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"Not surprisingly, "In Cauda Venenum" offers a progressive 70's rock tinted with rich and interesting metal despite some sins of pride. An expected and convincing release, again."
PROGRACER - 06.09.2019 -
It has now been almost ten years since Opeth made a radical artistic shift from death to a seventies-inspired progressive rock. However, there are still some who are against this new direction instead of rejoicing, going to see elsewhere or plunging back into the Swedish combo's rich past discography. 

But since "Sorceress" appeared in 2016, the mockery does not come only from nostalgic people, and the coherence of the group's outings raises questions. In other words, Opeth's 2019 vintage is awaited with interest to see if Mikael Akerfeld's band is able to renew itself and delight fans once again.

The first contact with the object is through a familiar artwork, once again by Travis Smith, which is very similar to previous albums, even if it has a darker and more intriguing aspect with this demon who dangerously threatens members of the band. As for the album itself, it contains two versions. A Swedish one, created first and an English one for those who would not appreciate singing in Swedish. Purists will prefer the first one but we must confess is quite convincing even if Mikael Akerfeld's singing is a little less inhabited there. It will however be more affordable but the original one gives a beautiful authenticity to the whole.

The first bars of 'Svekets Prins' ('Dignity') reveal a sound now familiar and characteristic of the combo that skillfully blends acoustic and electric guitars into an energetic riff. The singing (clear, of course) occurs during a sudden rhythmic rupture reminiscent of the group's glorious hours of glory in its death period. This constant in the variations of tempos will come back regularly in the album, as will the sequence of various melodies within the songs themselves, as in 'Ingen Sanning Är Allas' ('Universal Truth') or 'Svekets Prins' ('Dignity'). From this opening track (except for the introductory song'Livets Trädgård' ('Garden Of Earthly Delights'), the riffs are heavy and convoluted, sometimes multi-layered, with De Närmast Sörjande ('Next Of Kin') being the winner in this aspect, which could compete in the longest riff category in history. Sprawling!

Still very inspired by the progressive rock of the 70s, "In Cauda Venenum" is perhaps Opeth's most progressive album in many years. The alternation of moods, the evolving rhythms within each track, the exemplary interpretation of the musicians and the use of acoustic guitars to support Akesson's are striking examples. The guitarist's performance is to be highlighted because it contributes to the overall quality of the album. His solos are luminous and some phases are even memorable, such as the clear flying one that begins the first track. The variations in sound, playing and style make the whole thing particularly interesting.

Unfortunately, not everything is shiny on this album. A kind of repetitiveness is felt on some tracks, notably the verses of 'Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör' ('Heart In Hand') while the acoustic finish is magnificent. Another weakness regards the melodies which are not the most immediate they ever wrote. There are even some that tend to sound alike and the first listening does not allow to clearly distinguish the songs that all have similar sounds. Only "Kontinuerlig Drift" ("Continuum") will immediately cling to your neurons with a light and catchy composition, a clarinet solo and then a controlled power afterwards. In another vein, Banemannen ('The Garroter') with a very jazzy Hispanic feel, and Minnets Yta ('Lovelorn Crime'), which a bright solo closes like a Burden on "Watershed" (2009), also stand out during the first attempts. Finally, Akerfeld has trouble erasing this unfortunate compositional tic of finishing his songs with long acoustic litanies, such as on 'Charlatan' and 'Ingen Sanning Är Allas' ('Universal Truth'), but he still shortened the exercise compared to the albums of the 2000s on which this gimmick were systematic until it became boring.

These few defects are largely compensated by a writing and composition quality well above average. Even if it will not be easy to swallow in one shot with its 68 minutes and because of a certain difficulty in clearly identifying the different pieces that compose it, "In Cauda Venenum" is another master piece in the group's rich career. Mikael Akerfeld has an impressive propensity to renew himself in writing and to offer rich and elaborate music. It will take a lot of listening to understand all the subtleties, but the band's fans, at least those of the latest albums, will be pleasantly paid back. Those who swear by the death of the pre-Heritage era,  will be paying their own way, but this is no longer a surprise. A major release in 2019 that is eagerly awaited and convincing. Again. 

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01. Livet’s Trädgård (Garden Of Earthly Delights) (Intro)
02. Svekets Prins (Dignity)
03. Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör (Heart In Hand)
04. De Närmast Sörjande (Next Of Kin)
05. Minnets Yta (Lovelorn Crime)
06. Charlatan)
07. Ingen Sanning Är Allas (Universal Truth)
08. Banemannen (The Garroter)
09. Kontinuerlig Drift (Continuum)
10. Allting Tar Slut (All Things Will Pass)


Fredrik Åkesson: Guitares
Joakim Svalberg: Claviers
Martin Axenrot: Batterie
Martin Mendez: Basse
Mikael Akerfeld: Chant / Guitares

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NEWF - 06/09/2019 10:19:49
Un album qui prend son temps pour convaincre et dévoiler toutes ses subtilités de composition. Sans doute l’opus le plus éclectique et le plus progressif d’Opeth, mais aussi l’un des plus personnels de Mikael Akerfeldt, notamment dans sa version en suédois. Un album passionnant à écouter qui fait la part belle aux guitares acoustiques chères au groupe depuis toujours, même s’il est plus hermétique et plus conceptuel qu’à l’accoutumée.
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Opeth, a leading figure in Swedish progressive metal, released his thirteenth album, "In Cauda Venenum". On this occasion, we went to meet the charismatic leader Mikael Akerfeldt!

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