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Opeth - "My Arms, Your Hearse" - 85%

Solarian_Nocturnus, May 3rd, 2007

I’ve been a long-time Opeth fan. I first dipped into this underground phenomenon with “Deliverance” and I didn’t hear their earlier releases until much later. I’d have to say that this is probably one of my more favored amongst their entire collection of releases, but it’s still cutting it close quite a bit.

The album is much more death metal oriented that many of their later releases. There are a few acoustic bridges and interludes strewn about, but they don’t populate this album nearly as much. They still manage to, however, keep the album itself together as one cohesive idea. The transition between tracks isn’t the usual stop-gap that you get with much more thrash oriented death metal acts, but is actually all interconnected. Thus there seems to be a typical “rising action, climax, falling action” sense that one (at least me) gets with the album. The Amen Corner and Demon of the Fall are probably my favorite tracks amongst the release, with Madrigal a slight disappointment due to it’s brevity.

Mikael’s vocals seem a bit distorted with Demon of the Fall, giving him a, you guessed it, “demonic” feel. His guttural screams are still as primal as they always have been. Drumming is at it’s peak, and the guitars still seamlessly flow between soft the soft and harsh style of play that took them a little bit of experimentation throughout the years to achieve (Morningrise is argued as their opus, but it often times seems like a bunch of small songs within one). Distortion is at an all time high (as any metal album should be) but this doesn't prevent beautiful melodies and catchy riffs from getting stuck in your head. There aren't that many guitar solos, however, which is a little bit of a bummer, but what they lack in this they make up through other aspects.

Lyrics are a great read when you’re actually willing to sit down and take a look at them. I’ll say right now that Opeth has some of the most beautifully written lyrics of all the bands I listen to and they manage to paint a portrait of some of the darkest and most melancholy landscapes with their music. Imagery of somber autumn mornings and bitter winter nights send chills down one’s spine when they really sit down and give the album a listen.

That being said, the death metal parts have a tendency to drag on. Only a little bit though.

A great start for the generation of new listeners probably just getting into them with the release of “Ghost Reveries” on Roadrunner. Nostalgia is a bitch, but every band must evolve.