Raphael Weinroth-Browne, preeminent cellist for Toilet faves The Visit and Musk Ox, has turned his prodigious talents to classic Opeth, and “Harvest” has likely never sounded so beautiful. Surrender to the majesty of Weinroth-Browne’s nine-cello arrangement within.
“Harvest” is perhaps one of the most melancholy and progressive tracks on Opeth’s 2001 landmark opus Blackwater Park. The song, composed entirely by Åkerfeldt, demonstrates classic Opeth’s ability to capture the multifaceted hues of life. Åkerfeldt’s gentle harmonization and stirring acoustic guitars balance a cold solemnity with glowing progressive leads and subtle vocal counterpoints that convey a depth and contour few bands are able to reproduce. It’s light and shade, anguish and growth, and it sits perfectly nestled between tracks of glowering death metal.
It is this melancholy and gloom that Weinroth-Browne encapsulates in his cello arrangement. The genius musician transposed each aspect of the already gorgeous tune to a unique cello track (each played and recorded by himself, natch) to conjure and bind all the disparate voices and emotions of classic Opeth into a faithful yet distinct reproduction of the original. Åkerfeldt’s plaintive voice and harmonizing acoustics are each carried by separate cello lines, emphasizing the torturous weight and cold of the original track. Yet, Weinroth-Browne adds an earnest warmth to the song with his composition, drawing an emotional extremity out of every note. He even indulges in slight hints of aggression around the 4:00 and 6:15 that even manages to outdo the sparse notes of heaviness in the original song.
“Harvest” is one of Opeth’s standout progressive tracks from when Åkerfeldt still wrote interesting songs, and yet Weinroth-Browne has made it his own. His cover achieves a rare feat; it is perhaps more interesting, compelling, and emotionally stirring than the original.
Thanks again for sending us the track, Raphael.