OPETH — Orchid (review)

OPETH — Orchid album cover Album · 1995 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Orchid" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive death metal act Opeth. The album was released through Candlelight Records in May 1995. Opeth was formed in 1989 by then lead vocalist David Isberg, and went through many lineup changes (including the exit of Isberg), before settling on the four-piece lineup, who recorded "Orchid": Mikael Åkerfeldt (electric and acoustic guitars, lead vocals), Johan De Farfalla (electric and acoustic bass guitars, backing vocals), Anders Nordin (drums and percussion, piano), and Peter Lindgren (electric and acoustic guitars). "Orchid" was produced by the prolific Swedish producer/musician Dan Swanö.

In the early years the band played a more conventional old school Scandinavian death metal style, but as the band grew and developed as songwriters, they began composing more structurally complex and progressive tinged material. The tracks on "Orchid" are for the most part very long (four out of seven tracks on the album exceed 10 minutes in length), and feature many different sections and dynamic changes. While the basis of the music is slow- to mid-paced doom/death metal with growling vocals and heavy riffs and rhythms, the music also features melancholic acoustic sections, piano, clean vocal, and extensive use of harmony guitar parts. There are also the occasional black metal influenced moment and an ethnic Scandinavian folk atmosphere to some of the parts. Åkerfeldt sings a few clean vocal parts on the album, but the vocal style is predominantly growling (and sometimes a slightly blackened type of growling).

The material are generally well written although the structural complexity of the tracks and the stylistic consistency of the material sometimes scream for a little more diversity and moments which stand out. At 65:30 minutes it´s a pretty long album and after a while the tracks have a tendency to sound a bit the same. Individually every track on the album are high quality compositions though. The sound production is decent considering that "Orchid" is a debut album, and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts too.

So upon conclusion "Orchid" is a promising first album by Opeth, but it´s also the sound of a band who were not even close to having found their identity yet. The journey towards finding that identity is sometimes the most interesting part of an artist´s career, and there are certainly some interesting ideas and experiments featured on "Orchid", but overall it´s not a perfect release and could probably have prospered from some culling and a little more structure. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
55 days ago
Opeth have gone through many phases, and people have different preferences. Personally the first two aren´t my poison.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
55 days ago
This is my favorite Opeth album. The rest of the albums that follow just sound wimpy in comparison. I am clearly in the minority here :D

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