A much-deserved and open-armed 20th anniversary celebration of Opeth's magnum opus. Two decades in and still a breath-taking piece of work, dense with extraordinary melodic moments, spine-tingling atmospherics and agile but crushing heaviness, and one that saw the Swedish metallers kick open prog's ornate doors, fed death metal through the cosmic kaleidoscope and introduced a generation of music nerds to a world of limitless musical possibilities. The reissue comes lovingly pressed with deluxe finishes and housed in a gatefold artwork sleeve, with updated liner notes and acknowledgements. It remains a must for Opeth enthusiasts, completists and casual listeners alike.
In many ways, Opeth's Blackwater Park can be considered as their answer to The Beatles' Revolver, both uncompromising and experimental, but equally commercially viable and unfuckwithable masterpieces.
After four albums of imaginative and immersive heavy music, the band were primed and ready to make a career-defining statement. At the time, the metal world was flailing in a state of post-grunge confusion, meanwhile, Opeth were forging an entirely unique and fearlessly creative path. Back in 2001, prog was steadily being rehabilitated in the eyes of the mainstream, but there was still something audacious about Opeth's rise to prominence. With several songs passing the ten-minute mark, Blackwater Park was no kind of commercial compromise. Instead, its popularity and acclaim proved a couple of valuable points: that music fans (and metalheads, in particular) are often vastly more open-minded than they are given credit for, and that depth, subtlety, sophistication and imagination were all credible selling points.
Already amassing a steadily building reputation, the record was received overwhelmingly positive from fans and critics alike. Owing to new production techniques,a lengthy recording time, and new personnel the record made its peers seem narrow, small and colorless in comparison. From the towering grandeur of "The Leper Affinity" to the psychedelic ebb and flow of the closing title track, Blackwater Park bulged with exhilarating dynamics and genre-mashing ingenuity, but it was also blessed with tunes: huge, life-affirming melodies and soaring choruses, instantly memorable lead guitar hooks and, through the gentler likes of "Harvest" and the instrumental "Patterns In The Ivy," flashes of exquisite, fragile restraint.
Blackwater Park didn't turn Opeth into millionaires, but it did introduce the band to a much larger audience, broadening their appeal from the somewhat restrictive confines of the metal underground to both the wider metal scene and, as only seemed right, the progressive rock world. Meanwhile, Opeth have spent the subsequent two decades forging ahead in a perpetual state of evolution, releasing many more ground-breaking and mind-expanding masterworks. They have grown from tentative beginnings to become one of the most consistently extraordinary live bands on the planet; and their music has continued to be a vital beacon in the heavy and alternative world.
- 20th Anniversary Edition
- Double LP
- White & Black Marble Vinyl
- Gatefold Sleeve
- Updated Liner Notes & Acknowledgements
- Made in the USA
- The Leper Affinity
- The Drapery Falls
- Dirge For November
- The Funeral Portrait
- Patterns In The Ivy
- Blackwater Park
- The Leper Affinity (Live)