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Opeth - Blackwater Park review

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Band: Opeth
Album: Blackwater Park
Release date: March 2001

01. The Leper Affinity
02. Bleak [feat. Steven Wilson]
03. Harvest
04. The Drapery Falls
05. Dirge For November
06. The Funeral Portrait
07. Patterns In The Ivy
08. Blackwater Park
09. The Leper Affinity [live] [Legacy edition bonus]

[Limited edition bonus CD]
01. Still Day Beneath The Sun
02. Patterns In The Ivy II

[Legacy Edition bonus DVD]
+ 5.0 Audio Mix Of The Original Album
+ The Making Of Blackwater Park

There are few bands that dare to continuously expand their musical sphere with each release, expecting their fans to accept the changes - even fewer succeed. Mikael Åkerfeldt, song writer and front man of Opeth, has pushed Opeth to do so since the band's inception and perhaps it's this constant change, not giving the audience a chance to adjust to one particular niche, which keeps them from ending up like so many metal bands before them: repetitive and uninspired. 2001 was the year Opeth opened the floodgates of creativity and released what many believe to be their magnum opus, an album so hyped you might doubt its brilliance. I'm here to tell you not to doubt. This is Blackwater Park.

As if the beautiful artwork didn't give you enough clues of the general mood of the album the opening song is quick to do so. Apart from an eerie fade-in and some great guitar riffs you are instantly hit with the album's powerful production and mixing. It sounds incredible! "The Leper Affinity" is a good way to start off the album with its heavy riffing and focus on growling vocals, though we still get the trademark blending of soft passages in the middle of the mayhem. The rest of the album is a balanced collection of songs, "Harvest" being a counterpart as it is completely on the soft side of the spectrum.

I could go on analyzing every single bit of every single song on this album but as this would take up too much space I save my last words for the title track. "Blackwater Park" has to be my favorite Opeth track. This song contains some of the heaviest, most brutal Opeth moments ever recorded along with some of the most misanthropic and dark lyrics ever penned by Åkerfeldt. Don't fool yourself, though, this is still Opeth we're talking about. Of course the song includes two and a half minutes of the creepiest and best clean guitar work ever heard. This song alone is basically worth buying the album yet we're offered an additional fifty-five minutes of incredible music.

It makes me very proud to share native country with this Swedish band but we're all equal to these gods of metal. Magnum opus or not this is the album that made Opeth break into the mainstream of metal but there's nothing mainstream about it. Instead Blackwater Park is a showcase of unconventional song writing, soulful musicianship and a perfectly balanced production. Combined, these aspects result in the best album of this decade and a milestone in metal music.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 10

Written by Storchillarn | 19.06.2010

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Passion. That's what Blackwater Park is all about. Pure, unadulterated passion. Forget that Opeth display musical ability and know-how that is rivaled by few. Forget that the ending to The Leper Affinity goes from what can only be described as one of the greatest jam sessions ever, to a beautiful, yet melancholic pianistic epilogue. Forget that Harvest is one of the greatest acoustic songs ever written. Forget that Blackwater Park contains the perfect metal riff. Forget that Mikael Akerfeld quite possibly has the best voice in all of music. Forget that every moment of this album will make you stand in awe of what you're hearing. Why should you forget all that? Because none of it matters.

published 18.09.2003 | Comments (162)

Staff review by
This charade has gone on long enough. It's time someone gave this crappy album an honest assessment.

published 01.04.2018 | Comments (42)


Comments: 15   Visited by: 343 users
20.06.2010 - 14:47
Account deleted
Heh, the title track is the only song I never listen to on this album oddly enough.

By this decade I assume you mean the last ;] unless this has been in the queue for 6 months.
20.06.2010 - 17:53
Rating: 8
Troy Killjoy
I could only ever get into certain moments from each song, but never an entire song. This is one of Opeth's better releases, but in my opinion, that isn't saying much. I prefer the works from their back catalog. Good review though, much better than the fanboy-laden 10.0 submitted a while back.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
20.06.2010 - 21:58

I own this album, and I agree that the album is fantastic. The review is pretty cool, by the way. There is not a single bad song on the album.
21.06.2010 - 12:45
Rating: 9

I don't think the album should get a 9.9, but it's not very far from that. The review is way better than the other ones, good job.
Li'ed - Prog-Metal from Jerusalem
23.06.2010 - 16:30

Thanx Gurr for this nice review
26.06.2010 - 12:03
Rating: 10

As much as I love all their albums there really is something unique about BWP. Thx for the critique guys!
27.06.2010 - 22:41
Rating: 10
I Hate You
This album is home to 3 of my all-time top Opeth songs - Bleak, Harvest, and The Drapery Falls. A masterpiece of an album. The Leper Affinity is a perfect opening track for BWP. Totally sets the mood for the tracks to come.
30.06.2010 - 12:50
Rating: 7

Hmm I'll give the album another go. It's the Opeth album I listen to least of all of them. Haven't really connected with it.
30.06.2010 - 21:53
Rating: 10

Written by Replicant on 30.06.2010 at 12:50

Hmm I'll give the album another go. It's the Opeth album I listen to least of all of them. Haven't really connected with it.

I think you should try it out again. The music itself might come off as a bit simpler in its structure but it just grows on you like any Opeth album. In the end I think this is along with Ghost Reveries is the one you can put in your CD-player anytime and enjoy, not necessarily focusing on the music. This might suggest its less complex which is not the case. Anyway, find out yourself I guess! =)
02.07.2010 - 05:27

No matter how hard I try, I just can't enjoy listening to Opeth. From a non-fan's perspective, I'd give this album a 7 at the highest.
22.07.2010 - 09:35

Blackwater park is supposed to be one of the best albums in opeth's discography and also in the entire metal genre. The songs like bleak, patterns in the ivy and others are truly magnificient.
22.07.2010 - 15:14
Rating: 7
Written by wormdrink414 on 02.07.2010 at 05:27

No matter how hard I try, I just can't enjoy listening to Opeth. From a non-fan's perspective, I'd give this album a 7 at the highest.

Same. I don't understand it either.
Licensed under the GPLv3.
Relinquish proprietary software for a greater GNU/America.
22.07.2010 - 17:52
Account deleted
Written by vezzy on 22.07.2010 at 15:14

Written by wormdrink414 on 02.07.2010 at 05:27

No matter how hard I try, I just can't enjoy listening to Opeth. From a non-fan's perspective, I'd give this album a 7 at the highest.

Same. I don't understand it either.

Seconded. I do have a pretty good idea (or at least I think I do) why Opeth's popular, but that doesn't change the fact that they bore me. Does anybody else think Akerfeldt sounds like he is going to fall asleep during the first 30 incredibly dull seconds of Dirge For November?
25.08.2010 - 01:14
Rating: 10

Couldn´t agree more! I have it and it just rocks
21.08.2011 - 17:56

Heh, was checking to find the details on the bonus tracks (not on my copy) and I found that there was now a far superior review available. It still seems to not be particularly objective, but I was similarly smitten by this album, so who am I to judge? I actually don't agree that any one song really stands out (maybe The Drapery Falls, but there are better Opeth songs on other albums), so much as that the quality of each track is consistently extremely high, yielding one of their most satisfying albums.

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