1998, Music

My Arms, Your Hearse (1998) by Opeth

This is the first Opeth record I’ve ever heard. I thought I had listened to one of their more recent ones a few years ago, but I must have confused them with another one-word, two-syllable metal band. I’ve of course heard of Opeth but I guess I just never got around to listening to them until now.
I’m glad I hadn’t looked up their style before listening to this record because the word “progressive” conjures up very specific things to me, things that are not necessarily present on this record. Anyway…

This is Swedish death metal merged with more melodic passages, normally played on acoustic guitar (and occasionally on piano), with occasionally melodic singing.

Unlike some bands who combine these things, the riffs are really loud and pummeling, so there’s no denying that this is metal. The softer portions could be a little folkier for me, but then I guess that’s a different genre of music. (The acoustic guitar parts are quite clean and sound more like the kind of thing you would hear on a Tony Levin record, or some other contemporary prog album than, say, on a folk record. I would prefer the folk influence.) But the combination of the two works well enough.
The sound of the record is pretty good overall, though I echo the complaint about the drums, which do not sound as great as the guitars. (They sound hollow at times, or like someone is playing pillows.)

I don’t know the history of death metal very well, or when people got into expanding the sound of death metal. I know at least a couple bands were doing it before this, but one of those bands was Opeth, far as I know.

Anyway, I like this enough to listen to it. It’s well done. I’m not sure it’s sold me on the band. I’d rather listen to Nile, for example. But it’s still well done.

7/10

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