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OPETH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Opeth biography
Founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1990

Yes, some people would consider OPETH to be a pure (melodic) Death Metal band but you have to differentiate a lot. The four guys from Stockholm/Sweden feature a lot of different elements on their albums. We have the aggressive death metal with Mikael's growls (which are not generated with help of a computer, it's actually his voice) with lots of breaks, mostly acoustic including Mikael's clear voice. Mr. Åkerfeldt himself always underestimates his clear voice and often points out that he is a novice regarding this kind of singing. But that's not true, false modesty is the term here. His clear voice is warm and simply beautiful. The whole music is guitar orientated, on the one hand we have great riffing for aggressive parts, awesome melodic solos and on the other hand acoustic breaks with admirable melodies with some Scandinavian folk influences here and there and of course Mikael's clear vocals. Sometimes you even get some PINK FLOYD or PORCUPINE TREE like parts or whole songs.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2014 ⭐

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2008 ⭐

Sure, the band started out as a pure Death Metal combo regarding to their first release" "Orchid" but from their second release on the prog elements got more and more. The second album "Morningrise" for example features a pure Prog song with PINK FLOYD like parts as well as epic song lengths. Mikael Åkerfeldt who also is the indispensable head of the band, often mentions that he is a proghead and mostly likes bands like CAMEL and PORCUPINE TREE. No doubt, you can hear those influences on albums like "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" but their highlight regarding to pure Prog for sure is their 2003 release "Damnation" which features an entire album in the style of PORCUPINE TREE. Not really astonishing regarding the fact that Steven Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE is a good friend of Mikael and Peter and even worked together with the band for their double release "Damnation" and "Deliverance". Steven Wilson also produced their album "Blackwater Park" which is regarded as their best work so far, not only by death metal fans but also by many others normally disliking death metal growls (like me). "Damnation" for sure is the album most of...
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OPETH discography


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OPETH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.27 | 675 ratings
Orchid
1995
3.72 | 768 ratings
Morningrise
1996
3.94 | 790 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
1998
4.30 | 1683 ratings
Still Life
1999
4.26 | 1756 ratings
Blackwater Park
2001
3.78 | 968 ratings
Deliverance
2002
3.98 | 1330 ratings
Damnation
2003
4.25 | 1634 ratings
Ghost Reveries
2005
3.99 | 1207 ratings
Watershed
2008
3.81 | 1284 ratings
Heritage
2011
4.15 | 1151 ratings
Pale Communion
2014
3.69 | 497 ratings
Sorceress
2016
4.13 | 389 ratings
In Cauda Venenum
2019

OPETH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 121 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003
2006
4.09 | 211 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2007
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Devil's Orchard (Live At Rock Hard Festival 2009)
2011
4.25 | 8 ratings
Lamentations Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire
2016
4.31 | 32 ratings
Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
2018

OPETH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.03 | 223 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush
2003
4.10 | 158 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2008
4.65 | 248 ratings
In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
2010
4.29 | 21 ratings
Live at Enmore Theatre Sidney Australia
2011

OPETH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.56 | 44 ratings
Limited Edition Box Set
2006
3.99 | 67 ratings
The Candlelight Years
2008
4.25 | 4 ratings
The Wooden Box
2009
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Collection
2014
4.50 | 10 ratings
Deliverance & Damnation
2015

OPETH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 23 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
1994
4.53 | 47 ratings
The Drapery Falls
2001
4.11 | 35 ratings
Deliverance
2002
4.63 | 49 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun 7''
2003
3.15 | 27 ratings
Selections From Ghost Reveries
2005
3.32 | 43 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
2005
4.71 | 7 ratings
Ghost of Perdition
2006
3.02 | 24 ratings
Watershed - Radio Sampler
2008
3.70 | 47 ratings
Porcelain Heart
2008
3.61 | 51 ratings
Mellotron Heart
2008
3.84 | 65 ratings
Burden
2008
4.00 | 3 ratings
Dirge for November - Live
2010
2.83 | 6 ratings
Slither
2011
3.49 | 73 ratings
The Throat of Winter
2011
3.69 | 91 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
2011
3.89 | 9 ratings
Cusp of Eternity
2014
3.33 | 18 ratings
Sorceress
2016
3.00 | 12 ratings
Will o the Wisp
2016
3.08 | 12 ratings
The Wilde Flowers
2016
3.50 | 2 ratings
Book of Opeth
2016
3.27 | 6 ratings
Live in Plovdiv (split with Enslaved)
2017
4.00 | 4 ratings
Ghost of Perdition (Live)
2018
3.92 | 12 ratings
Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand
2019
4.10 | 10 ratings
Svekets Prins
2019

OPETH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Orchid by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.27 | 675 ratings

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Orchid
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Opeth first album was already a one of a kind in the metal genre yet not showing band's potential. All band members were in their formative years and the drummer and bass player to be replaced be the trademark alternatives. Singing both clean and growling are average and on the top of the game as we know Åkerfeldt from the turn of millenium.

While you can hear diversity in the sound ranging from brutal death metal, decent heavy metal and acoustic mellow guitars, even a great short piano piece, the compositions are not astonishing. The mood is dark but not nihilistic or anti-Christian. It is surprising that the short acoustic track is not guitar-driven like in almost all cases in the future, it is pure piano beauty. Riffs are usually memorable even though not yet in the typical evil Opeth spirit.

To a progressive rock and even metal fan, this album won't be so pleasing so I will give it 2.5 stars but personally I like it more.

 Damnation by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.98 | 1330 ratings

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Damnation
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Wanna her progressive rock with feelings?

This release catapulted Opeth to the rest of progressive rock fans who were looking down on them because of growling vocals and death-metal drumming. At the time of the release, I belonged to the second group of listeners and despised other Opeth records but acoustic numbers. With the help of Steven Wilson, the Opeth singer (who was born on the same day in the year as me) shows his sensitive colourful voice and the band confirm that they have outgrown metal sphere since a long time. Tasty acoustic or mellow electric guitar playing is greatly complemented by retro mellotron or contemporary piano as on the masterfully bleak "To rid the disease". And yet vocals are used sparingly to give way to reflective instruments and a couple of nice guitar solos. Playing tasty solos may not be easier than metal riffing and fast soloing. Most of the numbers have some level of melancholy or even depression.

What is missed by lack of flamboyant instrumentaton and complex composition is compensated by rich feelings of introspectiveness. Even though the music is mellow, the chord structure, lyrics and motives remain mostly dark, so typical Opeth. The section after 4:40 in "To rid the disease" is one of the most depressing moments in Opeth discography without being heavy. Something similar will come 9 hours later on "Pale Communion".

Excellent companion to moments which you spent with people that don't want to listen to your complex 12- minute long epics!

 Morningrise by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.72 | 768 ratings

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Morningrise
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by progtime1234567

4 stars Morningrise by Opeth was the second album released by the band. Opeth was still playing a very heavy black metal and melodic death metal sound back then, and mixed in with the progressive rock influence, it turns out pretty good. The album is very long, with the album including one of the longest songs ever recorded by the band, the epic Black Rose Immortal. The song shows everything the band is about, the death growls, the heavy guitar, the acoustic parts, and the clean singing as well as very melodic parts. Songs like the mentioned Black Rose Immortal and the opening song, Advent, are very good and I thought they were the best songs on the album.

I wouldn't start with this album if you were getting into Opeth, but it is a good album and it's one of my favorite albums that the band has to offer.

 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.26 | 1756 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by dougmcauliffe

5 stars On Blackwater Park, Opeth is able to channel to production/engineering talents of Steven Wilson to unleash their full potential with unfathomable songwriting ability paired with pure sonic bliss. This album was really a game changer for me and it really opened the door to so much new music. Harsh vocals for one, but also more produced and brutal progressive metal. The album opens with The Leper Affinity which is one of my favorite Opeth songs. It just shows the band seamlessly going from one filthy headbanging riff to another with some sweet softer moments in the mix. Immediately it's clear that the atmosphere of this album is just unparalleled by any of Opeths previous efforts. The closing piano passage is very sorrowful yet hopeful and it's one of the few parts of this album where a glisten of light shines through the bleak cracks and I just love that. Speaking of Bleak, the next track! What a powerhouse of a song, it opens with another nasty riff before coming into a strangely melodic death-growl led verse. The star of the show here is the chorus. Whew, let me tell you about the chorus. It caught me off guard the first time because it opens with the (at the time to me) unfamiliar voice of Steven Wilson. However its these dueling vocals that really set it apart, this chorus section just keeps rising and rising before reaching such a palpable peak with Steven Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt trading off vocals in mind bending fashion. I remember the exact moment this band clicked for me and it was when I was laying in bed with my eyes closed listening to this album for the first time. I wasn't sure how I felt, but by the time I finished that first chorus I was hooked and there was no turning back. There's some beautiful jazz tinged acoustic guitar playing working as a nice contrast to the brutal nature of much of this track as well as The Leper Affinity. Harvest was another track that really just sold me on the band with a great structure, chord progression, and transcending hook. It's the only fully clean vocal track on this album, however, the next track The Drapery Falls is primarily in the same ballpark. The intro and outro to this song is so sick, its like you're out in the forest as the world melts around you. This is another track with just a super strong chorus and contrast between soft and heavy. There's no death growls until the latter half of the song, and they really hit hard when they finally roll around. At 5:50 it kicks into this hypnotic passage that just repeatedly slaps me across the face every single time, a simply outstanding track. After this track, I find the following songs to be a bit more on the slow burner side. They don't have the infectious chorus's that immediately pull you in, but rather they wow you with their pure progressive density. Dirge For November just sounds like its from another planet. Opening with a very intimate and ethereal acoustic and vocal passage, it doesn't take long before it starts hurling pure Opeth riffage at you paired with some of the most evil sounding growls on this whole record. The outro of this track is just dripping in downcast beauty, a tear jerking moment closing out this song. Over time and with familiarity, The Funeral Portrait has become one of my favorites on the record because it just packs so much replay value. The main riff is incredibly heavy, but its the riff at 2:00 that makes my jaw absolutely hit the floor with just how damn cool it is. It's so high energy and intense throughout, it just gets me fired up. Patterns in the Ivy is a very pretty acoustic instrumental bridge providing the breathing room that we need between two very heavy hitting tracks on the latter half of this album. It's a little weird, but I love how it ends with the sustained piano fading into the title track. It has a subtly menacing and daunting feel to it, as if you can feel that something unsettling is coming, and believe me, it is. The title track is one haunting piece of music, it's very bipolar, but everything about it just works. There isn't a clean vocal in sight on this one as its just 100% straight guttural death coming at you straight out the gate. If you can listen from 1:47 and not uncontrollably head bang, you might have to call up the doctor, cause that riff is simply blinding. However, here brings my sole complaint of this album: I wish that this heavy intro section lasted just a little bit longer before easing into the beautiful soft acoustic section that follows. While I have nothing but good things to say about both of these parts of the song, the shift between the two feels just a little abrupt. Other than this though, there isn't a bum note played or sung (sung?) throughout. The conclusion is just so intense and heavy and it's really the ultimate payoff that this album needs after launching absolute banger after banger at you proceeding this. The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park.

9.5/10

 Deliverance by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.78 | 968 ratings

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Deliverance
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Deliverance may be the least favourite offering by Opeth in the second classic Opeth era and I can see why - it is less remarkable, inventional than the previous 3 and next 2 albums. Nevertheless it keeps Opeth standards pretty high by setting Opeth marriage of progressive and death metal to the new technical level. All but one songs clock below the 10-minute mark which sounds very promising to any progger.

Vocals are pretty sophisticated, clean vocals are sparse but well sung whereas growling is powerful as however without setting any new milestones. Comparing to former Opeth releases, we have fewer acoustic moments and quite some aggressive sections but that would be more than compensated on the next "Damnation"

"Wreath" has a powerful uncompromising death-metal start but introduces elements of typical slow doomy metal with growling, sometimes even multiple vocal growling and we also have an instrumental heavy metal section with likeable solo. Growling in this song is at its most powerful on this album, sheer steel and power and we are even "blessed" with a high-pitched black metal growl.

"Deliverance" is a great hang-banging compositon with more progressive elements than "Wreath", the main progressive metal motive is strong. Acoustic passage followed by death-metal bass drum are perfectly opposite. Apart from evil riffs, the instrumental workout with the rhythm guitar, bass and drums are an often featured live classic - although I think that the song could be 1 minute shorter.

"A fair judgement" is unlike anything else Opeth did until know - doom and desperate while perfectly accessible and subdued. The middle section fits more to "Damnation" and takes inspiration from Pink Floyd as well as Porcupine Tree. Then we have an excellent emotional guitar solo and absolutely freaking 100% doom metal that Katatonia wouldn't mind having.

"For absent friends" brings all down to quiet earth, a pleasant two-guitar duett.

"Master's apprentices" is a less known track and is also less memorable but the evil riffing and growling make up for it. Poignant Mikael's melody make you feel cosy and moody. Before we get to brutal growling we have a heavy metal intermezzo.

"By the pain I see in others" features electronically adjusted growling and some of Opeth's heaviest death metal moments coupled with subdued mellow "growling". Watch out for a psychedelic Mellotron/synths 3/4 sound like pattern.

This album has a lot of beautiful and wild moments to offer and can't be missed by any open-minded progressive metal fan.

 Deliverance by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.78 | 968 ratings

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Deliverance
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 379

"Deliverance" is the sixth studio album of Opeth and was released in 2002. It was recorded at the same time that was recorded their follower seventh studio album "Damnation", but it was only released in the following year. However, the two studio albums contrast completely and drastically with each other, purposely dividing the group's two most prevalent musical styles. While "Deliverance" is considered to be as one of the band's heaviest and aggressive studio albums, "Damnation" experiments with a much soft, acoustic and mellower progressive rock influenced sound.

Originally, the group intended for "Deliverance" and "Damnation" to be released at the same time, as a double studio album. However, the record company decided against this idea and released both albums separately, approximately five months apart from one to the other, in order to promote each of them properly, in order to earn more money.

There are two curiosities on "Deliverance". The track "Master's Apprentices" was named due to the name of a proto- prog Australian group of the 60's The Masters Apprentices. The track "For Absent Friends" was named because the song of the same name that originally appeared on the third studio album of Genesis "Nursery Cryme", in 1971.

The line up on the album is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals and guitars), Peter Lindgren (guitar), Martin Mendez (bass guitar) and Martin Lopez (drums and percussion). The album has also the collaboration of Steven Wilson (backing vocals, guitars, Mellotron, piano and keyboards).

"Deliverance" has six tracks. All songs were written and composed by Mikael Akerfeldt. The first track "Wreath" is one of the heaviest songs that Opeth have ever recorded. It's a fast upbeat song and one of the less melodic too. However, even thought this can be considered one of their heaviest songs, it does have its softer and melodic moments too. This song is really a phenomenal work with its musical atmosphere absolutely devastating, sounding like a piece of music depicting the end of the world. This is really a great track. The second track is the title track "Deliverance". This is a track with a very sinister sound. It's not only the lyrics or the music that makes this song really sounds very evil, but the way how Akerfeldt sings is absolutely strange, amazing and terrifying. The lyrics are just beautiful, describing very accurately and vividly the intentions and actions that are taking place. This is another great track that continues giving a very high note to the album. The third track "A Fair Judgement" is the mellowest song on the album. It starts sounding like it's being played through an old radio. After about a minute and a quarter the song turns into a dreamy ballad, then progressing to a brilliant and heavy lead without seeming to change from mellow to heavy at all. This progression repeats throughout, with no rapid changes. This is Opeth at their best musical experimentation. The fourth track "For Absent friends" is very short and sounds more like a little acoustic interlude. It's basically a filler track, so there isn't a lot to say about it. What can be said is that it's a fairly harmless nice acoustic track with a clean electric lead player over it. It acts as a pretty and nice little intermission for the album and it serves as a neat way to bridge the gap between the two halves of the album and rest your ears a little. The fifth track "Master's Apprentices", despite its simplicity, can be considered as one of the best tracks of the album. The first main riff is one of those ones that have an unsophisticated charm and memorability, and even people that eventually dislike the track, I guarantee that there will be at least few days when you have this song in your head, and find yourself humming along with it. This is another great moment on the abum. The sixth and last track "By The Pain I See In Others" is a brilliant closing track to the album. Akerfeldt experiments with varied growls over an acoustic riff in the song, achieving a very nice sounding effect as a final result. The several musical transitions that have been used all over the song are very enjoyable to hear and they seem to seamlessly flow into each other. The acoustic transitions to the heavy parts are the most notable things here.

Conclusion: "Deliverance" is, in my humble opinion and I'm not a specialist into this kind of music, a great heavy metal album. It's also one of the best progressive metal, atmospheric metal and art rock albums ever. Unfortunately, Opeth's "Deliverance" is an often maligned album in their musical discography for many reasons. But, it's still certainly a very strong musical work in its own right, with some incredible songs that have their very own place in the Opeth's musical catalogue. This is an album with many enjoyable riffs and guitar solos. As usual and always, Akerfeldt's clean vocals are a real joy to listen to over the chaotic guitar riffs. Lopez's drumming, that at some moments reminds me the great John Bonham, is absolutely amazing, constantly innovating and contributing to an already excellent final work. Concluding, "Deliverance" is an excellent album and I hope that fans of good music will get it. Probably, it will be very interesting to have "Deliverance" and "Damnation" as a double studio album combining perfectly well the two musical sides of Opeth. As I like the both sides of the group, I'm going to rate both albums with the same rating. So, 4 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Watershed by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.99 | 1207 ratings

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Watershed
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Watershed can be considered as the swang song of the traditional Opeth sound. Not comfortable resting on laurels, Opeth show more desire to experiment with new sounds than to stay in the traditional extreme metal territory. We have mellow, almost commercial radio friendly tracks, doses of heaviness, plenty of acoustic moments (for the last time) and a clear tendence to sing in clean vocal. Growling sounds uninspired and the voice has deterioriated since 2005's Ghost Reveries. No wonder also that Akerfeldt left Bloodbath in 2008.

With the first track (tender vocal duett) and "Burden", Opeth entered the world of mainstream rock which is melodic and well executed but also a bit too simple for such a band. One of the most brutal song ever and bearing extreme contrasts is "Heir Apparent". Not my immediate favourite, I started to like it more as I heard it regularly live on concerts - where you experience the contrasts even more. Acoustic guitar, piano, doomy guitar smell something coming down and that is growling and very powerful riffs. Growling and death metal spirit is not as majestic or sophisticated as we usually expect from Opeth - it's mainly about heaviness. Progressive metal with mellotron and acoustic moments with flute are more mature and essential. The definitive headbanging moment comes with brutal death metal a la Bloodbath. Pity that Akerfeldt didn't have the powerful growling vocal anymore to give this song a bit more lasting echoing growl. Many fans also treasure the typical Opethesque chord sequence after the 7-minute mark.

"The lotus eater" has interesting busy death metal drums and combined growling/clean vocals. The inclusion of keyboard is refreshing and sounds more retro. Excellent guitar solo in the middle of the song and later the acoustic guitar bring tender but dark emotions at the right spot. The progressive rock retro section with electric piano is a precursor to later sound of Opeth.

"Porcelain Heart" is again from the doomy world but we manage to get a heavy/progressive metal instrumental section and harmony clean vocals. The clean acoustic Akerfeldt led passage reminds me of "The moor" "Hessial Peel" is the closest nod to progressive rock, well developed. However, the song gets heavy in the second half maybe reminding us that Opeth come from the metal corner but prefer being progressive at any time. We also get growling after a long time, not sure if it brings much to the song development but it can considered a heaviness climax.

"Hex Omega" could be a sister to "Porcelain heart". Kudos for nice electric piano playing. The mischevious chord structure can only be played by Opeth so well.

It is my least preferred traditional Opeth album. I admit I don't like so much the compositions but playing and sound are excellent. The band has made another step (forward) and that should count for progressive fans.

 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.81 | 1284 ratings

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Heritage
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Lewian
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm one of those who don't like death growls and by implication didn't like Opeth in their beginning, although I have some respect for what they did there. I still don't know all of their catalogue, so I can't say Heritage is my favourite of them (it surely is of those about six I know), but I was motivated to write this review by its somewhat lowish rating compared to other Opeth albums. Obviously my four stars are not going to improve this a lot, however I recommend this album warmly to listeners who come from a different direction than most Opeth listeners, namely neither from Death Metal/earlier Opeth, nor from Neoprog or say Dream Theater or PT, nor from the more symphonic and mainstream prog of the seventies (although I love quite a bit of the latter), but rather from a more experimental, RIO-like angle.

Actually this one came to me later than 2018's "Collaborators Album of the Year" A Drop Of Light by All Traps On Earth, but in fact it achieved something quite similar and in my opinion even better seven years earlier than the (also Swedish) Traps, admittedly without the Zeuhl element, but still dark, complex, and adventurous. "Compensating" for the lack of Zeuhl, we get a good dosis (if somewhat less than on some other albums) of Opeth's well known delicate acoustic guitar work that I admire, and that has always set them apart from their Death Metal roots. Although the album has obvious links to 70s prog, there are some clear characteristic Opeth elements in this. It is certainly not just a nostalgic album based on elements of prog's golden years, but an album that stands confidently on its own feet.

A problem with much new prog is the sometimes routine and soulless seeming showing off of instrumental skills and complexity. A problem for me as a reviewer is that I find it hard to pin down what makes the difference between a superficial showing of skills and some musical magic that really grabs me. Anyway, Opeth manage to do that here. I can connect to much of the music emotionally and things seem to be properly in their place despite no lack of virtuosity, harmonic and rhythmic complexities etc. There is tension, relaxation, vulnerability, sudden outbreaks of energy, beautiful melodies, you name it. Apparently the contrast between heavy and delicate acoustic parts is something of an Opeth trademark, and both is still there, but far more elements are mixed in. which makes the whole thing far less predictable and more interesting than what I know of their earlier material.

The album has been called "messy" for a reason, and indeed you find a dazzling and sometimes bewildering variety of different parts. One valid criticism is that rather than the 5-6 minutes average official song length in fact there are far more "microsongs" here, as cohesion within a song has obviously not been their first priority. However according to my taste they give the different parts enough space to breathe and show their beauty, and I don't mind much that traditional song structures and the notion of coming back to the main theme to remind the listener that it's still the same song are sniffed at here. Another tiny criticism is that the singer may not be the most exciting one in the world, but I think he is largely OK for what he does here, so no complaints really.

If you like some traditional prog virtues combined with an experimental approach that gives you something that is still tonal and accessible but at the same time delightfully unpredictable and more on the dark side of things, even if you haven't liked some other stuff by Opeth, check this one out. A special recommendation goes to those who love A Drop Of Light. This Heritage is a rewarding listen and shows Opeth in proper and successful progression. 4.0 stars.

 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.69 | 497 ratings

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Sorceress
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by dougmcauliffe

3 stars After 2014s fantastic Pale Communion, it must've seemed like Opeth had really found their footing and identity in this new era of their career after an arguably rocky start with 2011s Heritage. As a massive fan of everything Opeth has ever done, I have to be honest and say that Sorceress is my least favorite Opeth record. While I say that, it's certainly not a stinker and there's plenty of great songs on it, but there are some issues, often times similar to some of my gripes with Heritage. For starters, I have to say that they really missed the mark with the production. After the sonic bliss of Pale Communion, we're given a very muddy, compressed and bass dominant sound here. In turn, it kind of gives off a sort of Acid Rock sound which is kinda neat, but even with that in mind it's a pretty poor mix. If it had the production value of its predecessor I really think this album would be vastly improved. I also think as a whole, the songwriting doesn't sound as focused and while I love their current drummer Axe, some of the grooves on this album sound kind of uncomfortable and stiff. The album starts pretty strong but really levels out towards the end. The opener Persephone is a nice softer acoustic mood setter that brings us straight into the title track which is awesome. It opens with a nasty Canterbury esque organ (that unfortunately is sort of battled by the all too dominant bass in the mix). We go into this heavy chugging riff bringing us into a head banging verse. The Wilde Flowers is another great driving track. The atmosphere and sheer beauty achieved during the later half of this song in the "tired of waiting" section is stunning, possibly my favorite moment on the album. Will O The Wisp is a great melodic folky tune reminiscent of something out of Jethro Tulls folk trilogy. Chrysalis is a real heavy rocker opening up with frantic playing and a sense of urgency in the vocals. Things mellow out into a really nice ending playout acting as a nice release from the tension the song built before. Sorceress 2 is a really soft and intimate tune which for me sort of acts as a bridge between the first and second half of the album. However, this is where the quality of the songs start to dip for me. The Seventh Sojourn is a pretty cool idea and it's generally pretty nice for a couple of minutes, but it just kinda builds and fizzles out with no real payoff. The next song Strange Brew doesn't really work too well for me either, the song structure feels very jagged and touch-and-go. Even with these flaws, I just don't think the actual music is very memorable on this one. I can say the same for a Fleeting Glance which is a little better, some nice harmonies towards the end, but once again it's just not some of Opeths best and most memorable work. Era is a bit better, theres a nice memorable hook but unfortunately by the time I get to this track I usually got one foot out the door already and I'm feeling kind of dissatisfied. Sorceress is a strange album, it has the worst production of the bands career and the material is quite mixed ultimately resulting in what I think is their worst album. However, the worst Opeth album still warrants itself a comfortable 3 stars. But perhaps a 3 star album doesn't look all that great sandwiched between two 5 star albums.
 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.26 | 1756 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 359

'Blackwater Park' is the fifth studio album of Opeth and was released in 2001. The album marks the first musical collaboration between the Porcupine Tree front man Steven Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. Wilson had been brought in to produce 'Blackwater Park', which led to a considerable shift in Opeth's musical style and many musical influences in the future music of Porcupine Tree. And this was only the beginning of the collaboration between both.

The line up on the album is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals, guitar and acoustic guitar), Peter Lindgren (guitar), Martin Mendez (bass guitar) and Martin Lopez (drums). The album has also the collaboration of Steven Wilson (clean and backing vocals, keyboards, mellotron and guitar).

'Blackwater Park' has eight tracks. All songs were written and composed by Mikael Akerfeldt except 'Dirge For November' and 'Blackwater Park' written and composed by Akerfeldt and Lindgren. The first track 'The Leper Affinity' is a crashing song with some very heavy riffs, great growled vocals and then suddenly the song changes to a soft song. The way this song flows from the heavy to the soft is simply wonderful. This is also a perfect introduction to Mikael's vocals. He can do very low crawls, which neither lack emotion nor energy, and then he can also do some beautiful and gorgeous clean vocals. The second track 'Bleak' is a song fantastically composed, beginning with an extremely heavy musical atmosphere. The growls on this song are some of the best on the album, and the clean vocals don't slack off either. The guitar work on this song is absolutely amazing, with some power riffs. It has also truly an incredible instrumental work by the rest of the band's members. This is probably one of the best tracks the group ever made. The third track 'Harvest' is simply one of the band's most popular songs. The reason is immediately clear. It has a fantastic use of various and diverse musical dynamics to create a beautiful and one of the most perfect musical atmospheres that we can find in music. The peaceful musical atmosphere of the song gives the listener some good and nice folk melodies. The fourth track 'The Drapery Falls' begins as more of a very powerful ballad, before morphing into a very heavy, but at the same time very emotional interlude, where the growls return in a very nice form. Despite it contains some growls, and great lyrics to accompany them, it's more focused on building a mood and a real feeling of desperation. 'Harvest' and 'Drapery Falls' are the two more atmospheric songs on the album. The fifth track 'Dirge For November' starts with a mellow singing style with acoustic guitar work, followed with a beautiful guitar solo accompanied with excellent acoustic guitar fills. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the music turns louder with a distorted guitar work. The electric guitar solo takes the melody of the opening part and brings the music with the usual singing style. This is another brilliant song on the album. The sixth track 'The Funeral Portrait' opens with one of the few moments on the album worthy of head banging, contrasting simultaneously with some interesting sounding acoustic parts. This is a very heavy track, probably the heaviest, but despite it can be considered to have a very straight forward musical structure, it has some excellent transitions with great guitar work between several musical passages. The seventh track 'Patterns In The Ivy' is a very short track that explores an excellent acoustic guitar work and a nice piano work. It provides a nice break after the hard driving tracks performed previously and a kind of a merely warm up to the next and lengthiest track on the album. The eighth and last track is the title track 'Blackwater Park'. It has a musical structure relatively complex and it changes as the music flows with various singing styles. It has heavy and distorted guitar parts and as the music moves, there are some musical transitions into quieter musical passages exploring clean guitar fills accompanied with acoustic guitar. This is a track with wide variations in terms of musical styles and density.

Conclusion: 'Blackwater Park' is another excellent album from Opeth with tight compositions that explore various different sounds that can be produced from musical instruments and frequent tempo changes which sometimes occur very abruptly. The musical style of the album can be categorized under the progressive metal style with growls by Akerfeldt. For those, like me, who in generally hate growling vocals, I suggest, in the case of Opeth, that you change your usual perception from your vocals role to deliver message with vocal as a musical instrument. Compared with their previous fourth studio album 'Still Life', I'm able to say that 'Blackwater Park' is very similar to it, in terms of quality, despite being, in my opinion, a little bit heavier. As I wrote before, when I reviewed 'Still Life', I still prefer 'Still Life' to 'Blackwater Park'. But, sincerely I like very much of both albums. They are, in my humble opinion, two great masterpieces and two of the best prog albums ever made. However, I still think that 'Still Life' is a more balanced album between the heavy and the soft melodic musical parts. By the other hand, I simply love the concept of 'Still Life'.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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