Showing posts with label opeth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opeth. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2016

video review: 'sorceress' by opeth

I dunno what to say about this one, folks - I'm a little surprised how many people seemed to agree, given how much critical acclaim this record has received, but I guess more people were dissatisfied too...

Anyway, Karen Jonas and JoJo (for some reason) are next, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

album review: 'sorceress' by opeth

The last time I talked about Opeth, it got complicated. 

And it got complicated for reasons I find more than a little amusing, because for as much as I like progressive rock and metal, to say nothing of the production and mixing talents of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Steven Wilson, I found the overall blend of it with Opeth in progressive rock and metal to be a little less inspiring than I liked, especially when I dug into Heritage and the 2014 album I reviewed Pale Communion. Paradoxically, going back through Opeth's discography I found records like the progressive and blackened death metal - a genre of which I'm rarely a fan - of albums like Still Life, Blackwater Park, and the twin release of Deliverance and Damnation. As such, while I like Pale Communion I haven't gone back to it in the same way, especially not in comparison with Steven Wilson's amazing solo project Hand. Cannot. Erase. last year in 2015. Two great tastes that don't always work together, it happens - Steven Wilson did contribute to their more aggressive side on those early 2000s albums, maybe they should have stuck with that instead of going full retro-prog.

But it seems like Opeth themselves were looking to shift things up yet again. After four albums with Roadrunner Records, they left the label for Nuclear Blast for their newest album Sorceress, which looked to be infusing more of a metal flavour back into their material. More interestingly was the fact that Steven Wilson was nowhere near the production credits of the album, which hasn't been the case for Opeth in fifteen years. And as such, the critical reviews have suggested it's one of Opeth's best albums in years too, so I wanted to ensure I gave it full consideration... even if, again, it is a little late. So okay, what did we get with Sorceress?

Friday, September 26, 2014

video review: 'pale communion' by opeth

Finally, took way too long to get to this album, but I'm happy I got to it. 

In any case, next up will either be Ty Segall or one of the many records dropping next week - it's going to be crazy. Stay tuned!

album review: 'pale communion' by opeth

There are certain metal and rock bands that are tricky to talk about - and you wouldn't think, upon first glimpse, that Opeth would fall under that banner. Beginning with some well-received records in the 90s, they eventually would explode with a blend of progressive death and black metal in the late 90s and early 2000s with some of the most critically well-received metal records of the time. Hell, I'd probably go on record as saying their 1999 release Still Life is their most full-formed, cohesive, memorable, and well-written release, even more than the critically beloved Blackwater Park or the twin releases of Damnation and Deliverance, and in my opinion an all-time favourite and one of the best albums of the 90s, hands down.

But it was around that time, and especially across their following albums, that another figure comes to the spotlight: producer, singer-songwriter, and frontman of progressive rock act Porcupine Tree Steven Wilson. Now I've gone on record calling Steven Wilson the 'prog metal Kanye West', and with Opeth he found his Jay-Z - because like it or not, Opeth's work became distinctly coloured by tones that are instantly recognizable as Wilson's, which shows an impressive distinctive sound and incredible skill as a producer. Even on the albums he did not produce for the band, his influence was definitely apparent, and as the 2000s wore on, Opeth began slowly moving away from the death and black metal of their roots and towards the more progressive side. Which wasn't a problem for me - I love prog rock and metal, both on the aggressively visceral side of Mastodon and the methodical brilliance of Dream Theater - but at the same time, Opeth was one of the bands that maintained a stellar, textured balance between textured death and black metal and their more folk-inspired progressive side, to the point where I'd actually recommend Opeth as a good gateway from progressive metal into more extreme genres. And as much as I like prog rock, I'd admit to being a little disappointed to seeing that balance drop away.

In any case, after the excellent Ghost Reveries and the shakier but still good Watershed, Opeth ditched death and black metal altogether for 2011's Heritage... and it was pretty good, but not exactly great. Missing the loud-soft contrast between the heavier metal segments and the progressive rock left the album feeling a little lightweight and strangely empty, the latter being an issue with the mixing courtesy of Steven Wilson - and while I appreciate his commitment to dynamics, it probably wasn't the smartest decision to say the album was the first part of a trilogy encompassing his solo album Grace For Drowning and the self-titled Storm Corrosion debut album - I know you've collaborated with Opeth for years, but presumptuous much? The larger issue was that many of the songs felt spacious but lacking instrumentally and lyrically outside of the killer track 'Folklore'.

In other words, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with Opeth's newest album Pale Communion, but I steeled myself for the worst and gave it many listens. And now, a month late, how's the album?