OPETH
Progressive Metal / Non-Metal / Death Metal / Metal Related / Hard Rock • Sweden

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Opeth is a progressive death metal band from Sweden that is influenced by many diverse musical styles ranging from 1970s progressive rock, death metal, and blues. Their recent releases have deviated from their traditional death metal influenced style, with more emphasis on progressive elements. Vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt is also noted for utilizing both clean singing and death growls, often in the same track. Due to their unique blend of melodic and progressive elements, Opeth are often classified separately from more typical death metal acts. The name Opeth was taken from Wilbur Smith's novel Sunbird and derived from Opet, a city of the moon named in the novel.

History

Opeth was formed in Stockholm, Södermanland, Sweden in 1990 by David Isberg. Isberg invited Mikael Åkerfeldt to join the band at a practice session as a bass player, but failed to inform the current bass player or any of the other members
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Blackwater Park: Legacy EditionBlackwater Park: Legacy Edition
The End Records 2010
Audio CD$7.75
$6.74 (used)
Sorceress 2-disc deluxeSorceress 2-disc deluxe
Nuclear Blast America 2016
Audio CD$9.18
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Pale CommunionPale Communion
Roadrunner Records 2014
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Ghost ReveriesGhost Reveries
HiFi Sound
Roadrunner Records 2005
Audio CD$6.51
$2.87 (used)
WatershedWatershed
Roadrunner Records 2008
Audio CD$7.46
$4.99 (used)
DamnationDamnation
Import
Sony Import 2007
Audio CD$4.14
$2.91 (used)
Still LifeStill Life
Remastered · CD+DVD
PEACEVILLE 2017
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DeliveranceDeliverance
Original recording
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$2.71
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HeritageHeritage
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$4.92
$3.64 (used)
My Arms Your Hearse [2 LP][Reissue]My Arms Your Hearse [2 LP][Reissue]
Explicit Lyrics
Spinefarm 2017
Vinyl$18.92
$27.11 (used)
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OPETH Discography

OPETH albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.65 | 72 ratings
Orchid
Death Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.86 | 82 ratings
Morningrise
Death Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.88 | 92 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
Death Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.47 | 167 ratings
Still Life
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.16 | 131 ratings
Blackwater Park
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.63 | 100 ratings
Deliverance
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.80 | 108 ratings
Damnation
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 131 ratings
Ghost Reveries
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.82 | 109 ratings
Watershed
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 91 ratings
Heritage
Metal Related 2011
.. Album Cover 3.69 | 37 ratings
Pale Communion
Non-Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 3.61 | 21 ratings
Sorceress
Metal Related 2016

OPETH EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.87 | 4 ratings
Burden
Progressive Metal 2008

OPETH live albums

.. Album Cover 4.02 | 30 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.29 | 4 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire
Progressive Metal 2016

OPETH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Drapery Falls
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.36 | 2 ratings
Mellotron Heart
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Devil's Orchard - Live at Rock Hard Festival
Progressive Metal 2011

OPETH re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.26 | 3 ratings
Collecter's Edition Slipcase
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 11 ratings
The Candlelight Years
Death Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wooden Box
Death Metal 2009

OPETH singles (6)

.. Album Cover
3.50 | 3 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
2.73 | 5 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
3.21 | 5 ratings
Porcelain Heart
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
3.98 | 5 ratings
The Throat of Winter
Non-Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.83 | 6 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
Hard Rock 2011
.. Album Cover
3.75 | 2 ratings
Sorceress
Progressive Metal 2016

OPETH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.93 | 28 ratings
Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.17 | 22 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.51 | 25 ratings
In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
Progressive Metal 2010

OPETH Reviews

OPETH Damnation

Album · 2003 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
My first Opeth purchase was “Heritage” and I loved it. I still do. Though back in the day when I got that album, I still wasn’t keen on death vocals. I read about “Damnation” and got the impression it was a great Opeth album and a telltale work presaging things to come after 2010. Firing up the album, “Window Pane” instantly caught my ear and I was ready to soak up the sounds. But after that first track my attention could not hold on enough and the album played through with me hardly noticing anything.

I played it all again and wondered why it was such a mellow and unexciting album. At least with "Heritage" there was this dark and sometimes heavier side of Opeth. There was tension, subtlety, dynamic. This album seemed to be steeped in languid melancholy.

By the third listen I was starting to notice when I heard the Porcupine Tree influences. It wasn’t until I began pulling individual songs off and putting them on mixed playlists that I began to enjoy the songs more. Hearing these laid back tunes in between Opeth’s more energetic work made the music stand out more. Most of the tracks soon became noteworthy because they are each unique from one another and sound individually crafted. “In My Time of Need” features flooding Mellotron, “Death Whispered a Lullaby” is a strong retro piece with some Porcupine Tree-like guitar solos, and “Closure” has some creative percussion near the end as well as some almost creepy and foreboding clean guitar riffs. Moving on, “Hope Leaves” is so mellow and soft but nevertheless still may infect the musical minds of listeners. “To Rid the Disease” again includes Mellotron and perhaps even some real strings, plus some simple and pretty piano. After several listens, my opinion of this album has gone from too slow and boring to a rather decent effort. Only the last two tracks slip by with my mind lost and not focused on the music at all. “Ending Credits” is a simple instrumental with a lead guitar solo, which is good but not a highlight for me, and “Weakness” is so sparse in instrumentation that it’s austere.

It has taken me some time and a several good listens to appreciate “Damnation” at last. I can now also hear how Porcupine Tree influenced Opeth just as Opeth influenced Steven Wilson to add heavy guitar riffs to his band’s songs from “In Absentia” onward. Given my lack of warmth toward “Deliverance”, I wonder now if it wasn’t better to make one album with only the best material from “Damnation” and “Deliverance” instead of two separate albums. With both sides of the band featured on one disc, it’s possible the resulting album would better represent what Opeth have established for themselves. One reason why I love albums like “Still Life”, and “Blackwater Park” and “Ghost Reveries” is because there’s such a natural flow in the mixing up of the music. A D&D album might have been more in line with what fans love about the band, though I can’t fault the band for trying something different. Perhaps it was an idea that sounded better in theory.

“Damnation” takes a bit of sinking into but it is a rewarding album eventually. That is if you don’t just love it form the start anyway. Some people really praise this effort. I feel the parts are mostly more enjoyable than the whole.

OPETH Deliverance

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
First impressions aren’t always the best nor the most reliable. When they coincide with predetermined expectations, the chance of disappointment runs high. With eight of Opeth’s 12 albums in my collection, I went ahead and finally ordered the two albums, “Deliverance” and “Damnation”. For both albums I had already established a notion of what to expect: “Deliverance” being the heaviest Opeth album yet and “Damnation” being more prog rock and a precursor to the much-derided “Heritage” album, which I actually love. By now I had established that songs like “Serenity Painted Death”, “Funeral Portrait” and “The Grand Conjuration” were among my favourite Opeth songs, loving them for their riffs, moods and terrifying vocals. I had high hopes that “Deliverance” would give me even greater chills and shivers.

Alas, my first listen to the album was not how I expected it would be. There was something amiss. “Wreath” tumbles in with a rapid drum intro and hammers into the heavy chords while Mikael Akerfeldt’s vocals deliver a shredding roar, which should have set my arteries quivering. But what about that guitar sound? “Blackwater Park” had reached a pinnacle in Opeth’s guitar sound exploration, a full, rich, and heavy sound. On “Wreath” the guitar sounds dry and lacking bass. The title track follows and though it features some typical Opeth heavy-acoustic-heavy alternating, the song goes right over my head the first couple of listens. “A Fair Judgement” strikes me as the most honest Opeth song yet, working in soft and loud, gentle and heavy in a way that is typical of Opeth’s style, but it was only after a few listens that this song’s significance set in for me: it’s the track to least sound like Opeth recording an Opeth album without having their hearts really set on it. “For Absent Friends” is a relaxing instrumental, nothing out of the ordinary for an Opeth album until you recall that this is the heavy album!

Only two songs left to go, and during my first listen I was up to here disappointed that I wasn’t finding the kind of songs I had imagined. “Master’s Apprentices” starts off promising with a simple heavy, pounding riff and a very good ripper kind of riff, and my hopes are up! However, it proves a few listens later still have me trying to decide if the song is fantastic or forgettable in places. It’s the final track, “By the Pain I See in Others” that scores with me at last. Here’s a heavy Opeth track that includes much of what I enjoy about their music, right up to the waltz part. But then the song ends and the final note is sustained for a few tens of seconds, just held at low volume until some amplifier noise ends the music with 3:13 still left in the track! A hidden track? Unfortunately, yes, there’s a hidden track (two actually) of Mikael singing a kind of Indian mystic tune backwards, the first coming in with 1:50 remaining and lasting some 43 seconds, and the second one coming with 0:35 left in the track. I am not a fan of hidden tracks as they usually occur after long gaps of blank space and usually don’t contribute anything to the parent track. I wish they could just be unmarked bonus tracks; it makes it so much easier to manage the songs and make mixed playlists.

There are times when I listen to this album and think it’s not so bad and other times when I almost become irritated with the music if I don’t tune out altogether. I realize the reason why is because of three things. The first is the guitar sound. Dry, lacking bass, and not really what I like in a guitar sound especially considering albums that came before and after. The second is that there are few really good riffs on this album. Opeth frequently go for complex, progressive riffs or really effective simple heavy riffs. There are no memorable complex riffs for my ears on this album and the simple heavy riffs just don’t have the wallop and punch that other albums contain. Finally, perhaps it’s because there was a conscious effort to write the more progressive/acoustic/folk side out of this album and save it for “Damnation” that I feel the music on “Deliverance” just doesn’t live up to Opeth standards. Had this been my first Opeth acquisition it is questionable whether or not I would have taken up such an interest in the band as I have now.

I have found now that I enjoy the songs much more when they have been removed from the album and put on mixed playlists, such as ones that include one song from each album. I also think it would be possible to make one very good album selecting the better material from the two albums.

Every band in my collection whose entire studio catalogue has been welcomed into my house has an album or two that are not all together interesting to me. Opeth’s “Deliverance” is not so bland; however, the album still lacks flavour in my opinion. Whether the band was trying to progress its sound, or Steven Wilson was too influential, or they were focusing more attention on “Damnation” I can’t say. There are interesting parts but for me the album is truly missing something.

OPETH Blackwater Park

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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voila_la_scorie
“Opeth are one of those bands who are great for starting arguments simply because they exist and for what they do.”

This quote comes from a Pitchfork review of the re-release of “Blackwater Park” and it struck me as hitting the mark right on. In preparation for my own review of this monumental album, I read a number of reviews on other web sites and I found no shortage of haters. In fact, there seem to be three types of reviewers who’ve expressed their opinions of this album. The Gusher has nary a bad thing to say about it. It’s the best metal album ever. Everything from the vocals to the heavy guitars to the drumming to the acoustic parts to Steven Wilson’s hairstyle at the time are excruciatingly perfect. The Take Two Steps Back review treats this album as a roughly decent package albeit with a number of shortcomings. “Don’t get me wrong,” the reviewers say, stating that it’s good enough but a little overrated. The Panner tells us that this album is boring and pointless. Why so many long, meandering mid-tempo guitar riffs? Why does this track suddenly go acoustic for four bars and then goes right back to metal as if nothing happened? And what’s with this progressive, atmospheric, clean-vocal, moody tripe? Not even one decent blast beat! Rubbish!

Some people even go on to mock Opeth fans as if loving the band’s music says that their development in metal appreciation is stunted or retarded. Well, I have been frequently told that my taste in music is weird or whatever, so I don’t hold anything against what other people deem deeply satisfying even if they are Beliebers or Kanye West fans. It’s music and if you love it and colours your life then go on and dig it.

As for “Blackwater Park”, let’s take a look at some figures. Checking over eleven lists ranking Opeth albums (I do this kind of thing because it helps me explore a band’s catalogue more deeply – cough, cough, anal me, cough), “Blackwater Park” has an average rank of 1.9, which is the highest average of all 12 studio albums. So yes, fans of the band, fanatics or not, generally agree that this is a great piece of work. (Metal fans tend to rate it higher than prog fans). Furthermore, MetalSucks polled a wide range of people in the music industry, from musicians to producers to writers, etc. to ask them to name the top 21 metal albums of the 21st century, and “Blackwater Park” came in at #3 (“Ghost Reveries” was #10). So in spite of the fact that this album is boring with long meandering riffs and pointless acoustic interludes, it seems to stand pretty tall. Hey, I can see it’s not for everyone.

One reason I can see why this album gets so much love is that it combines the heaviness of “My Arms, Your Hearse” and the more complex song structure and riffage of “Still Life”. This is the pinnacle of that leg of the Opeth journey. With Steven Wilson producing, the sound is also richer and broader than the more compacted bombast of MAYH or the slightly dried out sound of “Still Life” in some parts (I feel it’s like checking up on your delicious soup and finding a skin has formed). The album is loud and the aggressive, heavy parts are really in your face if not sledge hammering your buttocks. Parts of the album really lay on that aggression, too. “The Leper Affinity”, much of the title track, parts of “Bleak” and my personal favourite “Funeral Portrait” are really massive; the riff that comes in at 1:16 in “Funeral Portrait” is so kick ass - my favourite Opeth riff of all! Yet Opeth would not be who they claim to be without acoustic breaks which are always a part of the song-writing formula. Track three, “Harvest”, is an all-strummed acoustic number and it will remind you that the third track on “Still Life”, “Benighted”, was also an acoustic track. “The Drapery Falls” begins acoustic but then soon turns toward the heavy guitars again, while “Patterns in the Ivy” is a rather pretty though sombre acoustic guitar/piano instrumental.

With all these acoustic parts and clean vocals, not to mention Steven Wilson’s vocal contribution in “Bleak”, plus the fact that there are no really speedy, thrashy parts despite the heaviness, and that the songs tend to be mostly between 7 and 12 minutes, I can understand why some death metal fans would call this a wankers’ album. I could also mention the frequent use of sustained guitar notes to create atmosphere and lots of long, open-chord riffs that are iterated not four times but six (just to stretch out the song length claim the detractors) and the turn-off factor for those who prefer short, blasting death metal becomes that much more apparent. The only thing everyone seems to agree upon is that Mikael Akerfeldt has awesome death vocals.

As for my own opinion, I liked this album when I first got it, but it has only been recently that Opeth’s entire catalogue has finally clicked with me and I can now really sink into every album. That said, there’s one track on here that I consider the runt of the litter and that’s “Dirge for November”. It’s not Mikael’s frail vocal bit at the beginning that deflates this song for me, nor is it the beautiful acoustic and clean electric part that follows. And when the melodic distorted guitars come in, it’s all just part of another Opeth song. But the death growl part seems to dwell on the same repeated open-chord riff over and over before a slight change promises something different and rewarding only to circle back to repeating that riff. If it weren’t for the vocals and the lyrics it would sound pretty redundant. Then the song wraps up with a bit of clean guitar that runs through a passage of repeated chords and notes and gives the impression of concluding and thus making me think, “Oh, well, not the most exciting track but, ehh, it’s okay,” and then it repeats one more time! I suppose it’s not so bad at times but given that this album so frequently opens a full can of whoop-ass, “Dirge for November” can’t help but sounding a less than spectacular. That’s alright because “Funeral Portrait” comes right up next. Yeah!!!

The best metal album ever? I wouldn’t go that far. It’s not even my favourite Opeth album. But “Blackwater Park” is without question an essential album in the band’s catalogue.

OPETH Still Life

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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voila_la_scorie
Opeth’s fourth album, “Still Life” is for many where the band finally established their classic sound in all its glory. “My Arms, Your Hearse” brought in two new musicians and a serious alteration in the band’s music writing style: heavier, more brutal, and with a more natural inclusion of lighter parts into their now heavier songs. But Mikael Akerfeldt was deeply influenced by progressive music by this point and claims that “Still Life” was their most progressive album up to that time.

What is interesting to note on this album is how the heavier guitar chords are very well balanced with higher tone riffs, allowing for complex riffing to coexist with the more thunderous side of the band’s heavy sound. As if intentionally in complement, Mikael’s death vocals also show two sides: a deep guttural bellow and a wet, back-of-the-throat, blasting roar. These two vocal styles are best heard in the chorus to “Serenity Painted Death”, where the first part is sung (or vocalized?) in the deeper voice and the second part in the higher, shredding voice. In fact, it is this song that finally made me appreciate the skill and talent behind death vocals. Previously I had likened this style of vocalizing to a demon with severe stomach troubles the night after an ungodly pasta binge and heavy drinking. Perhaps somewhat unfortunately now, all death vocalists I hear will be compared to Mikael Akerfeldt.

I’ll admit that in the beginning this album was a slow grower for me when I brought it home four years ago. At first, only “Serenity Painted Death” and “White Cluster” stood out as memorable. But over the recent weeks I’ve had this album on frequently and my brain has become alerted to its overall charm. Mikael’s clean vocals are stronger than they were on the previous three albums and can now create an atmosphere. The acoustic part in “Godhead’s Lament” makes me think of Jethro Tull a bit, and the use of acoustic and clean electric guitar passages in the heavier songs has really become a natural development within the song frameworks. Daring to go further than before, Opeth give us “Benighted”, an all-acoustic track plus some clean electric guitar with a smooth jazzy feel and all clean vocals. “Face of Melinda” also spends the first four minutes delivering an easy-swaying acoustic number with light jazz-influenced percussion. The inclusion of these tracks shows that the band is not driven towards an album of brutal auditory assault like many or most of their death metal contemporaries but is instead striving for texture, mood, and melody alongside the expected aggressive music.

Looking at 11 lists ranking Opeth’s albums, “Still Life” has an average rank of 3.1, second only to “Blackwater Park” with a 1.9 average rank. On MMA, however, “Still Life” can be found in the top 10 metal albums of all time and from time to time it can be seen lurking in the top 5. In my opinion, this is one of the three essential Opeth albums from the classic period, along with “Blackwater Park” and “Ghost Reveries”. And “Serenity Painted Death” is one of my top 3 favourite classic Opeth period songs!

OPETH My Arms, Your Hearse

Album · 1998 · Death Metal
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voila_la_scorie
After recording the first two albums with the same band line-up and the same producer in the same studio, Opeth underwent a big change in direction. To begin with, both drummer Anders Nordin and bassist Johan De Farfalla left the band and the drum stool was taken over by Martin Lopez. Though Martin Mendez was to take on the bass player role, he was not able to learn all the bass parts for the new album prior to the recording and so Mikael Akerfeldt played all the bass. This isn’t so much of a surprise as Mikael was originally hired for the band as the new bass player back in the early days. Frederik Nordstrom became the new producer and the album recorded over two months and in three studios in 1997 and released a year later on Candlelight Records.

With all these changes, the band’s sound was altered dramatically. I feel in a way we could compare the differences to Deep Purple’s “Shades of Deep Purple” and “The Book of Taliesyn” versus “In Rock”. The psychedelic/progressive/hard rock style of these first two, very similar albums gets replaced by thundering, loud heavy rock on “In Rock”. Likewise, I see “Orchid” and “Morningrise” as a nice pair with melodic riffs and long songs broken down with frequent acoustic interludes while “My Arms, Your Hearse” is so much heavier, has shorter songs, and incorporates acoustic and clean electric breaks into the structure of the song more fluidly.

Basically, Opeth have not only added a ton of extra weight to their guitar sound but also Mikael’s death vocals have gone from a shredding roar from the back of the throat to a deeper, guttural roar. The music just packs that much more sonic wallop.

In a way, this album set the blue print for the next few Opeth albums. A conceptual piece, the album flows naturally from song to song and includes some brief instrumental tracks as well as the melodic, organ-backed epilogue aptly titled “Epilogue”. The acoustic parts are well mixed with clean electric guitar breaks which don’t stand apart from the heavy music like on the first two albums but instead feel like a natural progression of the song. On the first two albums, the heavy music would just stop and a simple Medieval or folk acoustic melody would direct the next course of the song. On MAYH, the acoustic guitars often play along with the heavy electric guitars and it feels more natural when the more melodic and less raucous parts progress within the song. The songs have also become shorter with not a single track clearing 10 minutes.

Reading some reviews and the comments of critics, there are those who give this album much praise. At first it failed to captivate my interest because I couldn’t pick out any songs that really stood out, except of course the obvious short instrumental tracks like “Prelude” (simple piano piece) and “Madrigal” (short but very different clean guitar instrumental). Later, however, once I had all the Opeth albums and I started mixing up playlists and choosing songs, I discovered that I really liked “April Ethereal”, “When”, “The Amen Corner”, and “Karma”. “Demon of the Fall” is really heavy and with totally demonic sounding vocals in the first half but later turns into a Zeppelin-esque folk-like bit that then alternates between heavy and melodic metal with the strummed acoustic parts coming in and out. Mikael’s clean vocals here and on other songs are much better than previously because he is singing with more energy. His clean vocals on the first two albums lacked confidence and energy and sometimes sounded timid and barely adequate. On this album here we get the Mikael that we know from later releases.

In the end, even though this album doesn’t contain any of my ultimate fav Opeth tracks, I do very much enjoy letting this one play through from start to finish and as well, I can easily throw a track on a mixed playlist. Welcome to the birth of the classic sound of Opeth!

OPETH Movies Reviews

OPETH Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003

Movie · 2003 · Progressive Metal
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kluseba
I really like a few studio albums of this band, especially "Blackwater Park" and "Watershed", so I bought this slipcase compilation by Koch Records with three studio albums and this exclusive live CD. That's why I will just talk about what I hear and not what I see on this release.

And what I hear is not very positive. The band divided its set in two halfs, the first one is based on their acoustic stuff from the "Damnation" album. The acoustic album has a really introspective atmosphere on the album, but it doesn't work at all on stage. Each song seems to be alike, the live versions sound exactly like the studio versions, the band has no contact with the silent and hypnotized crowd and there is no magic in the air. After a few songs, this first part of the album makes you fall asleep because of its infinite boredom. The most interesting song is the only one which is not included on the "Damnation" album, "Harvest", which develops a magic warmth and gives me at least some goose bumps and chills.

The second half of the album is a lot heavier and more progressive and wakes the crowd up a little bit. But the heavier song are performed with a lack of passion and intesity and work less well as the studio versions. The band does some routine work but I can't feel any passion in it. This part is a little bit more enthousiastic than the first part, but not by much.

Another problem of this release is - due to legal problems - that the setlist is mostly limited on the three last albums and not very diversified. That's a sad thing because the early works of the band had some magic moments and something powerful and fresh.

I can't recommend this CD (or even DVD) and would give the advice to listen to the studio albums instead.

OPETH In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall

Movie · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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AtomicCrimsonRush
"Big gig today, people, big gig".

Okay, I finally got around to seeing Opeth live at Royal Albert Hall with a bunch of fans, and as usual with Opeth, as far as I am concerned, it is a real hit and miss affair. Parts of the concert send me into bliss with gorgeous guitars and vocals and amazing dextrous lead guitar with choppy riffs, and parts make me search for the skip button. Okay let's get past the first point of concern for me; the concert is perhaps designed for the younger target audience who prefer death metal growls over actual singing. To be honest there is a heck of a lot of gravel voice vocals on this, more than I expected or wished, as I have 4 albums and there are definitely large chunks without growling on albums; though not so here. Unfortunately, this live performance really focuses on the heavier side of Opeth with only the occasional let up in speed and growling. When Akerfeldt sings clean vocals it is mesmirising so I wish he'd shut the dang death growls up as it is really not that impressive. The band play all of Blackwater Park but I would have preferred Still Life.

Another point about the DVD is that the crowd are rather a subdued lot. Their preferred colour is black and mostly guys are present with a smattering of females. The crowd stand still, not much bouncing and moshing as they are there to listen I guess, not have a full body thrash work out. They are definitely into the music and enjoying it, but it is not a mosh session, which shows how different Opeth are in comparison to death metal bands that incite a virtual riot when playing live. The crowd are head banging and raising the horns as you expect. You can hear then yell out stuff during the pauses between tracks, at times quite amusing too.

Yet another point to make about this live DVD is it really is a no frills concert, a bit of smoke and some cool lighting, occasional strobes and an ominous glowing logo with the large screen showing pictures of forests and water, and album covers, to generate a part of the atmosphere, with nice swirling lights cascading across the transfixed crowd. The band pretty much stand in the one place and thrash one track after another, and head bang during the instrumentals. They don't speak much at all at first. At one point Akerfeldt pretends he is going to say something and then stops and just plays; quite a humorous touch. At the end of 'April Ethereal', Akerfeldt begins to open up, he does mention that the band have gone through changes; "a few people have been (pause) fired (laughter) and we have a new lineup". He then intros the guys that are new to rapturous applause. Then he mentions how he used to write when he was too poor to afford a demo and recording equipment. He just wrote things like the Morbid Angel riff 4 times, freaked out bridge and the Bathory section. Ironically I referenced those two bands on my review for Still Life ("The growling reminded me of the black metal I used to listen to with the likes of Bathory or Morbid Angel.") so I wasn't far off the mark as Opeth definitely are influenced by this extreme metal sound. Akerfeldt mentions that Still Life is their most complicated album and then proceeds to play the awesome 'The Moor' from this.

From the beautiful acoustic guitar, it leads to the familiar distorted riffs that blast in without remorse. Akerfeldt's growls are brutal and soul chilling. There is a clean vocal chorus and it is so refreshing. I longed for more of this. At 6 minutes in the riffing stops and we have an acoustic interlude, a moment of respite. The Damnation style clean vocals chime in and they are so good, like a different band. I was drawn into the music at this point. At the end of 'The Moor' Akerfeldt asks "was it good?" which is funny as obviously the response would be a massive roar. He tells the tale of how Steven Wilson emailed him once. The crowd roars at hearing that name mentioned in their presence. He goes onto say that "we hooked up, had dinner, kissed, and I asked him to produce the next record which was gonna be Blackwater Park." But Steve was also involved in Deliverance "making it more sick and evil and twisted" he continues, and he says they should play something nice as they are in such a nice environment "but we want to be bad." I kind of like these moments as it shows the humour of the band and their personalities come through.

Another point about this section of the concert during 'The Wreath', is that Akerfeldt snaps a string and does a very fast guitar switch. His hand signal to the roadie is interesting as he just stops playing but keeps growling away. The roadie just hands him a new guitar and plugs it in as Akerfeldt screams "cover me with sweat" and he just hooks it over his shoulder and starts playing it as if nothing happened. Well worth checking that out. Axe's drumming should be commended too as it is fantastic, though many might miss the style of Lopez of course. I liked his cymbals with holes in them. 'The Wreath' is a thrashy fast thing that has the cookie monster vocals, (I know, I stole that phrase from a reviewer here but that's what it is) and I prefer Oscar the Grouch vocals myself. 'The Wreath' comes from my least favourite Opeth album but was tolerable due to the amazing chord changes and structure.

In the pause between the songs, a girl yells out that she loves Akerfeldt, and he replies "how you doin'?" as he seems quite shy and nervous which is better than being obnoxious of course. The girl has leaped over the barricade and as she is escorted off by guards everyone applauds. Akerfeldt says it's a long show for a metal singer but luckily he still has a bit of voice. At this stage I was hoping that meant he would sing some quieter stuff. He does the beautiful 'Hope Leaves' from Damnation and of course it is a highlight for my ears. I love that album and every song on it is compelling; in fact that is how I came to know Opeth so it is personally one of my favourite moments of the show. The purple and blue lights with sparkling logo give the stage an ethereal appearance.

Then next is a moment of brilliance from Ghost Reveries, 'Harlequin Forest'. I must admit the concert was improving for me as the band moved onto the more progressive sound. The concert ends with Watershed's 'The Lotus Eater', which is of course is excellent as always. Akerfeldt mentions the leaving of Peter and Martin and intros the new members again. Axe has dyed his hair just for this concert, he says. This track is a masterful progressive thing with amazing time changes and innovation throughout. This time Fred breaks a string, or has a technical goof, and stuffs up his solo and it is quite humorous how he plays silently while the roadie tries to rig up a new guitar. Akerfeldt and the others watch with amusement as Fred is hooked up. The crowd quietly clap observing with interest. When Fred begins to play again there is a roar and the whole thing is an unforgettable moment. The band could easily have edited this out but kudos for keeping it in as it provides some entertaining and interesting footage. I believe in the interview mention is made of how a camera man stepped on a pedal and screwed up the sound, and these moments are what make this concert so compelling, as it is a raw concert DVD with all the mistakes unedited but left for us to talk about. There were some conversations about this section with the guys I watched with. It actually provided more intelligent conversations than the rest of the DVD which were basically phrases like, "awesome, unbelievable, shredder, what's he on about, Axe is better, I miss Lopez, and, shut those bloody growls up." At the end the band have a photo opportunity with lots of Opeth addicts and after a bow it is over with a standing ovation.

The special features are generally similar to Pain of Salvation, and Dream Theatre DVDs, in that they show a lot of behind the scenes stuff, tour footage, some interviews, fans spouting off "I am dead serious when I say Mikael Akerfeldt is the reincarnation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", and a few outtakes from songs. They sign CDs and apparel, take photos of fans and talk at the fans meet and greet, one says "best day ever" and another is shivering with excitement. The sound check was intriguing, done in front of some chosen fans. I like the comment when they are heading down the stairwell to the stage and we hear someone say "It's Spinal Tap." We see a bit of the clean up afterwards, meeting fans back stage who are terminally polite and grateful and Fredrik turns to the camera and says, "you are nothing without your fans never forget that", and there are roadies loading the trucks while the band have a quiet drink with friends. In the truck Fred talks about the mistakes but said they were part of it all after months of build up and the tension they felt. We see Opeth hanging round bars and visiting a Deli with an eccentric owner, and we see them in the trucks getting drunker and funnier.These moments were highlights for me and held more interest than the actual concert.

Overall, this is a great concert for Opeth addicts of course, there are quieter moments but you have to search for them, but it delivers the heavier side of the band with brutal aggression. That is the target audience and it definitely is an extreme sound, and the Opeth fans sitting with me are obviously under the impression that it is a flawless DVD. Seeing past the fan boyism it really is not a masterpiece at all but certainly an excellent live record of the very special event. Personally I look forward to them touring Heritage as that would be worth seeing.

OPETH The Roundhouse Tapes

Movie · 2008 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bartosso
Valuable music - Voluble Mike

I'm a huge Opeth fan so I bought this release on spec. I'm not disappointed, oh no. Quite the opposite, it's one of the best live releases I've ever seen. Absolutely flawless execution, almost perfect sound, very good set list = fantastic DVD release!

What is a very distinctive feature of this concert, and every Opeth concert in general, is a lack of any kind of rock/metal pose or showing off. There is professionally illuminated stage of Roundhouse and an old good folk sample which serve as a introduction to their concerts since I remember. The band members enter the stage and without unnecessary fuss start to play.

If you remember Mike from LAMENTATIONS as a shy and mellow guy you might be surprised by his present stage behaviour. Mike from Roundhouse is a funny guy with many good (and sometimes not so good) jokes to hand. He feels at ease on stage and with the audience and it's admirable. Still, for some people his long conversations with the fans might be slightly irritating.

ROUNDHOUSE TAPES is a very well produced album, and what's more, almost completely devoid of mistakes usually made by musicians playing live. However, there is one thing which might be annoying for minimalism fanatics. Namely, the producers decided to ornament mellow and atmospheric parts of the concert with retro filters which are supposed to enhance the Opeth experience. If it worked you should check on your own.

OPETH Shouts

Please login to post a shout
more than 2 years ago
Heritage their worst? Not even close my friend! Watershed, or maybe MAYH.

adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Their worst? Hardly. Try My Arms, Your Hearse.
Wilytank wrote:
more than 2 years ago
It's safe to say that Heritage is their worst.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
* make of it.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I don't honestly know what to make it.
Prog Geo wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The greatest band on Earth!!!
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
NorseGangsta, you were right. I always thought it was a single, but I checked the release out on the Roadrunner website, and they refer to it as an EP. EP it is now.
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
And thanks for reminding of its existence, I filled in the missing info.
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
It's there under the singles tab, as far as I know it's regarded as a single rather than EP.
NorseGangsta wrote:
more than 2 years ago
There should be a 3-track EP titled Burden released in 2008.

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