Great Albums #1: Blackwater Park


So now I’m reviewing albums as well. Again, without relistening, just pure memory. You’ll see how little I know 🙂

Blackwater Park

The title song. One of those ones that just stands out the very first time you hear it. Grows on you the next few times until it’s all you can think about. Back then I had an iPod. I went through different phases. First it was just 4GB of awesome music that I liked. Then I’d throw in music I hadn’t heard. Eventually, it was mainly “new” music. Three listens each, then I’d take them off. Then two and finally one. Sometimes 5 brand new albums to cover my daily commute. Whenever that song was on, I woke up to myself. It was an experience. I would imagine stories to complement the music. It was a part of me.

I can’t name any of the members of Opeth. I believe they’re Swedish. I’ve heard most of their albums and liked all of them. I think the album’s from 2001 with about 6 tracks and Blackwater Park’s the last one. The rest I can’t remember the names of. It’s a long track, most of the others are shorter, 5 to 11 minutes. But it’s like 13 minutes. Just to show what I can recall after like 5 years. I’m not at all an expert on death metal or any genre of music for that matter. But I can appreciate all kinds of music. This stuff is somewhat visionary. They aren’t just screwing around. They have restraint, some kind of purpose. Discipline in the way their music is structured and layered and whatnot.

I like the alternate use of nice vocals and melodies and also the much heavier death metal parts. It’s impressive that they do both so well and so convincingly. I find I get lost in whatever they’re doing at the time. You forget about the other and then it smashes you out of nowhere. It enhances both of them, gives them contrast and context. The way the songs flow through different sections like a living, breathing thing. Feelings evolving and clashing. I admit I don’t know this album off by heart, I’m not even sure how familiar it actually is. It’s one of the most exciting things, to know that there’s music out there which I know and love well, but just haven’t heard in ages. I’m talking hours upon hours of gems I left behind.

I hope this didn’t come across as completely self-indulgent and pointless. I can only describe the aspects I liked the way I understand them. The sound is awesome. The balance. What others might call “orchestral”, which is probably a bit silly. But I like the way you can hear all the instruments at once, filling the air. The silences are rich. Lots of texture. They use every bit of it. It shows when artists listen to their music as they go. They’re feeling it, adjusting. Have a knowledge of real musicianship or whatever. The pacing is good. I made out more of the lyrics on this album than most but still missed the majority. Generally liked what I heard. Usually about general human flaws like most good death metal.

Apologies if I’m wrong about all this. Maybe it’s cliché to say so but, you’re really missing out if you can never try a bit of good death metal, as well as every other genre, be it rap, jazz, classical, punk, and a hundred more, not all equally sized. People seem to like to pick a genre and stick with it. I like the best, most ineteresting stuff from each and every one. For me, Opeth takes death metal to a higher musical level. It’s just great music. It has everything rock has and more. Of course it’s different, but it’s as timeless as any other great work of art.


About karnok

A legendary ninja.
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