Thursday, December 06, 2007

Strange Dreams and Dark Imaginings

I'm listening to Opeth's recently released live album, The Roundhouse Tapes, for the first time. It's not quite the cherry-popping experience of hearing an album by previously unheard (by me) artist, where I have to test the limits of my acceptance for something I haven't really heard before; after all, I know I love Opeth, and Roundhouse is a live album, so I know all of the songs. And love them - did I mention that?

I find listening to Opeth - particularly anything from Blackwater Park and after - is a complete sensory experience; it generates vivid visions and feelings, like this one: Imagine a massive courtyard in the middle of a stone palace at midnight, light by torches or by the soft glow of phosphorescence emanating from the walls. Mist swirls in from the arcades on the side of the courtyard, and collects in the middle, over an enormous reflecting pool ringed by moss-grown statues of weeping angels. The water in the pool is black as pitch, a deep darkness that speaks of limitless depth and terrifying unknowns, but it calls to you in a soft voice that soothes and comforts you and draws you in. You dive into the water, and find that the depth is no illusion: you can't feel the base of the pool with your bare feet, just the strangely warm water and the swirl of the thick water plants that lurk beneath the water's surface wrapping around your toes. Everything's quiet, and you finally begin to relax, slipping deeper and deeper into the water's embrace, until you realize with horror that the plants are wrapping around you, pulling you down, away from the life-giving breath on the other side of the water's surface...

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