In Cauda Venunum

Jag vet inte vad "In cauda venenum" betyder på svenska, men jag antar att det är något som "minskar avkastningen."


Lucky for Opeth I got lazy and waited over a month to write this review. Because if I would've posted it the day it came out, it would've been rough. Very negative. Almost enough to make me give up on the once-invincible band. "Yet another in a seemingly endless series of bland prog experiments didn't work the first time they tried, and haven't worked since" I would've said. But a funny thing happened. I took a road trip and needed music to listen to, and I gave Sorceress another chance. And a third chance. And fourth and fifth. And it turns out that it might actually be their best album since Ghost Reveries! Yeah, they're still doing the prog thing, but they've started to re-introduce their heavier side into the proceedings, and things are starting to gel again. "Chrysalis" and "Strange Brew" in particular drive like no Opeth song has done in a long time. And even the lesser tracks at least beat out the filler that was all over Pale Communion and Heritage. I just think, giant sigh, here's the thing: Mikael Åkerfeldt needs to get his Cookie Monster death growls back into the mix. There are a few moments on these songs where I'm just thinking, "Oh my god he's going to come in right here with a fucking killer scream and Opeth is going to rule the fucking world again!" And it never happens. Just one, one guttural death howl on one of these tracks would've vaulted this whole album to another level. I get that he's trying to get away from that, but man. I need it. We all need it.

Pale Communion

Here are the words I've been fearing to write for the last decade, but I regret that I have no other choice: This new Opeth album is lame. That's all there is to it. They're back in Heritage mode, all-out prog, no death growl vocals, barely a single heavy metal indicator in sight. I'm fine with that. The problem is a complete lack of ideas. There's nothing to grab on to. It's all harmony, no melody. It's the same handful of themes recycled from Heritage, but without the excitement of being new that Heritage actually had. It's a lack of any connection or relationship between riff A, riff B, outro C, and bridge D—a problem that has been slowly revealing itself in the Opeth canon since Ghost Reveries, made itself particularly known in Watershed, and overwhelmed Heritage (though, again, it was forgivable because of that record's otherwise experimental vibe). But this isn't experimental anymore. It's like when Green Day released a rock opera, and then released another rock opera. The first one is forgivable and even exciting. The second one is beating a dead horse. Pale Communion is lame. In the literal sense of the word. It feels week and tired and unable to carry its own weight. I don't blame Mikael Akerfeldt for wanting to do something else with his career; Opeth's 15 year run of awe-inspiring music is nearly peerless. The guy can do what he wants. I just get the feeling that the classics are behind us.

Ghost Reveries

I totally underrated Ghost Reveries when it came out. I think it's become possibly my favorite Opeth album, other than Still Life, Blackwater Park, Deliverance, and My Arms Your Hearse, of course. Sorry, Watershed.

Ghost Reveries

Hey you: go grab your copy of Ghost Reveries (I can wait), go to the last 1:40 of "Reverie/Harlequin Forest," and sit back and listen to it. Then maybe go back and listen to it again. And again. Is there any other metal band that has the guts and the patience to pull that off? No, there's not. As an aside, I almost felt like writing an entire rant about how this album is Opeth's soul album (Mikael Åkerfeldt could be on Scandinavian Idol, I swear), but I'll save that for later.

10.29.2019 - by Steve
Kensington Kosher DeliGreat Neck
Pastrami on rye

This was an unexpected but welcome find, a legit New York style Jewish deli—and a dive at that—in the middle of small town Long Island. Well, not as much small town as profoundly wealthy suburb, but it was nonetheless quaint, delicious, and about half the price of those big city Jewish delis you've heard so much about.

10.29.2019 - by Steve

Good falafel, good toppings, a good pita, multiple locations. This is a short food post.

10.28.2019 - by Steve
Buttermilk ChannelBrooklyn
Duck meatloaf

Hey now we're on a roll! After months of eating things and saying "Hmm, nothing's really blown me away in this city yet," first came Olmstead's blueberry scallops, and now Buttermilk Channel's duck meatloaf. Nothing's going to top those scallops, but this meatloaf is easily the #2 best thing I've eaten this year. And like the scallops, it comes with a sweet fruity reduction—cherry, to be specific. Nothing else too crazy about it, although I'm not sure what percentage of it was actually duck (it can't be 100%, right? That's a lotta duck. I imagine there's some pork or something in there too). Otherwise just some roasted rutabaga and some arugula, but damn it was good. Everything else we had at Buttermilk Channel—their 'famous' fried chicken and some leek soup—was totally fine but not remarkable. But the meatloaf made it all worth it.

10.10.2019 - by Steve
French onion soup

Sardi's is one of those famous old Manhattan joints that you've probably seen in a movie and has probably been referenced on Seinfeld where the bartenders wear bowties and there are autographed celebrity caricatures all over the walls and you can go sit and pay way too much for a drink after seeing a Broadway show. I can't speak for the drinks, but their world famous French onion soup was totally decent, as were the meatballs. And you know what? It was nice! It was a nice chill pleasant evening in a weird old bar, which is actually a pretty rare thing in the middle of Times Square's nonsense.

10.05.2019 - by Steve

Some guy at the USA Today ranked the best ballpark food in America, and gave the #1 spot to the Momocho nachos at Jacobs Field. I'm in a perfect position to weigh in on this, since I've recently been to Cleveland for a baseball game, and ate those very nachos. But I'm not going to bother because the Twins are destroying me again and I don't like baseball anymore and what's the point of nachos if happiness is an illusion?

10.05.2019 - by Steve
Duffy'sStaten Island

I'm writing this communique to report to you that Duffy's Bar in Staten Island does not serve the best burger in New York.

Like, of course they don't, but reading the sensational reviews of this place online from Staten Islanders, I was ready to buy-in and be the weirdo who goes around telling people "um actually there's this place in Staten Island that low key makes the best burgers in this town!". But, no. It's a great little place though, a just-barely-nicer-than-a-dive local Irish bar with NYFD shit all over the walls (fucking of course) and rectangular shaped men with giant thumb heads and seeerious accents complaining about the Jets at the bar. And hey, the burger is good. But I was a fool to think I'd find the best burger in town by taking the ferry and biking 7 miles into the West St. Paul of New York City.