Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse
Progressive Death Metal
9 songs (52:34)
Release year: 1998
Opeth, Candlelight
Reviewed by Jay
Archive review

Now before everyone jumps on me for not reviewing one of the first two Opeth albums, let me explain my choice to review this album. "My Arms, Your Hearse" broke Opeth out of the underground (in Europe at least). While there other two albums caused quite a stir in underground metal circles, this one proved that they could no longer be contained. This is the reason metaler-than-thou purists only like the first two albums. They were jealous that they had to share the band with the mainstream. It’s interesting to me that European metal purists only like the first two Opeth albums while most US purists like the first four albums. "Blackwater Park" broke them in the US and prompted claims (from those who liked Opeth before "Blackwater Park") that Steve Wilson ruined the band. I picked this because it was with this album that Mikael & Co. told the world they could no longer be ignored.

When speaking of Opeth, you have to take in the songs as a whole. While this can be challenging since most of the songs are nearly ten minutes, each opus builds upon itself and the other album themes. Most notable is “When” which finally builds to the triumphant end where Mikael sings his heart out. A natural continuation of the previous song “April Ethereal,” “When” communicates themes that were lost. Starting acoustically and then violently becoming fast and furious, the song is an emotional ride from beginning to end. Akerfeldt’s solos are in the correct places and well written. The mid section of the song is carefully planned with punishing double bass and death vocals. While Mikael asks his philosophical questions at the end, the guitar riffs from other parts of this song as well as “April Ethereal” and “The Amen Corner” are played. It is this type of songwriting that has gotten Opeth the acclaim and praise that they deserve.

Madrigal” is a short instrumental interlude that leads right into “The Amen Corner.” This is another track that has it all. The rough intro riffs feature Opeth’s virtually patented tri-tone guitar attack. The death growls are killing and once the tempo slows the down, the gradual rising and falling chords are a wondrous musical landscape. Following this song is the “hit” that Opeth closes their shows with. “Demon of the Fall” has a multi-layered intro that excites the senses. The lead guitar melody is quite pleasing and the drumming is full of all the progressive flair. The acoustic interlude is forewarning of the massive attack that the chorus of this song is. The screams of pain in the chorus elevate the song to a new level with Martin Lopez kicking it up a notch on drums. The dreamy aural setting that follows the chorus ensnares the listener to a metal version of Valhalla.

The first real song, “April Ethereal,” cannot be over looked either. The introduction has one of the catchiest riffs Opeth has written and the bridges are unified as well. The building of a classic album always starts with the first song and this one definitely delivers. I could wax about this album and how well it was written and planned but I will leave a few mysteries to your mind if you don’t own the album.

Killing Songs :
April Ethereal, When, Demon of the Fall, The Amen Corner
Jay quoted 93 / 100
Alex quoted 93 / 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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