The following is a CD review I submitted to Encyclopedia Metallium. A very interesting web site for metal information. Anyway, here is the review.
In order to review a CD for this site, I need to feel strongly about it. Also, I think I need to feel I have something to say that is a bit unique and from a different perspective than the typical review for that piece (see my Master of Reality review).
So – that brings me to talk about Blackwater Park. I’m not sure if what I have to say here is unique or different, but perhaps it is from a different perspective and could provide advice for anyone considering purchasing Blackwater Park.
First of all, I am truly amazed at the divide over this album. It’s like the whole red state blue state thing that the United Sates is going through.
As you can tell by the number [note: On the site I gave the CD a 94 out of 100], I love this CD. In fact, at first I could not believe some of the reviews for this CD, but I have come to understand the rationale behind them. I think this CD appeals to a relatively narrow segment of music fans. Because of the extremes it goes through, I can understand how numerous listeners can dislike it. Add to that the length of the tracks and you have a CD, while brilliant in my opinion, that cannot appeal to an overwhelming majority of music fans. Quite a risk, but a jackpot to those of us who love and appreciate it.
Please be aware that I am not bashing anyone’s opinion or taste, but it seems to me that the slower parts make the Pig Destroyer and Cephalic Carnage fans of the world cringe, while the death metal vocals make many Iron Maiden fans laugh and say, “How can you listen to Cookie Monster and call it music?”
Well, I can see their points, and agree that the Opeth of the 21st Century is not for them.
So, what does that leave you with? Not much of a prospective fan base, but certainly enough for Opeth to be reasonably successful and build a strong fan base; though the thought of a group like Opeth receiving mainstream success, especially in the USA, is laughable. Very few people are able to appreciate genius, and Blackwater Park is pure genius.
I will not review the album track by track, as I have always viewed Opeth CD’s as a single piece, as opposed to separate tracks. Although standout tracks like Bleak and the title track are great listens when you do not have time for the whole CD.
So, to conclude, if you are reading this and considering whether or not to delve into the fantastic, beautiful, mind-blowing music of Opeth, be warned. This CD is not for those with closed minds or musical taste that is not diverse. The listener needs to be aware that this CD contains music that is both slow and fast, peaceful and aggressive, and soothing and riling.
So my advice is put it on and marvel at the genius known as Opeth.