This is the 3rd release by Swedish progressive metal masters Opeth. This is also is the first release where the Opeth sound we all know of comes together in full Opeth form. The first two Opeth albums (Orchid 1995 and MorningRise 1996) had a more traditional twin guitar sound like Iron Maiden . Their 3rd release (My Arms, Your Hearse 1997) has the sound of a band that took a million steps forward in their progressive rock and their heavy metal styles. There was no longer twin guitars playing octave notes but, guitars weaving riffs and harmonies around each other. This album has a deep influence from 70's prog bands that you will notice a lot. Lots melodic death metal and lots of prog. And if you pay attention, the last word in each song is the name of the next song. So it is kind of a concept album.
"Prolouge" opens up the album with the sound of rain and a piano breaks in almost startling you. Then the song moves quickly into the next with the sound of Mikael Akerfeldt's voice holding a beautiful note. "April Ethereal" is a nice metal track and a great piece of music with killer double kick drums and plenty of killer riffs, harmonies and progressive acoustic guitar passages.
"When" is probably my favorite track on the album. This song contains such great musical instrumentation, and so many sounds it is hard to grip onto with one listen.
The middle of the song has a jazzy Pink Floyd inspired sound with some of my favorite vocals ever heard in my entire lifetime; very beautiful vocals that are quite moving. The unique thing about Opeth is very noticed in this song because as they do a lot. They manage to write heavy melodic riffs and Mikael can find a away to not only growl in those parts but sing clean vocals in such harmony. Not a lot of metal bands can pull clean vocals off but, Mikael is a master at it.
"Madrigal" is a small guitar piece that is kind of jazzy and creepy. It has a haunting guitar in the background doing a fading note effect. "The Amen Corner" is a metal track, but as with all Opeth songs it is not deprived of acoustic guitars and mellow parts. The beginning is kind of a groovy sounding metal riff. It is a good song to put it in quickly explainable way.
"Demon of the Fall" is a rip your face off, heavier than metal track. It still contains lots of melody and lush guitar sounds but the better part of this song will leave you head banging. Mikael sounds like a demon from hell the way he growls on this track. But the song ends on the last 3 minutes very flowing, nice and melodic with clean vocals.
"Credence" is so laid back, mellow and nice to listen to. Mikael shows once again what a great singer he can be. It has a lot of dubbed clean vocals so it sounds like two singers but it is only one singer singing one part and the other voice comes in with the next line while the other voice holds a note. Very unique sound not often heard by one singer doing it.. The end has a David Gilmour influenced guitar part that goes on and then fades out slowly.
"Karma" is the last heavy track of the album. It has all things Opeth in it. Heavy, mellow, prog, jazz,j ust everything Opeth. All I can say is this song is amazing a usual. Just listen to it.
"Epilouge" is the last song on the album and it is completely instrumental. It is really Camel and PinkFloyd inspired. The song is slow and driven by Hammond organ,slow precise drums and a awesome guitar solo that bears a resemblance to the Andy Latimer and David Gilmour guitar sounds.
Now so you all know, this album is mostly sold now as the deluxe addition. The deluxe addition contains two cover songs. "Circle of the Tyrants" is a Celtic Frost cover. It sounds better then the original song that Celtic Frost does but that is because it is recorded better. The other song "Rememeber Tommorow" is a Iron Maiden cover and I have not heard the original version but it is a good song and I know Opeth pulls it off great since it sounds great.
To close this review I will say buy this album if you love great progressive rock and heavy metal. And if you love Opeth and have not heard this album, just buy it. You will all love this albumůJason