Ghost Reveries

Opeth – Sorceress Review

Opeth – Sorceress Review

“It’s funny to think about how long it has been since the golden age of Swedish metal. In the mid-to-late ’90s and early aughts, Swedish bands were atop the world. Now venerable legends were young, hungry and novel. 1995 saw the release of Slaughter of the SoulThe Gallery and Orchid, while the following year graced us with Morningrise and The Jester Race. And when I got into Opeth in 1998 I was swimming in a veritable ocean of amazing Swedish records. Despite my love of the band, I would have laughed if someone had suggested that Opeth—the guys who couldn’t write a song shorter than 10 minutes—would be the most successful of the bunch in 20 years. Maybe it’s obvious in retrospect. Opeth was the band with the broadest opportunities for evolution. They have shown that consistently in their long career. Record after record they evolve; sometimes for the better and sometimes not. But they have always been forward thinking and—given their recent moves into merch and their own imprint—clever.” But is the new album good?

Opeth – Deliverance [Bruce Soord Vinyl Remix] – Review

Opeth – Deliverance [Bruce Soord Vinyl Remix] – Review

Deliverance has the honor of being my least favorite Opeth album prior to the release of Watershed. At the time, I was still seeing the band frequently on the road and enjoyed the records well enough, but I have to admit that I was much more a fan of Damnation than Deliverance. Early on I suggested that this may be due to the fact that the majority of the band’s best acoustic material was saved for the acoustic record. But as the years went on, I think realized that I always felt like the songwriting was choppier on Deliverance, a critique I later made of both Watershed and Heritage. After buying the remixes of Damnation and Deliverance released at the end of 2015 and reading Mikael Åkerfeldt’s liner notes, I have to say that I feel mollified.

Opeth – Pale Communion Review

Opeth – Pale Communion Review

“Twenty-fourteen brings us the answer to this question in the form of Pale Communion. The record is Opeth‘s follow-up to the (apparently) love-it-or-hate-it Heritage, and the second record in the style that is maybe best described as “post-Opeth.” While the band continues to be recognizable in tone and melody construction, they are not the band they were. They are not a death metal band with some prog elements—”death metal with feeling” as Peter Lindgren once said to me in a discussion about whether the band fit the genre “progressive death metal”—they’re just a progressive rock band.” So, where does Pale Communion fall on the scale from “got its groove back” to “meh”? Find out by reading this here review.

New Keepers of the Water Towers – Cosmic Child Review

New Keepers of the Water Towers – Cosmic Child Review

Cosmic Child came through a little thin on the promo information (and in fact prior to listening to it for the first time, I didn’t even know the name of the album – so much for embedded album info) at any rate, I figured alright, close your eyes, hit play and go from there – how bad can it be right? The band name conjured up images of something with a Finntroll flavor – tell me a band name like New Keepers of the Water Towers doesn’t sound even remotely folky and troll-like right? It actually ended up being absofuckinglutely nothing like Finntroll, go figure!” But…if it isn’t like Fintroll, what the hell is it like??? Calm down. Madam X will now answer your questions.

Opeth – Heritage Review

Opeth – Heritage Review

Disclaimer: Knowing how to review this record has been very difficult for me because I’m a big fan of the band and I have no desire to try make my opinion seem bigger than the band’s work. I understand my subjective position as a reviewer very well. But this record suffers from pretty major issues that it make it very difficult for me to enjoy and that show off the weakness of the band in its current incarnation. I am aware that there will be a good amount of whining and gnashing of teeth over this review, and you’re welcome to it. Just remember that I 1) am not invested in Opeth playing death metal; 2) like plenty of bands that have changed their sounds; and 3) enjoy progressive and abstract music of all stripes very much.

Angry Metal Guy Lives!

Angry Metal Guy Lives!

Wow. Things have been busy around here, honestly. One of the downsides of doing this for fun is that one makes no money doing it and has to come up with other ways to pull together an income. I’ve been trying to do that, plus, other things. Anyway, this is the stuff that I’ve been up to and listening to in my freetime (of which there is actually very little). In this time, however, I have pieced together a list that I would call the “best albums of the 2000s.” I don’t know if I’d actually call them the best, so much as the ones that have really stuck with me. As a guy who thinks that it was actually the mid/late 90s that were really the defining point in heavy metal for the modern era, and that what we’re dealing with is very much the outcome of this, this list was actually very difficult for me to produce.