OPETH — My Arms, Your Hearse (review)

OPETH — My Arms, Your Hearse album cover Album · 1998 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Warthur
The lo-fi shot of a wintery forest gracing the cover of My Arms, Your Hearse might give the impression that this release has Opeth drifting in a black metal direction, and that isn't altogether inaccurate - whilst they don't go full on black metal, this is easily the heaviest release I've heard from them and their brand of death metal with progressive sensibilities has perhaps never been darker.

Part of this was born of necessity - following the release of Morningrise, the band parted ways with their entire rhythm section, and they hadn't yet recruited a new one at this point - Martin Lopez had been recruited as drummer, but Mikael Åkerfeldt was handling bass duties on this one alongside his many other tasks.

Equally, there also seems to have been a conscious attempt to shift the band's sound at this point, and head into murkier and darker territories (though there's still calmer acoustic sections here and there which come through outright pristine, though these moments of tranquility seem to me to be less frequent, though if you're missing them Credence is more or less entirely acoustic).

This murk means that it can be tricky to discern some of the more intricate qualities of the music, and it's only when giving the album another chance more recently that I found I started to "get it". (Part of it is that I think the album is meant to be cold, chilly, and a little distant - you don't put that cover art on a sunny, warm album after all...)I'd previously felt that the music here was carefully calculated and technically polished but emotionally insincere, but I think I have a better ear for Opeth's music now, in part because of my appreciation of their previous albums. (That said, I do still think that the clean vocals are a little sterile.)

I certainly wouldn't recommend it as your first port of call when exploring the band, but I understand it better now. For best results, listen on decent-quality speakers or headphones to get the subtleties which can otherwise be slightly lost in the mix.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
7 months ago
Just listened to this today. Really good but i like the debut better. I'm a late Opeth bloomer too!
Warthur wrote:
7 months ago
I ended up reappraising this one a bit.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Don't hate Opeth. Not saying don't get into them. Just sayin i'm not into them. The problem is not that i don't like their sound, i just think their albums drag on way too long and it all starts to the same to me. I'm glad they were your gateway to the extreme side of metal! I have many friends who love them. I like tons of stuff no one else can stand
J-Man wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Opeth has been a favorite of mine since I first listened to them (hell, they were even the band that got me into extreme metal!), but it's always cool to read another perspective. Nice review. :-)
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'm with you. I don't get the appeal of Opeth either. They're ok and nothing more

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