OPETH - DELIVERANCE - MUSIC FOR NATIONS/KOCH
With this sixth full-length release Opeth continues to build on its past sound and achievement within the metal scene. Six songs in sixty-one minutes defines clearly what sort of a song-length the fans will be facing here. Being the 'hype' band of the moment, Opeth can do no wrong. Fans will shout down any non-believers. It is that kind of support that makes the competition writhe in envy. Opeth mixes heavy metal, armed with growled vocals, with more technical and progressive moments. Yet, and as always, the quartet constantly delves into softer medleys of emotional passages and dreamy sequences. It is as if Anacrusis married Eloy and they have occasionally adopted the growled vocals and double bass runs of Morbid Angel. It is during these passages that the band is extremely good, a true pleasure to soak in. Then there are the ambient harmonies, pretentious lyrics and the pointless black and white photography. The technical term to describe some of this stuff is, I believe, boring. You see, vis-a-vis Opeth this reviewer is a meliorist. The Arabic melodies, long songs with lengthy instrumental passages, clean singing inspired by prog' rock of the 70's and diverse percussion work is strictly hit or miss at Metallian Towers. Giving credit where credit is due, Opeth has held the line on new and extraneous influences and unlike blatantly commercial moves by bands like In Flames has not abandoned its roots or patterns. Of course, it is understood that the band's original inspiration was not purely metallic to begin with. A second and softer album has already been completed and will be released to wide acclaim shortly. Fans will buy both of course - Ali "The Metallian"
OPETH - DAMNATION - MUSIC FOR NATIONS/KOCH
Here at Metallian Towers we know that we are supposed to 'get it' and praise the new Opeth album Damnation - the companion to the six-month old Deliverance - by showering it with praise and superlatives. Bandwagon duty compels us to use words such as beauty, wisdom, depth and profound in the same sentence as refinement, progression and improvement. After all, this is the album whereby Opeth delivers 43 minutes of soft and slow mood and feeling. More importantly, the oracle of heavy metal, that's Rolling Stone magazine to the layman, has already declared that, "Opeth create (sic) a shockingly beautiful thunder... (the) band continually expands the definition of what metal can be." Apparently the definition of metal now includes soft pop rock with a touch of Chris Rea, Pink Floyd and Sade. Elsewhere, another beacon of metal wisdom, England's Kerrang, finds space between visiting Cradle Of Filth at home to see what Dani Filth's kitchen looks like and full-page photos of Pamela Anderson to redeem Damnation with four K's and declare this album, "cascades of mournful melody...even cosmic splendour." Should CDs' cover stickers get any more informative less liberal reviewers, like yours truly, may as well hang their hats and take the last bow. For who knew, after all, that Julio Iglesias has always been a deft thrasher or that Eminem is a true blue death metaller. For if this piece of lame, soft, mellow and sleep-inducing crud is metal, then surely everyone else is practicing extreme underground brutality in comparison.
The biography warns the reader to "be prepared to be completely swept away." Never before have we been so proud to say that we just do not get it. - Ali "The Metallian"
OPETH - THE ROUNDHOUSE TAPES - PEACEVILLE
No tapes were employed in the production of this album.
The fact that Opeth’s music is pretentious and overindulgent is not in question. From its debut where the band quickly fashioned itself as an establishment favourite to its growth as a wussy pseudo-metal band masquerading in the metal scene the Swedes (and other) have laid waste to the scene - and not in a powerful, heavy or intense way if you catch the drift.
Having said all of that, The Roundhouse Tapes is not such a bad live album after all. Oh sure, Peaceville will be punishing its next ten releases to make up for the money it spent on this double-CD given the glossy/classy album package plus the alternating growls and murmurs are sad, but the band has gotten the concept of a live album right. No wonder the album’s title design and the album cover sit well next to a '70s release. The band ditches a standard fare delivery route in favour of a more 'lively' and fluid impromptu delivery which includes utterances like terming Under The Weeping Moon’s lyrics “absolute black metal nonsense” or ridiculing one’s own song “is this the blow job scene or the anal scene” or admitting that a song is designed to gets chicks backstage. This kind of banter gives purpose to the live album format, which is further complemented by the band’s inclusion of several older songs like The Night And The Silent Water or the aforementioned Under The Weeping Moon. - Ali “The Metallian”