeply. How does one listen to this sort of album, or review it? Well, quite easily - that is, if you're fanatical about good music and you have a well working attention span.

On 'Morningrise', Opeth triumphs in many ways; the root of which being that a certain large amount of the metal rulebook is completely thrown out the window; as much as it can be while still enabling the band to pull off this mesh of metal well and squarely in the genre. Yes, Opeth is metal. No, this, their second album, is not anything most metal fans would expect. The songs on Morningrise are not fist pumping metal anthems, nor speedy, raging riff-fests, keyboard drenched 'prog' workouts, or any other heavy subgenre mainstay styling. Not that there's anything wrong with styles that are more easily labelled. Opeth simply paves a different fork in the road for these songs. Actually, one would be hard pressed to generalize the material as 'songs' the majority of time. These are compositions, dark, introspective, indulgent musical journeys that play as if the roadmap is being charted as they go along. Tempo changes are ever present, yet tasteful. Midtempo sections with classic metal guitarlines and paceful double bass drumming weave in and out around quieter, acoustic sections accompanied by a sense of bittersweet calm. Within all this, a part is rarely repeated in each composition beyond it's original appearance, yet with each listen they flow clearer like a stream, ultimately revealing a solid writing foundation. Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren's guitar work is simply awesome - while not chock full of solos, the compositions on Morningrise are bursting to the brim with dual, perfectly harmonized rhythm work and delicate yet complex acoustic parts that do well to show off a certain emotive synergy between the two musicians. Akerfeldt's vocals are generally good.. while his death metal growl tends to be a bit too monotonous at times, his clean vocals are smooth and powerful in their subtlety and serve as a well working contrast. Anders Nordin's drumming is skillful, albeit a bit too one dimensional in his double bass playing. The secret weapon this lineup of Opeth delivers however is in the form of bass player Johan DeFarfella. His warm, organic basslines bring out the best in the instrument and the music in general, whether he is serving up the third part of an already memorable harmony, contrasting underneath an acoustic interlude in a dynamic call-and-response manner, or plying his melodic licks directly in the spotlight as a lead in for the next section of the composition. The bass presence on Morningrise is stunning (though ironically enough, Akerfeldt is a lesser fan) and is sorely missed in later efforts, as Johan parted ways with the band after this album. The resulting mood is tremendous and fitting - even from first glance you see the richly bleak stone structure at the waters' edge that makes up the cover art, the grey leaves on the back, the booklet's dark, blurry picture of the band in surrounding woods - do we get the point yet? Not even, unless you experience Morningrise all 66 minutes through.

Each composition here is vastly different, yet oddly similar due to the progressive style Opeth pervades. Starting off with a shimmering, haunting guitar intro that fades into one of many excellent intro sections, Advent is the first step of the reflective journey through death and lost love that Morningrise seems to be. The song is perhaps of the former category, with atmospheric, almost nocturnal sounding midtempo passages surrounding sorrowful lyrical moments like 'How I drape my face/With my bare hands/The same that brought me here/But you were beyond all help/The folded message that wept my name.' Rather than the electric, acoustic, or bass guitar work alone, the music's power is exemplified and carried emotionally by a perfect balance of the three, that makes itself a place in abundance. The words are presented with the layers of music here better overall than almost any other piece on the album, and the extra, carefully executed swirling atmospherics of some of the guitar work makes Advent not only an album highlight but a career highlight for the band.
After the closing, slow acoustic chimes of Advent the album continues with The Night and the Silent Water. Starting off much more straightforward, with a simple midtempo pace and some almost laid back harmony rhythm work, the song shifts into one of the best moments of the album around the 3 minute mark with some memorable acoustic parts and excellent drumwork by Anders Nordin. The song is one of the clearer on the album, lyrically speaking, with the section highlighted by the clean vocals of Akerfeldt - 'Am I like them?/Those who mourn and turn away/Those who would give anything to see you again/If only for another second', followed by an even more mellow breakdown and back into another heavy section which finds Akerfeldt growling 'Your face was like the photograph/painted white'. The pain of the death of Mikael's grandfather shows clearly. The more straightforward, stable emotional expression both stands up well on it's own and makes for the song a very seperate entity then the other songs, despite staying close in style and overall mood. Oddly enough, Mikael Akerfeldt himself is not fond of the song, but there can be no denying the excellent songcraft contained within upon hearing the soft acoustic intro presented at the 7:40 mark, building up to a sad, almost pessimistic sounding passage in terms of the riff melody and heaviness, and climaxing with Akerfeldt whispering disjointedly, 'You sleep in the light/Yet the night and the silent water/Still so dark'. Fading out with a few slowly plucked chords, the song manages to continue the journeying feeling of Morningrise strangely appropriately, working on every level.

Nectar is closely similar to Advent in style, though not structuring, and lyrically seems to focus on lusty dependance in a neglective relationship, in a bit of a nightmarish context. While not as strong overall as some of the other songs on the album, it is made a highlight by featuring a great solo and some of the very best riffs - electric, acoustic, and bass - on Morningrise.

Black Rose Immortal comes next and is the longest song on the album at 20:14. Unfortunately, it is also a few steps weaker then the rest. While bringing back the nocturnal atmosphere of Advent and carrying it through most of the song, a lot of the parts are simply not interesting, though it starts off well. There are also some odd, somewhat awkward moments - a lot of the riffs in the first few minutes of the song sound identical to Running Wild (!), and while being an amazing band, their sound doesn't do so well within Morningrise, whether the similarities are coincidence or not. The section around the 11:30 mark is close to terrible, with a sleepy or drunk sounding Mikael Akerfeldt lazily singing 'You are in a forest unknown/The secret orchard/And your voice is vast and achromatic' over the most generic and bland moment of the album, which actually puts to light how well composed the other songs are. The song generally tends to plod in a stop-start fashion without the smooth, well written transition points of the other compositions, and being as the song is as long as the last two put together, this hurts the album a lot. Additionally, the lyrics are the worst on the album, going for a strong sense of nature imagery and metaphor in the tradition of the other pieces, but ultimately coming off like disjointed goth poetry with no real conclusions. Fortunately the band manages to pull off a nice ending with the closing line, 'It's getting dark again/Dusk shuffle across the fields/The evening trees moaned as if they knew/At night I always dream of you' laid down with a well fitting backdrop and fading into a swirling guitar. Black Rose Immortal is decent mood music at times, but does not accomplish itself well as a composition on Morningrise.

The last song, To Bid You Farewell, is the lightest and most straightforward on the album, and is the best along with Advent. Opeth proves here attentive to detail within the less complex material as well as the most complicated, with Anders Nordin's snare hits switching up tones tastefully and a slightly dry, echo effect on Akerfeldt's voice that bring out moments like the opening line, 'I am awaiting the sunrise/Gazing modestly through the coldest morning' brilliantly. About 8 out of 11 minutes of the song is acoustic, and the melody lines are sad as well as calm and ethereal, with a beautiful and restrained bassline from Johan DeFarfella contributing an additional melody that adds well welcomed spice to the parts. When the slightly heavier electric part dies back down to the acoustics and the last lyric of the album is ushered in - 'Why can't you see that I try/When every tear I shed is for you?' - it seems to be a clear feeling that Opeth managed to deliver their vision quite well on Morningrise, and the album, however flawed, succeeds well.

While there are certainly road bumps and inconsistencies to go through musically, Opeth crafts here an epic that would barely be reached by the less melodic and less adventerous bulk of their later work. Also, admittedly, though it was a 'for fun' sort of deal, the fact that the album is 66:06 long adds an uncomfortable juvenile sense to an otherwise well done and intellectual album. Overall, a great piece of music.

Mastery = Morningrise - 100%

Demon_of_the_Fall, February 15th, 2003

How can I really give this genuine masterpeice any less than one hundred percent? This has everything any music lover would want to hear. Alright now to the breaktaking morningrise, and i'll tell you truthfully that I wasn't totally into this cd when I first heard it. But with more and more listens I started to love this album. My first album by Opeth was Blackwater Park and then hearing Morningrise was like wow, what a huge change. Seeing as none of these songs come under the ten minuite mark (which is quite a feat), they all keep the listener very interested on what they will play next. There are alot of heavy cool riffs, plenty of acoustic passages that will make you feel you are walking through a forest, outstanding drum work, and genoius bass playing/slapping. I suggest listening to this album by yourself so you can fully appreciate it. Tune out everything you are doing at the moment and listen to Morningrise all the way through, and you will love it that much more. There are stellar tracks on here.

The first one is Advent which starts out with a cool little intro, then leads into some heavy riffery with some pounding double bass courtesy of Anders Nordin. This song ain't heavy all the way through as it gives us some nice acoustic guitars through some parts of the track (as well as most of the others). This is one of the bands personal favorite songs to play live. The vocals are very creppy and strong, and show no weak points. At 3:19 in Advent Opeth comes in with a master acoutic riff that I can never get out of my head. One of the greatest Opeth songs in my mind. Next is the track

The Night and The Silent Water that starts off midpaced, with a nice heavy riff, then rips in with some acoustic guitar for a few seconds then comes right back to fuck the shit out of any who dare to listen at the 00:56 mark. At 2:51 they come in with some great acoustic guitars and this goes on until 5:04 when they come in with a errie riff. At 7:35 in is where Opeth's climax of Night and the Silent Water starts with acoustic guitars and drums pounding. The riff at 8:56 sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it, and when Mikael whispers some words 9:30 mins in it just makes the song even morecreepy. I must point out how creative and original sounding this whole album is. I'm sure you will all realize with a first listen to Morningrise.

Nectar the is the next track that starts out with some drums, then breaks into a cool kinda groovy riff thats hella heavy and bound to catch your attention. A great track all the way through and starting at 8:50 is where the best moment of the track is. The bass is sooooooooo damned good it makes me want to buy a video on how to play bass.

Black Rose Immortal: Here is Opeth's Magnum Opus right here ladies and gents. Possibly Opeth's finest song, Black Rose Immortal spans an extreme 20:14 long!!! The riffs on this song cannot be compared to any other songs by any other group. This song means so much to me, I cannot explain it in mere words. I'm at a loss for words when it comes to this one. Morningrise owns!

The last one is To Bid You Farewell which is the light track on the cd that is a fan favorite by many. A very relaxing song and a great closing track indeed.

Morningrise can be enjoyed by anyone with an open mind, and those who take the time to listen. Cheers to Opeth for this Fine work of ART.

Best Tracks: All of Them