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132 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommended, but with a note of caution.
Let me just say that I, umm, don't care for death metal. Even when the oft-talented musicians are doing more than unleashing dissonant slop, the "cookie monster" vocals usually turn me off. Opeth is...
Err, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. To simply call Opeth "death metal" is lazy and does them no justice. Vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt can unleash...
Published on December 5, 2001 by Lord Chimp

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Out of my league
A friend recommended Opeth to me. Now I have limited knowledge of death metal and usually listen to rock, prog, or jazz, but new musical experiences are a must and I picked "Blackwater Park" because it seems to be a favorite of Opeth fans. I've been listening to this for over a year and like the music, dynamic changes, and musicianship but I'm not a fan of growl vocals. I...
Published on February 1, 2007 by WillieB


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132 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommended, but with a note of caution., December 5, 2001
By 
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
Let me just say that I, umm, don't care for death metal. Even when the oft-talented musicians are doing more than unleashing dissonant slop, the "cookie monster" vocals usually turn me off. Opeth is...
Err, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. To simply call Opeth "death metal" is lazy and does them no justice. Vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt can unleash a growl so utterly demonic it sounds inhuman, but I think beyond that Opeth's parallels to death metal are scarce. Opeth is better described as the bizarre marriage of metal brutality and pastoral elegy. Without a doubt, Blackwater Park is full of crashing guitars and brutal growls, yet Opeth balances with melodic acoustic passages and vocal deliveries with icy beauty. Often, these elements are encompassed entirely by one song. The 10-minute opener, "The Leper Affinity," begins with flaming guitar riffs and bestial vocals, but as you approach the 5-minute mark, the heaviness falls away to be replaced by delicate clean singing and a dreamy acoustic section. Even at its heaviest, Blackwater Park remains surprisingly melodic, with fluid guitar lines and ear-catching riffs. Opeth is clearly more about dynamics of light & shade than the conventional sonic mire of other similar bands. (Although, truth be told, there aren't really other bands like Opeth.) Producer Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No-Man) doesn't seem like the right guy for the job...at least on paper. But Wilson's background makes him the perfect choice. His ear for sonic clarity and arrangement are surpassed by few, and he is a wonderful complement to the band's ambition.
"Harvest" is gorgeous. Layers of acoustic guitars, sparkling overlays of electric chords, and the chilling, beautiful vocals of Akerfeldt. It's probably my favorite song on the album. That's because I can't really listen to lots of the stuff here. The death vox are just too much for me. On a purely subjective level, I wouldn't give this disc 5-stars.
But forget that subjectivity. Sometimes you just have to admire what's being done, even if it's not your own cup of tea. Objectively speaking, Opeth is original and talented. If you like (or even tolerate) death metal vocals, I _strongly_ recommend you try Opeth. If you absolutely hate death vox, skip it. (Although I usually hate 'em but I tried this, so whatever.) Blackwater Park is unique, progressive, heavy, and sometimes beautiful. If you take the plunge, you may be turned off by the oppressively cold and bleak sound (plus some unhappy lyrics). But be patient. Allow its grandeur to unfold. You might be blown away like so many others.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album that single-handedly made me a fan of metal again, September 30, 2005
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
Not since my high school years, 93-97, had I been a fan of metal. After talking to a fellow college classmate about Slayer, I decided to take him up on his suggestion to check out the band In Flames. After purchasing Colony, and having the epiphany that there could possibly be great metal out there, despite the decline of The Headbanger's Ball, and the obvious failings of the so-called metal bands dominating the charts in the US, I decided to peruse the reviews on Amazon to see where this hopefully resurrected metal fan needed to search next.

Everywhere I looked: Opeth. To boot, I had never heard such words used to describe a metal band: eloquent, majestic, beautiful, exquisite, touching, emotional, poignant, epic, delicate...ok, I must stop here because the references to positive transendence, though absolutely fitting, might give you the idea that this is not a heavy metal band at all.

And perhaps that is true. If there is a band in the metal genre which perfectly symbolizes the evolutionary certainty of all quality music bending the limits of genre, then Opeth is it.

No band has ever captivated my imagination and love for music the way this band has, and Blackwater Park is the album that started it all.

The escalating, soft tension of the opener, "The Leper Affinity" exploded into the most demonic of riffs. Not because the riff is pure evil, but because the melody, so seductive and oddly soothing, epitomizes true darkness as it is compelling in the true nature of sin. This band surpasses musical genius by honing the exact ebb and flow of extreme human emotions.

Throughout this 67 minute, 8-track opus, Opeth guide the listener through a world of vivid lament, psychosis, rage, reconcilliation, victory, and defeat. I do not know of any album (and my collection of pop/rock/hip-hop/jazz/jamband/soul/etc. reaches near the 2,000 mark) that ends so fittingly as this one, when Mikael exclaims, "The sun sets forever, over, Blackwater Paaaaarrrrrrrkkkkkkk!" at the album's closing. At this zenith, the listener truly feels the inescapable suffocation of death, and the unfathomable possiblities of an afterlife. I dare any reviewer to name a band which can conjure such emotions.

What's for sure is that Opeth accomplishes such seemingly impossible feats by coupling patient songwriting with flawless instrumental execution. Guitar players who instantly become enthralled with the idea of replicating the tasty guitar passages, pause for just a second. The tracks on this album are so layered, that if you wanted to produce the exact same sound live, you'd need a band to rival the numbers of your local city's orchestra.

It is this thoughtfulness in composition that truly separates this band from others, and allows this album to rest upon the apex of metal along with its ancestor, Still Life (to this day I cannot decide which of the two reigns supreme). Every moment of this album, the extreme death/black/progressive elements and the folkish/melancholic-acoustic-doom progressions, accentuates the duality of darkness, in its most dormant and aggressive manifestations.

Together, these polar opposites collide to produce a musical experience unmatched by any in the metal field. Aside from pulling this fan from his metal grave, Blackwater Park ensures that this decade will not fail the world of music in producing an incomparable contribution to extreme/heavy music.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refutation of all 1-Star Ratings, July 16, 2004
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
I have read over many pages of reviews on Blackwater Park, and I am quite pleased to see the support Opeth is receiving, and from intelligent people. However, I also see many, many reviewers giving this phenomenal album a single star. This dusgusts me. I read a review saying that anyone who wanted to listen to real music should listen to bands like Good Charlotte and Grade 8. I strongly hope this was a joke. I've listened with an open mind to Good Charlotte, and they are nothing but a no-talent, can't-decide-if-they're-punk-or-goth, sell-out MTV band that writes songs about suicide with touching videos only to show the world that they know something about cliche "teenage angst" and depression.

Wow, that was pretty rough, wasn't it?

But fine, go ahead, like Good Charlotte. But don't insult Opeth simply because you don't like the rougher sort of vocals Mikael Akerfeldt employs. Not everyone does, it's understandable. They were an acquired taste for me. The same reviewer that cited Good Charlotte as "good music" (perhaps simply because they have "good" in their name?) complained that Opeth is "nothing but a scream band with no talent what so ever" (by the way, whatsoever is one word).

First of all, the quality of Opeth lyrics surpasses that of any band I've ever heard. The dark and haunting poetry that flows from Akerfeldt's pen does not paint a scenery before you, but envelopes you in that scenery. Opeth has been oftencategorized as progressive, and that alone refutes any talk of "no talent." Progressive music is about establishing a pattern of music, and then varying it to different degrees. Those patterns weave in and out of each other, harmonizing and working together to create beautiful music. It takes a far greater knowledge of music theory to coherently structure anything remotely close to being progressive than it does to create a two-minute punk song, the likes of which Good Charlotte probably churns out in under half an hour. The reason Opeth, Dream Theater, and Yes songs run on for over ten minutes most often (of course the Yes epic "Close to the Edge" at around 18 minutes, Dream Theater's "A Change of Seasons" at 23, and Dream Theater's "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence at a whopping 42 minutes) is because they are more than just songs they are writing. These progressive bands are writing symphonies that cannot be concluded in any short amount of time. The songs are long because a vast amount of time and effort was put into them, not to mention skill and knowledge. The bottom line is, saying that Opeth has no talent is like saying that sugar tastes salty, that the ocean is made of sand, or that the sun is a ball of ice.

For any new readers looking into Opeth, please disregard the one-star reviews completely. They are unfair and completely irrelevent. Blackwater Park may be the highlight of Opeth's career and is definitely worth a listen. If you don't like it, fair enough, but don't insult it on unjust grounds. Respect the music.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words fail one., October 6, 2003
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
Blackwater Park was my first Opeth *album* (having only heard snippets of Morningrise before).
A small point of interest - the chief criticism here seems to be band's insistence on employing growl vocals.
Like many, I found this practice aberrant, and frankly disruptive to otherwise excellent music.
Repeated listenings to Blackwater totally changed my view on the matter - I realised that far from being the lamely overaggressive screaming of an otherwise talentless vocalist, the profound and multifaceted artistry in this volume would simply not be able to be communicated without the tool of harsh vocals.
They are not used for their own sake, nor to simply stop the gaps of an incomplete band lineup, but are just another component in a seamless tapestry of such potent beauty and majesty there is insufficient time in most our lives to listen and appreciate all it has to offer, let alone to just bask in incandescent admirative glow one ends up helplessly projecting on repeated listenings of Opeth.
Regardless, as you will discover in any of the acoustic or dynamically constrasted tracks such as "Harvest" or "The Drapery Falls", singer Mikael Akerfeldt's talent, ability and range is accomplished, to be more than modest.
I suppose the fact that there are only SEVEN reviews of the odd hundred-and-fifty-three before this that are negative, and half of these are from people that could not lay aside a dislike of growling enough to appreciate the album should let you know that this may be the biggest hurdle for someone considering picking this up
The other 3 were either just plain wrong in their assumptions - anyone who questions Opeth's musicianship or compositional talents can be safely and objectively sidelined as a cook: As whether you find them boring and prententiously irrelevant, or pray to them daily at nightfall , their technical talents cannot be queried by anyone with even an ounce of musical knowhow - or else provided no clear logic to their heresy.
Buy this album if you one of those who considers music to be *anything* more than a diversion used when performing menial chores or long distance driving. Even if -it takes you a year to come to appreciate what it is, any rational person will eventually come to at least respect this masterwork.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the world know.............Opeth, April 19, 2001
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
I purchased this album as soon as I could get it. I own all of Opeth's previous releases.
I'm not sure I can add much more praise to this album. If you have any of Opeth's other albums, you will buy this one. If you do not own an Opeth album, it doesn't matter which one is picked up first, they are all excellent.
Opeth is progressive-like-death-like-metal-like music. What does that mean? The band is not afraid to use acoustic guitars, a piano, or any other variation that may work. Overall there are harsh growled vocals and guitars that are loud and rock. The vocals change between a death growl and a very clear and pleasant sound. Two very active guitars on the album, and a bass that stands out more than it did on Still Life, but not as active as on Monringrise. The songs are longer than the average 3 to 4 minutes, be prepaired to be at attention for an average of 10 minutes.
This album seems a bit busier than the previous albums. Complex stuff that may need a few listens to decifer. Favorites of mine on the album are Bleak, Harvest, and The Funeral Portrait. Bleak is one of the heavies on the album and Harvest is an all acoustic track. Funeral Portrait has the best riff on the album and is some nice meat in the sandwich of the album.
My only hope is that Opeth doesn't grow stale before they get big. These will be the albums retro-death metal heads will have in the year 2010. If you appreciate more technical death metal, you should like Blackwater Park. Opeth doesn't unleash unbridled hatred, they simply tell a story instead with thier music. You need to tell a friend of Opeth.
This album is worth your time and your money.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OPETH : Too Good For Death Metal, April 16, 2005
By 
MOD Squad "MOD SQUAD" (Pierre, South Dakota) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
These guys could play circles around any band, whether metal, punk, jazz, classical, whatever. This is the finest of all Opeth albums by far. The ability of these Swedes to make beautiful music one moment, and then brutalizing metal another, is stunning. And the singer: is this all the same dude? He growls like the vocalist in Napalm Death, and then he sings....I mean, he REALLY sings! You have to hear it to believe it. Opeth may have the most talented voice, since Glenn Danzig started crooning for the Misfits. In fact, he may even put Danzig to shame.

I know, they're really long songs (most over 10 minutes)...but Opeth writes songs within songs. The hooks, especially on "Bleak," are amazing. And "Harvest?" Can any other metal band, death or not, compose such a moving track?

This band needs to be saluted for caring so much about recording complex, captivating songs, when they know they'll never be on the radio, they'll never be recognized off stage, they'll never appear on Oprah or the Today Show, and they'll never become millionaires. They make music that's original and interesting - music that they can be extremely proud of. Gee, what a concept.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Opeth. You Get The Greatness You Expect., June 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It doesn't get much better than this. Opeth's Blackwater Park album in 5.0 (as it says on the box and on the disc, but it sounds/feels like 5.1 so maybe that's a Europe thing?) is the best thing I've ever heard. Steven Wilson's vocals on "Bleak" are awesome (well I dont want to give it away if you haven't bought this yet), also "The Drapery Falls" is something totally worth getting the Legacy Edition to hear. You'll know what I mean. In fact, "The Leper Affinity" will set the tone as to what to expect quality-wise because there are some things in that one you can't here on even a lossless file from the cd. The making of documentary is a good watch as well.

For all of you concerned in the US about compatibility, don't worry. I live in Chicago, all of the regional coding is right, it's NTSC, etc etc.

If you are viewing this item, you are an Opeth fan, and there is no such thing as a "casual" Opeth fan, so take my advice and buy one of their best albums in 5.0 (again, it sounds/feels like 5.1 so I'm not sure why it is advertised as 5.0) It's almost as good as hearing it live in its' entirety like I heard on their Evolution XX: An Opeth Anthology tour (amazing show by the way, flew out to NYC for it)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best that death metal has to offer, April 3, 2005
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
First off, I'm not a death metal fan. I find stuff like Cannibal Corpse unlistenable, and wouldn't touch one of their albums with a ten foot pole. So naturally, I was very hesistant when a friend of mine reccomended Opeth to me. I decided it couldn't hurt to download the album and give it a chance. After all, this friend had very good taste in music, and I trusted him with this. I was very surprised by what I heard. "The Leper Affinity" features the kind of crushing guitar riffs and "cookie monster" style vocals that I was expecting, but unlike with most death metal, they actaully sounded good. Buried under these raging riffs was a great melody, and evidence of great songwriting and composing. By about three minutes into the song, I could tell I was going to enjoy this. But then the song got even better, as the time signature changes started coming into play, and it showed some complexity. Around the 5 minute mark, the cookie monster vocals stopped and were replaced by a crystal clear, starightforward vocal style. It hardly sounded like the same band. By the time the high-powered "Leper Affinity" was over, I couldn't wait to hear the rest of it. And sure enough, it didn't let me down a bit. "Bleak" is a relatively simple song, with a melody catchy enough to be enjoyable, but loud enough to get you fired up. When the vocals shift to normal style overtop of the electric riff, it really shows just how amazing a band Opeth is. After two amazing songs in a row, "Harvest" falls a little short, but is still a good song. It gives a glimpse of what would come on 2003's Damnation, as it is all acoustic guitar and clear vocals, making for a very beautiful piece. "The Drapery Falls" returns to the brilliant style of the first two songs, opening with a short acoustic intro before more of Opeth's soaring guitar riffs kick in. The melody here is great once again, and the structure makes the song an incredible ride, constantly shifting from quiet acoustic bits to explosive rock outs. "Dirge For November" opens as another simple acoustic piece, before the ususal wall of electric guitars comes from nowhere. This is the most sinister sounding song on the album, and one that fans of the usual type of death metal will appreciate. That said, the intensity it reaches is incredible, and it certainly ranks among the finest songs in Opeth's repetoire. "The Funeral Portait" has one of the most high energy riffs on the album, and the guitar solo shows that these guys have a pretty good idea of how to play their instruments. That said, it's also the least addictive track on here, and the weakest (though on an album of this strength that means very little) "Patters In The Ivy" is a brief but beautiful acoustic guitar and piano instrumental, serving as more of an interlude than anything. "Blackwater Park" closes the album out the same way it started. Crushing riffs, screamy vocals and a weird but cool song structure. This song is a true epic, and will be appreciated by anyone who likes loud music.

As a whole, this is the only time "cookie monster" style vocals have not bothered me. Opeth takes the attitude of death metal, but gives it a rythm and melody, as well as great lyrics. If some death metal bands would only learn from them, the genre could maybe become tolerable. In fact, several months after first discovering and loving this album, it has not only held up over time, but I've grown to love it even more. I can honestly say this record deserves 5 stars, and any music listeners should hear it. Liking metal isn't important, they are so easy to appreciate that it shouldn't matter. One of the best albums of all time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!, April 22, 2010
By 
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I first came across Opeth on a recommendation from a former roommate. The album was "Damnation," and I found myself enthralled with a sound that I was looking for in a band. However, as any Opeth fan knows, "Damnation" was a special event: it was a mellow, cleanly sung, almost entirely clean channel album put out by a death metal band.

The first "metal" Opeth album I heard was "Blackwater Park," and it hooked me right away. One song in particular, "The Drapery Falls" really drew me in with its semi-psychedelic feel. This was the first album that Opeth worked on with Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson, and if you are familiar with Porcupine Tree's approach/production, it seems more apparent in this album than in the others (which isn't a bad thing at all). If you love progressive music and songs that cover vast musical terrain (essential view music as a journey rather than easy consumption), then "Blackwater Park" should be right up your alley.

As for the Legacy Edition, I placed the order for it the day it became available and received it almost two weeks ago. The 5.0 mix is a real treat to listen to (as it was for "Still Life" and "Ghost Reveries"). I found that the 5.0 really brought out the bass quite nicely. The liner notes have some additional artwork (very cool) as well as an introduction to the album written by Mike Ackerfeldt that sheds some very cool light on where Opeth was at the junction and the humor and easygoing nature of Mike really comes out (it would be great to kick back some beers with him with Camel playing in the background...)

The second disc also has a documentary that was filmed during the recording of the album that is quite enjoyable as well. Opeth is a band that works its tail off, and the hard work definitely shows.

If you like Opeth but haven't yet purchased "Blackwater Park," just go for the Legacy Edition. If you've already purchased the album in past, I would recommend checking it out for the 5.0 mix (depending on how much extra cash you have to throw around on import special edition CDs, that is).

In sum, a masterful work deserving of a re-release that has left me very satisfied.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "And you are just like them all...", November 22, 2006
By 
Squash 'N' Squeak "The Silencing Machine" (The Darkest Regions of Outer Space) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
Wow. I've never heard anything like this before. I bought this album about a month ago, and since then, I've been trying to comprehend how an album like this could be made. I know that sounds pretentious, but you'll feel the same way if you listen to Blackwater Park. Opeth vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt can rip your face off with his inhuman roar, but he can also soothe you with his clean whispering vocals anytime he wants to. The mix of aggressive metal and progressive rock is brilliant, and you'll never hear another band quite like Opeth. Even when Blackwater Park is at its heaviest, it's still quite melodic. Mikael, along with his brilliant vocal switches, is a great lead guitarist. I love his solos on The Drapery Falls and the title track. Peter Lindgren, while not as good as Mikael, provides a strong rythm guitar for Mike to work off. Martin Mendez's bass is kind of buried behind the rest of the band, but if you listen carefully you can hear him. I'd say he's most audible on Harvest and a certain part in the title track. Martin Lopez is an awesome drummer; his double-bass kicks and symbol tapping are done brilliantly on songs like The Leper Infinity and The Drapery Falls. I currently own 2 Opeth albums (this and Ghost Reveries), and while the other is great, I'd have to say that this is the better of the two.

The Leper Infinity opens up with some very hushed piano chords, but then everyone's instruments kick in, and they create a very dark atmosphere for the song. Then, Mikael's demonic, yet comphrehendible, roar comes shattering through with "We entered winter once again!!!" I believe this song is about dying from a blizzard. Around the 5-minute mark, it quiets down with acoustic guitars, and we experience how Mikael can switch from a death metal growl to a prog rock voice. After a few verses of that, the song gets heavier and Mike sings away until the whole song collapses on itself, leaving some quiet piano chords to play, different from the ones played in the beginning. My 2nd favorite off the CD.

At first, I didn't really see the genius in Bleak. But after a few more listens, it grew into possibly my favorite song off the whole album. The guitars are at possibly their best here, with Mike shredding away on lead. I also love the lyrics. I can't really explain why I like them so much (other than that they're just really dark, which I LOVE in my music), but somethingg about them sends chills down my spine. And I love how, um, "bleak" the song ends, too. Even though it ends very dark, the lyrics around the end give you some sort of hope, if that makes sense.

Harvest is the first song that fully explores Opeth's progressive roots. It's completely out of acoustic guitars, with the exception of an electric guitar that is quietly wailing away, and Mikael's singing is very clean. The calm atmosphere of the song is really haunting. Ehy? I can't say why, but something about it can chill you....

After that prog rock epic, the album gets heavier with The Drapery Falls. My only complaint with this song is that the opening and the ending are a little longer than they need to be. Other than that, this is an amazing song. There are death metal growls in it, but this song is mostly overtaken with Mikael's clean singing. He even sings the opening lyrics, "Please remedy my confusion," in clean vocals. I guess you could think of this song as a heavier version of Harvest with a little bit of death metal growls, which aren't used until the end of the song.

Dirge For November has the least amount of lyrics out of the songs on this album that have lyrics, but that doesn't matter. The real brilliance of this song is the music. This is possibly Opeth's best music performance on this album. Mike's clean voice and an acoustic guitar hit the song at the same time until it gets heavier with awe-inspiring musicianship. Unfortunately, I feel it isn't as strong as the previous tracks. Still, quite an excellent piece of work.

The Funeral Portrait opens up with some creepy acoustic guitar chords which give you the hint that it's definitely building up to something HEAVY. And heavy it is. It has the darkest lyrics, and the way Mikael mixes his clean singing with heavy musicianship near the end is brilliant in the best sense of the word.

Patterns In The Ivy is a quiet piano/acoustic guitar interlude that fits in the album perfectly. Umm, since this is the song I listen to the least, I can't really say much more about it.

The title track is my 3rd favorite song off the album. Other than the quiet intro, it's HEAVY, and the heaviest song here. It's the only one that doesn't have any clean vocals, and, along with Harvest, it's the song where Martin's bass is at its most audible (his bass is still audible, but those are the 2 songs where it's the most audible). And you gotta love the closing lyrics of "The sun sets forever over Blackwater PAAAAAARRRK!!!!!"

This is an amazing album, and one of the best metal albums I've heard, let alone one of the best albums period. These guys really are geniuses, and this album shows it. This album has a very dark mood and dark lyrics, yet at the same time, it's beautiful in every sense of the word. It's the best album of 2001 (along with Radiohead's Amnesiac and Children of Bodom's Follow The Reaper), and possibly the best metal album of the decade.

All 'n' all, I STRONGLY recommend Blackwater Park along with Ghost Reveries.

Long live Opeth!!!!!!
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Blackwater Park
Blackwater Park by Opeth (Audio CD - 2001)
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