The masters of "progressive metal" (I use that term loosely here) continue the puzzle audiences with their seventh release.
Opeth certainly live up to the idea of "progression" here. Ever since their first album ( Orchid), they've been turning further and further away from metal. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's a far cry from their amazing sophomore release, Morningrise.
Now, there are a few good things that can be found on this album. First and foremost being Mikael Akerfeldt, the band's lead vocalist. His voice is phenomenal. Try listening to the stuff on their first releases, then this one, and tell me you aren't blown away. Second would be guitarist Peter Lindgren. His ability to write a tranquil guitar line, and then slowly build it up until you think it'll explode into some ferocious riff that would make Morbid Angel ashamed…..and then he drops back into his peaceful melody is just fantastic.
Third is the homage to Pink Floyd, because this must be what this album is about. It's atmospheric, quiet, gentle, all of which Pink Floyd had -- hell, the intro to "Closure" sounds very similar to Voivod's "Astronomy Domine," which just so happens to be a Pink Floyd cover. Fourth and finally, is the lyrical content. Though I may not be prog's biggest fan, I'll give them this: they usually write damn good lyrics. My favorite of these being the conclusion to the song "Weakness," "I'm not afraid of what you have just done/But what you have just become." Akerfeldt manages to make that sound so haunting.
Though most of Opeth's best material will be found on their previous CDs (not including "Deliverance"), the opening track "Windowpane" is a placid, beautiful piece, with a sublime guitar, and Akerfeldt's superb vocals make for a great listen. Also, the second-to-last track, "Weakness," is fairly good, with the vocals stretched out over the course of the song, making it sound almost like an instrumental. Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks come off as bland, boring Tool rip-offs.
All in all, this turns out to be a prog-metal album that progressed too far. Now, I may be a tad biased due to my belief that Opeth is the most overrated metal band in history. I'm sure fans of this massive success will enjoy this CD. I, on the other hand, will stick to classic Queensryche, who were able to make a prog album while still retaining a metal sound.