Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: Opeth’s Blackwater Park Enters the Hall of Fame!
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
We gave Opeth’s 1995 debut Orchid the Hall of Fame treatment back in February of 2008. The eight albums that followed heroically stretched the boundaries of progressive death metal until 2011’s brake-applying Heritage, which completely took both the “death metal” and “metal” parts out of the equation. Now, by no means has ringleader Mikael Åkerfeldt established himself as predictable over his last 20ish years in the spotlight, but it’s widely assumed in the extreme community that the difference between Heritage and 2014’s as-yet-untitled new Opeth full-length isn’t exactly gonna be the equivalent of, say, Swansong and Surgical Steel. Decide for yourselves if you can live with that. Luckily, as I said, we have eight other provocative and explosive records (okay, maybe not Damnation) to blow, and we’re happy to do so in this magazine! In February 2014, the HOF takes on Blackwater Park, which definitely gets shortlist honors for best leadoff track of all time in the form of “The Leper Affinity.”
Our intrepid Chris Dick got on the horn with not just Åkerfeldt, drummer Martin Lopez, bassist Martin Méndez and axeman Peter Lindgren, but Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson (whom Åkerfeldt still collaborates with today, in the form of Storm Corrosion) for the story behind Blackwater. This was a time of relative stasis for the band, which had in 2001 issued four compelling full-lengths to (relatively) small fanfare, only to find new life after moving from Peaceville to Music for Nations. In day-to-day life, the quartet made ends meet working at record stores, hotels and even slaughterhouses, occasionally even fending off street vermin on the subway; it wasn’t an easy existence, but Opeth somehow channeled envy, frustration and unadulterated rage to an ageless epic. Read more in the Lemmy issue; it’s pretty goddamn inspiring.
The February 2014 issue of Decibel also features Motörhead, Beastmilk, and an awesome Monster Magnet flexi disc, and can be purchased here. But why not just get a full subscription to ensure that you never miss an issue?