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My Arms, Your Hearse

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(51 Reviews)

Opeth Biography - Opeth Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

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  • Rock

Description

Reissue of the band’s 1998 album, considered to be their best. This release includes two extra tracks ’Remember Tomorrow’ and a remake of the Celtic Frost classic ’Circle of the Tyrant’. Candlelight. 2003.

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  • On their first two albums, Opeth showed the world their take on metal, complete with mellow acoustic guitars, long progressive breaks, song structures that definitely weren’t fit for sufferers of ADD, and poetic lyrics to top it all off. Opeth were staunch opposites of what death metal “should” sound like. Rather than hammering away with ridiculous brutality, Opeth’s sound was painstakingly crafted to lull the listener in and out of certain moods, much like classical music or a movie soundtrack. This is what led Opeth to be loved by many, and despised by some. Their baroque take on metal infused melancholic prog-rock and Scandinavian folk with the ever-changing textures of their classic duel guitar harmonies. Opeth hit their progressive peak with Morningrise, and after recruiting a new drummer, the band decided to switch gears. The resulting change would shape Opeth into what they are today, and “My Arms, Your Hearse” are the earliest sketchings of Opeth’s new sound.

    Whereas “Orchid” and “Morningrse” were more prog-oriented, and many of the song structures meandered over the ten-minute mark, “My Arms, Your Hearse” drops some of the more mellow experimentations and heads straight for the jugular. The song structures are more groove-oriented, less disjointed, but the boys of Opeth still keep the acoustics and prog rock going. However, rather than abruptly stopping a metal onslaught and letting acoustic guitars waltz in, Opeth layer and weave the two together, all while serving up a dose of atmospheric, melancholic death metal. Acoustic guitars are lessened here to interludes while the metal builds up to its climax. Overall, the sound here is heavier, more straightforward, but not forsaking Opeth’s roots.

    Mikael’s vocals evolved very much from “Morningrise” to MAYH, this time opting for a more gutteral, deeper growl, though it wasn’t as polished or deep as it is now. His clean vocals improved dramatically, and are used more widely on songs like “When” and one of the only softer songs on the album, “Credence”. One of the interesting things about this album is how everything flows together. For instance, the last word of each song’s lyrics is the title for the next song, and the lyrics flow together as a story of sorts. (Though I have yet to figure out what it’s about.)

    Another noticeable change is the production. Some may have been put off by the dry, crisp, hollow production of the first two records, but MAYH boasts a thick, full production job. The drums are more punchy and contribute to the faster songs thanks to newly recruited Martin Lopez. Guitars are much thicker and more bottom-heavy, and some new elements have been borught into the mix such as the organs on “Epilogue” or the piano tidbits spread throughout the album.

    I would have to say that this is my personal favorite Opeth album, due to the atmosphere, the wholeness, and the display of how the band matured. Highly reccommended

    Personal favorites: When, The Amen Corner, Demon of the Fall, Epilogue.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is not that bad and there are a few good moments, but for the most part, it just doesn’t gel with me. My biggest problem is with some of the longer pieces and the guitar meandering that just doesn’t sound right.

    The musicianship is excellent and there are some pretty decent tunes, but overall, this disc just didn’t blow me away. Maybe some of their other material will sound better but I can’t say this was the best introduction to Opeth.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Opeth may be the most difficult band to ‘get into’ for someone new to their catalogue. Unlike most metal bands that manage to release two, maybe three albums that are considered solid, Opeth has released 8 albums, each of which has stood the test of time in a genre whose audience’s tastes seem to be in constant, dramatic flux. Discounting Orchid and Morningrise, both respectable early works that are mandatory if one is to comprehend Opeth’s musical evolution, that leaves six albums to digest. Add to this the fact that Opeth writes epics that demand repeated listenings, and it becomes clear why listening to Opeth is indeed a formidable investment.

    As many reviewers have said, My Arms, Your Hearse is a great album for someone new to Opeth. I would argue that Blackwater Park and Still Life are equally worthy of such accolades, but it is my belief that to get someone hooked on a band, you must play them the band’s finest work, which for Opeth is My Arms, Your Hearse. One could easily write ten pages about Opeth. Their music reaches a compositional depth and complexity that no metal band I can think of has managed. Certainly Opeth takes inspiration from a handful of predecesors, but from the diverse assortment of bands and performers that is their influence Opeth has truly created a genre within which only they perform.

    My Arms, Your Hearse is not Opeth’s most polished album, nor, I would argue, is it their most thematically complete (see, Blackwater Park). What makes MAYH Opeth’s finest work is a combination of several factors. Being Opeth’s third release, MAYH is somewhere between the profound maturity and coherence found on later releases such as Blackwater Park and Deliverance and the more adventurous, youthful (or less focused) song writing heard on Morningrise and Orchid.

    The atmospheric jazz interludes of MAYH are some of Opeth’s most memorable and their live set attests to the aural beauty of any song off this album. And it is no wonder that Opeth consistently closes their sets with Demon of the Fall, arguably the most haunting and intense song the band has written.

    I bought this album in 9th grade because a sticker on the front compared them to In Flames who at the time I was enjoying (this was between Whoracle and Colony, before In Flames stopped being worth listening to) so I figured I would invest in my small but growing metal collection. It took me a year to fully appreciate this album, a year before I stopped listening for parts that sounded like In Flames (of which there aren’t many) and realized what a veritable masterpiece I had stumbled upon.

    If you read other reviews you can get a better idea of the band’s music, but hopefully I have articulated why this album, and this band, is worth investing one’s self in. Because Opeth demands an investment. They are not a band for three minutes car rides or the CD player between class (although I’ve used them for both). To appreciate what Opeth has to offer means sitting for a half hour or longer and simply listening. After doing this five, six times and each time hearing different aspects of their music, you might begin to understand why I feel I can say that opeth is one of the most important bands in the past 10 years. But you’ll have to decide for yourself.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Very seldom does a metal band come along that can truly mesh mind-blowing beauty with visceral power. Opeth has long been known for their ability to walk this line with probably more grace than any other band ever, and on My Arms Your Hearse their craft is at its peak. Their grooving rhythm style is in force here, but retains some of the more aggressive rhythms of their two earlier efforts, a balance best seen on the chorus of Demon of the Fall. The result is a very hard-driving section that arouses harder headbanging than most future Opeth works. They would also never quite be as beautiful during their heavy groove sections. April Ethereal is quite possibly my favorite song of all time now due to the balance struck between that pounding brutality and awe-inspiring, majestic beauty. Later Opeth efforts tend to polarize the songs, with a monster-headbanging-heavy part followed by a stunning acoustic part. While these are also great albums, there’s something special in MAYH’s balance – it seems more sublime than Deliverance or even Blackwater Park. This is the first effort by the current Opeth lineup. Bassist Johan DeFarfalla and drummer Anders Nordin had recently moved on and been replaced by the Martins – Mendez (bass) and Lopez (drums), both of whom bring entirely new feels to the rhythm section. Mikael Akerfeldt’s clean voice has not matured to the fullest but is still incredibly beautiful, and his growls are as forceful as ever. Guitarists Peter Lindgren and Akerfeldt together master incredibly complex and dense harmony passages that are far more technically difficult than they sound. While their style may put off fans of pure technical flash, more thoughtful listeners will appreciate their depth and power, and may ultimately be touched in a way that few (if any) other bands can top.There’s something here for any fan of rock music. Absolutely perfect. Recommended tracks: April Ethereal (best song ever), Demon of the Fall, Credence.

    Posted on February 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is my favorite Opeth masterpiece. Initially, when Opeth was still new to me, it was my least favorite. It has the dreariest, grittiest production, few acoustic guitar parts (and they are mostly short), and seems even more sonically oppressive and bleak than anything else they’ve done. But this album is AMAZING. It is a concept album about a ghost who seems not to realize that he’s dead and he observes his lost love after his passing. “Karma” seems to be where he becomes aware of his demise and it’s crushing (the scream!!! it’s all about that scream). _My Arms, Your Hearse_ is heavier than _Orchid_ and _Morningrise_ but no less melodic and captivating in its evocative, spellbinding musical progression. From the haunting sounds of rain and ethereal piano notes of “Prologue”, to the tidal wave of melodic riffs in “April Ethereal”, to the longing, forlorn acoustic ending of “When”, to the hellfire assault of “Demon of the Fall”, to the smothering finality of “Karma”, to the soul-melting, aching melodies of “Epilogue”, MAYH is a masterpiece with few peers. No fan of progressive metal should be without this, and anyone who didn’t really “get it” is strongly encouraged to give it another chance.

    Posted on February 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now