365 Days, Albums, Photos, Words (or Less): Day 27 (Opeth, Pale Communion)
Are you one of those so-called Opeth “fans” who goes on infantile simply because you, and the rest of the mental midgets, are deathly afraid of change, of anything that ventures outside your miniscule comfort zone?
If, on the other hand, you are willing to keep an open mind, as opposed to writing Pale Communion off before you hear so much as note one simply because an Opeth album without growls isn’t “tr00” enough for you, I think there’s a distinct chance it will win you over, even if you were one of the many who hated Heritage.
Though it lacks the growls, Pale Communion retains the interplay between dark and light that Opeth is known for, and that was arguably missing on Heritage, which I do still love in spite of that. At the very least, it reintroduces some of the “darkness,” some of the heaviness that many felt was missing from Heritage.
That being said, my favorite song is the one I don’t foresee many, even those receptive to Opeth’s new direction, liking due to how unexpected it is, even in the context of this reimagining, we’ll call it, that they’ve been going through since the aptly-named Watershed. That song would be “River,” the closest Opeth will ever come to a country song.
I think, more than anything, I love that Akerfeldt is now free to write songs like that, that, as much as I didn’t think I’d hear something like that on Pale Communion, I also can’t say I was completely surprised, since there’s no telling where Opeth goes now, a prospect I find terribly exciting.
Before, Opeth was rather constrained by their formula. Had they continued on the way they were, they’d be as samey as the band the trolls are fond of comparing them to, Nickelback. And, one imagines, Akerfeldt had to be growing tired of doing the same thing, album after album, since it seems to be no coincidence that the back-to-back releases of the nothing-but-growls Deliverance and growl-less Damnation came so shortly before Watershed, with Ghost Reveries the only “traditional” Opeth album to follow them before the changes began.
In short, if it’s a choice between more of the original formula, which I feel they’ve already perfected and can’t improve upon any more than they already have, or something new, I’ll take the new, even if it ends up not working out, because the ceiling’s just higher.
Avg. iTunes Rating: 5/5.
*Oops. Went over my self-imposed word limit by about 50 words. Whatever. It happens. I’m about to go back and rewrite this just to get under 365.
365 Days, Albums, Photos, Words (or Less): Day 26 (Metallica, Reload)
Albeit not deserving of the unequivocal hatred it seems to get from most circles, Reload is Metallica in need of a “reload,” to put it nicely. It gets off to a good start with “Fuel,” but even that song loses “fuel,” pun intended, towards the end when that ultra weak guitar solo comes in and is followed by even more repetition of that damned refrain that is as catchy as it is irritating.
From there, the album loses steam song by song, until you reach “Better Than You,” ironically enough, and it gets mired in mediocrity for the remainder. But even before that, no song is able to sustain any level of greatness for its duration. “The Memory Remains,” for instance, should end minutes before it does, because that “singing” at the end, that just goes on repeating forever, is Ihsahn in “Contaminate Me” level bad.
Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, on a later track I hear what sounds like not just a bagpipe, but a synthesized bagpipe. What the hell, Metallica? There are bonds that can pull off bagpipes… and you’re not one of them. Not by a long shot.
Besides those two things, however, it’s not a complete failure, but I expect it’ll make me appreciate St. Anger that much more, production issues aside. I do recall liking it when it first came out, and I was a stupid teenager…
Avg. iTunes Rating: 3/5.
365 Days, Albums, Photos, Words (or Less): Day 25 (dredg, Live at the Fillmore)
Fitting that this is the first dredg album to come up, since the band’s done nothing but tour since the release of the much maligned Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy. And listening to it, I’m thinking dredg is worthy of inclusion on my concert bucket list (
The Reign of Kindo, Devin Townsend, The Dear Hunter, Opeth, Ben Folds, Muse). While they’re certainly a favorite of mine, I sleep on them way more than I should.
I’m a defender of that aforementioned album, yet I will admit it’s their weakest thus far, and that it’s the reason I rarely give dredg a spin anymore. The Pariah, The Parrot, and the Delusion was all the music I needed freshman year at Pitt; like I did with the singles for The Dear Hunter’s Migrant, or The Reign of Kindo’s Play with Fire, I listened to nothing but “Saviour” and “I Don’t Know” until the album was released in full.
Then it was 3 years before Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy dropped, my obsession with their last album having waned in the interim, and it just wasn’t up to the challenge of reinvigorating my love for the band. In the years since, I’ve had times when one of their albums will catch me in just the right mood to binge on it for a little while, but I think it will take new music, or at least seeing them live, to reel me back in completely.
If Live at the Fillmore is what they’re like live time in, time out, they can’t come around here soon enough.
Avg. iTunes Rating: 5/5.
(365 Day Photo Challenge, Day 25)