Recently a fellow metal-head shared one of the Blackwater Park songs; it’s been ages since I heard this album. Music has this ability to bring back memories. In my case, decade old vivid images from heavy metal pubs, long distance motorcycling and even longer days dedicated to embedded engineering.
Had once motorcycled six hours straight to see Opeth live, at this college town in a little known part of the world. Crowd simply exploded to the opening riffs of “Bleak”, a ferocity matched only by Åkerfeldt’s own growls.
Blackwater Park is that one album which conveniently illustrates Opeth’s early years. Everything from funk to folk — doom to death — packed into one funereal epic. Wide range of actual genres fit into that melancholic sound, and Opeth weaves those influences into one dirge symphonic print. Album seamlessly illustrates meandering proggy passages resembling Camel, to Tom Warrior like curt grunts. With blankets of blues, prog and folksy lament built straight into that vital progressive death skeleton, Opeth manages to eclipse all genre boundaries.
After all these years, listening to them again made me realize, these Swedes orchestrate all those vibrant influences more elegantly than most genre specialists themselves do.