|If it wasn't for the hair, I'd have a hard time picturing this guy screaming his brains out.|
Opeth, I believe, fits somewhat snugly in the progressive death metal genre, with one interesting exception: some feel that they draw from influences which are too varied to continue to be considered a death metal band**. And indeed, in one movement you will find yourself deep within the harsh, tortured world of death metal, in the next you are drifting in a Floydian haze of neu-jazz. I love the variety offered on this album. It is metal, but it's also a sincere artistic expression, written by a real master of the genre. So adept, in fact, that he seems to be over-reaching its borders.
If you are not a fan of "screaming," I encourage you to try this album out anyway. Like the finest Tool songs, this album can be fully enjoyed with either eyes closed, or by reading along with the mood-setting lyrics. Attention to detail augments the brutality here with a deftness I have not previously heard in the genre. The bass plays a very prominent and important roll in establishing the mix of sounds achieved. The lyrics are well-written. The mixing is fabulous. Perhaps most interesting is how--even within the framework of complex rhythms and full-voiced screaming, the technicality of the songs, the lack of choruses and refrains--the songs are actually quite catchy. A few listens through they will already feel familiar, classic even. For me at least, I had the feeling that I had known these songs for years, and I was singing along before I even knew I knew the words.
*Was that kind of lame? Saying, "journeying" like that? I hope that wasn't lame...
**Source: the hilarious and bizarre "discuss" Wikipedia page for progressive death metal