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Another Excellent Release!!! - 93%

WitheringToSerenity, March 16th, 2004

The one thing that I appreciate about Opeth as much as anything is their ability to evolve their sound and this album is definitely no exception. MAYH is undoubtedly much more guitar (heavy distortion) driven and heavier than their previous albums and perhaps there heaviest album to date. Songs like April Ethereal and The Amen Corner (not counting Madrigal) have little acoustic work in comparison. This experiment was far from a failure, seeing as April Ethereal is arguable one of their greatest tracks. The increased implementation of Mikael's clean vocals was another strength to this MAYH. His clean vocals gradually improve and he shows more confidence in showcasing this fine aspect of their music. His signature growl has changed a bit on this album to the point that it might detract older fans but make no mistake about it. His guttural vocals are as still ferocious. They are just closer to a lower death growl without as much of a black/dark metal tone in his vocals, which are great for this album!

One thing that will never change and stays the same is Opeth's ability to write some of the most moving guitar melodies around. Perhaps not as complex or progressive as some other Opeth efforts, this album still maintains their standard of incredible musicianship. This includes their amazing blend of different styles from the heavier Karma, April Ethereal all the way to the purely melodic beauties, which include the majestic Credence and the incredible closer Epilogue. Its hard to determine if their guitars have progressed musically, but I will say that I give them full marks because this CD contains many of their most hypnotizing riffs. The bass section of this album is quite average but their drumming does more than enough interesting fills and drum patterns to consider Opeth to have a formidable rhythm. It’s hard to choose standout tracks although I still stand by my comment about April Ethereal being one of their best. The prologue is beautiful, When is one of the more memorable MAYH tracks, Madrigal is a superb acoustic intro for The Amen Corner, which despite being one of the weaker songs, is still better than most. This brings us to Demon of the Fall which Mikael himself states is one of their more evil songs, one listen to the haunting intensity (melodies) and you’ll see why. Credence is without a doubt one their most beautiful acoustic songs. Karma mixes heaviness and beauty like no other Opeth song and Epilogue is an impressive closer and an excellent way to end one of their many masterpieces. Even if not their best work to date, it is still very well written and worth a good listen.