Opeth – “The Throat of Winter”

Today, a digital EP based on the 3rd installment in the God of War video game series was released on iTunes and “all [other] digital retailers”. This EP features a new, unreleased, Opeth song called “The Throat of Winter,” exclusive to this release.

The EP also features five other songs by five other bands that aren’t really worth mentioning. I bought “The Throat of Winter” on iTunes for $1.29 and decided not to bother with the rest. There’s a sale at shockhound.com, which ends today, where they offer the entire EP for $1.99, but I just don’t care about the rest of the songs, and neither do you.

“The Throat of Winter” is okay. It feels kind of loosely thrown together. It’s more a montage of several mini-songs than anything else. I like it, I think, but I get the feeling that Mikael Akerfeldt just kind of sat down in his home studio one day and built this weird little series of riffs and named it. You know how some of the songs on Watershed had really weird endings that went on forever, kind of like The Return of the King? Well, this song reminds me of that.

It never really gets heavy. There’s a heavy acoustic riff toward the end of the song but we never really leave the acoustic guitar world. The song never stagnates though, and never feels boring (not that it has time to with its 5:47 running time).

Though the song may feel a little bit choppy, all its parts are actually pretty cool. What stands out about the track is its use of different sounds and instruments. It goes from a lone acoustic guitar to big layered acoustic guitars and lush vocal and string pads with sprinklings of slide guitars, percussion, Godfather guitars (3:08, you’ll see), piano, Al Di Meola-inspired guitar solos, and a killer analog synth tone that comes in around 3:23.

This new piece sounds nothing like I thought it would, and I’m glad for that. I was worried that it was going to be this big dumb metal song–it was written for and about a hack-and-slash game after all–but it’s not that at all. It’s rare that you find bands that continue to keep you guessing, especially after 9 albums, but with “The Throat of Winter” Opeth actually surprised me.

While this may not be one of the band’s better songs, it’s certainly an interesting one and worth a $1.29 listen.

  1. Slide guitar, eh?

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