REVIEW: Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
Usually words come easily to me. I listen to an album on repeat, for quite some time, and the letters just flow as if it’s a natural process, almost to the point where it became an automatic process. “In Cauda Venenum” completely broke me. It felt almost as if there were some kind of error with me, I was left speechless reviewing this album. Whether that’s a bad or good thing you’ll discover…
Let’s back up first… OPETH has been dividing fans since their inception in 1990, now there are three different camps: those who lost interest after “Watershed”, the ones that stuck by, the ones that don’t like the old material but love the unique nature of the new material. Myself, I have been hooked to the band since I heard “The Drapery Falls” of “Blackwater Park” (2001), and even though, yes, things have changed, the fact that Mikael Åkerfeldt doesn’t growl anymore, doesn’t really change things up for me.
First things first, when it comes to “In Cauda Venenum” (which is Latin for poison in the tail) it was already a dilemma to see whether I’d first listen to the Swedish version, or the English one, yes, it’s a bilingual album. Seeing that Åkerfeldt had intended to write the album in Swedish, I decided to opt for the Swedish version.
When I first heard the intro to “In Cauda Venenum”, I immediately pressed pause, closed my eyes and lay down on my sofa only to start playing again. From the get go, I understood that this album is going to be an immersive journey. The intro is an atmospheric build-up that already can tell you a little bit about the atmosphere of the album. It’s eerie, has electronic elements, and just simply progresses beautifully into the next track. It immediately sets a unique mood, that will continue throughout the rest of the album. I usually tend to review albums track-by-track, but in this case it seems hardly possible due to the album’s structure and flow. The album in many ways reminds me of my favorite all-time progressive rock act YES (namely albums like “The Ladder”, “Magnification”, and “Fly From Here”), but it often also has some Floydian vibes to it as well, and yet it all comes together in an OPETH package.
What can you expect from “In Cauda Venenum”? “In Cauda Venenum” is otherworldly, it takes you to complete new levels and dimensions, on a journey through an emotive soundscape created by OPETH. Including complex and jazzy bass lines, beautiful harmonies, intricate guitar sections, killer riffs, the album is perhaps OPETH‘s most ambitious project, and is topped off by a beautiful, and fragile vocal performance of Mikael Åkerfeldt. Every little detail is magnificent. So if you like the direction that OPETH has been heading in with their last few albums, if you like to hear seventies prog in a contemporary jacket, then “In Cauda Venenum” is definitely going to score high on your end of the year lists.
- Livets Trädgård/Garden Of Earthly Delights
- Svekets Prins/Dignity
- Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör/Heart In Hand
- De Närmast Sörjande/Next Of Kin
- Minnets Yta/Lovelorn Crime
- Ingen Sanning Är Allas/Universal Truth
- Banemannen/The Garroter
- Kontinuerlig Drift/Continuum
- Allting Tar Slut/All Things Will Pass
Mikael Åkerfeldt | vocals, guitars
Fredrik Åkesson | guitars
Martin Mendez | bass
Martin Axenrot | drums
Joakim Svalberg | keys