What I have been hearing a lot of with this album were people chiming out that it’s just cliche eighties Progressive Rock. After hearing both the introduction track and even “I Feel the Dark,” I really can’t help but feel these people didn’t listen past the single of the album, “The Devil’s Orchard.” Now, while there’s no denying the fact that there is some cliche eighties Progressive Rock in this album, there’s also some strong darker Opeth material to be found here that kind of mixes things up and gives it a little more unique flavor. The few tracks at the start of the album I heard are really nothing too spectacular so far, and nothing really stood out to me in the casual listen I gave them. The darker starting music to “I Feel the Dark” was impressive, but didn’t leave much of an impact.
It’s clearly a departure from the band’s Metal side and more Rock oriented. Some of the material seems like they want to capitalize off the atmosphere of Watershed, but the eighties Progressive Rock sound that comes up throughout just doesn’t mesh well with it to me. When it comes to “Nepenthe” I just can’t get into it. The song just sounds a bit too pretentious and even typical for the time period Opeth is clearly focused on for this album, and again it just didn’t stick with me. None of the album up to this point did. Don’t get me wrong, for an album that often has smoother material mixed with darker and dynamic Progressive Rock ideas, it’s far from a bad album, but it’s just not an Opeth album. Even accepting that, I just can’t get into it. The album sounds more like a jam recording session put to disc and not a professional album meant to be smart or emotional in any sense, just dull with some of Opeth‘s signature compositions.
On a personal gripe level, there’s no lyrics, at least in the more costly digipack version. Instead it’s black and white photos of the band. That’s not a bad thing, but the lyrics sheet would actually be nice to have to follow along with. Another reason outside the fact that Roadrunner doesn’t support this site that I’m kind of waiting to hear the album is the fact that I picked up the digipack edition, which comes with a bonus DVD that supports 5.1 audio. I don’t have a surround sound system anymore, the one I had broke, and I’d like to include the review of the DVD in with it when it goes live on the site for the audio disc. This also has two bonus tracks which I didn’t get to hear yet, but comes with a paper so you can download the songs. While I hate this kind of stuff usually, like what happened with the recent Blind Guardian album, at least they’re on the DVD and you do have a physical copy of the songs in your ownership (as far as consumer rights go anyhow).
So, there ya have it, just some quick views on what I thought of the new Opeth. I’m going to be starting up the Vlog of the Damned series soon, and if I do I’ll go more in depth with my personal feelings of the albums, but so far, this is just talking about the first fives songs I heard for the first time while sitting here typing this page. I’m not saying I don’t like it or that it’s bad, I’m just not getting into it, which is sad give it’s Opeth, and I almost always get behind the material on one of their CDs.
Article based on a physical copy provided by personal funds.