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OPETH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Opeth biography
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.

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 you would be interested in because it is a pure Prog album. But Mikael said that the band will not do something similar again, he even announced the next album to be their most heavy, we will see. Sure isn't that this release opened the door to new fans and certainly displeased some of their old fans coming from the death metal origin.


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Buy OPETH Music


Pale CommunionPale Communion
Roadrunner Records 2014
Audio CD$8.78
$8.94 (used)
Blackwater Park: Legacy EditionBlackwater Park: Legacy Edition
The End Records 2010
Audio CD$8.47
$11.57 (used)
Ghost ReveriesGhost Reveries
Roadrunner Records 2005
Audio CD$4.85
$1.36 (used)
The Candlelight YearsThe Candlelight Years
Box set
Candlelight 2009
Audio CD$12.91
$9.92 (used)
DamnationDamnation
Import
Sony Import 2007
Audio CD$4.30
$3.46 (used)
WatershedWatershed
Roadrunner Records 2008
Audio CD$5.06
$3.68 (used)
HeritageHeritage
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$11.74
$9.66 (used)
DeliveranceDeliverance
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$3.35
$2.61 (used)
Still LifeStill Life
Special Edition
Peaceville UK 2008
Audio CD$9.43
$17.66 (used)
Ghost Reveries (180 Gram Vinyl)Ghost Reveries (180 Gram Vinyl)
Limited Edition · Import
Roadrunner 2013
Vinyl$27.35
$31.13 (used)
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More places to buy OPETH music online Buy OPETH & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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OPETH shows & tickets


  • Opeth + Alcest at O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol on 10 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Roundhouse, London on 11 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Rock City, Nottingham on 12 Oct 2014
  • Opeth on 14 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Manchester Academy 1, Manchester on 15 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at The Institute, Birmingham on 16 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at LKA-Longhorn, Stuttgart on 24 Oct 2014
  • Opeth on 25 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Huxleys Neue Welt, Berlin on 26 Oct 2014
  • Pale Communion Europe 2014 on 27 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Roxy, Praha on 29 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Arena, Wien on 30 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Tonhalle, München on 31 Oct 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Komplex, Zürich on 1 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Alcatraz, Milano on 3 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Bataclan, Paris on 5 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels on 6 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest + Purest Of Pain at Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam on 7 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg on 8 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Store Vega, København V on 9 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Pakkahuone, Tampere on 11 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at The Circus, Helsinki on 12 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Sentrum Scene, Oslo on 14 Nov 2014
  • Opeth + Alcest at Münchenbryggeriet, Stockholm on 15 Nov 2014
  • In Flames + Opeth + Red Fang at Riviera Theater, Chicago on 3 Dec 2014
  • Red Fang + In Flames + Opeth at Mill City Nights, Minneapolis on 4 Dec 2014
  • In Flames + Opeth + Red Fang at Sokol Auditorium, Omaha on 5 Dec 2014
  • Opeth + In Flames + Red Fang at Ogden Theater, Denver on 6 Dec 2014
  • In Flames + Opeth + Red Fang at The Warfield, San Francisco on 8 Dec 2014
  • In Flames + Opeth + Red Fang at Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles on 9 Dec 2014

OPETH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.20 | 464 ratings
Orchid
1995
3.72 | 528 ratings
Morningrise
1996
3.94 | 548 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
1998
4.33 | 1149 ratings
Still Life
1999
4.25 | 1178 ratings
Blackwater Park
2001
3.76 | 684 ratings
Deliverance
2002
3.92 | 970 ratings
Damnation
2003
4.24 | 1094 ratings
Ghost Reveries
2005
3.94 | 892 ratings
Watershed
2008
3.84 | 930 ratings
Heritage
2011
4.27 | 263 ratings
Pale Communion
2014

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

4.02 | 88 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003
2006
4.07 | 161 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2007

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

3.96 | 190 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush
2003
3.93 | 128 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2008
4.69 | 193 ratings
In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
2010
3.89 | 9 ratings
Live at Enmore Theatre Sidney Australia
2011

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

4.23 | 44 ratings
Limited Edition Box Set
2006
3.78 | 63 ratings
The Candlelight Years
2008

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

3.85 | 20 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
1994
4.30 | 37 ratings
The Drapery Falls
2001
3.89 | 28 ratings
Deliverance
2002
4.49 | 37 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun 7''
2003
3.05 | 21 ratings
Selections From Ghost Reveries
2005
3.22 | 35 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
2005
3.00 | 19 ratings
Watershed - Radio Sampler
2008
3.66 | 37 ratings
Porcelain Heart
2008
3.62 | 36 ratings
Mellotron Heart
2008
3.66 | 53 ratings
Burden
2008
3.44 | 59 ratings
The Throat of Winter
2011
3.64 | 81 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
2011

OPETH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars This is a good album. The mixes are a bit off--vocals and drums often mixed too far back. Performances are top notch but they feel too often a bit too "heavy prog by numbers." The b vox are less-than inspiring as are some of the leads. And drummer extraordinaire Martin Axenrot doesn't have as many mind-blowing moments as I heard on Heritage. The electric guitar work is solid and shines most in its workman like steady-riffing. I was one of the few who really enjoyed (enjoys) Heritage. The folky, acoustic side of Opeth--like that of "Elysian Woes"--has always been what has drawn me in most to this group. The organ play on the album opener, "Eternal Rains Will Come" make it a pleaser. "Cusp of Eternity" is the one that best showcases Martin's drumming prowess--and feels the closest to the beloved Opeth of "old." The Goblin tribute is awesome. (It's nice to see more people acknowledging the genius of that Italian band). "River" could almost come from a Wishbone Ash album from the 70s. "Voice of Treason" is enjoyable but feels like . . . it's been done. "Faith in Others" is probably my favorite from this album for its dynamic range and the way it showcases the vocal variety of Mikael Akerfeldt. The album's "epic," "Moon Above, Sun Below" just never comes out and grabs me, kind of meanders and morphs around without ever seeming to know where it's going. This is a 3.5 star album that I will continue to listen to--though I have the suspicion that it will not hold my interest for very much longer. There's just too much other really good, fresh music that this has to compete with.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by LakeGlade12

4 stars 3.8 Stars

Pale Communion (PC) is the 11th album by the veteran band Opeth and the second that fully abandons their Death Metal past in exchange for full 70s Prog (Damnation does not count). The previous album Heritage was in my opinion by far the worst thing Opeth had ever done, mainly due to the horrific songwriting and that hardly anything in the album sounded like Opeth! It was not easy to know when a song started or finished nor was there any flow within the songs or album in general. I initially gave it 2 stars but I have now reduced it to 1.

For these reasons I was very worried about this album as it would determine if I continued buying Opeth albums or not. My initial reaction to PC was that it was significantly better than Heritage but I needed time to fully get into it. And as I predicted PC has grown on me over time until I was finally ready to review it.

PC has many similarities to Heritage with its Classic Prog instrumentation, production and songwriting, but where it differs is the cohesion within each song and that they have re-incorporated some of the key aspects of the Opeth sound. Its now possible to know where each song is roughly going unlike before where it was very random and jarring. There are still some re-occurring problems which were present on Heritage, but its not as bad or frequent as before.

"Eternal rains will come" starts with a bang! There is a blast of keyboards, drums and guitars firing off in a complex arrangement. It then settles down briefly before going crazy again. A peaceful guitar instrumental follows which then leads into the main theme of the song. Here we find another thing Heritage lacked; hooks. The vocals are extremely catchy, uncluttered and leave a immediate effect. The song finishes as it starts with more intense instrumentals and some powerful singing from Mikael Åkerfeldt. A great start!

"Cusp of eternity" was the single from this album so as you would expect its the catchiest and easiest to digest. Its a reasonably heavy song with some aspects of metal in the electric guitar work. The pace is constantly fast and restless but there are still some strong hooks to be found, especially in the chorus. There is also a tasty Prog Metal instrumental at the end which is a great pleasure to hear. They have not totally lost their metal edge, only suppressed it.

"Moon above, Sun below" also starts with a fast pace which then turns into one of the heaviest parts of the album. There is a point here where Mikael is on the verge of doing a Death Growl, but he stops himself. Its a bit of a shame, I would like him to use it every now and again (his voice is no longer strong enough to constantly growl). Things quieten down into one of those acoustic guitar breaks that were found on many of the Death Metal tracks. The song then goes though many load and quiet twists and turns as you would expect from a 11 min song. The key thing though is that the choices made all make sense unlike that found on the longer songs in Heritage. The ending is also very catchy and reasonably heavy. Fans of old Opeth will probably find this the best song on the album.

"Elysian woes" has a very strong Damnation vibe throughout the song (i.e very gloomy, quiet and guitar driven). So strong that if it were on that album nobody would have thought it out of the ordinary. The only slight deviation is towards the end which starts to get loader and more intense, but this quickly fades as the song ends. Its a decent track but no where near as interesting as the first 3 songs.

"Goblin" is a instrumental which is a big tribute to the band Goblin, so much so that it does not sound like Opeth at all but a 70s Jazz Fusion band. While the song is complex its still quite repetitive and forgettable. I see it as the weakest song on PC simply as they are not in their comfort zone and so cannot come up with anything very interesting or unique.

"River" starts with some amazing vocal harmonies that are incredibly infectious and powerful. The melody also works perfectly with it to make some of the best minutes on the album. Its not common for Opeth to sound positive and upbeat but if this is the outcome then I defiantly want to hear them do this more often! The songs progresses into some complex instrumentals which keep the energy present at the start of the song. During this time the song darkens somewhat, just to remind people that this is still a Opeth album. The best parts of this song remind me quite a lot of Steven Wilson's The Raven which is a big complement!

"Voice of treason" however is not very strong. Its more like typical aggressive Opeth without the Death Metal and that's the main problem with the song. Whenever they try to go all out it does not work properly. They have not mastered how to be really heavy without doing Death Metal yet. When I say this I mean like what King Crimson or Van Der Graff can do without going into metal. Its a alright song but easy enough to forget and ignore.

"Faith in Others" is very different to the other songs Opeth have written. It is very emotional and grand in sound and uses strings throughout a lot of the song. Its not really a ballad though, they still have several twists to ensure that fans don't criticize it as commercial. It takes a few listens for the beauty of the song to be fully appreciated, but once you do its one of the best songs they have written. A perfect closer.

So there are 5 songs on PC that I really like and 3 alright but far from amazing songs (which would be highlights on Heritage!), so 4 stars seems to be a fair rating. Its not a masterpiece as the current ratings show it, but a solid return to form. I was not optimistic for the future of Opeth beforehand but now I am. Its still not at the level of Death Metal Opeth though and I hope one day they will go back to that. But for now I am satisfied.

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 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 930 ratings

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Heritage
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A clever way to call it as "Heritage" ...

It took me quite a while to take a deep breath on what Opeth have done with this album when I listened to it for the first time. There were two main issues I faced by the time I got this album and both of them were critical to ask and answer as they form a foundation for me to write this very late review - by the time I write this I already received the new album "Pale Communion" which actually I am about ready to write a review. But I was surprised when I looked at this site I have not written anything yet with respect to Heritage album. That's definitely the results of posting those two critical issues that I raised.

The first issue was: If this is called as a heritage from previous legends, what forms in this album that I can refer to the legends?

Typically when we call legends it's all about those who shone in the glory days of the 70s ...the hey day of progrock and other styles of music: disco, funk, blues , rock, pop as well as R&B. I did not count jazz into it as by that time I did not pay any attention to the development of jazz music until found the music of Chick Corea and Dave Brubeck with his Take Five fame. Talking about legends of prog you can bet me with names like Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Van der Graaf, ELP, Genesis etc. In fact some new prog bands already labelled as they are heavily influenced by Genesis or ELP or Pink Floyd etc. For example when I mention RPWL, people will automatically associate the band with Pink Floyd even though it's not the same.

But now ...look at any track this album by Opeth features: where is in the segment of the music in any track that I can easily refer to legendary bands? Is there any segment that I can say something like ..."A ha ....this sounds like Genesis!" ..."Aha ...this looks like Gentle Giant" or whatsoever. Having spun this album for many times, I think it's been more than 8 times, the critical numbers enough to give fair views about any prog album irrespective its complexities. Unfortunately my friends ... I failed to identify anything (even a small chunk of segment) where I can say it's influenced by legends like Yes, genesis, ELP and the like.

If that is the case, is it fair enough to say that this album is influence-free? Not really ....!!! I can sense it ... I can taste it ... I can feel it that somehow the music has a very deep connection with the spirit of 70s prog music but I fail to identify any reference in the music where I can easily say its connection with legendary bands. So what is the conclusion? Well ... what I can say is that Opeth is really CLEVER in a way to compose an album that use that spirit and nuances of legendary progrock music and translate them into a beautiful composition where any part or segment in the music has no direct relation with the past. It's really clever!

The second critical issue is how I should rate this basically new style of progressive music where I can find little reference as comparison?

This second issue has caused me to defer the review for such a long time until now. Actually partly due to my busy schedule in my real life profession. But as far as review concern I tended to delay because I was quite confused with the rating. Honestly I do not quite put this album as my favorite largely due to I do not get used to listen to music like this album. It's not fair to review based on liking or not liking the album. For sure it's a definite a good one but how good? Should I consider it as excellent? In fact ...after long time thinking about it I land into a conclusion that this is really a four-star rating album. I enjoy the album even though not really love so much. But I admire the boldness of Opeth making this new avenue of prog whenre maybe in the future I will love this kind of music. I remember vividly that in the past I was not happy with Yes "Tales from Topographic" but then I admired it highly as it grew on me really.

SALUTE for Opeth who has made this excellent album! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Opeth show that retro early 70s sound of Heritage was no outlier. There's nary a fat modern metal riff. The music here unfolds on its own pace and is ornamented with sweeping mellotrons, rumbling organs, acoustics and backing strings. Opeth don't try to "outprog" anybody, but instrumentation here is richly detailed, and, I think, strikes a balance between melancholic and more energetic sections, accessibility and complexity, length and compactness. If there is a nod to Opeth of old, is that the longer songs may seem to be disjointed, even though there's certainly no filler songs here. One may not agree with directions that some songs may take (such as the obvious influence of King Crimson's Starless, first melancholic "crooning " part, in Faith in Others, or the uncharacteristic hippy-esque first half of River (don't worry, it gets heavier later on), but taken together, Opeth diverse catalogue would make a hell of a live show.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Deathangel

2 stars i was so looking forward to this album. In theory it should be pure heaven for me: the great growling beast that was Opeth with a new, proggier attitude. Up until Heritage Opeth could do no wrong in my eyes. Not sure what happened there, but I was hoping that Heritage was just a bit of a blip. But no.

If Mikael Akerfeldt really wanted to introduce a proggy element why on earth did he not be truly progressive and make something a bit different (than all the other prog bands)? This is just sub- Steven Wilson music, and they're capable of so much better than that. In the recent collaborations between Steven Wilson and Mikael I'd say that SW definitely got the better end of the deal.

I was hovering between 2 and 3 stars as I never thought I'd be marking Opeth too low, but I'm afraid I'm going with 2 stars. I'm just hoping that the next one will be a return to form.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Pale Communion' - Opeth (83/100)

Admittedly, I had avoided listening to the new Opeth record for a while before finally caving in and checking it out. It's certainly not been for a lack of love for the band or their illustrious career, but rather that I was almost certain to be disappointed by anything in the vein of their post-Watershed retro style. It must have felt like I was a girl waiting on a pregnancy test to see if she was going to have a child with a man she didn't love; the best-case scenario (being that the album was good, or negative on the pregnancy) would be relieving, but there wouldn't be a sense of catharsis or ecstasy involved, the sort of things Opeth's early work was often prone to conjuring. Even if Pale Communion turned out to be good, I supposed, I still wouldn't be able to shake the disappointment over Opeth having exchanged their unique (though countlessly imitated) progressive death metal trademark for some brand of retro-prog- an oxymoron if ever I've known one. Somehow, Opeth's second plunge into this style has succeeded in doing what I previously thought impossible: not only has it sold me on this shift, it has finally proved to me that Mikael Åkerfeldt is capable of brilliance outside the melancholic strains of metal. This is the album Heritage tried to be, the one Storm Corrosion hinted at. Even if it doesn't match the perfection they achieved with Opeth's best work, Pale Communion stands as a refreshing (and unexpected) burst of creative inspiration.

Although I've always had more of my heart in prog than metal news some years ago that Opeth had drifted towards a classic progressive rock style was immediately disappointing. Although the original definition of the style referred to a group of artists who meant to push rock music to the limits of its ambition (often with the help of classical music theory), in recent times it's often associated with hollow musicianship, twenty minute songs that go nowhere, and an overarching desire to relive and fetishize the 'good old days' between 1969 and '75, sort of like a Civil War reenactment but with more mellotrons. Anyways, Heritage was much less guilty of this self-important retro kitsch than Transatlantic or a host of other horrible modern prog acts, but it felt much less relevant than the work they had done before. With Pale Communion, I've realized my dislike of "Heritage" was less to do with the style itself, and moreso the fact it was otherwise incoherent and lacked conviction. There is plenty of the classic prog spirit here (ranging from the legendary King Crimson to Jethro Tull and Italian proggers Goblin) but it's imbued with a life and energy that far outweighs what I'd normally associate with the retrogressive scene.

If anything's changed since 2010, it's that Opeth have become confident enough in this new style to finally outstretch their wings and write full-bodied compositions over the individually appealing ideas that dotted Heritage. With the exception of the sappily cheerful piece of hippie drivel "River", the songwriting is tight and expertly realized. The epic scope adopted in "Eternal Rains Will Come", "Moon Above, Sun Below" or even "Voice of Treason" bridge the previously non-existent gap between Ghost Reveries and Watershed , balancing grooves and general weirdness without letting one get the best of the other. Among these tracks, the gorgeously melancholic closer "Faith in Others" sounds most like the classic Opeth we know, picking up where "Burden" from Watershed left off and arguably being the most emotionally intense ballad the band have ever done, complete with dynamic vocals and sombre string accompaniment. Opeth's musicianship remains a constant joy, with particular props going to Martin Axenrot who, again, fuels the music with some of the best drumming I've heard this side of jazz fusion.

If there was ever something I liked about Heritage, it was it's sense of surprise and general weirdness, as if they had aimed to make an album based around the wigged-out keyboard solo from Watershed's "The Lotus Eater". Opeth have consolidated that weirdness on Pale Communion, bolstering it with the virtues of solid songwriting and form. "Goblin" is a perfect example of this fusion of chaos and order. Taking its name from the band that most readily inspired it (along with heavy doses of King Crimson) the song shifts seamlessly from one disjointed idea to another. I can see it being the track fans will have the most difficult time getting into an appreciating, but it comes together in a way that feels satisfying. While I find the throwback vocal harmonies on "Eternal Rains Will Come" sort of hokey, it's a total masterpiece from the instrumental angle, and while I didn't care for its eerie successor "Cusp of Eternity" when I heard it alone as a single, it enjoys new life within the context of the album. Really, it's just "River" I don't like, and even then it's just for the overly cheery vocal section. Then again, that seems to be the track most people are swooning over. Maybe I'm weird and need to see the cheery side of life more often. Maybe everyone else is wrong.

While I've warmed up to most aspects of this 'new' Opeth, the change in style hasn't translated well with Åkerfeldt's vocals. I'm of the belief he's always been a better harsh vocalist, but even so, his clean singing on Ghost Reveries and Watershed was rich and full of feeling. I'm not getting much of that emotional resonance in Pale Communion. He's lost none of his technical ability or range as a vocalist, but there's something still missing from the formula. My thoughts towards his vocals now are similar to the ones I had for Heritage as a whole; the weight of the influences have become much more apparent in the delivery. Even if Mikael's voice remains distinctive, the performance feels less intimate, and more as if he's adopted a new vocal persona to better fit the progressive rock archetype floating in his head. Sometimes there's a clear nod to Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, but most times it sounds like he's amalgamated a host of ballsy heavy prog and hard rock vocalists into a melting pot and tried his best to replicate it. Anyone who appreciated the bombastic side of Åkerfeldt's voice will find more to love on Pale Communion, but it doesn't do much for me. With that being said, there are moments (most notably "Moon Above, Sun Below" and "Faith in Others") that highlight what I loved best about his voice.

When all is said and done, I don't think Pale Communion will ever achieve the acclaim of Blackwater Park or Still Life, nor does it strike me in the same life changing ways that my personal favourites Ghost Reveries and Morningrise did. Even so, the album demonstrates a full-bodied return to excellence for Opeth, and confidently demonstrates the amount of potential this new approach has in store. At the very least, it's a conscious improvement from what I consider to be the weakest point in their career. Sure, If I ever wanted to hear vintage prog traditions thoughtfully explored and modernized, I could turn to Änglagård, another group of Swedes that still might do it better than Opeth. I think part of me would still like to hear Opeth return to their golden ratio of prog and death metal, but for what it's worth, I'm very glad this album exists.

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 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 930 ratings

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Heritage
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Opeth's first true nonmetal album (sure, Damnation was softer, but with its themes of resignation and withering had an unmistakable doom/gothic feeling). Heritage sounds like depressive, meandering psychedelic folk/hard rock album. Keyboards are decidedly vintage-sounding and the second part of the album is largely acoustic. At the time of its release, due to the unfocused nature of the songs, I wasn't sure if this was an awkward tribute to the seventies, or a new Opeth. Turned out later, it was the latter. And I like this Opeth. In fact, if you strip away the death metal epidermis, this was Opeth all along - somber and folkish. True, the songs on Heritage structurally lack focus, but every one contains at least a good idea or two, so I have confidence this Opeth will succeed among the dedicated proggers.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Opeth is one of the progressive rock's most popular bands nowadays and certainly the most famous prog band of Sweden. I have earlier heard and written about "Blackwater Park", a typical dark metal album and that didn't really get my full appreciation. It was too dark and too heavy for me and furthermore I don't like growl. Then comes this album of "Opeth" and changes everything. Here it is no disturbing growl and the metal is held back for the prog. This is in all terms a prog rock record and most of it is lovely. I have now listened to the record some times and feel ready to write som word about it.

"Pale Communion" is Opeth's eleventh studio record and it features Mikael Åkerfeldt on song and guitar, Fredrik Åkesson on guitar, Joakim Svalberg on piano and keyboards, Martín Méndez on bass and Martin Axenrot on drums and percussion. The cover picture shows a stone wall with three colourful paintings of interesting motives. On the small rectangle I see, it is hard to notice the details but I guess it would look lovely on a vinyl record.

The prog music on this record is unique and totally honest. The warm, though melancholic texture of melodies and musical harmonies goes from track to track and through it all the level of the music is high and rich. The album starts powerful with "Eternal rains will come", a true progressive challenge(9/10) and "Cusp of Eternity" is a worthy follower(8/10). The long "Moon above, sun below" is also very interesting for the progressive ear(8/10) and "Elysian woes" is beautiful(9/10) with so much love even if the album's best song is the instrumental "Goblin"(10/10) which actually is a jazz rock tune. I don't think the two ending songs are as good as the others but it could just be because I haven't heard them as many times.

I think this is the best metal album I have heard and I recommend it to every fan of progressive rock. This will also be my start in exploring the others records of this band. This record will get four strong stars of me.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.27 | 263 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by smuggledmutation

5 stars Magnificent.

Keys really stand out in this album. I may be biased as a keyboard player who loves mellotron, so keep that in mind. To be honest a lot of time I will be listening to a song and think to myself, "that sounds alot like something I would've written in a band." I don't know, it really connects with me, the sound they achieved. The riffs are still there, the fantastic softer side of Opeth stands out as usual....the keys have become more dominant but the choice of sounds stayed organic. I hate when bands play metal and add crazy 80's synth patches. Every song on this album just sounds so full. These guys have great melodies, harmonies, song writing skills, and willingness to explore musics different realms and these things are hard to come by these days. Sure the growls are gone, and the distortion is at a minimum....but we have plenty of that from this band in previous albums. Lets see what they have going on in their heads and enjoy and appreciate what they create in this stage of their lives. Maybe the next album will be a little more like the older stuff the purists seem to prefer. I will enjoy every second of something new they put out. If they aren't feeling like writing death metal, they shouldn't force themselves to as the music will suffer. This new heavy prog is coming out beautifully as it must be flowing freely in their minds right now. Great, great band and one of their best albums in my opinion. Best album of 2014.

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 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.25 | 1178 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars The greatest thing about Prog Archives is that it allows us access to music we might not normally hear. I live in the city of Pekin, Illinois, an even more conservative neighbor of the relatively conservative city of Peoria. Therefore, the radio choices are limited. Probably the only contemporary rock band listed on this website that you're likely to hear regularly is Tool. The point is that Prog Archives is probably the only way that I would have found Opeth's music. In fact, I think I owe a debt to the moderators of the Tech/Extreme Metal section of PA.

I've found a lot of really great music in this section, and so I have listened to several of Opeth's releases. I like a lot of death or black metal - influenced bands, although I wouldn't call myself a hardcore fan of those subgenres.. I love Enslaved, My Dying Bride, and Leprous, for instance. Considering the generally high opinion of Opeth expressed on Prog Archives, I wish I liked them more. I'm just not entirely convinced by their take on black metal and progressive rock. I did pick the Blackwater Park album because it's considered by many to be the band's crowning achievement. For my money, the best tracks on Blackwater Park are "Bleak", "Harvest", "The Leper Affinity", and the title track.

The rest of the album is fine, but it doesn't really stick with me. One of the tests of a band for me is whether their songs stick with me when I'm not actually to them. The issue is certainly not musicianship; everyone in the band certainly knows what they're doing. Most of the songs just overstay their welcome a bit. I do enjoy Blackwater Park more than some of Opeth's other albums, and I understand why many people consider this progressive. Musical taste, however, is ultimately a very subjective thing. Taking into account the good things on Blackwater Park and its value for progressive rock fans, I'm giving the album 4 stars.

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