In Cauda Venenum - Bak XIII

The art of being overwhelmed

In Cauda Venenum demands your time and several listens - not because it's a record that's hard to love but because of its complexity. The first several times Of listened to it, the it field like I was listening to it for the first time. You can sing or hum along to just about the entire album because, despite their modern retro-sound, the Band still belong to the same melodic school as their brothers from other mothers in Katatonia. The use of The mellotron is adjusted to suit the classic instruments and becomes a natural part of the general sound of the album, which is one of the many things that makes this album so easy to fall in love with.

At no point do they skimp on production or commitment, nor settle for mediocrity. Their music is still grandiose, emotionally laden and even the epic, whilst mastering the gentle and heartbreaking without missing a (heart)beat. They cover the new territories and try on new genres, and, once more, manage to combine it into a whole new level of fantastic. Every single member is giving their all and it shows. From the soaring guitar harmonies to the subtle keyboards and the anchor of the drums, everything they touch gains its own life and I can't help but enjoy the feeling of yet again seeing eye to eye with the Band. It's organic, a sword dipped in venom and honey and with a depth I still haven't gauged. There's no doubt in my mind that In Cauda Venenum is their best album in years and on par with their best albums.


Opeth is one of those bands that manages to divide the waters among metalfolket. The last year's departure has founded a religion whose purpose is to get Mikael Åkerfeldt to growle again. But it is of desire, not of need, to Opeth for the longest time have put the hard metal behind him and instead pulled the gaudy perleforhæng to the side, looking into proggens magic universe. And let me say it in advance, dear reader, that if you belong to the aforementioned segment, dreaming about the time it all was, as you know it, you will be disappointed.

Right shall be right: I belonged to the group of people who forsvor everything from Watershed. I understood, quite simply, not WHY. There's no reason to change something that already is perfect? But as the years have gone by, and my ears have matured, I understand, that THEREFORE. Around the Sorceress turned my interest back, and now I stand over my anmelderkarrieres the greatest challenge: To put into words why In Cauda Venenum is one of the Band greatest triumphs. For no words can make the album justice. They can only pale and hesitant to try to draw an outline of a release that is intricate and complex – in the style of everything Opeth have otherwise made.

On the shoulders of giants

And already from the three and a half minute long intro of "Livets Trädgård" it is again clear that the Band has been inspired by the psychedelic. Pink Floyd is the first of many bands, which has left its mark on the svensken, but also the everyday sounds have found their way into the mix. Footsteps, a whistle and the noise of traffic mixes with the not-so-down-to-earth tools to give you the feeling of having an out of body experience in the metro. For a sample with a cute little Swedish girl we will, without notice, blinded by the 1000 gigawatt Åkerfeldt as the intro to the bombastic and surprisingly varied "Svekets Prince". But before it really becomes something interrupted the construction of even a sample. It draws the tension out, and culminates in a guitar solo, which reminds us that enough is Opeth has grown from metallen, as we know it, but not from the melodies that stick. It is common to the entire plate, it is violently one of his cases, though it was never due to cheap instruments.

The usual anmeldelsesfremgangsmetode to review the numbers chronologically, and to highlight the good and less good moments will be like to read the ingredients list instead of taste. Opeth changes not mood, tempo or style from track to track to keep you as a listener on their toes – it is from chord to chord, they pull the rug out from under you. On the outside "Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör" quote the Beatles, sending a small nod in the direction of Rush and their "YYZ" and re-introduces the sound of Blackwater Park. In the "Banemannen" plays the crafty Hitchcock jazz noir with whiskers and clarinet. "Minnets Yta" could easily be written for the big screen with it for the occasion borrowed the string orchestra, which plays on all hjertestrengene. There can be drawn a parallel to the album's title, for yes, it is great-sounding and appealing, but in the end there is poison in the sting.

This time is Opeth not so shrouded in proggens gaudy robes, even though it still stands for the, for any, unnecessary antics. But, In Cauda Venenum music reply on parkour in M. C Eschers universe. In addition to the aforementioned intersections and their individual expressions are sniffed to dusty blues, desert rock, the old acquaintances in King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, Focus and Frank Zappa and all the exceptionally crazy/brilliant musicians from back then, you made the music. But what differentiates the number 13 from the last several years of releases, is the primary inspiration: Opeth even. In several places, I note that they have looked their own archives and through and have cut the things that were with to do among other things, Blackwater Park and Deliverance / long lasting. Preserved, growlet is still dropped for the benefit of the rhythm guitarist, versatile singing voice, but listen for, you can draw a direct line between now and then. It is a wonderland for people who love to be surprised, and it must not be a lie, you can even choose between Swedish or English Opeth; because it is no longer enough Releases to settle with writing one plate at a time – after all, there are little challenges by translating not only words, but also opinions and still get it to fit with the music.

The art to let themselves overwhelm

In Cauda Venenum requires much time and many gennemlytninger. Not because it is a plate, you just need to get used to, but because it is so complex and interesting that at the first many gennemlytninger, it felt like hearing it again for the first time. You can hum along pretty much the whole record through, for whatever their modern retrolyd, belongs to Opeth's still the same melodic school as, for example, sjælefrænderne in Katatonia. The use of mellotronen is geared to the classic instruments, so that they are included in the mix without being too dominant. And it is even one of the small things that make the album so easy to hold of.

At no time are sloppy with either the production or commitment, nor jumped over where the fence is lowest. Their music is still magnificent, gripping and at times mastodontisk, while at the same time they master gentle and emotional to the UG. They spread over wider territories and sniffs to new genres, and they manage, yet again, to get it all to go up in a higher unity. All of the musicians are in a class for itself; from the high-flying guitarharmonier, the subtle keyboards, the sharp drums. Everything they touch, gets a life of its own, and I can't help to sit and enjoy the feeling that Opeth and I once again are on the same wavelength. It is organic, a sword dipped in poison and honey, and with a depth I have not yet soldered the finish. I don't hesitate to call In Cauda Venenum their best record in many years – at the level of their best ever.



Opeth are one of those bands who can truly divide metal fans – the later years' change in style founded a religion based on making Mikael Åkerfeldt growls again. But it wasn't out of necessity Opeth moved away from death metal and instead drew the beaded curtains aside two disappear into the multicoloured universe of prog. Let me be clear, if you belong to the group of people who dream yourself back to "the good old days", this album is not for you.

I'm not gonna lie. I used to belong to the aforementioned group of people who rejected anything made after Ghost Reveries. I didn't understand the why – don't fix it if it ain't broken, you know? But as the years passed and my ears matured, In the suddenly understood it's just because. Around the time Sorceress came out, I was ready to give them another chance and now I face the biggest challenge of my career as a reviewer: try putting into words just why In Cauda Venenum is one of Opeth's greatest triumph's. No words will ever do this album justice as they can only stutter and stumble in a feeble attempt at describing an album that's intricate and complex – much like everything else Opeth.

On the shoulders of giants

On the three and a half minutes long intro "the Garden of Earthly Delights", it's abundantly clear that Opeth yet again are inspired by the psychedelic. Pink Floyd are the first of many bands who made their mark on the Swedes but also the sounds of everyday life found their way into the mix. Footsteps, a whistled tune and the traffic noise combined with less down-to-earth ambience, makes for an out-of-body experience in the public room. Following a sample of a cute little Swedish girl, we're be blinded by a 1000 gigawatt Releases with no warning whatsoever, as an introduction to the larger-than-life and surprisingly diverse, "Dignity". The build-up is halted by yet another sample that only serves two prolong the wait until we're blessed with a solo that reminds us that the Band might have left the metal behind but not the harmonies that stick with you. With this song as with the entire album, it's ingratiating but never pandering and shows a remarkable sense for catchiness and surprises.

The usual modus operandi of chronologically working through the songs and the search will highlight their ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses doesn't work this time around. It would be like reading the list of ingredients instead of tasting the food. You see, Opeth doesn't change their mood, tempo or style from song two song two keep you on your toes. It's from chord two chord they pull the rug out from underneath your feet. On the extrovert "Heart in Hand", they quote The Beatles, send a nod in the direction of Rush's "YYZ" and reintroduce the sound of Blackwater Park. On "The Garroter" they play sneaky Hitchcockesque jazz noir with whiskers and pf. "Lovelorn Crime" could easily have been written for the big screen with its achingly beautiful string orchestra score, weaving a sorrowful tapestry made complete by Åkerfeldt's angelic voice. It's easy to draw a parallel between the music and the album title because yes, it's well-performed and well written, but there's poison at the tip.

This time around the prog isn't too overwhelming even though it's still responsible for, to some, unnecessary frills. But In Cauda Venenum is musical parkour in M C Escher's universe. Aside from the aforementioned songs and their individual directions, the Band dabbles in dusty blues, desert rock and pays homage to the usual suspects in King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, Focus and Frank Zappa – and the scores of crazy geniuses from a time where music was something to be experimented with. But the thing that separates number 13 from the later years' releases is their primary source of inspiration: Opeth themselves. In noticed on several occasions they looked through their own discography and loaded up on the sounds that made Blackwater Park and Deliverance durable. Yes Yes, he's still not doing the roar, but Åkerfeldt's versatile vocals are enough and if you pay attention you can draw a direct line from then to now. It's a wonderland for people who love surprises and you can even choose between a Swedish or an English version of the album. You know, because writing the album once, isn \ 't enough!

>> Check the songs and lyrics here