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 jazz, 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
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SorceressSorceress
Import
Nuclear Blast America 2016
Vinyl$29.99
Blackwater Park: Legacy EditionBlackwater Park: Legacy Edition
The End Records 2010
Audio CD$7.10
$8.71 (used)
Pale CommunionPale Communion
Roadrunner Records 2014
Audio CD$4.04
$4.12 (used)
HeritageHeritage
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$5.47
$4.56 (used)
DamnationDamnation
Import
Sony Import 2007
Audio CD$3.65
$2.18 (used)
DeliveranceDeliverance
Original recording
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$2.67
$1.74 (used)
Ghost Reveries (180 Gram Vinyl)Ghost Reveries (180 Gram Vinyl)
Import · Limited Edition
Roadrunner 2013
Vinyl$23.15
$27.79 (used)
Lamentations (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London)Lamentations (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London)
SIN/MFN 2016
Vinyl$23.14
WatershedWatershed
Roadrunner Records 2008
Audio CD$4.98
$2.98 (used)
My Arms Your HearseMy Arms Your Hearse
CANDLELIGHT RECORDS 2015
Audio CD$9.99
$8.99 (used)
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OPETH Discography

OPETH albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.61 | 67 ratings
Orchid
Death Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.84 | 77 ratings
Morningrise
Death Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.86 | 88 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
Death Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.47 | 157 ratings
Still Life
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.18 | 124 ratings
Blackwater Park
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.67 | 94 ratings
Deliverance
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 100 ratings
Damnation
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.28 | 121 ratings
Ghost Reveries
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 102 ratings
Watershed
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.54 | 84 ratings
Heritage
Metal Related 2011
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 29 ratings
Pale Communion
Non-Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sorceress
Non-Metal 2016

OPETH EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.78 | 5 ratings
Burden
Progressive Metal 2008

OPETH live albums

.. Album Cover 4.07 | 29 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
Progressive Metal 2007

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

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
The Drapery Falls
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 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 boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Collecter's Edition Slipcase
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.91 | 10 ratings
The Candlelight Years
Death Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wooden Box
Death Metal 2009

OPETH singles (5)

.. 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
4.11 | 7 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
Hard Rock 2011

OPETH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.87 | 27 ratings
Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.17 | 21 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.52 | 23 ratings
In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
Progressive Metal 2010

OPETH Reviews

OPETH Deliverance

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
It's fair to say that some bands are better within their comfort zone than others; from the moment Opeth's debut Orchid came out, their goal has presumably been to bring 70s progressive rock and folk-oriented beauty to the normally extreme nature of death metal. Whereas bands like Tristania and Within Temptation would use the "Beauty and the Beast" approach to contrasting vocal dynamics/styles, Opeth essentially brought this concept to their instrumentation. In one song alone, you could get a fast death metal riff, a soothing acoustic segment, some light jazz touches here and there in the soloing, the occasional classical detour, some occasional black metal screams (mainly in their early work), the list goes on. Well, around the time the band's fourth effort Still Life came out and had a more polished sound, it felt as though we were entering a new chapter in their career. While Blackwater Park was a more than solid successor to Still Life, sadly the following two efforts weren't.

Deliverance and Damnation were released to showcase the band's heavy side and light side, respectively. While Deliverance has a few songs similar to Damnation, its main focus is on heavy distorted riffing and an emphasis on Mikael Akerfeldt's inhuman growling. Damnation, on the other hand, was more focused on mellotron-laden 70s progressive rock with a strong emphasis on its melancholic atmosphere. While both albums are terribly flawed, Deliverance seems to be the weaker effort in the long run; why? Well, to get straight to the point, the album is split into two halves. One of them is great; the other one's awful. It's one of the very few albums I've ever heard where it's literally split down the middle in terms of quality, and it makes for an extremely frustrating and ultimately average experience.

The first half is where things really shine; here, we have "Wreath," the title track, and "A Fair Judgement." Every song here exceeds the ten-minute mark, some more deserving of a long length than others. "Wreath" is probably the song that suffers the most from length here, but at least there's enough to keep you on your toes. The beginning riff is definitely an odd way to open up an album for starters; while it has that 12/8 time signature Opeth is obsessed with, the drums are a bit off-kilter when combined with the guitar work. They constantly switch between a weird rhythm with off-beat snare drum placements and the typical swinging rhythm Opeth normally utilize. Anyway, while the beginning sounds quite intimidating, the song quickly goes into a melancholic set of melodic guitar patterns. Unfortunately, this part does go on for a bit too long and even the solos aren't really interesting enough to justify each set of chord changes. Luckily, a pretty nifty speed metal section (!) picks up the pace with a guitar solo that almost sounds middle-eastern in execution. Anyway, the song's flawed but definitely great. The reason so much of this writing was spent on "Wreath" is that the rest of the album is quite similar in style, for better or for worse. The only deviations from this are the more subdued piano-driven "A Fair Judgement" and the interlude "For Absent Friends." The title track, however, is the best example of the Opeth formula done well on this album. With a nice mix between wonderfully dissonant guitar patterns, sorrowful acoustic guitar picking at choice moments, and a healthy amount of tempo changes to spice things up, this song pretty marks the direction the overall album should have taken. The song also showcases Akerfeldt's clean vocals more, since the folkier moments almost always call for them; that's always a plus. The main riff sounds deliciously evil, switching between dissonant guitar melodies in different keys to create a dark and eerie mood. "A Fair Judgement" is the curveball of the album when you get down to it, trading in the growls and overall brutality for a beautiful piano ballad. While it does get louder later on, as power ballads go, the song keeps focus until the very end. Similar to Damnation, this song maintains a consistently sorrowful atmosphere as the cleanly-spaced piano chords are constantly ascending and descending between two keys to create "peaks and valleys" mood-wise. The overall piece is just as well composed as the two that came before it, and serves as a nice conclusion to Side 1.

Unfortunately, here's where the real shit begins. "For Absent Friends," "Master's Apprentices," and "By the Pain I See in Others" are the songs on the second side, and absolutely kill what the album might have been going for. "For Absent Friends," while refreshingly short, doesn't really have a purpose on the album other than being an average interlude. The continuation of the soft ballad-esque ideas from "A Fair Judgement" is nice, though. However, I can't even begin to describe how awful "Master's Apprentices" is. Not only does it just plod and plod and plod, but nothing about it leaves any impression whatsoever. It doesn't have nearly as much atmosphere as the title track, not nearly as much tempo variation as "Wreath," and certainly not nearly as much interest in dynamics as "A Fair Judgement" did. Most of the heavier portion of the song consists of multiple variations on its already-dull main riff, and the band members sound like they're simply going through the motions as there are never any instrumental surprises. The clean vocals around the 4-minute mark at least offer something different from the monotony, but that more-melodic section's very short-lived. As with many of their songs, the middle contains a folkier segment to lighten up the distortion, but it sounds like it could have been switched out with any other acoustic segment Opeth have performed. There's nothing really noteworthy except for some ambient guitar effects that arch over the acoustic strumming. The entire song is just plain horrendous, and it's baffling to me that it's still so acclaimed by the band's fanbase. "By the Pain I See in Others" isn't much better either, as it could have ended around the four-minute mark. Admittedly, the song doesn't start badly at all; in fact, the melodic line kicking it off sounds very inspired and suitably dark. The verses are a little odd, with distorted growling combined with soft acoustic guitar work, and the "choruses" (if you can call them that) are thunderous and almost akin to speed metal with the tempo they shift to. On top of this, the breakdown that follows is absolutely crushing, combining double bass and fast guitar picking with that speed metal-esque tempo mentioned before. However, this is where the song should have ended. The rest of the song is, for lack of a better way to say it, really damn boring. It rehashes all of the ideas from the previous songs and plods at the same time signature throughout. The soft moments are predictable and the heavy moments are extremely repetitive after being constantly thrown in your face.

It's a shame because this could have been one of Opeth's greatest albums. Unfortunately, this goes down as Opeth's worst effort because the second half brings it down completely. Even worse, Damnation isn't much better than this either; it would take the follow-up Ghost Reveries to get the band back on track before it was too late. As for this album, it's completely average; just download the first half and forget about the rest of it.

OPETH Damnation

Album · 2003 · Non-Metal
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Necrotica
Immersion can be such a wonderful thing in literature and music. It’s great in movies and other visual mediums as well, but when you eliminate the visuals entirely and force the audience to let themselves envision the world the artist has created, individual interpretation has a magic of its own. I’ve often seen myself gravitating toward the atmosphere of an album because of this, as well as the fact that it creates a tangible environment to explore (so to speak) with the ears. With Morning View by Incubus, I imagine myself resting on a beach watching the waves go by. Homogenic by Bjork gives off the feeling of walking along an icy tundra because of its sweeping strings and the overall tone. Well, with Opeth’s Damnation, two themes always come through without a doubt: contemplation, and pure unadulterated melancholy.

After an impressive string of well-crafted progressive death metal albums, frontman Mikael Akerfeldt thought it would be interesting to create two polar opposites musically. Deliverance would focus on the band’s heavier side, going on to be one of their harshest and darkest recordings, while Damnation would be entirely devoid of death growls or any form of metal. I can only imagine how much this split the band’s fans at the time of its release, as Damnation’s tonal and dynamic shift was easily their biggest stylistic departure up to that time. Now we have Heritage and Pale Communion nodding to the band’s 70s progressive rock roots and stirring up the fanbase even more, but Damnation points to a palatable blend of classic progressive rock, folk rock, soft rock, and some symphonic elements here and there. It still remains Opeth’s most subdued recording to date, and the melancholic vibe is strong in this one that its presence seeps into every song in some way and enhances the emotional resonance beyond just the songcraft. In fact, the black and white album cover, depicting a doll and a wooden desk, is a perfect companion piece to the music within.

Steven Wilson is, once again, at the helm of production (as well as various instruments such as the keyboard and mellotron), and his work is immaculate here. The instruments blend together phenomenally, especially heightening the chemistry between the guitar and bass work throughout the record. For instance, songs such as “Windowpane” and “Ending Credits” are able to layer keyboards, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and bass work on top of each other without muddling the sound in the slightest. Despite this, the band still capture a sort of contemplative and sparse atmosphere that captures both a sense of bleakness and resignation. “Weakness,” which is an incredibly minimalist duet between Wilson and Akerfeldt, captures the vibe perfectly because of how the keyboard and guitar tones mix. Of course, we can’t forget Mikael’s strong vocal performances, either. His voice sounds dreary and calm, but never in a way that it sounds as though he’s lazy or careless. It’s simply subdued, and melds well with the soft dynamics of each piece; in fact, the harmonies on this album are just gorgeous! There’s one section in “Hope Leaves” that always strikes me as particularly beautiful, in which about 4 or 5-part vocal harmony actually fades into the next instrumental section after the chorus. Little subtleties like that go a long way on this record.

The other members are great as well; Peter Lindgren, Martin Mendez, and Martin Lopez (on guitar, bass, and drums respectively) display both restraint and a decent amount of technicality at the same time, which is a tough balance to effectively pull off. Mendez, in particular, gives a strong bass performance that’s in the foreground much more frequently than in most other Opeth albums; his work on “Windowpane,” “Closure,” and “Death Whispered a Lullaby” is especially strong. As for the lyrics, they’re a bit stripped down this time around in comparison to albums like Blackwater Park or Still Life, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They might be simplistic and lack some of the incredibly detailed imagery of the past, but the more personal and intimate writings heard here seem very fitting for a softer and more somber piece of work. Even Steven Wilson’s lyrical contribution, “Death Whispered a Lullaby,” is pretty decent; if more Porcupine Tree songs had excerpts such as “Into the dark, there are eyelids closing/buried alive in the shifting sands,” instead of crap like “Xbox is a god to me/a finger on the switch, my mother is a bitch/my father gave up ever trying to talk to me,” I’d certainly enjoy that.

Unfortunately Damnation does get a bit repetitive and homogeneous after a while. The band do their best to try and shake things up, but songs such as “To Rid the Disease” and especially “Ending Credits” just don’t do much for me. The latter seems completely unnecessary, totally hampered by needlessly dull songwriting and highly uneventful passages. Not only that, but it seems bizarre that a song named “Ending Credits,” which sounds like the musical version of a curtain call (especially as an instrumental with a fade-in and gradual fade-out), is the penultimate song here. That’s not taking anything away from “Weakness”, however, which is a great closer. As for “To Rid the Disease,” it’s actually a decent song, but the second half is quite a drag compared to the first. The piano playing by Steven Wilson is a nice touch in the background, but the instrumental flourishes aren’t very interesting and become increasingly dull. “Closure” also has a long outro, but the drumming has become much more lively and the instrumental work is actually quite technically challenging in this section. With the exception of “Hope Leaves,” I prefer the first half of Damnation by a pretty wide margin.

Either way, I can’t deny that this album has grown on me over time. It’s flawed, certainly, but the atmosphere is beautiful in its somberness and the songwriting is top-notch in most of the songs. The reason I consider Damnation a better record than other classic prog Opeth albums like Heritage and Pale Communion is because it seems like less of a blatant throwback and more of a 70s prog-influenced piece with its own identity. Basically, it’s the same old Opeth meeting the old prog legends with a passionate love letter… it might pay tribute to the classics, but it’s still distinctly Opeth. If you enjoy classic 70s progressive rock or want to hear a softer version of Opeth’s typical sound, I suggest giving this a try. It might be a jarring shift in style for the band, but make no mistake: this is the same band, just adorning a different, refreshing coat of paint.

OPETH Ghost Reveries

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
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voila_la_scorie
My first Opeth acquisition was "Heritage" which I really admired for its bold take on retro-prog. But I knew this was not the Opeth known to most and I stepped in a got "Blackwater Park" and "Still Life". Thanks to these two albums, I started to enjoy and even appreciate death growl vocals. Then came "Pale Communion" and now I had two albums by the old Opeth and two by the new. It was time to reach in between and bring home "Ghost Reveries".

Now while the newer albums impressed me for their creative arrangements and explorative song construct, the older albums had a rich power with blast beats, ominous riffs and those vocals that could give Beelzebub the shivers. Though the old albums included some acoustic guitar, piano, and clean vocals, I often felt there was still such an extreme between the light and the heavy dark. How did Opeth make such a huge transition in style and sound from way back then to now? Yes, I heard about "Damnation" but that was more toward the "Heritage" extreme (maybe?) and not so much the middle ground between the two. But "Ghost Reveries" answers my question.

The opening track "Ghost of Perdition" is essentially one of Opeth's intense and dark death metal songs but blends in clean vocals and softer parts in a more natural way that flows well with the music and doesn't seem so obviously placed as an opposite extreme to the heavy side.

"The Baying of the Hounds" carries this thread by adding something typical from the old albums in the slower clean vocals segment but I feel there is a clear understanding within the band of how to shift from gruff and heavy to clean and slow to acoustic much more naturally. Overall I feel the musical creativity is on the rise and the band want to expand further than they went with "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park". Furthermore, the guitar sound in the heavier parts seems rich and bottom heavy (perhaps thanks to the bass and production) and Akerfeldt's vocals are as earthshaking as ever. You'll also notice the use of Mellotron in the "Baying" and if not then certainly at the beginning of "Beneath the Mire".

It's here in this third track that I feel the progressive death metal act known as Opeth are really building on what they had been developing. The exercise with "Damnation" must have taught them a lot about how to expand their non-death metal capabilities and develop the heavier parts as well.

"Atonement" avoids any metal contact entirely and could have been a precursor to "Pale Communion". Notice the hand drums which will show up more on "Heritage" and "Pale Communion". In particular, I find the percussion section is a key factor in the development of the band's newer sound as it's the drumming on "Heritage" that especially caught my attention.

Then follows "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" which returns us to the explosive metal sound but with clean vocals. There's an awesome riff that comes in shortly after the death vocals start. Both "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" have one song with a killer riff that I love to hear and on this album that one riff for me is here in this song. This song (or song pair) is so far the most varied track on the album and though it doesn't resemble anything from "Heritage" in rhythm and is too heavy at times to be like that future album, this track really sees Opeth taking their music to new heights, blending a bit of everything they've been working on so far (as far as I can tell and I've since acquired "Orchid" and "My Arms Your Hearse" as well).

The track list continues with the very beautiful "Hours of Wealth" including some soothing acoustic guitar, piano, and Mellotron, perhaps a highlight in Opeth's softer side so far. By now, Akerfeldt and company are showing how capable they are of stretching out and away from their heavy dark side, though at this point they haven't really reached the point that "Heritage" would find them at. The latter half of the song is comprised of clean electric guitar and vocals, and it is here where I feel the album has shown its first weak moment.

Not a big deal though as the song is followed by the monster track "The Grand Conjuring". I get the shivers every time this song begins. For me, this is where Opeth have pulled it all together into one phenomenal song. The Mellotron, acoustic guitar, and hand drums appear alongside the crushing death metal side, at times in tandem, at other times they are there to enhance the tense and brooding atmosphere of the quieter but dark moments. This quickly became one of my favourite Opeth tracks.

The album closes with "Isolation Years", the shortest track at just under four minutes. It's another slow and clean number with some surprisingly beautiful vocal melodies from Akerfeldt. Not a highlight but not a weak point either.

I have to say that this must be my favourite Opeth record so far. I love the heaviness of the older albums but sometimes find the overall atmosphere miring. The newer albums have more texture, flavour, and interest but don't have that awesome heaviness. This album does very well to capture what it sounds like Opeth was striving to become while also hinting at the future to come.

OPETH Pale Communion

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
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Nightfly
Opeth had strayed from the path of their progressive metal back in 2003 when they released Damnation, a companion release to the much heavier Deliverance. By Ghost Reveries they were back to the heavier stuff on probably their most progressive release so far with the usual mixture of clean vocals and death metal growls. In 2011 they released Heritage, like Damnation sung with entirely clean vocals and also their mellowest album since that release. Pale Communion is the second consecutive album to ditch the growls and this time it looks like there’s no going back.

Pale Communion is the album that Heritage should have been. Not a weak album by any stretch but sounded a little fragmented at times, unsure where it wanted to go. Pale Communion is also heavier but more heavy rock than metal but also has a very retro 70’s prog style which is fine in my book. Where it really shines though is in the quality of the songwriting, the first three tracks in particular are truly breath taking with Mikael Akerfeldt’s strongest, most melodic and confident vocals yet. The arrangements and melodies of these songs in particular are so strong played with much light and shade and Moon Above, Sun Below has a particularly haunting vibe. The rest of the album barely drops the quality even if Goblin, a nod to the Italian prog band Goblin? is a little throwaway in comparison to the illustrious company its keeping here but fun nevertheless.

Most of Opeth’s albums have still been heavy enough to keep their early death metal era fans happy but with the last two I’m sure they’ll have lost a few as there’s no metal elements left at all as well as ditching the growl vocals. However, they’ll have no doubt gained many who found their more extreme elements hard to swallow. Personally I think they got the perfect balance on Watershed but Pale Communion is still one of their best albums and I’m happy to see them continue down this road in the future if that’s where they’re going.

OPETH Pale Communion

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
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rdtprog
The use of death vocals seems to be a thing of the past for Opeth. I always appreciated the clean vocals from Mikael Akerfeldt. It gives a better view of how he can be a good singer. The previous album Heritage wasn't convincing. Again the band is showing the soft side of their music The song "Eternal Rains will come" display some haunting harmonies progressions with some dark keyboards sound similar to VDGG. "Cups of Eternity" show a vocalization hook repeated almost like an incantation. There are some nice grooves here and a display of heavier guitars. With "Moon, Above, Sun Below" we recognize the same compositions structures of the band with intense and melancholic passages, the melody at the beginning is suddenly switching to a complete new mood so we get the feel that the song is like different parts melt down to build a 10 minutes song, but it works. The song "Goblin" is inspired by the band of the same name with a little touch of jazz. "River" is another different track with some classical rock influence. "Voice of Treason" is another track in which the listener is challenge with the impossibility to reach an accessible melody, like the band was playing with restraint. It illustrates the new direction the band is, by keeping the music outside the extreme metal. The last track "Faith of Others" is full of strings, classical arrangements and some acoustic progressive rock not too far from the band Landberk.

While this release could be perceive as homage to the old progressive rock bands, the retro sound of the organ and mellotron should appeal to old progressive rock fans, it keeps the band own style, less metal than the majority of their albums, but more in the line of Damnation and Heritage. For me, those two albums despite their progressive side were not the best of their discography, but I think the latest is more satisfying and if I had doubt about the direction the band was headed when they took a break from their metal prog, I am more confident for the future that it's the right direction to go now. And Mikael Akerfeldt looks like a musician that is in a mood to do more melodic music with clean vocals the rest of his career.

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
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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

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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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