This album is incredibly special to me, and is what I believe to be the best Opeth
records are like the best paintings: They are entertaining right away, but they have deeper meaning requiring study. And
with this, which was not my first Opeth
album, I knew I had to make time to do nothing except sit and listen for its hour-long duration. Opeth
is a band which, and I'm sure this has been said before, combines beauty and brutality in songs that span sometimes fifteen minutes. An Opeth
album is like a journey; it travels through peaks and valleys and inspires all sorts of emotions. Still Life
, after listening carefully a good six or seven times, I decided was Opeth
's masterpiece; the Mona Lisa of Prog/death.
The album starts off slowly, like a canoe on a quiet river: chilling acoustic guitar melodies uncomparable to anything else in the genre. Then the canoe hits rapids as the heaviness builds up and Mikael Akerfeldt's signature growl comes in to frighten away all the Nickelback
fans. This is only the intro to the opening track, "The Moor". It's my favorite Opeth
song, and I've never felt so attached to another song in my life. Almost every single song on Still Life
has this combination of stunning, calm beauty, and head-banging heaviness, though there is an exception: The only track that carries the same sort of feeling the whole way through is "Benighted
". It is the best acoustic song I have ever heard. Since I started listening to actual music around age five, it is the absolute best acoustic tune I have ever listened to, simply heartbreaking in its emotion and prettiness.
One other aspect of this album which needs to be mentioned: the story. Still Life
is a concept album which follows the sad tale of two lovers, one's exile, and his return in order to get back together. That
, of course, is a gross simplification of such a wondrous story, but you really need to listen yourself find out the details.
The reason I don't mention the other five tracks on the album is because each song goes through just about every emotion music can bring out in a person. They are mostly long songs, and to break them down is unnecessary, and to me, would diminish the value.
Back to my first experience with this album. Once
the end of the final track, "White Cluster" had come around and my cd player had shut off, leaving my room with the sound of silence, I sat. I couldn't do anything else. So blown away by this legendary album made by one of the best bands ever, I was unable to do anything except sit. My eyes were wide, and my palms were sweating. I was practically in a state of shock; it was ten minutes before I got up.
Everybody, not just metal fans, needs to take the voyage that Still Life
brings people on. Yes, there are people who will bitch and moan about screaming, but there is no album without screaming that is as powerful and breathtaking as this. Still Life
is a milestone in music, and a reminder that even with all the rubbish out there, there will always be something like this to erase the rest.
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