Well I actually picked up Still Life on a limb. I only had Ghost Reveries up to this point and for whatever reason it just didn’t do too much for me (at the time that is). Now I really appreciate the album. I popped in Still Life and my ears were open to an extremely haunting, yet soothing guitar melody. I gotta say that this album completely floored me with it’s brilliance. It’s one of those special albums to me that you just don’t really expect that much out of and it completely excedes your expectations and it really opened my musical senses up to something I have never experienced before. After listening to this album, I finally saw all the hype and praise that Opeth get. They are truly modern day innovators and I have never heard anything remotely close to what these guys are doing. They can go from the most brutal, insane black/death metal esque sound to a beautiful, haunting, folky, jazzy acoustic melody. And believe me if you haven’t heard these guys before, they are definitely one of the most talented and complex bands I have yet to experience. Mikael Akerfeldt truly is a musical genius and in my book he has yet to fail in the least bit. Still Life is my favorite Opeth album, closely followed by Blackwater Park and that’s saying something because everything these guys have put out is instant gold. It really is hard to exactly put in words just how diverse and excellent these guys are. As for this album, it is their most “balanced” I would say. They have all of their signature sounds and elements in here and they have plenty of acoustic portions in every song. The passion and melody in Mikael’s voice found here is superb and he is definitely one of the most distinguishable, best sounding singers in this day and age. It’s hard to believe that it’s the same guy on this record singing over delicate acoustic harmonies and then the next second he sounds like he’s gonna rip somebody’s throat out. It makes a great mixture of sounds and textures and just overall variety though.
It really is hard to pick out a favorite song on this album. The two tracks that stand out the most though and that caught my attention would be the acoustic tracks- Benighted and Face of Melinda. Both contain folky, intricate acoustic guitar harmonies that even the most accomplished guitar players would have to work at to perfect. Benighted contains somne of Mikael’s most breathtaking/ stunning vocals to date and he can nail that high note. It’s a very ambiant tune and definitely one of Opeth’s finest acoustic tracks ever. Face of Melinda is a classic live staple of theirs and for good reason. It has alot of jazz in it, put don’t fret. I’m not a lover of jazz and I never listen to it as I’m sure many of you don’t. But it’s something about the way Opeth does it that makes it their own and shows off their amazing talent. This is another very ambiant sounding song. Now for the others. The Moor starts off the album with a very dark/ haunting melody which eventually breaks in to a brutal attack with some very harsh vocals. It kind of drops back down to mid-tempo and goes back and forth between electric and acoustic guitars with clean and muffled vocals. One of the best for sure. Godhead’s Lament has one of the best choruses on here, although they never really have a true chorus on any of their songs parsay (take some give some). Moonlapse Vertigo and Serenity Painted Death both continue in the same vein as Godhead’s as they both go back and forth from heavy to light to slow/ fast guitar over different vocal techniques. And finally the album is ended off with White Cluster which starts off probably heavier than any other track on the album and ends with beautiful acoustic guitars with a crackling sound in the background.
This is a must have album for any metal fans. It is so much different than anything out there and it is so beautiful, yet so brutal and haunting. This is Opeth’s best and as usual every song is an epic, except for Benighted that is. It’s truly a different experience in the metal realm and it shows a innovative, technical band at the top of their career. If possible, I would definitely get the new remastered version which has a hard case almost like a book cover and has a real nice fold booklet and a second disc with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound for DVD players and a live performance of Face of Melinda, which is amazing. I have not heard the older versions of this album, seeing that I’m still fairly new to these guys, but I can say that the production is supberb and for $15 or cheaper this is probly the way to go. Still Life is a modern day classic to say the least and is truly a musical journey.