Beautifully morose death metal would be an accurate description of the latest release from Opeth. Many of the songs on Blackwater Park have significant time changes going from aggressive to mellow without warning. “Bleak” is a an extremely diverse, heavier track with instrumentation and structure reminiscent of Saigon Kick.
The Saigon Kick comparison, as well as Queensryche can be drawn on “Harvest” which features the intricate acoustic guitar playing courtesy of Peter Lindgren and Mikael Akerfeldt’s vocals remain clean through the entire track. The vocals remain clean (with some use of a voice box) on the almost 11 minute eerie opus, “The Drapery Falls” until the song takes an aggressive turn allowing for Mikael’s deathly growls to be unleashed once again.
The mellow to aggressive leanings are most prevalent on “Dirge For November”, where similarities with their contemporaries My Dying Bride and Anathema are readily apparent. Influences of death metal pioneers Celtic Frost creep into “The Funeral Portrait” where Mikael’s vocals suggest an appreciation for the vocal phrasings of Tom G. Warrior. “Patterns In The Ivy” is a gorgeous instrumental featuring piano and acoustic guitar which eventually segue into the powerful title cut, “Blackwater Park”. The guitars on this track have the sound of Black era Metallica.
“Blackwater Park” offers enough diversity for casual or non death metal fans to appreciate without sacrificing the death metal leanings of their core audience.