Opeth

Ghost Reveries
Still Life
My Arms, Your Hearse



Ghost Reveries
(Roadrunner Records)
Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1
Order Issue #8!  This review included.
"Ghost Reveries" is quintessential Opeth, and the logical path following their twin releases. The accessibility of "Damnation" and the brutality of "Deliverance" are combined with better than ever songwriting. They waste no time at all, assaulting you with "Ghost of Perdition," which begins in a brutal manner, and makes effective use of dynamic shifts, slowing just long enough for you to catch your breath, and then punching you in the diaphragm yet again. Ten and a half minutes of playful counterbalance finds you consumed in this dizzyingly coherent epic.

And this is not the only epic song among the eight tracks. "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" is their longest, and has perhaps the easiest to follow song structure. Who else can pull off songs of this length without being stale or monotonous, while still holding the song together? Other marathon songs like "The Baying of the Hounds" and their first single "The Grand Conjuration" are equally as cohesive, and, if anything, feel like they are over too soon.

The vocals on "Ghost Reveries" are, as always, a treat. What voice in metal carries as much power and passion as Mikael Åkerfeldt's? When growling he is like a fierce beast ready to attack. When singing, it's like he has some kind of power to charm and lull the beast within. To some extent, this is definitely a sing-along album - the crowds will have a great time chanting along with these songs, which offer an almost equal balance of growled and sung verses. As on "Still Life," the lyrics follow a constant theme, in this case a spectral and haunting theme, which is easy to visualize given the ominous nature of the music's atmosphere.

The addition of Per Wiberg on keyboards has had an enormous effect on Opeth's sound, without losing any of their trademark sound. Consistent with the "ghostly" theme of the record, the keyboards help define that eerie sound with a variety of sounds. They also solidify the prog-ish nature of Opeth's sound, which comes out more in this album, but in a very accessible and disguised manner. They are not so much in the forefront that they masque the sound; instead they provide depth and darkness to the songs, while occassionally helping to transition segments.

The level of musicianship is superb, and everyone's individual contributions stand out more than usual. A deep and punishing bass sound is prevalent, and Martin Mendez has some very imaginitive bass lines. Martin Lopez solidly backs the swirling frenzy of off-timed progressions. And the guitars, courtesy of Mikael Åkerfeldt and Peter Lindgren, are classic Opeth - technical and brooding melodies, fast and intricate riffs, and unexpected yet inspired arrangements. It's just amazing how they go from ferocity to acoustic splendor so seamlessly.

Although not as consistently brutal as in their "Orchid" days, this is still the same Opeth. The chord progressions, the dynamics, and their vision is still there, though more developed and experienced. They've written another masterpiece, easily rivaling "My Arms, Your Hearse" or "Still Life" as their best effort, and the more you listen, the more you find yourself lost in the amazing melodies. Simply put, this is an essential album from one of metal's finest. --
Lady Enslain

Still Life
(Peaceville)

Enslain Magazine Issue #7
Order Issue #7!  This review included.
What is a music lover's collection without the presence of Opeth? Incomplete, to say the least. Now, of course "My Arms, Your Hearse" is among the most important releases, ever. And if you aren't yet familiar with that release, you owe it to yourself to listen to that one first, or else you may not understand the beauty of "Still Life." I can recall my first introduction to Opeth, the surge of abysmal power was enough to make my heart sink. Lightning fast and yet darkly melodious; with harmonized vocals placed at just the right times to transcend the already ingenious sounds. Now, enter "Still Life." The sound is very similar to that of their last, but the slower passages and clean sung vocals find themselves a more permanent home. Does this take away from the great ix they once had? Some may think so, but I'd disagree. This album is perfection; every song is so musical, so memorable, and so powerful. There is still a sense of evil darkness displayed on this release, but it is just mixed with somber darkness a little more, displaying a little more of their flexibility. "Still Life" is more complete, more mature, and is absolutely invaluable. -- Lady Enslain

My Arms, Your Hearse
(Candlelight)

Enslain Magazine Issue #5
Order Issue #5!  This review included.
This album is singlehandedly one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had, and have every single day. It is extremely hard for myself to write a review about Opeth since they are the ideal band in my eyes. Everyone song they have ever written is a miniture masterpiece. The skill which the songs are preformed are enough to humble the techinical side of anyone, and the songs themselves can level a city with the sheer emotion and art they create. Their prior two albums(Orchid and Morningrise) are incredible, and MAYH follows rightfully in their footsteps. Each album has a different taste to it, and MAYH is probably the angriest of their albums. It also is the first album with their new bassist and drummer(more than adequte replacements). At first, I loved the album, but did not think it was as good as their other works. Each time I listened to it I grew to appreciate it more however, and now I have come to realize it is equal if not greater than anything they have ever done before. One aspect of the album which is a definate departure is the fact that the song lengths are much shorter(7 to 8 minutes long) than before. It just means there are more songs, it is still epic and breathtaking though. Even though there are 9 songs, they all melt into each other and can either be enjoyed as one whole song, or seperately. Which is mind boggling since it is a different experience each way even if they are still the same songs. Simply put, if you love music, you will love Opeth. -- Adam S.

ENSLAIN MAGAZINE