OPETH — Morningrise (review)

OPETH — Morningrise album cover Album · 1996 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Phonebook Eater
Opeth’s second studio album, “Morningrise”, has been surprisingly highly regarded among fans or even critics. Considered one of the best death metal sophomore albums, this album before listening to it seemed really, really good. But I’m overall disappointed with the result, which could have been easily more ambitious than how it tempted to be.

This album is part of the first Opeth period, keep that in mind; like every progressive metal band, the first albums have a very rough production, very influenced by thrash and doom metal. “Morningrise” is no different. Frankly this is an element that always annoyed me, even though the sound might have been very much intentional. Mikael Akerfeldt, the lead singer and one of the best metal singers ever, here doesn’t bring at all his immense talent in both songwriting, singing or guitar playing. His vocals are always put into the shadow of the noisy guitars, whether they are clean vocals or growls (very blackened in this album). The acoustic guitars are the only thing that sound really good and not lo-fi in any way. Anders Nordin’s drums are a little too rigid, but the bass playing is outstanding in some points, played by Johan DeFarfalla.

Musically the album is very basic blackened death metal, with some acoustic interludes. In fact, in each of these five songs, the rough metal moments, where the guitars always use counterparts instead of simple power chords (another thing that I do not like much), are immediately followed by acoustic, folky passages, somewhat tense and ready to open up another violent part. These constant alternations definitely give the label to the album “Progressive”. The thing that mostly disappointed me is that this structure is repeated in every one of the five, extremely long songs, without one of these tracks being different or more experimental from the others if not for the change of melody. It definitely gets monotonous in many points. But I never said that these melodies can't be gripping in the best moments. “Advent” has really good melodies, and it is with “To Bid You Farewell”, the song that features no growls and is for a good half of it acoustic, the best song of this record. “The Night And The Silent Water” however Is a little dull, and didn’t move me in any way. The twenty minute epic “Black Rose Immortal” had much more impact on me, and you can definitely feel the progressive influences here.

So it is in the end a good album, with weak points that often are brought up, but generally it’s a decent metal album, recommendable to who is a big fan of the band and decided to look back at the first works.
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