This is probably my personal favourite Opeth album, so reviewing it seems appropriate. From the cover art to the sound itself, MA, YH is positively swamped in thick, murky atmosphere. It also marks a significant change for the band, abandoning the vast compositions, almost black metal tonalities and dual lead melodies of "Orchid" and "Morningrise" for shorter, more focused songs with an emphasis on RIFFS and lots of them. It is a transitional album between that older style and the one which would become fully fledged on the following "Still Life", a sound which would carry them for their next several albums. Because of this MA, YH is somewhat unique among the Opeth discography. It is also (like "Still Life") a concept album, featuring something I've never seen done elsewhere where the last word of the current song is the title of the next, making following the lyrics like reading the concept as a story which is a nice touch. I forget exactly what the concept is at the moment, no matter.
Aside from the overall sound being noticeably different, Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals have changed drastically since the last album, becoming much deeper and less raspy which I think suits this album better. His clean singing on this album is also perhaps my favourite performance of his, with a chanting multi-tracked style not repeated on any other Opeth album. The fact that he supposedly had a cold during the recording doesn't seem to make a difference as his performance is just brilliant especially during the all-clean "Credence". The trademark Opeth acoustics are present, along with some great clean electrics (see the cascade of phase shifted guitars that opens "When") and some really memorable riffs. Martin Lopez makes his first appearance on drums which contributes massively to the different feel present here with a much more metal feel to the drumming instead of Anders Nordin's more Mediterranean inspired beats. I feel like Opeth hasn't made an album this good since this one, although I do really enjoy parts of Still Life and Damnation/ Deliverance I think everything comes together on this one in a way they would not repeat.