Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse
Rating - 5/5
By Greg Northrup
Opeth has always been one of the most unique, creative and underrated bands in the heavy metal genre. Their intelligent song structures, progressive mentality and musical diversity has made them one of the top metal bands on the planet, if not commercially then at least creatively.
Ironically, many of the aspects which made Opeth so creatively successful on the past releases, such as the lengthy acoustic passages, clean vocals, and long songs, have been toned down on My Arms,Your Hearse, the band apparently opting for a more direct and brutal approach. Indeed, instead of having 5 songs of 10 to 20 minutes each, such as on Morningrise, this album has 9 tracks of about 5 to 9 minutes. The band has significantly cut down on the amount of acoustic guitar and clean vocals, although they are still abundantly present. All these changes are actually surprisingly effective, exemplifying the talent and ability of the band. The vocals on the album are a lot better than on their previous work, replacing the relatively high pitched vocals with a lower, more powerful growl.
Even with their more condensed and focused musical approach, the album features some long-winded concept about (what else?) somebody dying. I haven't really put in the effort to analyze all the lyrics at this point, because they are tiny, difficult to read and all strung together, without real regard to what song each set of lyrics applies to. This probably means that the album is meant to be taken as a whole. Actually, I suspect that the band probably wanted to do something like Edge Of Sanity's Crimson, a long concept song taking up the whole album, but were probably convinced otherwise by the record company, being that these types of albums have little to no commercial viability.
Overall, this is a really incredible album. Every release from Opeth is better than the previous one, and they keep this tradition alive with My Arms, Your Hearse.