Review by Vinny for Opeth - Morningrise (1996)
Like Ben’s review here, I find Morningrise to be real gift and yet also at times a curse. There’s no denying that there’s some serious work gone into the compositions on display here. Had I the brain capacity as well as the time to do so I could sit through the whole thing and maybe (just maybe) have enough patience to listen to the whole thing with 100% of my attention. The fact is though that for all it’s good points, the astonishing musicianship, the expansive songwriting and the ethereal beauty that the whole thing seems draped in the structuring of the record is not well thought out.
There does seem to be elements of a not thick enough filter on the quality control section of the band going into this record. Competent and established musicians though they unquestionably were already at this stage of their careers they still had a lot of work to do on composition and in song arrangement of the component parts. Whilst full of largely brilliant ideas the album feels overwhelming and often when listening to it I find myself wanting to like it more than I actually do. Whenever I find myself able to focus on one element of the album I soon get agitated by the turn of the tide in some regard and end up drifting away altogether for large portions of the record.
That having been said, I don’t feel the album is showy necessarily. I can’t fault the ability of the musicians in anyway and they aren’t trying to be egotistical either I suspect. They just wanted to share too much. There’s enough material over this short track listing to make another album with, at least of the same length. The progressive and acoustic passages seem more dominant this time around and this is by no means a bad thing. I don’t think the balance is off in the sense that the death metal elements are too juxtaposed with the cleaner, more progressive elements it is just that they struggle for direction as single entities.
Learning consistency and appropriate use of repetition served the band well for future releases and I guess Morningrise is a real “fans” album on reflection as it definitely showcases the talent of the band and stretches the attention span of all but the most avid listener. It’s too much for me though and sadly I just don’t think I will ever have the time or regular notion to ever give it my full attention.