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A few good moments here and there - 55%

SnipeBob, January 19th, 2004

I gave this album many listenings, but I’m still not impressed by it. I’m a big fan of most of Opeth’s other albums, however this one doesn’t feel right. There is nothing dynamic about it other than a several shining moments here and there. Compared to the previous release, Morningrise, this is a huge difference. One reason could be to the departure of bassist Johan Defarfalla. I’m not sure who did bass on MAYH, but it really doesn’t matter; you can barely notice it anyways. The lack of memorable bass lines is a striking difference from their older material. If the riffs were outstanding, I wouldn’t mind the lack of bass as much, but even the guitar work seems stale.

As far as the songs go, each has at least one good moment in it. However, these great moments are surrounded by uninteresting material. For instance, Prologue could have been far better than it is now. I feel that it should have been an extended piano piece with the sound of rain falling in the background. Instead they chose to make it very short without any chance to create the proper atmosphere. It left me confused as to why they didn’t make it longer. April Ethereal as a nice opening riff, and part with the line
“. . the rain was waving goodbye . . .” is awesome. Demon of the Fall is probably the best track. It has distorted vocals in the beginning to make it sound more ‘demonic’ and the chorus, if you can call it that, is catchy.

These are all good parts, but as I said the stuff in between are not interesting enough to keep you listening all the way through. MAYH feels like a creative slump for the band, as if they decided just to write an average or generic album. Hell, the several acoustic passages here are nothing special either; it’s nowhere near the quality of the acoustic sections in Morningrise.

It’s not a terrible album, just a dull one. For the hardcore Opeth fan, it’s worth buying for the moments I described above. At least they redeemed themselves with the next release, Still Life.

Highs: Demon of the Fall; Some good moments occasionally.

Lows: Uninteresting bass; Not very exciting material.

Final Comment: My least favorite Opeth album, far more dull than it should have been.