No magic could save OPETH, who have recently released their twelfth studio release “Sorceress”. Is it all wrong or it’s just me who sees a band dissolving?
After being blocked by his own creativity, OPETH mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt strayed from the original mixture of death metal and prog rock that was OPETH for many years and has settled to the prog rock side of it, for good. This, though, is no news to anyone interested in the band. This turn of the band’s sound has not flourished that much I’m afraid.
When “Heritage” (their first release without death metal elements) was out, none knew what was going on. With “Pale Communion”, everything seemed to work better, but not entirely great. And here we are, to see what the hell is going wrong with this band and its artistic turns.
Criticizing an artist’s work requires many skills but the one that oversees everything else, is taste and understanding. I’m not going to hide that I, myself, am a great fan of Mikael Akerfeldt’s music, thus a big fan of OPETH’s music in general. I was disappointed when I realized they actually threw the death metal elements completely out of their music. But, I tried –hard- to give the man the understanding of a fan, to the artist for his need of expressing in other ways. That’s why after all these years, I tried to observe from the back and though, I didn’t like it that much, I found some songs on “Heritage” and “Pale Communion” that might have been great, if they were somehow magically interpreted by the older OPETH ways.
“Sorceress” came promising just for two reasons. The band has been experimenting the old sounds far enough to know even better what they do, and of course their new paths seemed that had grown to themselves even better, as time and influences would be filtered even better given the time they got themselves involved into their “new” sound.
Unfortunately, “Sorceress” doesn’t live up to expectations, in the slightest of ways. The songs, in their majority, are short of bland, weird, and without replay power. The production is also a bit strange (you can hear the damn snare drum everywhere). The vocals are weird sounding, as well, and Mikael’s vocal lines are short of, well…let’s say that what he does on the record speaks for itself. As for the influences, that were never hidden, this time are provocatively in front of the listener. It’s somehow weird, finding the “Jethro Tull song” of OPETH, or the “Whitesnake passion” on the new vocals’ era, overlapping everything Akerfeldt had built on their previous observations. It’s seems even bizarre now that I’m reading what I write.
The worst part is that you cannot listen or grasp a band that is passionate about the result. The production is supposed to give that result, but I’m afraid Akerfeldt has got it all wrong. Using old school equipment does not mean you’re guaranteed for a time traveling experience record. Those records we all admire and pleasure our ears with, had another vibe and another freedom of expression not guided and untamed.
I’m completely disappointed because OPETH, unfortunately for metal music, have released another mediocre record, just for the sake of personal obsessions and a masterplan that might be selling, but it’s far below the writing skills of the same obsessed man.
“Sorceress”, is actually the third new face of OPETH that is still shapeless and weak. Can Akerfeldt save OPETH from repeating themselves and bring back their glory? Maybe yes, maybe not, but “Sorceress” will forever be one of their weakest releases. One or two songs cannot save the lost game here.
P.S. I really wished this was another band’s review.
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