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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. ┼kerfeldt 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 ┼kerfeldt 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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Sorceress 2-disc deluxeSorceress 2-disc deluxe
Nuclear Blast America 2016
Audio CD$8.33
$11.47 (used)
Blackwater Park: Legacy EditionBlackwater Park: Legacy Edition
The End Records 2010
Audio CD$5.25
$7.25 (used)
Pale CommunionPale Communion
Roadrunner Records 2014
Audio CD$5.38
$4.46 (used)
Sorceress (Pink Vinyl)Sorceress (Pink Vinyl)
Limited Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2016
$27.88 (used)
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$4.76
$4.43 (used)
Roadrunner Records 2008
Audio CD$7.49
$5.33 (used)
Ghost ReveriesGhost Reveries
HiFi Sound
Roadrunner Records 2005
Audio CD$5.42
$3.96 (used)
Original recording
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$1.45
$2.67 (used)
Sony Import 2007
Audio CD$2.58
$4.04 (used)
Audio CD$10.39
$10.96 (used)
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OPETH discography

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

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

3.24 | 563 ratings
3.72 | 636 ratings
3.93 | 666 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
4.32 | 1410 ratings
Still Life
4.26 | 1443 ratings
Blackwater Park
3.76 | 815 ratings
3.95 | 1135 ratings
4.25 | 1346 ratings
Ghost Reveries
3.95 | 1041 ratings
3.84 | 1102 ratings
4.22 | 863 ratings
Pale Communion
4.09 | 156 ratings

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

4.10 | 106 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003
4.09 | 189 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes

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

4.02 | 201 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush
4.09 | 141 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
4.67 | 219 ratings
In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
4.27 | 15 ratings
Live at Enmore Theatre Sidney Australia

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

4.55 | 40 ratings
Limited Edition Box Set
3.98 | 63 ratings
The Candlelight Years

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

4.25 | 20 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
4.47 | 40 ratings
The Drapery Falls
4.02 | 29 ratings
4.72 | 39 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun 7''
3.07 | 24 ratings
Selections From Ghost Reveries
3.25 | 38 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
3.03 | 21 ratings
Watershed - Radio Sampler
3.72 | 41 ratings
Porcelain Heart
3.64 | 42 ratings
Mellotron Heart
3.71 | 57 ratings
3.45 | 65 ratings
The Throat of Winter
3.68 | 84 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
5.00 | 1 ratings
Cusp of Eternity
3.75 | 4 ratings

OPETH Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Opeth have moved away from their gloomy growling and have lost a few fans, who have willfully fallen off the bus but so is art! I read some bitter comments from some fans who regret the departure of growling death-metal leanings and who despise this softer side. Yes, the grunting is all gone but outside of a few acoustic gems, the tracks here are pretty weighty and energetic. The previous album "Pale Communion" was both a critical and artistic success and certainly consolidated Opeth's new found prog energy. Mikael ┼kerfeldt has taken the decision to follow his muse and push the envelope of his craft, to become even more musical than ever before and screw the naysayers! Good on ya!

This new Opeth album is the owner of perhaps the most gorgeous cover art in recent memory (Anubis-A Tower of Silence has finally met its match!), a proud turquoise peacock in full peachy regalia, a perfect depiction of the stunning music found inside. I don't believe much in sorcery or coincidences for that matter but one never knows for sure. The songs here almost all have references in their title to some direct or indirect prog music. "Persephone" is a classic Wishbone Ash tune, among others. "The Wilde Flowers" were a pre-Soft Machine Canterbury group featuring Kevin Ayers and members of Caravan. "Chrysalis" a major record label (Jethro Tull among others). "The Seventh Sojourn" is a Moodie Blues album title. "Strange Brew" is creamy Clapton song. "Era" is a synthesizer band. "Will O' the Wisp" is a Leon Russell album or Ignis Fatuus (its Latin name), the title of the debut White Willow album. "Sorceress" is a Return to Forever song. "A Fleeting Glance" was a song by Gowen/Miller/Sinclair/Tomkins on their "Before a Word is Said" album. I know, it's the wind or weather balloons . Okay, for my next trick?

"Persephone" sounds almost like a modern version of Concerto for Aranjuez, just as romantically inclined and cinematographic, images of crimson-burnt Andalusian sunsets, hushed voices and imaginary castanets. This bleeds right into the impetuous "Sorceress", a feverish tune with rampant keyboards and metallic guitar rasps shoved along by an impatient bass and chaotic drumming. Nothing too complex, just hard-edged heavy prog that thunders along, unobstructed and violent. Bassist Martin Mendez shuffles the low end with aplomb, the other Martin (drummer Axenrot) wallops assuredly, this is no cotton-candy prog! Keyboardist Joakim Svalberg screeches acrobatically and finally Fredrik ┼kesson crushes his axe when needed and then caresses it seductively.

"The Wilde Flowers" starts out as a phosphorescent blow torch, 'a funeral pyre' of gravity and despair, tormented by contrasting emotions and textures, a sense of hopeless doom one minute and fluttering expectation next. Pooling e-piano adds to the sonic torture, leisurely introducing the volcanic and slightly demented finale which reeks of Red-era KC.

One can detect the overt respect for Ian Anderson on "Will O' the Wisp", mandolin-like sounds and a vocal that has that unmistakable nasal twang that made the gallery minstrel so respected, I mean how can you not like this , even if it's a tribute ? Thousands of Floyd, Yes and even KC inspired bands but not too many prog artists out there who could clone Jethro Tull. Well, Mikael does it and does it reverently well. The elongated and fluid guitar solo is not anywhere near Martin Barre, so no danger of impending lawsuits. Ironic then that the next track is titled "Chrysalis" and sounds really nothing like Aqualung, though it's a chugging affair that has some orbital synthesizer asteroids, a brittle guitar that 'seeks out the moonlight' and a turbo-charged rhythm section thrusting the thing along. Halfway through the scorching tendency evolves into a moodier enclave of glistening guitar, twinkling e-piano and wistful, melancholic singing.

"Sorceress 2" starts out as an acoustic guitar reverie, with airy vocal pleadings, miles (or kilometers, if you prefer) away from doom-metal, actually nearer to Roger Waters more than anything, a lovely pastoral ditty. A perfect set- up for the Middle-Eastern leanings of The Seventh Sojourn", with percussion straight out of the Casbah, a caravanserai of acoustic pleasures, sand-swept orchestrations with a myriad of thumping support, swooning and swerving as the palm trees sway in the wind, all that is missing is a few well-placed "Ay-wah"s to make this a Saharan delight. The hushed choir blows in like a sirocco of pleasure and contentment.

A severe sense of dislocation emanates from the opening bars of "Strange Brew", before a seductive guitar riff rings the bell of reality, only to open the door into a jungle of beastly rhythms, paranoid synth gurgles and cannonading guitar salvos. Axenrot pounds mightily and with purpose. Ooh, Mikael is pissed off as he suddenly screams his anger, overwrought guitar in tow, all wrapped in Hendrixian ennui, a very clever wink to the Purple Hazer while still keeping it an Opeth song. This is the longest track here and exudes both impatient contrasts and depressive propensities that keep the listener on edge. Grueling and sweaty, the rivulets of rage pool at your feet, unbeknownst to any deliverance. The final fragility is unbearable.

At the outset of "A Fleeting Glance", there is a Beatles-like harpsichord pattern that is straight out of the Magical Mystery Tour, a "meek shall inherit the earth" theme that goes berserk with stop-start machine gun riffs, acoustic medievalisms set to only confuse and ultimately enthuse. The lead guitar virtuosity is quite outward as the notes come avalanching out of the speakers, suddenly folding right into the next fantastic song "Era", an ornate and elegant piano leading the way, Svalberg getting to show off his classical chops, but then shoves a surging organ into leading a claustrophobic charge of furious guitars, a mellotron howling madly and a rabid rhythmic assault. Definitely more prog than prog-metal, this is still bruising and pant-inducing stuff, regardless of what the negative pundits may say. Ya want heavy? There are tons of leaden stuff out there (in fact way more choices than prog). A slight return to Persephone kills this peacock off, a fine goodbye indeed.

I enjoyed this album as much (if not more in the future) as "Damnation" and "Pale Communion", my other two Opeth albums, so I guess I am showing my true colours. In all fairness to appease some of the hardcore fans, , Opeth needs to be relabeled (a thing I hate personally) to Heavy Prog, instead of the current Tech/Metal tag. Just a thought.

4.5 witches

 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars If there was still any doubt that Opeth have moved on from their death metal roots for good then Sorceress should finally make things clear once and for all. I'd heard rumours that they were getting heavier again, even returning to metal. Well...

...Well, yes, there are times when Sorceress is heavier than Heritage and Pale Communion, even the odd glimpse of metal. The title track was the first song to be given a public airing in advance of the album's release and after its Mike Ratledge (Soft Machine) style keyboard dominated intro it slips into a tantalizingly heavy groove but still packed full of melody. However, overall anyone still yearning for the Opeth of old is going to be once again disappointed. Those of us who are happy to go along for the ride, myself included, with Mikael Akerfelt's vision of beautifully crafted prog with way more than a nod to the genres golden seventies heyday are in for another treat.

Diversity is the key word here. There are moments of acoustic beauty like Persephone, Sorceress 2 and Will O The Wisp - a greater tribute to Jethro Tull I never heard. The Wilde Flowers - this was the original name of legendary Canterbury band Caravan which I suspect supplied the inspiration, though it doesn't sound much like them being considerably heavier than that band ever got. The prog references keep coming in the song titles - Chrysalis (the famous record label). The song is one of the heaviest here, not dissimilar to The Baying of The Hounds in parts, which itself had a strong seventies heavy rock groove. Like many Opeth songs though it has plenty of dynamics with quieter sections. The Seventh Sojourn was a Moody Blues album title (an eastern flavoured instrumental here apart from some late entry ethereal vocals) and Strange Brew was a Cream Song, you get the picture.

Despite the diversity of material here Sorceress flows well and still unmistakably sounds like an Opeth album. The production is similar to Pale Communion - organic with plenty of bottom end. Some have complained PC was a bit muddy and will no doubt have similar feeling about this but it sounds great to me on my vinyl copy and very sympathetic to the seventies vibe the band are going for. The musicianship is of course excellent and once again the keyboards play a key role though there's still plenty of space for the guitars with some heavier riffing and some very tastefully played solos. No growl vocals of course and Akerfeldt's voice is now so good he can rely on his clean singing entirely and perfectly suited to the material on Sorceress.

Opeth have released another brilliant album of beautifully crafted songs and I expected nothing less. I'd say it's the best of the last three. No it's not a prog metal album per se but has moments where it's heavier than anything they've released since Watershed which may go some way to appeasing older fans not too happy about their direction of late. Where they go now is anyone's guess and nothing would surprise me, even a U-turn back to full on metal of some description though I suspect the death growl vocals are long gone for good.

 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

4 stars Instead of being Opeth's latest product, Sorceress is easily a release that could have been the transition between Watershed and Heritage, as it's one that slides between their metal and prog eras. With far more touches of heaviness than either of their last two outputs, it still isn't the return to form that, at this point, everyone should have given up on. Opeth has generally tended towards diversity over their lengthy career, and Sorceress is on the more eclectic side of their spectrum. There's an even balance between metal, prog, and acoustic pieces, one that has always been present, but now it is distributed differently, the styles generally split into separate tracks rather than lumped into one ten-minute epic.

So is it actually good? Well, my main gripe has to be the Tool-esque excess of interlude tracks. The intro and coda (the two Persephones) are two dinky, unnecessary acoustic pieces. Worse yet are back-to-back Sorceress Two and The Seventh Sojourn, the former an unremarkable, somewhat creepy bout of acoustic noodling with quiet vocals, the latter a Middle-Eastern tinged, really un- Opeth instrumental that just goes on for too damn long. All of these four songs add nothing to the album and distract from the real content.

Stylistically Opeth changes it up often enough to keep the rest of the album fairly interesting. The heaviness is there, not a dominant element, but undeniably present in several songs. Title track Sorceress kicks off with some keyboards that make you think you're in for some more 70s prog rock worship, but when the heavy, chugging riff kicks in, you know you're in for something a bit different, not to mention better. Wilde Flowers and Chrysalis, both of them dramatic and bombastic, have prog metal overtones but fall more in the hard rock category. (The solo section in Chrysalis is nearly indistinguishable from Dream Theater.)

Opeth goes a bit folk here as well; I must point out Will o the Wisp because it is the best acoustic song. A simple piece, musically reminiscent of Harvest, the lyrical department is more geared towards the likes of Burden. Vague but emotional, and in a voice that imitates Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Akerfeldt seems to sing of the mistakes and regrets of a long life. I feel like this is one that's eventually going to become a classic of their softer sets.

The prog songs are closely tied in with the insufficiencies in the songwriting. When Opeth tries to be more structurally unconventional, it often feels disjointed. Still, they manage to get across a solid track without it being too detracting from the overall experience. Strange Brew, the longest song with its may twists and turns, is a major culprit here. While not without good ideas, its flow was, well, less than ideal, and it could have been a highlight if not for the Watershed-era start-stop dynamics. A few songs seem to build up to something and then just end, namely Sorceress and Wilde Flowers. In these specific cases it's not a big deal, though somewhat dissatisfying. The general sound of the album is still derivative of 70s prog, but less so, the similarity mainly in the keyboards.

The verdict: Sorceress is pretty good. It's the best of their new era so far, close to Pale Communion in terms of overall quality, but its diversity and the return of some of the heaviness improves it, even if the songwriting and the excessive interludes aren't exactly the best things Opeth have done. The consistency between tracks is poor but there are definitely some highlights that make the release worthwhile.

 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars I would call Sorceress an instant classic album with amazing musicianship. Previous albums featured the magical and powerful contrast between extreme metal and softer moments, but Sorceress goes retro-prog with a 70s feel that will make many people feel at home. Sorceress sounds more like an extension of Pale Communion, Damnation, and Heritage where the progressive roots started to plant a foundation for the second generation of Opeth. With a highly saturated metal market and a preference for 70 era of rock, Opeth have transformed into a heavy Progressive Rock group leaving their extreme metal tendencies and growls in the dust. I have grown to love Sorceress and this new era after repeat listens, but it required me to leave my expectations behind. If you approach Sorceress as a Progressive Rock album, it is loaded with vocal harmonies, subtle music variations, and the complex compositions that only Opeth can create. Sorceress is an album I expect to hear often, and that is a great measure of success.
 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progresearcher

3 stars Sweden's OPETH is one of the most innovative groups on the contemporary progressive rock scene. The band's new album, "Sorceress", shows that Mikael Akerfeldt & Co still follow the tradition they started back in 2011 on "Heritage" (the rejection of growling vocals and extreme trends in general, because of which their fan base has been - slowly, but steadily - decreasing since then), further widening their stylistic horizons. "Sorceress" includes more musical genres than "Pale Communion" (soon after the release of which - as a result of declining sales - the band was expelled from Roadrunner Records), and is more varied in this respect. On the other hand, however, what has been said doesn't mean it is better than its predecessor. Three of the eleven tracks, that the new album is made up of, are calm ballads, only featuring acoustic instruments and voices. Three more compositions are art-rock-like songs, occasionally deploying elements of quasi-Jazz-Fusion. All of them have a full-band sound (at least most of the time), although they are quite transparent structurally. In other words, these are pleasing compositions, but are almost instantly accessible. The same words are relevant to 'The Seventh Sojourn', an instrumental piece, belonging exclusively to the so-called World Music genre. To be precise, it sounds very much like the traditional music of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia. Only the remaining four tracks are multi-sectional compositions and are full of intricate, highly progressive, arrangements. Stylistically all of them represent Prog-Metal with either acoustic or semi-acoustic art-rock interludes, but without anything that would suggest Symphonic Progressive of the first water (which may be rather heavy at times, of course), as opposed to the music on either of the band's two previous albums. The only vintage keyboard instrument that plays an important role here is the Hammond organ, besides which most of its solos have a Deep Purple-ish feel to them (yeah, just like in case of the latest Kansas release). Well, it's time to make a sort of conclusion. While stylistically less consistent and cohesive than most, if not all, of the other studio albums from the band's discography, "Sorceress" has a lot of commercial potential. All in all, I find it to be a good release, but by no means a masterpiece. Please don't go mad on experimentation, Mikael! If the tendency to simplify the band's music will continue, Opeth may face the fate of Marillion. Finally I must note that "Sorceress" entered the Top 10 of the Official UK (Top 100) Albums Chart earlier this week, which is, commercially speaking :-), the band's highest achievement to date.
 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by iluvprogjk

4 stars I'll cut to the chase. This is another fine addition to the Opeth cannon and, given some time, will grow on you. Even if you are one of those Opeth fans that doesn't like anything post-Heritage, I suggest you give it a whirl.

There are three aspects of this album that I think make it the great album it is: Flow, Diversity, and Heaviness. Let me explain....

Flow - One thing that really surprised me after my first listen was how well the songs went together. You can tell that a lot of work went into deciding the order of the songs on this album. It's not that the songs sound similar; quite the opposite. Instead, it's something akin to (using a Zappa term), conceptual continuity. There are small but substantial elements of previous songs that bleed into the next tracks. It's almost subliminal, but it is there, and makes the album very enjoyable to listen to.

Diversity - As I mentioned briefly above, the songs are all quite different. Each song brings a new color and feeling to the narrative of the album. I think they did a great job mixing the more rocking songs as acoustic tracks, possibly more so than the previous two albums.

Heaviness - Yeah, it's not death metal, and some may argue it's not metal, but it's definitely heavy music. If you listen carefully, the lyrics are quite dark, touching upon the pain and suffering one can experience from love and being in-love. And, the music follows suit. There's a doom-like element pervading the album, and some very intense moments (the last minute of The Wild Flowers is a great example).

In closing, I think this is a great album that all Opeth fans should give a chance. Continued listens will pay out in dividends. It's also the type of album that you really need to listen to from start to finish. Give it a chance!

 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by horza
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I must confess from the outset that Opeth are one of my favourite bands. In this age of streaming and downloading music they are one of the few bands that I actually purchase the CD's - in this instance I went for the Deluxe Edition. As I get older I recognise influences and try to place where I may have heard certain melodies before. As my wife observed today whilst we were listening to 'Sorceress', it must be pretty hard for bands to be totally unique. We have both been fans from the days of 'Ghost Reveries' and have been to see the band a few times since then. The album opens with 'Persephone' and my wife immediately drew comparisons with Metallica's Black album and its acoustic/classical musings. The next track is the title track and the sound seemed a bit 'muddy' to me. I have listened to it on 3 different players and the organ/bass opening section was, in my opinion, a tad turgid. Look, I'm not a musician - I love this band, maybe I just expected a bit more clarity and prowess. What the hell do I know - then again I bought the damn thing so I can express an opinion. 'The Wilde Flowers' sounded ( I kid you not Rudy) like 'Gangsters' by The Specials. Listen to both songs and tell me I'm wrong - I dare you. It's there I tell you. Anyway, next up is 'Will O The Wisp' by Opeth Tull. Now I like Tull, I always have. I had my first Indian meal back in the days of yore just prior to seeing Tull play in Edinburgh. This song could have been written by Ian Anderson - I like it a lot. Did I mention that Opeth are one of my favourite bands? So far, on this album, they are a couple of my favourite bands. All this may change in days to come - as the album carves out it's own space in my head. 'Chrysalis' is an enjoyable rocker, the first standard rock song so far. I'm not saying who it sounds like - you might think I am exaggerating if I go down that path. 'The Seventh Sojourn' is my favourite track - North African/ Eastern influences on this one - Myrath/Orphaned Land - no problem there. 'Strange Brew' doesn't sound like Cream - what were the odds of that? A quarter of the way in the track comes to life and finds it's Opethosity. 'A Fleeting Glance' has dainty harpsichord at the beginning and borders on a revisitation to Tull. I wasn't inspired. 'Era' also has a low key intro before coming to life. This album will no doubt become another favourite of mine, given time. I consider this to be their most commercial album to date. I have to say that I really miss the musical virtuosity of their previous keyboard player. In my opinion Per Wiberg was far more influential to the Opeth sound than Joakim Svalberg is. His keyboard sound was better and I bet Per's set-up is different. Again, just my opinion. No doubt Joakim is a great player too, in his own right. He is in Opeth after all. By the way I'm not blaming the keyboard player any shortcomings this album may or may not have. I'll get my coat - see ya.
 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 1102 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars In December 2011, I bought Opeth's then-latest offering Heritage. Prior to that I had paid little attention to the band. Perhaps because I was never a fan of death metal, and it would be very difficult for me to hear death metal growls without laughing. I bought this because I heard that Mikael ┼kerfeldt had lost the monster growls and went a more prog direction. Actually this wasn't the first growl-free album they did, that goes to Damnation way back in 2002 (actually 2003, but was recorded during the same sessions as Deliverance, released six months earlier, but apparently record company politics prevented Damnation to be released together at the same time or part of a 2 CD set). So Damnation was basically a preview of what Opeth will be doing the following decade, some eight years before the decade actually began! No surprise that Heritage really disappointed many fans. Death metal vocals gone, a more prog approach. To be honest, I look back at it, and I felt the album really needed more room for improvement, as it frequently seemed disjointed. I own the two disc version on Roadrunner that includes the CD (with the gimmick lenticular cover, similar to the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request), as well as DVD that includes two bonus cuts (including the wonderful "Pyre", which has a nice psychedelic vibe and nice use of Mellotron flute). The DVD also included The Making of Heritage, and it clearly shows that their then-keyboardist Per Wiberg was using a real Mellotron, the M600, and they also openly admitted to using sampled Mellotron on previous releases. It's as you expect, sessions showing you how they recorded. Part of this was recorded at Atlantis Studios, which was formerly ABBA's Polar Studios. As for the album itself, it's not bad, but the flow seems quite disjointed. I do like the heavy prog approach they do here, but sometime memorable material went astray. This was to be their last album with Per Wiberg, who was replaced by Joakim Svalberg. In my opinion, if you don't mind that ┼kerfeldt has dropped the growls, and don't mind the proggy approach they now do, I suggest Pale Communion or Sorceress, as they have certainly improved quite a bit on those two efforts, plus it has a much better flow. Still Heritage has some worthy material, but a three star is what I can cough up for this album.
 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I ordered this album and received it on the day it was released (September 30, 2016) and have gave it a few good listens and I am very convinced this could very well be the best album they've done since Mikael ┼kerfeldt dropped the death metal growls (starting with Heritage). My copy is the American pink vinyl pressing. I was very amused the label Moderbolaget (Opeth's own personal label) spoofs the swirl Vertigo label of the early '70s. Not that the logo looks anything like Vertigo's, but the appearance and layout on the b-sides of both discs look exactly like the old Vertigo b-side, except for the logo, of course, the same white label and printing arrangements. It's blatantly obvious: Mikael ┼kerfeldt is paying homage to the swirl Vertigo label, as he owns quite a few titles from that era of the label, which unfortunately costs a king's ransom, not just the hyper-rare stuff like Ben or Dr. Z, but even Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and Gentle Giant, especially if they're UK pressings (I did get lucky and acquired an original UK swirl of Gentle Giant's Acquiring the Taste for just $20, the least I paid for a UK swirl original). Given ┼kerfeldt is probably not exactly broke due to the success of Opeth allows him to spend ungodly money for those rarities (rarities high on my want list, but can't afford them if copies show up).

This album alternates between heavier stuff, and more acoustic stuff. The heavier stuff is actually heavier than their previous two albums, but if you're expecting a return of the monster growls, you won't find them here. It's basically a continuation of the heavy prog style explored on the previous two, although with more of an edge. At times I get reminded a bit of Anekdoten (a band that I'm sure ┼kerfeldt is big on), especially that grungy approach. Aside from the label, the band is making tributes again, with "The Wilde Flowers", an obvious reference of the pre-Soft Machine and Caravan band, and "The Seventh Sojourn" which I'm sure is a Moody Blues reference (although the music has a strong Middle Eastern feel to it). Occasional reminders of Deep Purple surface, but with ┼kerfeld's own voice. The opening "Persephone" has a rather medieval feel, reminds me Jan Akkerman's foray into medieval music occasionally found on Focus albums (like "Delitae Musicae" and "Elsbeth of Nottingham"). I am certain the death metal purists have pretty much screamed "Treason" at this band already (especially Pale Communion), forgetting there's always been underlying progressive rock elements (even during the growls), something brought more in the forefront of recent. For the rest of us, this is a really great album of heavy prog, and by far the best they've done in the post+death metal phase.

 Sorceress by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 156 ratings

Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by piccolomini

5 stars Sorceress is a very versatile album, as most Opeth albums are. In Sorceress, Opeth explores new areas the band has never been to and experiments with different styles. The first single and title track sounds like progressive grunge as the chorus has a very "grungey" sound and it reveals an upbeat, powerful style without the previous usage of growls. The Wilde Flowers is a little cheesy, but the second half of the song makes up for it and the chorus grows on you. The lyrics aren't the best which is fairly consistent throughout the album. Will O The Wisp, the second single, is a nice folk sounding song. It's very smooth and relaxing and has good melodies. Chrysalis is a pretty wild song and definitely needs a couple of listens to really understand. It is very upbeat and then like The Wilde Flowers, has a calm ending which transitions nicely, directly from some solid soloing. Sorceress 2 is a very mysterious song. It's very short and features soft and beautiful vocals. The Seventh Sojourn has a tribal theme and is almost an instrumental with the exception of the ending. The ending is very mysterious and sounds like Sorceress 2. It's also the highlight of the song as the tribal sounding majority, with its repetitiveness, does not have much replay value. Strange Brew is the best song on the album. The intro is very relaxing and then about two minutes in it breaks into absolute chaos. The tempo is extremely fast and it's very satanic sounding. Then the vocals come in very strongly followed by some fierce soloing that just matches perfectly. The piano on this track is so haunting as the song slows down again. And then that killer guitar hits again and its just chilling. Everything synchronizes so well with the vocals and transitions so nicely. When it's all said and done, this song will go down as one of Opeth's greats. A Fleeting Glance is another good one with the vocals having a very light and finessed touch while matched with clean electric and acoustic, and a nice bass line. It's just a very well flowing song. Then the chorus hits towards the end of the song matched with guitar of the same melody and then a short but sweet solo. The ending is performed with great bliss and tops off a lovely listen. Era is not a highlight of the album, but it is a great ender and really sums up not only the album, but where Opeth is right now musically, "The end of an era, we'll start a new.". Sorceress is an album that rocks hard at times and shows off beauty at other times. However, it does this in a manner that we have not seen before with Opeth. The transitions in this album are stellar and the melodies are as good as ever. I do not see Opeth in decline whatsoever as they are evolving and transforming their style each album.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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