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My balls, your mouth - 16%

TrooperEd, April 1st, 2018

Opeth. The name alone sounds softer than baby poo. Say what you will about the name of Nightwish, but at least that idea started as an acoustic project before Tuomas wondered whether or not Tarja would make a decent Bruce Dickinson surrogate.

Now, no bullshit, there are some flashes of promise throughout this album. I was busy typing all sorts of insults to hurl at this aural Hustler magazine for fruity yuppies when all of a sudden the opening to April Ethereal just ripped my head off. And it's actually managed to keep going for a decent clip, until the inevitable "melodic" breakdown. The opening moments of When managed to get me to stare menacingly at my bedroom for a spell or two, until again, the fucking acoustic breakdowns. Boy did which everyone completely miss the point of that original moment from Male Supremacy. The biggest problem with these dumb moments is its hard to tell what's part of the song and what's something else. Case in point, the transition from April Ethereal to When. If I didn't look over at the album time I'd have assumed we were still on April Ethereal.

Look, I get that all these elements are part of Opeth to establish "atmosphere," but the atmosphere is completely wrong. One needs to look at death metal as making horror films. Look at Alien, which from a surface standpoint, seems completely unlike the Exorcists and Shinings of the world, but when you really break it's elements down it's more a horror movie than it is a science fiction movie. Scream Bloody Gore is a musical horror movie, Blessed Are The Sick is a musical horror movie, Mental Funeral is a musical horror movie, Necroticism is a musical horror movie. Even Swedish compatriots Katatonia managed to get it right with Dance of December Souls. This doesn't even work as death-doom. There needs to be a larger amount of aggression than usual. Meshuggah's Choasphere can make a much greater claim to being so called progressive death metal than this can, as at least that actually tries to be expansive with time signatures and rhythms WHILE maintaining a high level of noisiness. I'm not even saying you can't break things up occasionally with atmospheric pieces. This is why Blessed Are The Sick is the greatest death metal album of all time in my opinion, because it pulls this off masterfully.

Also, and I've noticed this alot with Opeth, just about every single song here has the exact same feel rhythmically, that triplet based waltz swing, whatever you want to call it. I mean using that for one track with death metal requires some care, but having that be practically every track makes it practically inexcusable. It was questionable when Overkill did this for three tracks in a row with Years of Decay, I'm damn sure not going to excuse so called "progressive death metal," especially when the entire point of progressive anything is variety.

Are there any positives with this album? Well, at least Akerfedt is bothering to play solos in 1998, and he is quite skilled at them, to the point where it makes me wish he would quit this nonsense and go join Spiritual Beggars or something. The openings of When and April Ethereal are relatively metal. The songs are at a reasonable 6-8 minutes rather than the plodding 12-20 minute snorefests they usually are. The beginning of Credence is an amusing Opeth parody of the beginning of Criminally Insane. Ok I'm drifting into backhanded compliments at this point that's just the nonsense that Opeth inspires. If I want to listen to folk anything, I'll stick to Van Morrison and Bob Dylan thank you very much.

One final note, Akerfeldt's "death metal vocals" sound like Randy Blythe's hardcore vocals.