OPETH — Still Life (review)

OPETH — Still Life album cover Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Really and truly, what is the deal with this band and this album?

Opeth’s “Still Life” is fawned over almost universally, inspiring gushing reviews where critics fall over themselves in pursuit of the most lyrical platitudes. And for what? A dark concept album following a tale of unrequited love? A reinvigorating breath of fresh new life for a stale metal scene? A melodic progressive death metal masterpiece? The answer is none of the above.

What does progressive even really mean? It conjures up thoughts of widdly, boring songs which fill the entire side of an old vinyl LP, pretentious, self-indulgent musical masturbation which milks every last drop of tepid hope from a terminally bored audience. By that definition, “Still Life” is most definitely a progressive metal album.

There is the odd growl, but it’s hardly backed by death metal. Most of the time it’s hardly even metal. This album is littered with acoustic interludes and ooo-woo vocals. It doesn’t really offer much of a contrast from the metallic parts, because both are flat and grey. Even at full volume, this is still background music, inoffensive pap which slides in one ear and straight out the other. The band is castrated by it’s misguided attempt to transcend metal.

There might be song titles, but they don’t really matter, because there are no highlights. There are no bottomless depths of depraved mediocrity either. “Still Life” is just that- a flat-lined corpse.

The whole thing is just ditch water dull. And no, not a cool flooded ditch, sweeping along tree stumps and unlucky sheep with dirty, roiling depths raging down it’s course while threatening to burst it’s banks. No. This is stagnant, stinky green ditch water, so putrid even mosquitoes won’t lay eggs in it, instead looking for somewhere less torpid.
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Bosh66 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Just playing this album now. Not heard it for ages and was thinking maybe I'd missed something and got caught up in the hype.
And I have ... concluded you've got wool in your ears young man. It's feckin excellent.

siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
More like death prog ;)
more than 2 years ago
I've never thought of Opeth as death metal and that includes the band's first three albums.
more than 2 years ago
Serenity Painted Death is the reason why I stopped thinking that death growls were like a demon sick in the toilet and started thinking there was talent behind them. Opeth is the reason why I'm on an extreme metal run right now. And progressive metal is what got me back into metal. It's not my choice for best Opeth album or best prog metal album, but I still like Still Life. To each his own.
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
@The Crow Atheist and Death did not ever try to hide their metal roots, and metal remained their major influence and genre. As for Voivod, the only album I've ever rated or reviewed is War and Pain, which is a brutal ripper of a thing. I've never much taken to any of their other albums. Fair comment though.:)
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
@siLLy puPPy Yes, you can say it! I really do not get progressive rock, probably in the same manner most people here don't get noisecore. ;)
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Dare i say that you just don't get it? When it comes to progressive metal there is a whole spectrum of complexity. Opeth has always been a progressive rock band wrapped in metal clothing. I wouldn't call it death metal at all but rather progressive rock with death metal elements. As with most of these type of albums it takes time to digest and incorpoate into one's musical palette. I say this as someone who did not like Opeth for the longest time but once the floodgates opened it all clicked. I'll save my own crititique for this album for my own review because i do not find it to be the unabashed masterpiece it's made out to be but it is definately a highly entertaining album once if you love complex progressive rock compositions.
Nightfly wrote:
more than 2 years ago
"pretentious, self-indulgent musical masturbation" - I love it! You probably have to be a bit of a proghead to fully appreciate this one.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I disagree but I guess we all have the odd famous, well loved album we just don't like or understand the attention it gets. One of mine would be 'The Perfect Element I' by Pain of Salvation.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Ha ha, that certainly is another perspective on an album which is usually very highly rated. I´ve seen a similar review for "Reign in Blood" once. I can´t say I have a similar opinion to your´s regarding "Still Life". I always found it a really intriguing release.
The Crow wrote:
more than 2 years ago
It's funny that you are rating this album with one star talking about how boring and pretentious progressive music is, while at the same time you are rating pure progressive and experimental metal albums with five stars, like you did with Atheist, Death and Voivod.

Hard to understand.

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