Opeth is a Metal band from Stockholm, Sweden. The music is a mixture of Melodic Death Metal, Progresseive Metal and Progressive Rock. Lately there have been some Folk and Jazz influences in Opeth's music. The music varies between fast deathmetal parts with blastbeat-drums and growling and slow accoustic parts with clean vocals. Guitarist, singer and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt is the driving force behind the band and is, in difference to what many people think, not an original member.
The unusual Bandname Opeth was propably taken from Wilbur Smiths' book The Sunbird from the year 1972, in which a City in the desserts of Africa was called Opet. In this novel Opet meant City Of The Moon. The bandmembers just added an H to the name to make it look like an English word and therefore it would be pronounced as one. Other rumors say that Opeth is a fictional word, set together from the two single words Opera and Death , some others say that it is short for The Opus Of Death (The Work Of Death). The band has recently confirmed in an Interview that the first version for the bandname is correct.
Band History: Foundation and Early Years
Opeth started out as a Death Metal cover band called Eruption. Michael Akerfeldt joined the Band in 1987 as their singer and guitarist. The band existed till 1990 and broke up and Akerfeldt joined a new founded Band called Opeth. But because of internal struggle Opeth soon consisted of it's founder David Isberg and Michael Akerfeldt. Michael brought the former members of Eruption into the band and the first lineup of Opeth was ready to play their first gig as a support fot the band Therion. The lineup changed very often even within the first years, for example the founder David Isberg left the band in 1992. After the first demo-tapes the band was signed by Candlelight Records and recorded their debut Orchid in 1992.
The band was offered to play their first gigs in the United Kingdom and after their 1996 record Morning Rise they went on European Tour as the Opening act for Cradle Of Filth. After more lineup changes and the sudden Death of Mikael's Grandfather Opeth was on the edge of a breakup in 1997. With new blood in the band (for example Martin Lopez from Amon Amarth) Mikael was willing to continue and wrote the concept-album My Arms, Your Hearse and began to tour again in 1998. The second concept-album Still Life from the year 1999 dealt with Religion and Belief; it is known to be Akerfeldts' most personal album.
Band History: Breakthrough
Opeth changed their label and signed with Music For Nations in the year 2000. Right before the release of Blackwater Park in 2001, the band toured the United States for the first time. On that tour they met Porcupine Tree-Mastermind Steven Wilson, who was thrilled to produce Opeths' next record, which also boosted their publicity. The album Blackwater Park was Opeths' breakthrough CD and they became well known and acknowledged in the metal community arround the world. After a huge tour with Pocupine Tree, the band hit the studio to release a double album. The record company decided to release the record as two single albums sa that Deliverance was released in 2002 and the complete accoustic record Damnation in 2003.
Breakthrough record: Blackwater Park
Some people say that listening to this exceptional record for the first time was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is very difficult to find a similiar album with comparable musical skill and emotional expression. A record filled with stomping riffs followed by beautiful melodies, almost every track is longer than 10 minutes but none of them is a single second too long. The Opener The Leper Affinity alone shows off the remarkable skills of Mikael Akerfeldt and erveryone within Opeth: The brutality of Deathmetal is interrupted by a typical break to make room for accoustical progressive rock with Akerfeldts Angel-like voice on top of it, only to collapse into hellish growls and doublebass-founded riffs. Bleak is the best Mid-tempo track Opeth has ever written, it's melancholic lyrics gives the listener goosebumbs until the breakdown runs a cold shiver down your spine. The whole record is a rollercoaster-ride of emotions. The listener is amazed by the accoustic ballad Harvest only to be frightened by the psychadelic The Drapery Falls with it's remarkable chorus and beautiful guitarsolo. The album is finished by the title-track, a track that involves everything that Opeth stands for.
1. The Leper Affinity
4. The Drapery Falls
5. Dirge For November
6. The Funeral Portrait
7. Patterns In The Ivy
8. Blackwater Park
Band History: Major Label Deal
In 2005 the band made the jump to the Major Label Roadrunner Records, where also artists like Slipknot or Trivium are signed. In August the band released Ghost Reveries . Just like the previous records, Akerfeldt let every bandmember write material for this album. In 2007 the band released their ninth album Watershed of which Akerfeldt claims it to be Opeths' so far best record. The Album debuted on number one in Finnland.
Almost 90% of Opeth's Music is written by Michael Akerfeldt alone and therefore dictates the Sound of the Band. Opeth sound is a complex mixture of Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Progressive Rock, Folk and Jazz. The early records had twin guitar harmonies in the style of Iron Maiden or Thin Lizzy but the music became to unpredictable for doubled melodies. Nearly all of Opeths songs are longer than 10 minutes, sometimes even over 15 minutes. They feature a lot of time signature changes and switch between heavy distorted and clean guitar parts to create drastic mood changes. The heavy parts are based on doublebass blastbeat drums with deathmetal riffs and gutural growling. The clean parts are supported by keyboards and are sung with a fairly high singing voice; someimes even whispering. Akerfeldt switches between those extremely diffrent vocals styles while he is playing progressive riffs. This skill along with his songwriting abilities had drawn a lot of fans to him. The jump between these two contrast songparts are either done by unpredictable breaks or with a melody and/or guitar solo.
* 1995: Orchid * 1996: Morningrise * 1998: My Arms, Your Hearse * 1999: Still Life * 2001: Blackwater Park * 2002: Deliverance * 2003: Damnation * 2005: Ghost Reveries * 2007: The Roundhouse Tapes (Live CD 2007) * 2008: Watershed
* 1991: Demo '91 * 1993: Apostle in Triumph * 1993: Rehearsal * 1994: Promo
* 2001: The Drapery Falls * 2003: Still Day Beneath The Sun * 2005: The Grand Conjuration
* 2004: Lamentations (Live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 2003)
--ZakkWylde 00:29, 16 June 2008 (CEST)