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Opeth - Orchid CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.24 | 609 ratings

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3 stars If Orchid had been the first Opeth album I'd heard then I would most probably never have bothered with them again. Released in 1995 it's their first album and is clearly a band finding their feet. Opeth started life as a death metal band though even at this early stage it's clear that they were attempting to move beyond genre boundaries though it has to be said, with limited success.

While death metal elements are prevalent, including the controversial growling vocals Orchid is still an album with plenty of light and shade, something the band would become well known for. There's the occasional glimpse of a good idea here and there but on the whole Orchid is lacking. The riffs lack tautness and are often repetitive and unimaginative and certainly lacking that killer punch later work would have. This takes away from the heaviness to an extent and while they do blend them with mellower sections the required effect is not present. One of Opeth's greatest strengths is the way they can match moments of ethereal beauty with killer riffs and that's just not happening here.

I don't want to be too harsh, this is after all a debut album and there are one or two moments where it works. Perhaps best of all is Forest Of October where they capture a captivating melancholic vibe alongside some of the better riffs on offer but this is the exception rather than the norm. Despite a fondness for death metal I'd always prefer clean vocals over death metal growls, even with Opeth they've always been something to tolerate rather than enjoy - the price I have to pay for some jaw dropping music over the years. Here though, even for me, they are lacking in power and simply annoying. Mikael Akerfeldt does sing cleanly at times, though less so than on later releases but it's still clear he has the makings of a decent singer even though he's still searching for his style.

They'd be another two albums after this before Opeth would really prove what a great band they could be which they did on Still Life in 1999. Orchid remains an average album at best and not a good place to start in your Opeth exploration. A little over 2 1/2 stars so rounded to 3.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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