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Opeth - Still Life (-/10) - Sweden - 1999

Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Label: Peaceville Records
Playing time: 62:31
Band homepage: Opeth

Tracklist:

  1. The Moor
  2. Godhead's Lament
  3. Benighted
  4. Moonlapse Vertigo
  5. Face Of Melinda
  6. Serenity Painted Death
  7. White Cluster
Opeth - Still Life

Does the enigma that is OPETH ever cease to perplex the minds of the masses? I personally feel so inadequate trying to "write" about this band, as if I am important and/or knowledgeable enough to give justice to their music through my witty rhetoric. It's all just words! OPETH is just OPETH!

These are two very different universes we are dealing with, and I just do not feel that I can justifiably put descriptions to the music without placing false, unnecessary, and altogether diluted images in your mind about what "verbalizations" your subconscious might conjure when you put on, in this case, "Still Life". I know that I tend to do this with certain albums/bands that are of this calibre (as those of you familiar with my reviews know by now), but I just find it unavoidable when I am confronted with such a difficult task of speaking of what shouldn't even be spoken about. I will do my best here, folks, please bare with me...

"Still Life" is, and was, in the eyes of many, considered a bit of a breakthrough for OPETH. On "My Arms, Your Hearse", we were graced with the darker, more brutal aspects of OPETH's ever-changing musical illustrations. I was personally left a bit disappointed by that particular effort, as it lacked the dense, emotive acoustics found on my personal favourite, "Morningrise", though it was still excellent in it's own right. On "Still Life", it seems as though Akerfeldt and Co. have bridged the gap perfectly between the two avenues of expression (heavy and acoustic). His brutal vocals are plentiful, as well as his gorgeously wistful clean vocals. Also of particular note are some of the riffs here, which remain some of the most complex ones yet in the band's repertoire. Trying to explain certain songs and what one finds appealing about them is always a bit difficult considering that the average OPETH-song on "Still Life" is around 8:30, so we fans must often talk about the "...awesome part at X:XX-X:XX in 'X' song" (make sense at all?). That is the beautiful, yet incredibly frustrating thing about OPETH. Certain songs on "Still Life" have sections that aren't particularly interesting, or are perhaps a bit too repetitive, while other parts are so full of glorious emotional splendour that you want to cry out loud and hear it over and over and over again!

Well, I'm gonna wager that most of you reading this review already own "Still Life". OPETH aren't exactly an unknown commodity in this neck of the Metal-woods, but what will always remain unknown to me is how in God's name they come up with music this.........indescribable!!! I know we all ask ourselves that question about OPETH and it just NEVER gets answered! All we can do is listen and further get in touch with our inner humility. Personally, I will only listen to OPETH when I'm "in that mood" (you know the mood) where I: a) have lots of time on my hands, b) feel like hearing music that isn't at all "formulaic", c) just want to listen to OPETH!!!! YARRRRGH! I just can't put my finger on it. Here I am, reviewing "Still Life", having owned the album for ~9 months, and I've hardly given it a listen until about a month ago, and now it monopolizes my CD-player(s)!!! I hope there are those of you who know, and can relate to this, because this doesn't ever happen to me with other bands, just OPETH.

Anyway, enough of the personal stuff. This is an intangible work of genius, with creations that are more like abstract poems, or Picasso-paintings, than "songs". Classify them as "Progressive Black/Death", "Emo-Death", whatever. You'll never do their music justice through words. OPETH just "are", and Gabe uses way too many quotations in his reviews. Sorry, I often use them as a source of "vagueness", which is the only method I can seem to find when discussing OPETH. Therefore, I will not rate this album either, it just wouldn't be right, sort of like saying "God looks like...".

Gabriel Gose



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