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Opeth - Orchid CD (album) cover

ORCHID

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.27 | 657 ratings

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inspiredby
4 stars Premise: Released in 1995, Orchid starts Opeths musical career off with a bang. It is very much a death metal album, but is interlaced with great acoustic passages that offer a glimpse of Opeths future.

Conclusion (For those that don't want to read the long song by song review):

Orchid is a long, unique, brutal ride that is very much a great listen, and showecased what Opeth was all about and the greatness that was to come. Yes it can drag, and isn't terribly coherent, the song transitions are sometimes out of nowhere, but these are the woes of a band starting out, and still trying to find their footing. The songs are still heavily reliant on riffs upon riffs, mostly without strong transition, but for what its worth, it doesn't really make the listen less enjoyable. My favorite song is The Twilight is My Robe with its amazing acoustic passages and crazy metal guitar solos. Followed by Apostle In Triumph, which is a strong closer with a truly breathtaking opening. The other songs are all strong, some very unique, others less so. Orchid is an album that mixes brutal and bleak death metal riffs with beautiful jazzy influenced acoustic passages, and even though Opeth haven't quite found their peak of creativity and songwriting, it is a strong, depressing experience, that is well worth the listen for fans of any of the types of genres that it encompasses.

For those that want a more detailed, song by song review (written as I was listening to the CD and is composed of the notes I took while listening, and thus, less structured)

1. In Mist She Was Standing (14:09)

Starts off with two minutes of ripping guitar riffs. It really sets off the mood for the album. Akerfeldt's famous growled singing come in after. The sound quality is not quite up to standard, so his growls sound a bit muddled, but still quite good. By 3:40 and again at 5:30, we already see the famous heavy/hard transition that Opeth became famous for. Very nice spacey guitar feel between 5-6:30. Then a well done, catchy, bass laden transition leads to some more growls. This is one of those songs that is plagued by too many riffs stacked on top of each other without too much direction, but I still think its rather well done, and remains interesting throughout most of the song. Its a bit too long though, could have easily been 2-3 minutes shorter. And starts to drag between the 8-10 minute mark. And yet, as Opeth always do, they redeem themselves, with a beautiful acoustic guitar arrangement into the 11th minute that sounds very medieval and minstrel like. Then it blows up for the finally with some very nice guitar work and a catchy yet foreboding riff that slowly fades out and finishes the song. Overall its a nice piece, too long yes, but nice, interesting, and really helps set the mood for the album. 8/10

2. Under the Weeping Moon (9:52)

Starts off with a very cool and interesting acoustic riff that than develops into a great guitar one. It picks off with the same driving intensity as the first song. A strong chugging riff with growls on top continues into the 3rd minute. Overall a very dark mood, something that I always enjoy. Things change with a strong transition to another dark spacey acoustic passage with eerie background sounds, I really like this part. Things slowly build up over the course of the 4th and the 5th minute, with the distorted guitars making for a great mood in the background. In the 6th minute things explode with the bass entering and taking over. To be honest, the climax is a tad bit weak, its good, but feels a bit anti climatic after the great build up. Yet more transitions after the climax, and then at the 7:40 minute mark, we finally get some clean vocals. Its a beautiful transition, and really adds to the mood of the song. The acoustic guitar is also beautiful. The ending is one of my favorite moments on the album, with a nice ending riff with heavy guitars in the same vain as the song before. Although here it is a bit more climatic, and makes up for the slightly weak part before. Overall great guitar solo to end the song, great ending. 8.5/10

3. Silhouette (3:07)

Wow! This is such a surprising song. It doesn't have anything to do with what came before. And yet, with its Medieval beauty, it just fits in. Its a short Piano driven instrumental. Its got a frantic feel to it which fits with the album. Overall its short but sweet, and gives much needed breathing room for the listener. 8.5/10

4. Forest Of October (13:04)

Things pick up were they left at the end of the second song with a nice strong opening. Then things get back into a dark growl heavy passage that is in the same vain as the first song, but maybe a tad bit darker. We actually hear a short clean sung passage in the middle, which is a nice touch. Around minute 5 we get back to another similar spacey part with some background acoustic guitar with distorted heavy guitars, similar to the second song although not quite as long. It blows up with a cool guitar solo that is very nice and a strong moment in the song, before getting back to a spacier build up. Its a strong build up that flows nicely. And should have probably ended in the 8th minute instead of continuing, but that is the case with this CD, some of the songs are a bit inflated. We get back to heavy growling after the 8th minute, and a continuation of never ending stacked riffs. The 11th minute segues way into the finally, which is strong, with some nice guitars, and a very nice acoustic final minute. Overall another good song, that could have used a bit of fat cutting. 8.5/10

5. The Twilight Is My Robe (11:01)

Another strong frantic start, with fast chugging metal riffs. There are nice metal guitar riffs that sound very sharp and Medieval (use this word too man times). Then the growling comes in until the 3.5 minute. Then a sharp transition into an amazingly beautiful and sorrowful acoustic guitar part. There is also a little clean singing on top of it. So far the strongest part on the CD for me. The acoustic guitar is really breathtaking with a playful yet mournful pitch. Then the bass transitions it all around 6 minutes, and we are back to the catchy metal riffs. But it then quiets back down, and again beautiful acoustic guitars come back in and slowly builds things up for a crazy souring guitar solo. Then we get some growling, with then more guitar solos before quieting down in the 9th minute. A nice slow acoustic passage that slowly builds up, and you can feel the suspense, before imploding majestically for the finally. Overall my favorite song on the album, its the most proggy with its stark and constant transitions. A true piece of art that still ranks highly on their discography. 9.25/10

6. Requiem (1:11)

A cool, very short (1 minute) bass and acoustic led passage. Feels like it could have been a nice longer song potentially. Very nice! 8/10

7. The Apostle In Triumph (13:01)

What could be the coolest opening of any song ever, seriously. Song starts off with an amazing spanish guitar passage with great bass. Overall amazing part, wish it was longer. Then the actual song comes in completely unrelated. That short 1 minute opening is really a masterpiece, 10/10, moment, wish it was somehow expanded upon. Anyway, the actual song starts off slowly, with a nice souring opening. Then things transition to a nice quiet acoustic part that has a very nice eerie sound, very nice. Around 4 minutes we get back to the heavy growl led riffs of the earlier songs. There is a nice catchy guitar part at around 5 minutes, before getting into a very heavy growly part. Awesome transition at 7:30, very cool sound created here. Really nice clean sung part starting at 8:30, which transitions back and forth nicely with the growls, followed by a guitar solo, this whole part with the transition is a very cool climax for the song. It should have probably ended at the 10 minute mark. But again on their first CD, the story is that they left a little too much int the songs, not knowing when they got the message across. That said, there are really strong guitar solos to cap off the song, followed by ominous clean vocals that end the song on a high note. Overall a strong finisher, with an amazing opening, even if it does not really fit the rest of the song. Could have lost a minute or two, but very strong effort. 9/10

Overall: 4.2/5 rounded to 4 Very Good to Excellent

(Orchid is an album that mixes brutal and bleak death metal riffs with beautiful jazzy influenced acoustic passages, and even though Opeth haven't quite found their peak of creativity and songwriting, it is a strong, depressing experience that is well worth the listen for fans of any of the types of genres that it encompasses.)

inspiredby | 4/5 |

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