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Opeth
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Opeth

 

Opeth is a progressive death metal band from Sweden. Opeth adds some progressive elements to their music, with acoustic guitar and influences from jazz and acoustic music. Some people like to give them their own genre, Melodic Death Metal, or sometimes Forest Metal, but they can also be said to not conform to any particuler genre. The name was taken from the book Sunbird (1972) by author Wilbur Smith, and was originally spelled Opet. In the book, Opet is the city of the moon.

Table of contents
1 Biography
2 Discography
3 Band Members
4 External Links

Biography

Opeth was formed in Stockholm in 1990 by Mikael ┼kerfeldt on guitar and David Isberg on vocals. They were later joined by Anders Nordin on drums and Nick D÷ring on bass. A second guitarist was found in Anderas Dimeo. This lineup lasted less than a year and they played only one gig.

Both Nick and Andreas quit the band and for the 2nd gig Kim Pettersson and Johan DeFarfalla joined the group. Kim stuck with the band for yet another gig before leaving in late 1991. For that gig they got Peter Lindgren to play the bass but he changed back to his original instrument, the guitar, when Kim left.

David left the band in early 1992 and since Mikael had been the vocalist in the group Eruption, he became the new vocalist. They rehearsed as a 3-piece for more than a year, but eventually they found a new bassplayer, Stefan Guteklint who played with them for about a year.

They gave him the boot after receiving a contract from Candlelight records. They recorded their first album, Orchid, in 1994 with Johan DeFarfalla as a session bassplayer. He eventually became a full-time member. Candlelight Records released their debut album in 1995. Opeth themselves handled the production and Dan Swan÷ was the engineer.

Opeth's second album, Morningrise, was recorded in March/April of 1996 and released later that year. Again Dan Swan÷ was the engineer and this time he also handled the production. The album contains just five songs, ranging in length from 10 to 20 minutes.

Their third album, 1997's My Arms, Your Hearse saw the addition of Martin Lopez (who left another Swedish band, Amon Amarth to join Opeth) on drums. Mikael ┼kerfeldt played bass guitar on the recording, and Martin Mendez (a friend of Lopez) became Opeth's latest bassplayer. This lineup (Akerfeldt, Lindgren, Lopez, Mendez) continues to exist today.

My Arms, Your Hearse exhibited a marked change in writing style. Gone were the 10+ minute progressive epics of Morningrise, with each song being an average of 6 1/2 to 8 minutes long. The album was lyrically a concept album, and was much darker than prior efforts, with acoustic transitions playing a smaller role. Mikael's vocal style also took on a more death-metal influenced tone: deeper and more menacing, especially on Demon of the Fall, a fan favorite and always played as an encore. The final song Epilogue is a 3-minute long outro that pays tribute to Camel guitarist Andrew Latimer.

Their fourth album, 1999's Still Life continued the concept album approach, but returning to the more balanced sound of Morningrise, contrasting stripped-down acoustic guitar melody with death metal. The key advancement in this album is in the flawless execution of flow between heavy and light dynamics, and in the layering between distorted and acoustic guitars. Still Life's song arrangements show the band at its most mature to date. The album could be considered to be the major turning point in the evolution of "the Opeth sound".

Critical and commercial success in North America was achieved with the band's fifth album, 2001's Blackwater Park. Opeth brought in Porcupine Tree frontman Steve Wilson to provide production duties and some backing vocals. Blackwater Park showcases Opeth's finest clean vocal work to date. The album perfects the sound created on Still Life and shows notable signs of Opeth's increasingly pronounced tendency to experiment with time signature changes and complex chords, such as with the arabic-influenced "Bleak".

This was followed by 2002's Deliverance, another Steve Wilson produced album, which reached Billboard's top-100 heatseeker chart. Deliverance showed that Opeth were still in love with epic songs, with each track clocking in at over 10+ minutes for the first time since Morningrise. Deliverance was their heaviest album since My Arms, Your Hearse, with some song introductions being almost Morbid Angel-like. Opeth continued their experimentation with time signature changes and syncopation, particularly in the title track's closing riffs and on the album closer "By the pain I see in others".

Their seventh album, Damnation, recorded simultaneously with Deliverance, was a completely progressive rock album without death metal elements, showcasing a brilliant 1970's vibe reminiscent of Led Zeppelin III. The album was produced by Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson, who also contributed backing vocals, keyboards, and co-wrote one song.

In 2003, Opeth released Lamentations, a DVD of a two-hour live performance at Shepherd's Bush Empire. The show is divided into two sets. In the first set, Opeth performed the entire Damnation album in order and "Harvest" from Blackwater Park. The second set included heavier tracks from Blackwater Park and Deliverance. Also on Lamentations is a one-hour documentary about the recording of the Damnation and Deliverance albums, featuring all four members of the band and Steven Wilson, each talking about Opeth, Deliverance and Damnation, and the recording process.

Rumors of an eighth album by late 2004 have cropped up. In an interview with Mikael ┼kerfeldt during 2003, Mikael recalled an event at a concert. At that concert, before playing their famous encore song Demon of the Fall, Mikael shouted to the audience "This song is dedicated to our Lord Satan," a statement which was quickly followed by ecstatic shouts from the crowd. This event gave Mikael the idea of doing a two-song, hour-long black metal album as their eighth opus (much to the delight of black metal fans Martin Mendez and Martin Lopez).

Discography

Studio Releases

Videography

Band Members

Current Members

Former Members

External Links