CD review OPETH ‘In Cauda Venenum’

(10/10) Sometimes ’13’ is looked at as an unlucky number and the first thing Swedish Opeth proves is that it’s a wrong myth. ‘In Cauda Venenum’ is Opeth’s 13th studio album and it has the potential to become the album of the year.

Opeth, that’s the musical vision of singer and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt. The iconic musician from Stockholm, together with his band mates Fredrik Åkesson, Martin Mendez, Martin Axenrot and Joakim Svalberg, are on a musical journey that impresses.

Starting as a Death Metal band, Åkerfeldt adjusted the bands musical direction step by step. It wasn’t a brutal break like some other band preferred. It was more of an organic evolvement of sound and music. The Death Metal roots were cut back step by step, giving space for the progressive approach Opeth has embedded in their songs.

Three years after ‘Sorceress’ has been shipped to the record stores it’s the new album ‘In Cauda Venenum’ that prolongs Opeth’s winning streak. Ten new songs and an impressive length of more than one hour running time are a treat for fans of the band as well is it will suit passionists of well-crafted progressive music.

‘In Cauda Venenum’ doesn’t know a weak spot. Contemporary Progressive Metal is what Opeth delivers, songs with musical perfection and emotional depth.

Under the header of ‘masterpieces’ Mikael Åkerfeldt wanted to create special songs, tunes with an impact on listeners. He achieved the ambition without any doubt. ‘In Caude Venenum’ is an album that demands time and focus. There is so much built into each of the songs, details that are exposed best while listening to the album with headphones. Take ‘The Garroter’ as an example. It’s basically a calmer songs with a dark vibe and a solid portion of Jazz that’s weaved in. It takes a while to unveil the full greatness of each of the layers that all together deliver this outstanding song.

‘Charlatan’ is another track on the album that comes with so many twists and turns that you almost get dizzy as a listener. Simplicity is not what this album is about. It’s the vision and the musical skills to realize it, which makes ‘In Cauda Venenum’ to a special delivery.

What also adds to the total are the sections with spoken word samples. ‘Charlatan’ includes them and it’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delight’ building on it too. Together with choral vocals Opeth creates soundscapes that catches you right away.

Opeth bridges sounds that partly remind of ’70 prog bands like in ‘Continuum’, a song with a calm start and ending, while it’s the middle section representing an outburst with a furious guitar play.

Last but not least, if the English version isn’t enough, the guys recorded the album with Swedish lyrics too. Listening to the songs in Åkerfeldt’s native tongue adds an extra to it. Of course it’s the same songs and the same melodies, it just feels even more intense, authentic and therefor different.

As mentioned in the beginning, ‘In Cauda Venenum’ carries the potential of becoming the album of the year 2019. Musical excellence kisses emotional impact, that’s how this epic masterpiece can be described bet in a few words. ‘In Cauda Venenum’ raises the bar for Progressive Metal. Terrific!

Tracklist Swedish:

  1. Livets Trädgård
  2. Svekets Prins
  3. Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör
  4. De Närmast Sörjande
  5. Minnets Yta
  6. Charlatan
  7. Ingen Sanning Är Allas
  8. Banemannen
  9. Kontinuerlig Drift
  10. Allting Tar Slut

Tracklist English:

  1. Garden Of Earthly Delights
  2. Dignity
  3. Heart In Hand
  4. Next Of Kin
  5. Lovelorn Crime
  6. Charlatan
  7. Universal Truth
  8. The Garroter
  9. Continuum
  10. All Things Will Pass

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: September 27th, 2019

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