Published Oct 02, 2019It's been over a decade since Opeth last featured death growls, on 2008's Watershed, yet each subsequent release has been overshadowed by the expectation that Opeth might revert back to their former sound. At first, the change was a hard pill to swallow when debuted on 2011's Heritage. The Swedish pioneers of progressive death ditched the death metal in favour of '70s-inspired prog rock — Hammond organ and all. Despite being met by critics favourably, many fans rejected the change, awaiting the day an Opeth release would once again feature growls.
In Cauda Venenum is Opeth's 13th studio album, and fourth to feature their not-so-new sound, but its quality should not be marred by fruitless expectations rooted in nostalgia. Opeth's last four records, although different from their predecessors, have been good, and In Cauda Venenum is likely the best of the bunch.
Opeth create a very immersive and cinematic experience on In Cauda Venenum. The album is garnished with various sound-bites of people conversing, laughing and applauding, which creates an especially eerie soundscape that perfectly complements the album's moodiness, and captures the listener's imagination.
In Cauda Venenum is one of Opeth's most ambitious releases to date, but their ambitions do no extend beyond their reach. The writing is catchy and memorable, interesting and complex, giving the ten-track release tremendous depth that offers a brand new listening experience with every listen. It's an album that requires a lot of consideration, but the reward is well worth the attention. (Nuclear Blast)