I think vocalist/ guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt said it best, “There is no other band in metal like us.” Normally, I would have found this funny and conceited if most other band’s had said that about themselves. However, with Opeth I think he’s right. They do what they do and they do it well. Being a long time Opeth fan I was semi worried about them being signed to Roadrunner records. A few thing’s came to mind. A. They’re going to suck up and become a shadow of their former greatness, B. alof of nu-metal kid’s are going to get into them and will mkae them mainstream. Well, those worries of mine have been put to rest. Opeth actually recorded Ghost Reveries prior to signing with Roadrunner. So, if that may have been keeping you from buying this, don’t let it. This to me, is what metal is all about. Heavy music, growling vocals. Fast/tight guitar work and so on, yet mixing in a great singing voice, keyboards and acoustic guitars. They bridge everything that is good about metal together. They’re all great musicians and don’t need a cheap Cannibal Corpse type image to get attention. The fact is, a band like this, mixing acoustic guitars and death metal growls could have come out very sloppy and unnatural if not done by incredible musicians. I feel somewhat ashamed of myself for doubting them for even a second. They once again return with a brilliant epic album that lives up to the legend that is Opeth. The only change in Opeth is the official adding of Per Wiberg to the band, who does keyboards and things of that nature. This album(amoung many others released this year) shows us that metal is still alive and well in 2005.
1. Ghost of Perdition: This track really got me excited. Another epic track clocking in around 10 and a half minutes. The first few seconds have some melodic guitar before kicking in to a heavy song. Inbetween the distorted guitars and death metal growl’s we find some great acoustic guitar’s along with some great singing. Even though Mikael’s singing voice seems to be going faster and a little rushed in this song, it is still brilliant. I love how Opeth can write song’s with such length and have every second be as exciting as the last 5/5.
2. The baying of the Hounds: Amazing. The music here is just so tight and intelligent. The acoustic guitar that kicks in at 7 and a half minutes is brilliant and feels so sad and emotional. While the guitar a minute before was a fast paced riff that made me wanna just headbang. Per Wiberg here does a great job of adding keyboards in here that don’t push other insturments away but only add the atmosphere. Not a track you will find yourself skipping 6/5.
3. Beneath the Mire: Begins with some mid tempo drumming and some haunting organs. Has some of the best singing here. I find it just so incredible how he can go from a heavy growl to an incredible singing voice. The guitar that kick’s in at around 3 minutes and nine seconds into the song, is pure magic. Soon after some keyboard’s kick in that remind me of A Fair Judgement from the Deliverance album 4.5/5.
4. Atonement: A melodic intro, with some odd/ interesting drum’s along with some singing vocals coming in around a minute and twenty seconds. The keyboards here take control and is one of the most melodic songs here 4/5.
5. Reverie/Harlequin Forest: Start’s out with a single guitar riff and some incredible violin type keyboards that I just find amazing. Has some of the best lyrics on the album here. Alot of tempo changes, which for most band’s would seem like a song with no direction. However, Opeth are the king’s of such type song’s and they know what they’re doing. Incredible epic song 6/5.
6. Hours of Wealth: The first all acoustic song on the album, a wonderful ballad. Definetly has a gloomy mood to this song. The lyric’s seem pretty sad and come off as meaningful and avoid the “o poor me” cliche song 4/5.
7. The Grand Conjuration: The second this song start’s you know you’re in for one hell of a dark ride. Even though it doesn’t begin as very heavy, you know you’re in for one heavy song. At around two minutes it get’s to that point. The lightning fast solo is one of the best here, really show’s their talent. Also, the keyboards give off a dark sound, which adds to the heaviness of this song. Another thing I love about this song, is that about 5 minutes into this song you think it is going to end but then comes right back in for another round 5/5.
8. Isolation Years: This song begins with some moody guitar, which I personally love. One of the shortest song’s here is the perfect closing song. Leaves the listener wanting to listen to the album again and again. Brilliant. “And isolation, is all that would remain. The wound in me is pouring out to rest on a lover’s shore.” 5/5.
So, I recommend this cd as much as I do any other Opeth album. It is anything but boring and one of the best of 2005. You can not go wrong with Opeth. An album that lives up to their legendary status. Enjoy