Thursday, September 26, 2019

Opeth : " In Cauda Venenum"

Having ventured too far from what made this band great , they need to show me that they have become over indulgent in the prog path and capable of once again creating dark music that is heavy. The intro "the Garden of Earthly " delight instead uses 80s synth sounds and is more like kraut rock, thus lowering my expectations for these guys once again. They do not have to be death metal. They do beef up the guitar sound a little more than what they bring to the table on the Uriah Heap like "Dignity".  They do bring  little more balls to the table on the verse, then float off into Porcupine Tree land on the chorus. There is almost a metallic edge to the chug on "Heart In Hand". The song ends up in a weird languid jazz tone. Technically Mikel is a better singer as he is not going up into a falsetto that adds another vocal color to his arsenal. "Next of Kin" is a little darker , but tends to wander.

Midway into the album the fact it is more melancholy if not darker puts it ahead of the last masturbatory prog fest they released. When they go into a more ballad like place with "Lovelorn Crime" I am ok with them compensating for this with better songwriting . The heavier thump of the bass groove helps "Charlatan".  This song is a good example of how they can have their cake and eat it to, by not reverting to death metal and still using prog to deliver something that works in its place. "Universal Truth " finds there less focused indulgence returning in a way that is not as engaging. There is more of a jazz influence to "the Garroter". This is not unlike some of the more recent progressive moments we have heard from them, but works in a darker and smoother, which seems to be the trend not only for this song but this album as a whole.

"Continuum" is not as engaging until the solo section that comes midway into the song. There are cool parts to it , but the first half of the song was allowed to meander. It's not heavy, but there is a good throbbing  pulse of a groove to it. Certainly a more focused song, though still allowing for them to indulge their prog side. I will give this album an 8.5. Not where they are capable of being if we weigh it against things like "Blackwater Park" but an improvement over the last album for sure. I think fans of the band that were introduced to them after they shed their death metal skin will embrace this one.

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