HistoryDavid Isberg and Therion’s Christopher Johnsson had ceased cooperating in a band called Procreation. After taking time off from Opet, which was named after a fictional moon city in South Africa, Isberg recruited guitarists Micke Bergström, and Dan Nilsson and drummer Richard Nilsson. The band began to rehearse in the space they shared with Treblinka, which would become Tiamat. Isberg ran into Mikael Akerfeldt whose band Eruption, where he sang, had split up. Isberg had found a bassist. Unbeknownst to him, however, the rest of the band had also found a bassist meaning the group had two now. In the ensuing conflict the groups split into two. Akerfeldt was part of Crowley for a brief tenure. Isberg and Akerfeldt (now handling guitar) were invited to open for Therion, Excruciate and Authorise in February 1991 and had to find musicians and rehearse quickly. The other members had formed a band called Crowley. The band picked up members of Eruption, guitarist Andreas Dimeo, bassist Nick Döring and drummer Anders Nordin, for the show, but the line-up did not last. The band sounded a la Possessed at this time and had picked Opeth following the inspiration from Opet. Soon in were Kim Pettersson and bassist Johan De Farfalla whose hard rock act Crimson Cat shared a new rehearsal space with the band. This was the line-up for the band’s second show opening for Asphyx and Desultory. The latter man would return to the fold in 1994 and last longer than a show. Isberg left Opeth due to musical differences after two years for Liers In Wait and Akerfeldt took over the vocals. The band never recorded a demo, but did have a rehearsal tape. Opeth was one of the few acts to obtain a deal without a proper demo. Candlelight signed the band based on the industry-only promo Apostle In Triumph and the group recorded its debut with Dan Swanö of Edge Of Sanity. It was an underground hit. The group certainly had metal in its sound, but with Isberg gone also jazz, alternative, folk and progressive elements which were consistently and progressively amplified. The band played shows in Europe including opening for Ved Buens Ende, Hecate Enthroned and Impaled Nazarene in the UK. Morningrise was also handled by Swanö. The group toured with Morbid Angel and Cradle Of Filth. Members left and the Uruguayan duo of Mendez and Lopez from Requiem Aeternam were in. The band signed with Peaceville in 1998. Century Media was handling the USA. Mikael Åkerfeldt was in a death metal side project called Bloodbath intermittently between 1998 and 2012. Akerfeldt and Swano formed a heavy metal band called Steel. In the meantime, the band had begun a tradition of recording at Studio Fredman. Opeth and Arch Enemy toured in 2002. The group announced its plan to record and release two albums with one being heavy and one being mellow. The band wanted a simultaneous release like Guns ‘N Roses, but the label would release them (Deliverance and Damnation) in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Nonetheless, these would become one package years later. Madder Mortem opened for Opeth in 2003. The band, Tapping The Vein and Paradise Lost hit Europe. The group next toured with Lacuna Coil. The band won the Swedish Grammy for Deliverance. The band was supposed to play in South America and Jordan, but cancelled. Apparently members were worried about terrorism. Devildriver, Moonspell and Opeth were in Canada next. Martin Lopez was not with the band apparently having panic attacks and the group used a roadie and even Gene Hoglan who was part of the Canada-based Strapping Young Lad. Keyboardist Wilberg was made permanent. Hoglan was sessioning for the group as Lopez had been intermittent. Ghost Reveries charted for the band. The band toured with Extol. More shows with Nevermore and Into Eternity occurred. 2006 had the band on the road with Dark Tranquillity and Devin Townsend. The group also appeared at Download festival with a number of mallcore bands. Martin Axenrot had officially taken over the drums in 2006. The band was part of Gigantour with Megadeth in 2006. Peter Lindgren left in 2007 due to a lack of enthusiasm and was replaced by Ex-Arch Enemy guitarist Fredrik Åkesson. Watershed was supported through shows with Arch Enemy, Cynic, The Ocean, Dream Theater and at Wacken. It was issued by Roadrunner. Leprous opened for Opeth in 2009. To commemorate its twentieth anniversary, Opeth performed a six-show, worldwide tour called Evolution XX: An Opeth Anthology, from March 30th to April 9th, 2010. The band performed Blackwater Park in its entirety. Enslaved was opening for Opeth in North America in May 2010. The show at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England was filmed for a CD/DVD on April 5th, 2010. Jon Lord performed at the Nidarosdomen cathedral in Norway along with his The Lord Chamber Orchestra. The performance was conducted by Torodd Wigum, on Sunday evening, May 23rd. Lord was joined by Martin Axenrot and Martin Mendez as well as Steve Balsamo who sang the role of Jesus in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Nathalie Lorichs, who had sung for Opeth, performed the female vocals. Per Wiberg was fired in 2011. Heritage was even more “mellow.” It was produced by Mikael Åkerfeldt and was recorded earlier that year at Atlantis studio. The band was touring Australia in December.
The group played over 180 shows to support that album. Katatonia and Opeth tour North America in October 2012. Pale Communion was even more progressive rock and charted everywhere. It was issued through Roadrunner Records on June 17th. The album was produced by the band's Mikael Åkerfeldt. It sold just shy of 13,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position number 19 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band was long fully mainstream now. Mikael Åkerfeldt was the “curator” for an evening at the 2014 Roadburn Festival. Opeth announced two special U.S.A. shows to commemorate the band’s 25th anniversary. The shows, called An Evening With Opeth would take place on October 22nd at New York's Beacon Theater and October 24th at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre. Nuclear Blast Entertainment, the commercial/mallcore unit of Nuclear Blast Records, signed the band in 2016. Sorceress was the result of the contract. Opeth and Gojira conduct a mini-tour of the USA in May 2017. Per Wiberg issued a solo record called Head Without Eyes through Despotz Records in May 2019. Former Opeth man Per Wiberg was in a progressive band called King Hobo in 2019. The band’s Mauga album was out. Opeth would issue a record through Nuclear Blast Entertainment in the autumn of 2019. Opeth and Graveyard were to tour North America in February 2020. Opeth bassist Martin Mendez founded a death metal project called White Stones. The band has signed a deal with Nuclear Blast. The band’s debut album Kuarahy will be issued on March 20th. The frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt scored a Netflix serial called Clark. To commemorate its thirtieth anniversary and make some money Opeth announced the Evolution XXX: By Request tour for October 2021. Fans caould vote on the set list on the group’s website. The tour would consist of eight shows in Western Europe. Opeth was forced to postpone Evolution XXX: By Request European tour, which was originally planned for October 2021 to November 2022.
While Opeth started as a death metal band it soon gravitated toward progressive metal and thereafter progressive rock for fans of early Yes, Voivod and Camel. Akerfeldt has cleansed his system of growls and is a good, settled and commercially viable man. Opeth, Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor were to tour the USA in November and December 2021. The band fired its drummer “due to a conflict of interests” in late 2021. Martin Axenrot was out and replaced by Sami Karppinen of Therion for the North American tour with Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor.
OPETH - DELIVERANCE - MUSIC FOR NATIONS/KOCH
With this sixth full-length release Opeth continues to build on its past sound and achievement within the metal scene. Six songs in sixty-one minutes defines clearly what sort of a song-length the fans will be facing here. Being the 'hype' band of the moment, Opeth can do no wrong. Fans will shout down any non-believers. It is that kind of support that makes the competition writhe in envy. Opeth mixes heavy metal, armed with growled vocals, with more technical and progressive moments. Yet, and as always, the quartet constantly delves into softer medleys of emotional passages and dreamy sequences. It is as if Anacrusis married Eloy and they have occasionally adopted the growled vocals and double bass runs of Morbid Angel. It is during these passages that the band is extremely good, a true pleasure to soak in. Then there are the ambient harmonies, pretentious lyrics and the pointless black and white photography. The technical term to describe some of this stuff is, I believe, boring. You see, vis-a-vis Opeth this reviewer is a meliorist. The Arabic melodies, long songs with lengthy instrumental passages, clean singing inspired by prog' rock of the 70's and diverse percussion work is strictly hit or miss at Metallian Towers. Giving credit where credit is due, Opeth has held the line on new and extraneous influences and unlike blatantly commercial moves by bands like In Flames has not abandoned its roots or patterns. Of course, it is understood that the band's original inspiration was not purely metallic to begin with. A second and softer album has already been completed and will be released to wide acclaim shortly. Fans will buy both of course - Ali "The Metallian"
OPETH - DAMNATION - MUSIC FOR NATIONS/KOCH
Here at Metallian Towers we know that we are supposed to 'get it' and praise the new Opeth album Damnation - the companion to the six-month old Deliverance - by showering it with praise and superlatives. Bandwagon duty compels us to use words such as beauty, wisdom, depth and profound in the same sentence as refinement, progression and improvement. After all, this is the album whereby Opeth delivers 43 minutes of soft and slow mood and feeling. More importantly, the oracle of heavy metal, that's Rolling Stone magazine to the layman, has already declared that, "Opeth create (sic) a shockingly beautiful thunder... (the) band continually expands the definition of what metal can be." Apparently the definition of metal now includes soft pop rock with a touch of Chris Rea, Pink Floyd and Sade. Elsewhere, another beacon of metal wisdom, England's Kerrang, finds space between visiting Cradle Of Filth at home to see what Dani Filth's kitchen looks like and full-page photos of Pamela Anderson to redeem Damnation with four K's and declare this album, "cascades of mournful melody...even cosmic splendour." Should CDs' cover stickers get any more informative less liberal reviewers, like yours truly, may as well hang their hats and take the last bow. For who knew, after all, that Julio Iglesias has always been a deft thrasher or that Eminem is a true blue death metaller. For if this piece of lame, soft, mellow and sleep-inducing crud is metal, then surely everyone else is practicing extreme underground brutality in comparison.
The biography warns the reader to "be prepared to be completely swept away." Never before have we been so proud to say that we just do not get it. - Ali "The Metallian"
OPETH - THE ROUNDHOUSE TAPES - PEACEVILLE
No tapes were employed in the production of this album.
The fact that Opeth’s music is pretentious and overindulgent is not in question. From its debut where the band quickly fashioned itself as an establishment favourite to its growth as a wussy pseudo-metal band masquerading in the metal scene the Swedes (and other) have laid waste to the scene - and not in a powerful, heavy or intense way if you catch the drift.
Having said all of that, The Roundhouse Tapes is not such a bad live album after all. Oh sure, Peaceville will be punishing its next ten releases to make up for the money it spent on this double-CD given the glossy/classy album package plus the alternating growls and murmurs are sad, but the band has gotten the concept of a live album right. No wonder the album’s title design and the album cover sit well next to a '70s release. The band ditches a standard fare delivery route in favour of a more 'lively' and fluid impromptu delivery which includes utterances like terming Under The Weeping Moon’s lyrics “absolute black metal nonsense” or ridiculing one’s own song “is this the blow job scene or the anal scene” or admitting that a song is designed to gets chicks backstage. This kind of banter gives purpose to the live album format, which is further complemented by the band’s inclusion of several older songs like The Night And The Silent Water or the aforementioned Under The Weeping Moon. - Ali “The Metallian”