"With the soundtrack of the "Clark" series, Mikael Akerfeldt takes advantage of a commissioned album to make a very personal work, venturing on musical territories until then unexplored by Opeth."
NEWF (14.07.2022)  
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The series is a hit on Netflix. "Clark" is based on the life of Clark Olofsson, one of Sweden's most notorious multi-recidivist criminals who, between the 1960s and 1980s (and even after), committed countless crimes, until he spent almost half his life in prison. He is most famous for a bank robbery in Stockholm in 1973, during which he and his accomplices developed a strange closeness with their hostages, who later would not even testify against them. The Stockholm syndrome was born, and with it, another proof of the irrationality of human behavior. Even if the presence of Tobias Forge, leader of Ghost, in a small role is part of the curiosities of this series, the main one remains the fact of having entrusted the composition of the soundtrack to Mikael Akerfeldt. Of course, this is not so surprising, since "Clark" was directed by Jonas Akerlund, former drummer of the black metal band Bathory and famous video director, but the exercise is such a counter-role for the leader of Opeth that it can only arouse interest.

Indeed, it is easy to guess the challenge that such an exercise represents for a musician mostly known for his convoluted songs and his long formats. Here, with a few exceptions, the 34 tracks of the album rarely exceed 3 minutes and only 4 of them are sung. So, the only real question is how to classify the soundtrack of "Clark": as a curiosity in the career of Mikael Akerfeldt or as an integral part of his work? The answer is clearly the second proposal. Because besides the fact that the Swede obviously had a lot of fun composing this soundtrack, it contains a large part of his influences and of what the next Opeth album could sound like.

Concerning the influences, everything is there or almost: the progressive rock of the 70's with tracks in the straight line of "In Cauda Venenum" ('Libertine Theme', 'The Weak Heart', 'The Hunted Are In The Clear', 'Rhodes Rat'), the winks to Pink Floyd ('Wish You Were There') and Deep Purple ('Mandag I Stockholm'), without forgetting Mikael Akerfeldt's immoderate love for the acoustic guitar ('Happiness', 'Sunrise').

But where the exercise becomes really interesting is when the Swede appropriates the musical atmospheres of the different periods that mark the life and work of Clark Olofsson. Far from sticking to what he knows, Mikael Akerfeldt assimilates with an impressive accuracy the musical universes of the time and ventures on grounds where nobody expects him: the jazz rock ('Druglord Panic', 'Red & White'), the jazz of the Sixties ('Rockefellers', 'Heres That Sunny Day'), the oriental music ('La Shay Jadid Taht Alshams'), the funk ('Funky Chicken', 'Code To The Vault', 'Lost In San Marino') and even the electro ('Vielleicht Spatter') and the new wave of the Eighties ('Battle For Love', 'Night Life')

Mikael Akerfeldt thus takes advantage of a commissioned album to make a very personal work, where he allows himself everything that he has not yet been able to do with Opeth. Moreover, the short format of the titles forces him to go to the essential in terms of melodic, which gives place to real little gems ('Ode To Confusion in A minor', 'The Real Me'). Of course, this soundtrack might only interest the fans of the band and its frontman, but it is likely that "Clark" contains many ideas that will serve as a basis for future Opeth songs. If this is the case, the nostalgics of the first period of the band will still complain.

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01. Libertine Theme
02. Tango Bizarre
03. Druglord Panic
04. Rockefellers
05. Vintage Modern
06. Wish You Were There
07. The Weak Heart
08. Happiness
09. Ode to Confusion in A minor
10. La Shay' Jadid Taht Alshams
11. The Real Me
12. Here's That Sunny Day
13. Perfect Horizon
14. Sea Slumber
15. Then
16. The Hunted Are in the Clear
17. Northern Hemispheres
18. Ordinary Folks
19. Distant Spring
20. Funky Chicken
21. Code to the Vault
22. Two Mermaids
23. Rags to Riches
24. Sunrise
25. Red & White
26. Headfirst Into the Storm
27. Ballad of the Libertine in G minor
28. Lost in San Marino
29. Rhodes Rat
31. Mother of One
32. Vielleicht Später
33. Battle for Love
34. Night Life

Mikael Akerfeldt: Guitares
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