Album Review no.14: Blackwater Park - Opeth

kempokid
I've recently begun listening to Opeth again after a friend told me to look past the growling vocals and look at the entire package. After doing this, I must say, Opeth is quickly becoming one of my favourite bands, with their complex compositions and varied pieces of work. I'll be taking a look at the fan favourite album right now, Blackwater Park.

The Leper Affinity:
The album starts with one of its heaviest songs. The riffs throughout sound downright malevolent, from the initial one to the very last one, everything about this song is very dark and almost creepy at times. The first 4 minutes or so follow the similar pattern of vocals with one riff before a very short instrumental interlude before beginning a riff again. The use of clean vocals is limited in this song, which is understandable, as I find this song to be so good due to its overall heaviness. After this nice, soft respite, the song goes back into full force and sounds even more sinister than before, with a fairly off putting high pitched scream. I llike the last couple of minutes as well as the song becomes a lot more lighthearted sounding with the higher pitched guitar solo and the return to 4/4 time signature. The piano entry is a great end to the song as well. All of the components of this song work very well together.
10/10

Bleak:
The intro to this song is absolutely amazing. I like the use of the high pitched guitar in the background is nice and the vocals are particularly brutal here. Everything is going along nicely, same old stuff, the riff changes, and then the clean vocals enter and make this song godlike. While I absolutely love the first few minutes, it's really after this point where the song becomes amazing. The beauty of this section, especially compared to the first 3 minutes is unmatched and as well as this, it shows off the vocal talent of Mikael Akerfeldt in general. The song also ends in the best way ever, by having the heavy growls make a return as the song peters out and finishes with distortion.
10/10

Harvest:
This is the song that I'll show people when they ask about Opeth, the beauty of a ballad has never been greater than right here. I enjoy the relative simplicity of this one, as if every song had a time signature change every 5 seconds, it would get quite dull. I also find it refreshing to here so much acoustic guitar in a song, as these days, more and more bands are turning to electric instruments for everything. I also like the little solo that doesn't even slightly disrupt the feeling this song gives.
10/10

The Drapery Falls:
This is still more my speed when it comes to ballads, the ones that are still somewhat heavy instrumentally, but keep a lot of the softer, more pleasant vocals. As the song reaches halfway, the song becomes much heavier, with a couple of amazing riffs. I keep forgetting to mention how amazing the drummer is by the way, his ability to keep the beat with songs this complex is admirable. The song has 3 distinct sections, the first one, which is very nice and pretty, the second one, much heavier and complex, and the final section, full of changes between fast and slow, quiet and loud at a very high frequency. Each of these are perfectly crafted in order to create another near perfect song.
10/10

Dirge For November:
I find the gradual buildup in the intro to be a very clever move at this point, every song has been amazing so far, so hear this slow buildup gets you hyped for the song. As well as this, the solo in the intro itself is very nice. The riff is the most melodic of the heavy ones so far, with an extremely distinct tune. This song is also one of the ones that uses a lot of Death vocals, compared to many other songs that instead strike a balance between clean and growling. Even this, the weakest song in the album, still manages to be amazing in a lot of ways. The riff throughout the main part of the song is good as well. I like the longer intro and outro, because as well as doing something different, they are both very well composed, especially the outro, which I actually love.
10/10

The Funeral Portrait:
I know I keep repeating myself, but this album is very unified in its sound, every track is either absolutely beautiful brutal, with amazing riffs, great solos, and a very dark, creepy sound to everything. This song follows this for the most part. However, the one thing that I like that I find somewhat different is that the instrumentals and vocals are working individually in this song, while in most songs, the instrumentals would be constantly changing based of the vocal pattern, while in this one, the riffs continue at the same pace even when there are vocals. I think that the solo halfway through is one of the best parts in the whole album, along with the clean section on Bleak. The small clean section in this one is also really good. No song on the album has as good solos as this one. This is an extremely underrated song.
10/10

Patterns in the Ivy:
My opinions on musical interludes is that they are perfect as long as they sound good and fit the rest of the album. This one fills both boxes perfectly, the 2 minute song is a nice combination of calming and mysterious sounding. Not much to say about this song because it goes for 2 minutes and is nothing more than an interlude.
10/10

Blackwater Park:
And now for the song everyone says is the best, I personally disagree with that notion, but there is no doubt that this song absolutely rocks. Each riff in the song is completely memorable and complex, and there are a lot of riffs, I don't know an exact number. The early interlude is nicely played when in conjunction with all of the ambiance that takes place during this section. When the electric guitars kick back in, another amazing riff is played along with some more deep growls. Seriously, there is so much to love about every second of this song, the soft parts are nice and atmospheric, and the heavy parts are all extremely good. The song even throws a solo in for good measure a little over halfway through. For whatever reason, this song took me a fair few listens to enjoy, but now I can't stop praising it, even 8 minutes into the song, there are still new riffs being introduced. This is truly an amazing song.
10/10

8*10 + 2*10 = 100/100

Final Thoughts:
While Vulgar Display of Power surprised me when I gave it a perfect score, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that this was a perfect album. Every single song is incredibly complex and varied, some songs are chorus driven, others solo based, others riff based. Despite this, the entire album flows perfectly, having its own unique sound that is completely unified throughout the entire album. There isn't a single section of any song that feels weak. The balance between death meta and prog metal is spot on here. This would definitely fit in with my top 10 favourite albums of all time.

After a couple of well received albums by extremely well known, popular bands, I have decided that the next album that I'll review is going to be by a fairly underrated band. I'll be reviewing Carnival of Rust by Poets of the Fall.

Comments

Great review, I absolutely agree that this is a damn near flawless album.
By the way, you put album review 13 for two albums in a row. - visitor

Oh, oops. I don't know how I didn't realise, it's fixed now. Anyway, thanks for reading - kempokid

By the way, you should review Dream Theater’s Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, or Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time. - visitor

Cool, I'll review Somewhere in Time next, and how should I treat the titular track of SDOIT, 1 massive song, or individual songs for each section? - kempokid

I’ve been meaning to review the album, but I haven’t gotten around to it.
I think you should treat it as one massive song, and you should go through the entire song as well. Hate how I’d do it at least. - visitor

That’s how I’d do it* - visitor

Damn, I remember this comment from my old, cringey account - NightmareCinema

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