Review: Opeth

““Blackwater Park””

I can sum up Opeth in one word:  Dynamic. It’s better than any Swedish black metal I’ve ever heard. As an added bonus, there is no mention of dragons, wizards or any of that stupid Celtic/ Renaissance crap. The album drifts into Death Metal frequently, but once again, it’s done free of cliché. That’s right – no flailing entrails, exploding corpses, demonic goats or farm animal rape to be found here. It’s a bummer that both genres and their bastard children are so packed full of cheesiness. While Mikael Akerfeldt belts some satisfying bottomless pit growls, I actually understand what he’s singing. He keeps it an even 50/50 balance with a clean, solid singing voice.  Lead guitarist Peter Lindgren also fails to deliver the predictable sting of endlessly recycled guitar solos, drawing out cohesive melodies and incredible tones instead. There is a lack of excessive double-kick and pointless filling, thanks to Martin Lopez. Lopez seems to prefer writing relevant, effective drum parts rather than wearing out his drumheads. I doubt he’d mention Lars as one of his influences. The bass guitar is too quiet throughout. That’s my only complaint. I find it amazing that this genre is so tired, I have to explain the ways that this band DOESN’’T suck. They combine the best elements of alternative rock, metal, acoustic balladry – often within the space of a single song.  Yes, Opeth is guilty of writing epics.  Most of them are 8-12 minutes long. Then again, they’re good enough to pull it off.