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Opeth - Orchid CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.24 | 515 ratings

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2 stars The modern masters of melodic death metal emerge, and it's rather a tame beginning.

'Orchid' was good enough to capture the interest of fans beyond Sweden, and it certainly has plenty of riffage, but what you're hearing here is a band learning to play together, and trying to figure out what they wanted to do with themselves. The longer songs aren't integrated wholes, instead being a loose amalgam of riffs and interludes. While this tendency is most obvious on the disjointed 20-minute 'Black Rose Immortal' from 'Morningrise', it's clear here even on the interesting and proficient opener, which has a fine last two minutes somewhat divorced from the rest of the track. The SABBATH-like 'Forest of October', the album's 'keeper' track, is a little more progressive, but apart from that it's just churn out the riffs, growl and scream about morbid stuff, and double-kick for all you're worth.

So what's the difference between this album and the widely acknowledged masterpieces from 1999 onwards? Compositional structure and songwriting confidence, mostly. Though their deficiencies as a group are plain to hear: at the beginning of 'Forest of October', for example, the rhythm section struggles to keep time. Notorious for not over-rehearsing (to put it politely) their studio material before recording it, it's a surprise that OPETH sound even this proficient.

Two stars doesn't mean the album is bad, merely that, in the context of OPETH's discography, this is a fans-only release. You'll hear much better on their later recordings.

russellk | 2/5 |


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