Opeth - Morningrise
Century Media
Progressive Death Metal
5 songs (66:06)
Release year: 1996
Opeth, Century Media
Reviewed by Jason
Archive review

At least once a week my usual gang of buddies and I drive downtown to go kick-back a few beers. We usually drive down in 2 or three cars, and the person I enjoy having in the passenger seat the most is one of the few Metalhead friends I have. His name is Jeff (not the metalreviews one) and Jeff and I have a tradition. While driving to the city, I always play him all the newest CD’s I just purchased or discovered and then we discuss and butt-heads on our various musical preferences. We tend to bicker about small differences in each other’s musical taste alot, but when the night is over, and we’re driving back on the empty highway while the girls snooze in the backseat, I slide Opeth’s Morningrise into the car stereo. As soon as that signature build-up of Advent starts becoming recognizable both Jeff and I make this lame-ass facial expression you generally make when you’ve forgotten about this great CD you haven’t heard in ages. What makes our facial expression even lamer is the fact that we do it almost once a week. Jeff and I begin talking about music again, except this time it’s different – rather than criticizing each others arguments, we find ourselves praising the album, making our discussion not much of an argument whatsoever, but in fact quite circular. It’s like we’re trying to convince eachother how good the album though we both know how good it is already. What is important though is that we always end our conversation by establishing that Opeth are musical geniuses, and that Morningrise, in our eyes, is a Metal masterpiece.

Like all of Opeth’s albums, Morningrise is huge - The five tracks are gargantuan in length as is the musical talent and emotion. There is no track on this album that is under ten minutes long, demonstrating that Opeth’s music is not for the musical faint of heart, and that it must be listened to in its entirety in order to reach a critical assessment. This goes especially for the signature track on the album Black Rose Immortal, which clocks in at a massive 20 minutes and 14 seconds. The tracks may be long but I believe that this is not even issue to be criticized. Patient listeners don’t even realize their length and each track is infused which such variation and soul that you’ll even be begging for more once the last few seconds of each tune has lapsed.

One doesn’t even have to read the lyrics to feel the pure emotion and darkness oozing out of every track. The acoustic guitars and deep solos are so captivating that you’ll be wondering how mere musical notes can evoke such sentiments. Just as the instruments can be plodding and melancholic in tempo, they can also be fast and furious; blasting the darkness and anger of each signature moment into the ears of the listener. Compared to other Opeth albums though, I’d rate Morningrise as one of the least “evil” in terms of darkness. The feelings seeping through this release are much more melancholic in sound, which paints a portrait of sadness, dark clouds and rain more than anything else in my mind. Many people may complain at the fact that this is Opeth’s least heavy album (except for damnation of course), but the degree of heaviness is not what makes a good album, in my eyes what counts is how good it is overall, and Morningrise appeals to be even though it isn’t wholly composed of raw heaviness

Mikael Åkerfeldt has apparently mentioned in a few interviews that the material on the older albums such as Orchid and Morningrise are drawn too much from other bands and this is the reason why the group has changed quite significantly along their discography. To this is say: who cares. Fine, you may sound a lot like Porcupine Tree, but what’s important is that you borrow the sound of other bands and build something big and new that you can call your own. Just because Norther borrowed that Bodom sound and that virtually all metal bands borrow pre-Black Album Metallica doesn’t mean they’re carbon copies, it just means they heard something they liked and morphed it into a sound they can call their own. In a metaphor, I can say that Opeth has taken the music of their influences as buds and turned them into flowers.

Describing each track would be like explaining the significance of 5 different paintings: long and futile. All I can say is that Morningrise is a piece of musical mastery - and while it may take time to fully digest this album, several spins will make any metal critic at least acknowledge that Opeth’s music is worthy of praise. If you haven’t heard anything by Opeth I suggest you leave your computer as it is, jump into some mode of transportation and find any album you can. If you want pick up a friend that loves metal on the way all the better! Once you’ve got the album both of you can butt-heads in a circular fashion as Jeff and I do (we’ll feel less lame if other people do it too).

Killing Songs :
The whole thing
Jason quoted 97 / 100
Jay quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Opeth that we have reviewed:
Opeth - In Cauda Venenum reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Opeth - Sorceress reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Opeth - Pale Communion reviewed by Goat and quoted 95 / 100
Opeth - Heritage reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 95 / 100
Opeth - Orchid reviewed by James and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 15 reviews click here
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