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Morningrise

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(41 Reviews)

Opeth Biography - Opeth Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

Description

2003 reissue of 1996 album includes the bonus track ’Eternal Soul Torture’. Impeccable musicianship and memorable lyrics. Guitar World calls them ’Metal’s most brilliant band’. 6 tracks. Candlelight.

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  • Playing out like short films, all of Opeth’s albums demand the listener’s attention. Some dismiss them as self-indulgent prog wankery, I call it darn good music! The perfect blending of bleak acoustics, chugging melodeath lead guitars, and the tormented raspy screams all sum up the atmosphere of a dark romance or drama movie. The short breaks between passages in the scene kind of signify a “changing” of scenes, so to speak, painting a new mood. It’s hard to listen to one song off of ANY Opeth album without wanting more, and “Morningrise” proves Opeth as a force to be reckoned with in metal, undoubtedly serving as their quintessential album, and the album that would soon shape their future sound. The drumwork isn’t as obvious as later Opeth work, but fits the music perfectly. There are some great bass lines thrown around as well. The lead guitars use a much more melodic style here than on the following albums as well, and meld perfectly with one another.

    Without a doubt, the highlight here is “Black Rose Immortal”, a haunting 20-minute opus that twists and turns through so many atmospheres that it may leave the listener confused at first… Fear not, for with more listening this album will come to be understood more. Don’t expect to “get” any Opeth album right off the bat. (After all, none of the songs here are under 10 minutes…) It’s attention-demanding music, and takes a while to soak in… Patience is the key! But believe me… Once you do get this whole album, you’ll be glad everything paid off, because you’ve been left with one of the finest metal albums of the 90’s!

    I believe this is the most moody and theatrical of Opeth’s work. and the album that would define their future sound. Reccommended to fans of prog, melodic death metal, or just music in general!

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve always argued that Morningrise is in many ways their darkest and most captivating album. Those who got into Opeth during their post-Still Life period, mostly starting with their Steven Wilson-produced breakthrough record Blackwater Park, usually tend to be disappointed by the lack of pristine prog sound and layered production work on Morningrise. It is true that Morningrise, as its predecessor Orchid, has a raw and dry sound compared to the band’s later efforts. I, however, believe that this is all intentional to help create the dark atmosphere on this album, which is simply unique.

    Opeth has always worked with amazing producers, be it the godly Fredrik Nordstrom on Still Life or Steven Wilson on Blackwater Park onwards. However, they recorded their first two discs with another genius, namely Dan Swano, to whom they proudly refer as their “guide” in the CD booklet. It is the Dan Swano factor what makes the first two albums more challenging listens than their follow-ups, but once you can get into them, you’ll be addicted like you’ve never been before. I’ll even go as far as saying that if every Opeth fan heard all Opeth discs 50+ times, most of them would declare Morningrise the highlight of their career, as far as atmosphere and sheer emotion are concerned at least. Sure, Mikael Akerfeldt has improved his death growls and especially his clean vocals significantly over the years, but somehow it’s the raw mix, Mikael’s more violent and less aesthetic vocals, the somewhat murky yet fitting twin guitar harmonies and totally unique songwriting that set Morningrise apart from every other Opeth release.

    Comprised of only five songs, none of which run under 10 minutes, Morningrise begins with the 13-minute epic “Advent” whose folky acoustic intro contrasts the immediate twin guitars that explode along with Akerfeldt’s blackish scream-like vocals. The melodies, both on this song and the entire album, are immortal. Lindgren and Akerfeldt’s twin guitars create amazing tapestries around each song, utilizing jazzy drumming from Anders Nordin and great bass work from Johan DeFarfalla. Unfortunately, this is the last album of Opeth enlisting the services of this solid rhythm section. Though I prefer their current lineup, I don’t believe Morningrise would have been so amazing without DeFarfalla and Nordin adding their touches. They both incorporate subtle jazz harmonies in their playing enriching the psychedelic passages on the album. During the breakdown of the track, Akerfeldt briefly sings clean vocals over a beautiful acoustic interlude. Inspired by the loss of a loved one (Akerfeldt’s grandfather), the opening riff on “The Night and the Silent Water” is quite possibly one of my favourite Opeth riffs, ever. The guitar harmonies followed by another acoustic passage are dark and utterly emotive. I especially shudder at the end when I hear Akerfeldt’s haunting vocal delivery where he basically whispers the words. Every song on this album has great acoustic guitars strummed in slow arpeggios. “Nectar” mixes colourful cymbal work and chiming bass lines that exhibit tight melody and a tense rhythmic feel. Once again we are presented a staggering twin guitar harmony during the middle of the song. It is almost shocking how many godlike riffs Opeth are using in their songs. They literally employ tens of changing riff patterns and incomparable melodies on a single track, with which other bands could more than likely write two full albums.

    A whole review should actually be dedicated to the magnum opus “Black Rose Immortal”, the band’s 20-minute masterpiece. This song was actually intended to be on Orchid, but didn’t make it for several reasons. It opens with a complex drum fill and segues into an ethereal twin guitar harmony once again. The first three minutes feature tons of melodies, all of which are totally memorable and refuse to get out of your head. Then a brief acoustic section follows and at around the 7:00 minute mark enters an impossibly beautiful guitar riff. An even better riff comes up a minute later, around 8:15 and it’s right up there in my all-time favourites. Simply unbelievable. Sweeping acoustics return to the mix playing a dark, grim folk pattern enhanced by perhaps Akerfeldt’s best clean singing on this album. After hundreds of listens, I still hear so many nuances in this song. Note, at 15:00, how the cymbals splash in a distant corner whilst the bass throbs (only once) intermittently every twenty seconds as Akerfeldt and Lindgren’s elaborate guitar work continues to exhibit sweet Nordic folk melodies. The song ends with one of Akerfeldt’s most violent and longest screams in his career which could only be rivaled by his guesting on Edge of Sanity’s Crimson album (also written and performed by Dan Swano).

    “To Bid You Farewell” successfully wraps the album up. It is sung in all clean vocals and contains finger picked acoustic melodies and touches on elements of jazz, folk, rock and even a blues guitar solo. It’s easily one of the best closing songs on any Opeth album. I honestly am not a big fan of the bonus cut as it’s just a demo recording from 1992 and has an awful mix. However, it is worth mentioning that it was later broken down into parts, some of which made it on “Advent” years later. Morningrise is a very, very big achievement and one of the best Opeth albums in my opinion.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • While “Morningrise’ is not near as well produced as the later albums would be, this is far more genuine. Their sound has changed so much since the days of ‘Orchid’ and ‘Morningrise’ that I can say, without a doubt, Opeth will never reach as high as they did here.

    Later albums such as ‘Blackwater Park’ and ‘Ghost Reveries’ would lean more to the progressive side of metal (which is perfectly fine), but their earlier albums had a much more primal feel to them. The guitar lines were more prominent (and absolutely jaw-dropping) over-shadowing the bass and drums just enough to avoid sounding muddy.

    Vocals are quite different then on the later albums, too. The growl isn’t as deep and sounds almost Black Metalesque in comparison…a good kind of Black Metalesque. The thing with ‘Morningrise’ is that the whole is far greater then the sum of it’s parts, and the picture on the front very astutely matches the over-arching tone of the album. Very fine artwork indeed.

    For some seriously awesome riffs be sure to check out the opening theme riff to ‘Night and the Silent Water’ and really anything from the mid-section of ‘Black Rose Immortal’.

    Visceral, technical, and enduring…this one is a keeper. One of metal’s all-time best.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • If Opeth had released only this album they’d still be one of the best bands around(maybe even better…). I’m just going to say that this album goes just beyond anything this band has ever released and I really don’t think they’ll ever top this one (this is maybe the reason that I judge them so hard). Musicaly this album has it all. Very long songs which build around compositions which seem to have their basis on death metal but also include acoustic guitars, folk parts at some parts and the occasional clean vocals by singer Mikael Akerfeldt who has one of the best voices around, be it clean or brutal vocals. One of the highlights of this album is without doubt the 20 minute opus “Black Rose Immortal” which is one of their best songs. It’s very hard to find a weak moment on this album which makes me believe there isn’t any. Highest ever possible Opeth recommendation.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Much like my other Opeth reviews, I have to say that listening to an album of this caliber and then attempting to convey the feelings it arouses in the form of words is both foolish and futile. Nothing can prepare you for Opeth. Although the band has attracted its share of detractors now, I must say that any music listener with an open mind and long attention span should find hours of perplexing enjoyment here. Those who fail to understand, power to ya, but don’t pollute this website with tasteless reviews on why you hate Opeth.Morningrise is different from every other Opeth album. Each has its own appeal, something you look for as you’re listening. With My Arms, Your Hearse it is the aggression and heavy riffs that I search for as I listen. With Still Life I listen for the enchanting vocal performance given by Mikael Akerfeldt. Blackwater Park has everything. Aggression, melody, awesome growling, awesome singing, beautiful acoustics, sweet riffs, and progressive song lengths. On here it is just the riffs. Oh, the riffs. And the twin guitar melodies. Amazing. The lyrics pale in comparison to future albums’, although they are still good, and Akerfeldt has a different style of singing here. It’s more of a black-metallish high shriek than the deep inhuman growl of late, and his clean vocal performance is less catchy and haunting. Therefore the guitar leads and segues into acoustic dreamland are what I look forward to when sitting back to this eclectic journey of a CD. The mood given by the amazing guitar lines on Morningrise make it my favorite, with Blackwater Park a close second.Morningrise is also the least ‘metal’ of all their albums. When compared to MAYH or Deliverance, it is very soft. While those make Pantera and At the Gates sound light, Morningrise is like a heavy thrash album. The riffs do not reverberate in your skull like the opening to “Bleak,” or “Godhead’s Lament,” or “When.” They glide soothing over you, flowing in an ambient manner, rather than a percussive one. The song lengths are also unbelievable. There are five songs here, the average length 13 minutes or so, the longest being “Black Rose Immortal,” at a Dream Theater-esque 20 minutes! An epic album in all proportions.”Advent” kicks the album off with a short acoustic beginning and following with a 12-minute rollercoaster of double-bass drums and awesome riff after awesome riff, balanced with the needed, yet arbitrary acoustic interludes spicing up the mix. “The Night and the Silent Water” is a much more laid-back track, with less aggression, clocking at about 11 minutes. “Nectar” is another piledriver, this time with Medieval-sounding riffs similar to In Flames. “Black Rose Immortal” is the epic, which feels 8 minutes long at most. “To Bid You Farewell” is a largely jazzy-acoustic/clean vocals all through piece, with a bit of electric guitar finishing it off.Opeth are beyond death metal. The incorporation of acoustic guitar is what makes them sound so classical. Many people compare bands like Suffocation or Emperor to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart. That’s not accurate. Here’s the real statement:If Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg, and Mahler were transported to the present and were forced to form a rock band together, it would sound something like Opeth’s Morningrise. ***This is a reissue, containing the bonus track “Eternal Soul Torture,” a rough, poorly produced demo that was later cut up and used for the other songs. It sort of throws off the album’s mood, but whatever.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now