Opeth - Blackwater Park


Heat in 7
Apr 17, 2001
Southern California
Opeth - Blackwater Park
Koch Records - 2001


Blackwater Park marks the fifth and latest releases by one of the premier metal bands today, Opeth. Blackwater Park is simply a natural progression from their last album Still Life and it finds the band at a darker and at times softer sound than before. This has to be attributed to the collaboration with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) who not only helped produce the album but also contributes by adding his talents to a few songs. Lyrically, Blackwater Park is not a concept album like the previous two albums. Instead Mikael Akerfeldt has dived into his personal experiences and come up with really dark themes adding to the overall feel of the album. He is once again joined with the Still Life line up of Peter Lindgren (guitars), Martin Lopez (Drums) and Martin Mendez (Bass Guitar). With this solid line up, Opeth has been able to come out with their most accomplished album to date.

The album starts off with the 10-minute standout “The Leper Affinity”. It begins with an organ sound that slowly begins to grow louder and suddenly we are hit with the full force of explosive guitars and harsh vocals. One of the greatest abilities of Opeth has been to draw you in with truly bombastic and majestic riffing and just when you begin to appreciate it, the band quickly heads off into another direction. At about the halfway point of the song, the band heads into an acoustic passage that just molds perfectly with the entire song. “Bleak” is an intense slithering song where Steven Wilson adds his singing talent and his voice fits right in with the musical passages. This is one of the most exciting parts of the album and it shows that Opeth is not afraid to take their music into different directions. In “Harvest” the band finds itself in a moving acoustic piece. Simple guitar strumming paired off with gentle leads are the driving force of this song. This song also features some of the most heartfelt lyrics and singing by Mikael. With each album, Mikael’s singing continues to improve and I welcome the fact that he uses both voices prominently through out Blackwater Park.

“The Drapery Falls” might be one of the best songs every written by Mikael. The use of a slide-guitar in the first part of the song gives the song a unique haunting sound and it is an element I hope they use more off in future albums. But just when you think this song will be entirely like this, the unrelenting and powerful side of Opeth jumps in. “Dirge for November” starts off with vocals that are whispering and traumatic and the soothing melody that accompanies is played for just a bit before Opeth heads once again into a crushing pace. “The Funeral Portrait” is an impressive song filled with intense riffing, leads and powerful drumming. It almost has a groovy rhythm and it is hard for me not to move along with the song. In between this song and the title track is a short instrumental, “Patterns in the Ivy”, that acts as a breather between them. It is a simple but effective piece. The title track finishes off the album in truly superb fashion. It features a crushing and haunting opening riff, followed by phenomenal guitar work in the first verse. But what was most surprising about this song is the section right after the first verse. During my first listen to the album, this change was completely unexpected. It is a slow soft passage with slow guitar picking and dark slow guitar leads, in all this is a truly haunting part. But once again, this section is passed and the crushing pace is continued.

There is no doubt in my mind that Blackwater Park is Opeth’s finest album to date. With each new listen, something new always seems to pop up (as with all their albums) and I never find myself looking at the time of the song and wondering if I should fast-forward it. This is what I feel makes Opeth truly great and I simply can not understand how is it possible that some people can find their music to be boring and long. But like the saying goes “to each their own”. Blackwater Park will be available in March in the USA at the same time as in Europe (it is about time!). So all I have to say is, get this album immediately! This is an impressive album that surely will be on the top of plenty of yearly lists, including mine.
i,m not a fan of the vocals on the majority of tracks on this album it doesn,t make me too happy I like the clean vocals of their latest album and i hope they continue in the vain of track 4 on this album you,ll find this album in the used cd bin most likely
I like it quite a bit, but like most Opeth albums, I get tired of listening to them toward the end.
While perhaps their most 'accomplished' albums, I think it lacks a lot of the vibe of the older albums... production is great but seems to take away some of the musicainship.
This a GREAT album. Brilliant and inventive.

The first track rocks !!!!!!!!!!

Just go buy the damn thing .................


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Still Life was definately better in my opinion. It's the first album where the band didn't really innovate in any new directions, and hence feels a bit bland compared to earlier works. The same can be said of Deliverance and especially Damnation. Still, it's Opeth, and it's another excellent album by an amazing band.
I think Opeth are the most talented band in the world and this album proves it. For me, at least, these tracks never get boring. Each one has moments of pure genius that no other band seems capable of even contemplating. I actually think it gets better as it goes on. The final lyrics of the title track acompanied by the high pitched squeal on the lead guitar that is just audiable behind the mega crunchy riff makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it. best ending of any album ever in my opinion.
I doubt they'll ever top "My arms, your hearse" and "Orchid" (my two faves)..the songs are too long and, dare I say, boring with the only song that really caught my attention being "Harvest" (probably their best song to date, imo). The sound also seem to get worse with every record they make. Mikael Åkerfeldt is one of my absolute favorite singers, though (check out his work on Bloodbath: Ressurection through carnage if you havent!!). Also, the cover is amazingly beatiful. I guess that sums it up, for my part..
Despite getting most of their albums since, Blackwater Park (my 1st Opeth purchase) is still my favourite. Bleak is possibly my favourite track by the band with an absolutely awesome main riff, ending and one of the best fake endings ever in the middle. Maybe there's nothing that quite matches some of the parts of Still Life (the best-riff-ever ending of Face of Melida, intro to The Moor and end solo of White Cluster) but as an album overall I think the balance between heavy and light elements is at its best here and the songs generally run for the right amount of time with little filler, except for maybe Dirge For November which is one of my least favourite tracks by the band. I prefer the vocals on this & sill life to those on the last 2 albums as well.
Blackwater Park is the very best album Opeth has released! I have all their albums and to this very day this cd does alot for me. Not taking anything away from any of their other albums, but there's just that perfect mix that the greatest bands need to have to be labeled great. I give this album a 9/10 to say the least. Im looking forward to another Opeth opus after hearing a very good Damnation cd.
I've been listening to metal since the 70s and playing it since Metallica had pimples and no major label backing and this may very well be the best album I've ever heard, IMO.

Great mixture of bone cracking brutality with crystalline acoustics and some of the best musical arrangements written since Mozart died, polished up with a great production job.