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Blackwater Park

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(43 Reviews)

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Description

2008 reissue of the 2005 album Doom by Job for a Cowboy, a deathcore/death metal band, based in Glendale, Arizona that formed in 2004. They started as a deathcore group, but have evolved into a predominantly death metal sound. Doom is the second EP released by Job for a Cowboy through King of the Monsters after a self-financed Demo. It was only noticed after being re-released on the major record label, Metal Blade Records. The band has amassed millions of profile views, and YouTube, where a fan cleverly mashed up their song, ’Knee Deep’ with clips from SpongeBob SquarePants.

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  • You don’t listen to Opeth. You get lost in them. The albums they produce are like rich worlds of energy and inspiration. Sure, the vocal style is jarring at first, but keep listening. These aren’t your average death growls. In fact, this isn’t death metal at all. I don’t know what you’d call it. Picture someone as dark and husky as Tom Waits, but who can croon as incredibly well as Maynard James Keenan. The music is huge and ambitious, having more in common with jazz or classical in it’s variety and technical fireworks than metal. These aren’t songs, they’re compositions. Blackwater Park is a journey. It’s heavy and monstrous at times, and at other times it seduces you into sweet oblivion. In the middle of the album, at its heart if you will, is one of my favourite songs, entitled “The Drapery Falls”. The song is so haunting and catchy it gives me chills every time I hear it. It’s the kind of song that makes you play an album over again when it’s finished, even if it’s over an hour long, just to repeat that feeling: “Pull me down again and guide me into pain…”

    There aren’t many albums I own two copies of, but when I saw that there was a Limited Edition of this one I couldn’t resist.

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Caused me to buy three others, despite my hesitance to buy. I was introduced by a friend online about this time last year just after I got out of the shower in my dorm room. I remember him saying that he was checking out Opeth online and wanted to know what I thought. At first, when I heard it, I thought, “are you kidding me, music with growling?” I’m not really into death metal, Pantera was the heaviest stuff I’d normally listen to and usually only when I was pissed off. I’m not all that into heavy stuff. I just let it keep playing though and layed down on my bed in the sweet spot in between my speakers, where I do most of my intent listening, I became mesmerized enough that by the end of the first song, I downloaded the whole thing. By Harvest I was in a such a trance like state that I could have easily mistaken myself for being aleep. I was in such sheer bliss that I just let the sound take me where It wanted to. I had never experienced something like this from music before. It invoked some of the most beautiful feelings I had felt in a while, I was not on anything either. I love losing myself in music, I have only experienced this from classical music, which I love to listen to to become relaxed. Blackwater Park can relax me to the point where other, softer music fails to, perhaps because the complex melody and immaculate production of this album engages my mind at the deepest possible level. Open your mind to this stuff no matter which side of it you come down on, be it too heavy or too soft, and you will not be disappointed.

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Opeth is probably the most talented band today in the whole death metal/progressive scene. I am not exaggerating when I say this. Mikael ?kerfeldt, who is the lead singer, guitarist and group leader, is a genius. His vocals can go from the best death metal growl I have ever heard, to these amazing clean vocals in the same song. These clean, “prog” vocals sound similar, maybe better, then Maynard James Keenan of Tool. And his guitar playing, you ask? He is one of the best guitarists in metal today, probably even in music currently. Rhythm guitarist Peter Lindgren is the James Hetfield of the 2000’s (in music terms). He plays great behind ?kerfeldt. Martin Mendez on bass is up there as the best in death metal, and Martin Lopez is one of the best drummers in death metal. His double pedal is as fast and crazy as anyone can go. The rhythm section in Opeth is extremely underrated, and if I needed a dream death metal band, I want these two guys in the rhythm section. All 5 of these guys (and a just added keyboardist) make on of the most talented group of musicians I have ever heard.

    But, what makes Opeth so creative and unique is the combination of death metal and prog into 10 minute songs. And unlike some other bands with many talented members that can’t come through (Audioslave), Opeth makes the best music out there. They even mix some classical elements. These ten minute songs aren’t the basic verse-chorus-verse structure, but more like movements. In these ten minute songs, they can showcase their talent without flaw. That’s exactly what these guys do in every album they have released. The thing is they seemed to have done it a little better in 2001’s “Blackwater Park”. Everything just seems so much better. Not only better than Opeth’s back catalogue (which is hard to better), but this is better than anything else you will listen to. If you decide to purchase this album, then everything you have ever listened to will just sound lesser, and you will be exposed to these music geniuses, or as I like to call them, artists.

    This masterpiece starts out with “The Leper Affinity”. Probably one of the best Opeth songs, this starts out with a brutal riff and the death metal vocals, and 5 minutes into the song, it shifts to this progressive, clean singing. After the song, at least for me, my mouth was dropped to the floor. What a song. But then “Bleak” comes in. Another Opeth masterpiece, and one of my personal favorite’s on this album. “Harvest” is next, and this shifts to the soft, prog part of the album. Only 6 minute’s long, (which is short for Opeth), this prog masterpiece is, which I thought I would never say, beautiful. “The Drapery Falls” is another combination of death-metal and prog, and a fan favorite. “Dirge For November” and “The Funeral Portrait” follow. I like Dirge, but it really isn’t the best on the album, but, hey, it is great nonetheless. “The Funeral Portrait” is more death-metal than prog, and my favorite on the album. “Patterns In The Ivy” is a short piano composition, which just goes perfectly into this album. The 12 minute title track follows, and caps off the best album released in these 00’s.

    So, what are you waiting for. Everybody who has reviewed this album, except the few morons who don’t know good music when they hear it, says that it is a masterpiece. It can’t be explained as normal people music, because it is just too good. It remains upon popular belief as Opeth’s best and their breakout album. It is also considered the best album of the 00’s. I cannot agree more. Anybody who is into death metal or prog already owns it, but even if you enjoy classical music, classic rock or any music at all, you should check out this band. This album is the perfect spot to start. Then, get Opeth’s back catalogue, because it is just as good. These guys are already legends, and if they continue making albums like they are, they could be considered the greatest band ever. Not yet, but they have the opportunity. So, get this album…now!

    This version is an enhanced, limited edition one. When I saw this, I immediately had to put my grubby fingers on it. These two b-sides were only available on either vinyl’s or rare, hard to come by singles. This version is out there, and it is certainly worth the extra money. The first song is the 4 minute “Still Day Beneath the Sun”. This is all acoustic, exploring the side of Opeth that was common on their 2003 album “Damnation”. It is a great song and I’m surprised it didn’t make the original Blackwater Park lineup. The second b-side “Patterns In The Ivy II”, is a continuation of the first one. It too, is also acoustic and also clocking out at 4 minutes long. Another great song. Then there is a multimedia track for “Harvest”, which is Opeth’s first music video. The video is very cool, and a must see for any Opeth fan or music video freak. All in all, these extra two tacks and the music video are both worth the extra money, because it is essential, just like every other Opeth album. Buy it!!! And be amazed.

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Opeth’s fifth album shoots for the stratosphere, not only of metal, but of rock music in general. Most bands that attempt something so lofty are doomed to failure, but Opeth has been working up to this moment over four increasingly great albums. With the addition of ambient special effects by producer Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree and No-Man fame), Opeth’s complex arrangements occupy even more sonic space, an element that imbues the already stunning music with an extra emotional push. Misery has never sounded so good.

    With an average track length of over 8 minutes, Blackwater Park demands a longer attention span than some listeners may be bothered to devote. It’s not that the album is slow; after a menacing 30-second fade-in, The Leper Affinity’s first blast of distorted guitar and punishing drums delivers a wave of extreme metal fury. Yet after a few satisfying minutes of thunderous force, the mood abruptly shifts from anger to gothic, poetic sadness. Acoustic guitars take over and Akerfeldt’s voice changes from a throaty roar to a warm and mellow near-croon. Shifts like these can be jarring and off-putting, but Opeth executes them with such grace and sensitivity that they seem inevitable. Both the heavy and light halves are possessed of the same dark mood, and together they make for a far more complex and interesting whole than they would otherwise. As The Leper Affinity glides to an elegant piano outro, listeners have already been to more places than most albums will ever take them – and there’s far more beauty to come.

    The rest of the album follows a similar template. Bleak’s exotic lead riffs duel all the way into a warm chorus and fade out with frightening lo-fi guitar sounds courtesy of Wilson. Harvest is an all-acoustic piece, but again the mood is similar, with understated but effective guitar work. The Drapery Falls is perhaps the highlight of the record as it makes the most extreme shifts, going completely progressive toward the midsection and carrying a memorable melody through its entire run. Dirge for November begins with the most fragile, beautiful guitar fill of the album thus far before going into the thunderous body of the song, and ends the same way. The Funeral Portrait is a more rhythmic, propulsive, furious piece of riffery than anything since the beginning of the album, but toward the end its elegance comes out once again in some richly orchestrated vocal harmonies. Patterns in the Ivy is a stunning little interlude, with all the intimate power of Pink Moon-era Nick Drake, and engineered so expertly that the squeak of Akerfeldt’s guitar strings become a part of the music. Finally, we come to the eponymous, epic closer, which crushes with a superlative groove, frightens with a horror-movie midsection, returns to extreme metal force, and finally ends the album with an understated, lovely acoustic guitar bit. The serenity of the conclusion is magnificent, wrapping up all the force of the previous hour with grace.

    Blackwater Park is almost certainly the best metal album of this decade to date, but it’s more than that. Stacked up with the best Led Zeppelin records, Blackwater Park holds its own. It’s seriously that good. If you listen to it with headphones on, extra nuances pop out and you just might swear you’ve never heard a better record. Any fan of rock music should not be without this. Highlight tracks (nearly arbitrary choices when all the material is this strong): The Leper Affinity, The Drapery Falls, Patterns in the Ivy.

    Posted on November 19, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve reviewed _Blackwater Park_ elsewhere so here I will focus mainly on the limited edition…The limited edition comes with a second disc, featuring two new songs and a video to run on your PC. The two new songs are both stunning. The first is “Still Day Beneath the Sun”, yet another track that shows the band’s limitless capacity to write beautiful music. All acoustic, the song is best appreciated for showing how good of a singer Mikael Akerfeldt has become. His infirm voice from the days of _Orchid’s_ rare moments of clean singing have evolved into a chilling, bardic vocal with range and beauty.The other song is “Patterns in the Ivy II”, a fitting continuation to the eerie serenity from _Blackwater Park_. This is not an instrumental like part one, and it is mainly acoustic with the occasional electric sparkle. Like on “Still Day…”, Akerfeldt experiments here with his voice a little bit – he sings higher, a little bit of melisma, and with interesting vocal harmonies. These songs make me even more excited for the forthcoming “mellow” Opeth album, _Damnation_, which is to be released in March 2003.There is also a video clip for the song “Harvest”. It’s not a music video, per se, just some footage of the band in studio with their producer Steven Wilson. You can watch the band eat some snacks, play some PlayStation, and work on some music. Opeth is simply one of the greatest, most innovative metal bands ever, and they certainly trump the swarms of “re-progressive” metal bands out there. Their juxtaposition of stunning beauty and devastating metal makes them just about the most powerful force in music. If you’ve never checked them out before, I can think of no better time to do so. If you are a hardcore fan, you won’t want to let any of the new songs here slip away (remember…limited edition!). A must-have for everyone!

    Posted on November 19, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now