Devil Music A-Z: Opeth

Man, what can be said of Opeth around here that hasn’t already been said time and again. Just do a search for this band on the site and you’ll find at least three of us that have done something up about the boys from Sweden. In fact we’ve just done not one but two reviews for the latest album, Heritage, and a show review. So it goes without saying that even if we’re not fans we do have a healthy respect for Opeth around here. But for the purposes of these pieces I’ll talk about my experiences with Opeth’s music and how I came to be a fan. It wasn’t an instantaneous thing that’s for sure. I became aware of this band probably around the time of the tour cycle for Ghost Reveries.As I was searching for new bands to listen to I came across Opeth and as someone that does give prog a chance if it is truly progressive I checked out what was happening here and was drawn in by the intricate music and the balance between death metal and a sort of prog rock interludes on the songs I heard. At the time I wasn’t very used to the death growls and of course thought they ruined the music.

I’ve obviously since changed my mind on this and actually have to credit Opeth for opening my ears to the growl aspect of extreme music at least in the modern sense. To the point where I’m actually seeking out bands these days that bring something new to the death metal scene without batting an eyelash on how heavy it is. Even with all of that being said and all it still was a slow process digesting the back catalog of this band. Initially I did not like the first three albums much because Mikael’s death vocals were abrasive, harsh, and not very controlled. And the songs themselves seemed to meander much too long like all good progressive music tends to do. So it did take me longer to warm up to Orchid, Morningrise, and My Arms Your Hearse. Still Life was in my opinion when the band really broke through with elaborate and skilled compositions both musically and vocally. I do have to chuckle at Opeth fans though because they’ve become the new Dream Theater fans where the nitpicking comes into play and everyone has to vocalize which album they think is the best and are absolutely convinced they are right. For me my favorites are actually any albums post Hearse. whichever album I feel like listening too is my favorite at the time. I get that Watershed and most especially Heritage are polarizing albums for long time fans but there is no denying that Mikael Akerfeldt has become one of if not the most important metal composers on the planet. To argue that is pretty silly regardless of your opinion on albums. So after the jump is some of my favorite tracks by Opeth. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

The keyboard riff after the verses on this song always gives me chills especially late at night.

One of two of my favorite ballads both being on Watershed.

This being the other.

And this is probably my favorite heavy song. So brutal and crushing and then transitions to heavy prog goodness.

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