My Arms, Your Hearse
Most often, great bands can be called such for one of two reasons: one is that they take what they do to a logical extreme, do it well, and mindfuck those unprepared for it. Another is that they have an innate ability to strike a balance between very disparate elements that in less capable hands would simply look ridiculous.
Opeth is a band of the latter variety. Listening to this album after hearing their equally awesome debut (at the time of writing this, I still don't have "Morningrise"), there is nothing that is out of place, superfluous or excessive here, at least to my ears. Opeth deftly walk the line between the earthy joy of the 70s prog rock that is so dear to Mikael Akerfeldt, the hissing dark power of black metal and the technical brutality of death metal. Maybe it's because I love prog rock as much as I do black and doom metal, but when Opeth brings these things together, the result is far, far greater than the sum of its parts. This is transcendental, magical metal, ugly and beautiful, delicate and brutal at the same time. Every time I put on an Opeth album, I am whisked away to some place else, and there is only a small handful of bands that has been able to accomplish this. The shorter songs don't even detract from this - because they all flow together, it feels more like one long track; a concept album.
Opeth is for those that crave music that exists on the cusp of technical proficiency and the soul and atmosphere that good metal must always ultimately provide, and as such have earned a permanent place in my heavy rotation list.
© 1999 the barrow man