on December 15, 2010
I'd heard the rave reviews of Opeth for years, so I finally decided to give them a go. Not knowing where to start, I picked the Royal Albert Hall dvd, where they play this album in its entirety all the way through. So naturally, I was completely blown away and had to buy this album immediately.
It covers so much ground musically, it's hard to describe, but since it involves some death metal, it automatically gets categorized like that. But it's a hell of a musical journey, extremely vast in scope, that'll force you to experience almost your full range of emotions and leave you on a high when finished. Even days later, a song or piece of a song will be stuck in your head and still bring a tear to your eye it's so beautiful.
About the sticker on the cover - yes it's directly on the cover, but it's easily removed with some acetone(nail polish remover), which takes off the sticker without damaging the cover in any way whatsoever, I promise.
on June 18, 2004
Blackwater Park is an album of amalgamation and perfection, not just for Opeth but for metal as a whole. Until this point, Opeth had been carving out a niche of their own in the world of heavy music, with releases like the stunning 'My arms, Your hearse' or 'Still Life'. But Blackwater Park truly is a 'monumetal mark' to quote the title track, not just in terms of a vision fully realised, bit in terms of finally eliminating any barriers that might be left to the band to take their music onto a new level.
What is immediately apparent upon listening to the opener 'The Leper Affinity' is not just the seamlessness, the perfected ebb and flow of the music, but the incredible comfort with which this supremely talented band approaches music of extreme complexity. Much of this crystal clear, coherent sound can be laid, I believe, at the door of genius producer Steven Wilson, of Porcupine Tree fame. The vocal harmonies have certainly bear his influence, and by God, this record sees some of the best vocal parts they've yet laid down on tape, from the hypnotic mid section of 'Bleak' to the heartbreaking chorus of 'Harvest'. 'Blackwater park' sees the band stretching its creative muscles like never before. Each song has its own distinctive stamp, and each is filled with reams of immaculate ideas and intelligent execution. 'Bleak' has a unique, middle Eatern tinged riff, 'Harvest' evokes sepia coloured autumn days perfectly, while 'The Drapery Falls' rides in on a lilting, melancholy melody that returns in its conclusion and draws tears to my eyes. But the culmination of the record comes in the practically transcendent title track, which surely merits a high water mark for what can be done with the metal genre. It is unrelenting, brutal but hopelessly delicate, the middle section representing acoustic perfection. The cataclysmic conclusion has to be heard to be believed.
One aspect of the record which I've rarely seen commented on is the quality of Akerfeldt's lyrics. His grasp of imagery and his ability to match the words to the mood of the music are particularly immpressive. Worthy of note is the recurring theme of disease and purity, not the most original theme for a metal band, but tackled with real taste. Grotesque images like 'Lepers coiled beneath the trees' and 'perversions bloom(ing) round the bend' are effective in highlighting the dense, intertwined, ghastly nature of the music, while his smart use of natural imagery to paint his evil portraits around, (trees and flowers feature in the above lines) lead one into considering deeper themes of dangerous conempt for natural power, and our task to safeguard the natural world. A brief and obtuse reading of his poetry, perhaps, but a necessary one.
A lanmark release, 'Blackwater park' is utterly obligatory for fans of this type of thing, but newcomers are highly recommnded to start here, with Opeth at least, as this record is very cleverly constructed to reveal layers of complexity beneath initial accessiblity. In fact it's the kind of record people will come back to in 20 years and say: 'That was the most important CD of its time'. The word for this kind of album is, of course, 'masterpiece'.
on February 14, 2016
Whats there to really say? this is the BLACKWATER PARK....opeths worldwide breakthrough album!!! theres a reason why this album holds such praise. this could very well be their best album, although personal preference might say otherwise. IF YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF OPETH BEFORE, THIS IS YOUR GATEWAY ALBUM. enough said. They somehow combined the ability to write masterpiece songs that are super accessible without selling out on some generic music songwriting. That takes serious skill to pull something off like that! which is why this is a world class album and at a very high level among them. songs like the drapery falls has the most simple yet awe-inspiring introductions, while a song like a dirge for november holds such a beautiful and sorrowful and powerful feel to it that is very rare in a death metal song. and lets not forget probably opeths BEST SONG EVER MADE, the last track itself...the monster of a track that this is.....wow.....the song Blackwater park is something to behold. throughout this album, they keep this ominous eerie feel like the album artwork suggests throughout the whole album, with strange noises that fit perfectly......as well as the vocals and all instruments. they had Steven wilson produce this album and he certaintly helped opeth achieve this fantastic sound with his genius mind as well. If you dont have this album, YOU NEED TO GET THIS ALBUM RIGHT NOW
on October 29, 2003
If you have never heard "death metal" before, or are tired of the weakening power of better nu-metal bands, then I have a band for you. Opeth. That is all you need to know. This is the cure I needed after hearing all the junk that has been coming out in main stream rock. This is my first Opeth album, but let me say that even while I'm at war fighting for the greatest country in the world, I have really enjoyed listening to this band. Pure talent through and through. And that is in all aspects from songwriting, to actual singing and orchestration of their music. Yah sure, they growl. But yah know, you can still read the words in the CD cover if you can't figure out what they're saying. But Opeth incorporates actual singing into all their songs. It is excellent. So, put down the junk like Limp Bizkit, new Staind, Stone Sour, and all that junk that Best Buy says is good. Trust a soldier, this is good. Very very good. You will not be disappointed. When I redeploy, I'm buying the rest of their albums. Airborne!
on October 6, 2003
Blackwater Park was my first Opeth *album* (having only heard snippets of Morningrise before).
A small point of interest - the chief criticism here seems to be band's insistence on employing growl vocals.
Like many, I found this practice aberrant, and frankly disruptive to otherwise excellent music.
Repeated listenings to Blackwater totally changed my view on the matter - I realised that far from being the lamely overaggressive screaming of an otherwise talentless vocalist, the profound and multifaceted artistry in this volume would simply not be able to be communicated without the tool of harsh vocals.
They are not used for their own sake, nor to simply stop the gaps of an incomplete band lineup, but are just another component in a seamless tapestry of such potent beauty and majesty there is insufficient time in most our lives to listen and appreciate all it has to offer, let alone to just bask in incandescent admirative glow one ends up helplessly projecting on repeated listenings of Opeth.
Regardless, as you will discover in any of the acoustic or dynamically constrasted tracks such as "Harvest" or "The Drapery Falls", singer Mikael Akerfeldt's talent, ability and range is accomplished, to be more than modest.
I suppose the fact that there are only SEVEN reviews of the odd hundred-and-fifty-three before this that are negative, and half of these are from people that could not lay aside a dislike of growling enough to appreciate the album should let you know that this may be the biggest hurdle for someone considering picking this up
The other 3 were either just plain wrong in their assumptions - anyone who questions Opeth's musicianship or compositional talents can be safely and objectively sidelined as a cook: As whether you find them boring and prententiously irrelevant, or pray to them daily at nightfall , their technical talents cannot be queried by anyone with even an ounce of musical knowhow - or else provided no clear logic to their heresy.
Buy this album if you one of those who considers music to be *anything* more than a diversion used when performing menial chores or long distance driving. Even if -it takes you a year to come to appreciate what it is, any rational person will eventually come to at least respect this masterwork.
on September 18, 2003
Blackwater Park is the second album I bought of Opeth.
I first heard this group for 5 years ago, when the "Still Life" album was new. First song I heard was "Serenity Painted Death". I was astonished. Theese guys does what other doesn't. You could describe they're music in many, many ways. But I have a, what I think, good definition. Opeth plays progressive music. No, not like Dream Theater, that's regressive metal. Thinking Dan Swanö? No, not really, that's more progressive metal. Opeth plays progressive music. They're not bounded to the metal genre as "Metallica" or whatever other group. So how does it sound? I would say: mix death metal, folklore, jazz and rock, then your halfway there.
Mikael Åkerfeldt, singer, guitarist and songwriter is brilliant. On the "Blackwater Park" album I'm most found of the track called "Harvest", I belive, all tracks are great. "Blackwater Park" is probably the best album to buy with Opeth if you havn't heard them. Not saying it's easy music, but it is not as hardmolten as the newer "Deliverance" or "Damnation". Not saying those are bad albums. I love all of Opeth except their first album where the production is lacking. Buy this album, it's worth the money!
I also recomend:
All of Opeth - Best metal band around theese days
All of Nightingale - Regressive metal at it's best
Type O Negative - October rust - Best goth so far
Tuborg Grön 3.5% - Ain't those too sweet?!?!
on September 15, 2003
To say that Opeth is a brilliant band is an understatement... One of the most attractive things about them is how they defy easy categorization. In fact, even describing them to someone can be a daunting task. Seamlessly combining death metal and seventies progressive rock, Opeth have created something truly unique and challenging. However, even saying that would be undermining just how complex this music is... Perhaps the only way to accurately give the band justice is to explore all of their brilliant albums in depth, although even then I'm sure that many of the wonderful subtleties of their music would get lost in the process.
Arguable the band's most accessible album (that is, until the recently released DAMNATION), BLACKWATER PARK was my first exposure to this band, and it might be the best place for the uninitiated to start. Many people write this off as being the band's weakest album, and I would agree that it's perhaps their least impressive as a whole, but even then we've still got a masterpiece on our hands... Everything that this band has released is brilliant, and this album is no exception.
"The Leper Affinity" is one of the most crushingly aggressive opening tracks in the band's discography (and one hell of a song to hear them play live... they opened with this song when I saw them perform at Irving Plaza in New York City). It's instantly memorable and really kicks off the album on a high note. The next song, "Bleak" starts off with death metal vocals, but it's when Mikael's incredibly catchy soft vocals come in that you realize how great Opeth really are. The very fact that the band doesn't succumb to generic song structures and listener-friendly track lengths prove that they were never a band to follow popular trends... throughout their career, this is a band that has always stayed true to what they wanted to.
"Harvest" is the only song on the album (aside from the brief instrumental near the end) that doesn't have any death metal vocals and heavy riffs, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Truth be told, it's much easier to get into this band if you're a fan of this sort of acoustic rock as well. "The Drapery Falls" is one of their most atmospheric songs, and the way the band filters Mikael's voice over the acoustic guitars works extremely well. "Dirge for November" is probably the weakest track on the album, but simply saying that wouldn't be doing this song any justice... It's a great track, but it suffers from perhaps the album's only glaring flaw... the transition between the light stuff into the heavy riffs is a bit jarring, but that hardly matters when both sides of the song are done so well.
The riffs in "The Funeral Portrait" are great, giving it the extra punch that it needs... Peter Lindgren does some great guitar work on this song. Opeth follows this song up with the brief instrumental, "Patterns in the Ivy," which reminds me why I love this band so much. BLACKWATER PARK ends with the title track, which is in my opinion the best song on the album. Clocking in at twelve minutes and alternating between heavy riffs and impressive acoustic interludes, it's one of the best songs the band has ever written.
While there seems to be an emphasis on their lighter stuff, there are still enough heavy riffs in this album to satisfy everyone. Opeth would follow up this album with DELIVERANCE, one of the heaviest things the band ever did. I've come to notice that many people love to trash this band, claiming that many of their songs are pointlessly long and self-indulgent, allegations that I never really understood. I'm listening to BLACKWATER PARK right now and all I hear is good music...
on September 11, 2003
Opeth what can I say. Blackwater Park is a standout in the world of heavy music. Not for the squeemish not for the radio or MTV, not enough "bling-bling" and way to much substance to make it on that channel. If you are looking for well written, well played and well produced album this is it. Many albums have one or two of em, Opeth has them all on this platter. They cut into many different sounds on Blackwater park. Deth Metal insanity reminiscent of, Death, Morbid Angel, on "Leper Affinity". Aqualung allusions on "Drapery Falls", you could even get "dusty in that wind". Dream Theater riffs on Funeral Portrait. Very Nice "Planet Caravan" guitar work on "Bleak". Take all that and book end it with great playing and vocals that run from Cookie Monster to James H. on the "Black" album and you have a metal masterpiece. Weight, execution and production on par with the Panteras and Deftones of the world, while being totally original they are their own. Enough variety to keep all listeners entertained and the Bloody Fist of metal that all Motorheads need to face another day at the office. This album has it all.
For the readers reference her is what has been on my stereo as of late.
Morbid Angle - Gateways to Annihilation
Entombed - Morning Star
King Diamond - I got all his Albums
Slayer - Yeah all of these too
Evanescence - that new one
Garbage - Version 2.0
Black Label Society - Zakk rules
Curve - Lords of Acid - Elvis - Sinatra - Bill Withers
on September 9, 2003
I love Opeth. I love what they've done with metal, particularly the bland subgenre known as "death" metal, turning it into a listening experience beyond the casual listener's comprehension. But for some reason, as hard as I try, I can't get into Blackwater Park like I can their other albums. Still Life caught me off guard immediately, and I can play Morningrise over and over, but Blackwater Park seems to have something missing. Maybe it's because it doesn't appear (to me) to be as melodic, and is a little more primitive in sound. It's raspier, the guitars are a little crunchier (?), and so on. But I still enjoy it more than a lot of other "death" and "black" metal. Anything by Opeth is surreal and hauntingly beautiful. This is not a bad album by any means; I don't believe that Opeth is capable of making a bad album. For the fans who say their acoustic passages are too "soft", I'd say you are just a reject trying to act big and bad and you wouldn't know music if it were shoved down your throat with a sledge hammer. While it takes a little more getting into than other Opeth albums, Blackwater Park is still highly recommended by yours truly. There's enough heaviness to make TRUE metal fans (not punk-ass posers) happy, but also enough of that folk-influenced acoustic work that makes Opeth a truly unique and masterful band. Go get it today.
on September 4, 2003
You know, something? I never really liked death metal vocals. I always thought it was pointless screaming by the lead singer to make up for his lack of vocal prowess. There is one exception to this rule, and his name is Mikael Akerfeldt. Akerfeldt is the singer, rhythm/acoustic guitarist, and all-around head honcho of Opeth, a band from Sweden that also consists of Peter Lindgren (lead guitar), Martin Lopez (drums), and Martin Mendez (bass). Mikael is the only death metal singer I'll enjoy listening to because even when his growls and screams become extremely intense, he has a certain flow that most of the "singers" in that genre lack. Not to mention, he also writes some of the best lyrics this side of Neil Peart. All of this leads to my first Opeth purchase, BLACKWATER PARK.
This is the band's fifth album (or "movement," as they call it), and considered by many to be the band's best. As with any first purchase, I can't judge and say that it's the band's best, but I love what Opeth have accomplished with BLACKWATER PARK: dense, harsh, and very moving epic songs combining the brutality of death metal, the gentle acoustics of folk music, and the complexity of '70s progressive rock into one tight package. This is Opeth's signature sound, but it never gets old. There is so much unpredictability in their music that I was constantly surprised throughout the 67-minute duration of this disc. We need more bands like this.
The musicianship is really great. As I said before, Mikael is one of the best singers out there today. His combination of demonic death growls and melodic angelic vocals is stunning, and he plays one mean acoustic guitar. Martin Mendez is a great bassist with a killer sense of groove, and Martin Lopez combines ambient snare drum work with ferocious metal precision. Peter Lindgren unleashes some pretty heavy yet melodic leads and solos that have a tinge of blues in them. Very cool.
There's no need to explain the 8 songs on here, since they all have the familiar Opeth touch to them that I mentioned in describing their sound. You have to hear this album and then become it. Do expect some pleasant surprises, like stoner rock jams, straightfoward riffs mixed with the more complex ones, a constant and sudden switch between dark and light, and even some psychedelic underpinnings.
BLACKWATER PARK has everything a metal fan or (especially) a prog. fan could want. This proves why Opeth are one of the greatest bands to emerge in the modern prog scene in quite some time.