Having become fond of Opeth after listening to Blackwater Park, I decided to give their 1999 concept album Still Life a go. The opening track, The Moor, is by far the best intro to an album I have ever come across, and is my song of the week.
Opeth are described as progressive death metal, and The Moor is the embodiment of exactly that. The song alternates between powerful riffs and acoustic melodies, and the talented Mikael Åkerfeldt switches between harsh growls and clean vocals accordingly. Poetic lyrics tell the heart-wrenching tale of a non-believing man who was banished from his hometown and is returning for his beloved; the song is pretty emotional compared to others in its genre.
Halfway through the third minute, Martin Lopez's galloping drums are let loose alongside Martín Méndez's bass, and the headbanging can start. Åkerfeldt and Peter Lindgren complement each other well as one plays a powerful riff underneath the growls and screams, and the other casts an overlay of what can only be described as a guitar's lament. At the five minute mark, we get a taste of Åkerfeldt's clean vocals, when he beautifully sings “Pale touch, writhing in the embers” to the tune of the refrain in ABBA's Lay All Your Love on Me (perhaps just Swedish 'coincidence').
The song then goes through another energetic death metal verse, which slips into a soulful acoustic melody. The emotions start pouring out of the song at this stage – the uninvited singer has come back for Melinda, his love. When the outro riff concludes, I for one want more.
It's fortunate that the rest of the album is just as amazing. I will definitely look back at this as a song that transformed my affection for Opeth into love.
Every Wednesday, one of our young contributors picks a Song of the Week; a piece of music that has meant something to them in the past seven days. Get in touch if you have a track to tell us about.