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Rock - Released September 27, 2019 | Nuclear Blast

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In interviews before the release of In Cauda Venenum, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth's vocalist, guitarist, and chief songwriter, stated that "heaviness" was an aesthetic rather than a sound, to explain why he had abandoned death metal. Beginning with 2011's Heritage, Opeth made a conscious shift toward progressive rock that has, as evidenced here, become pervasive. This set is their first to be issued in English and Swedish editions. Sonically and musically, the album contains musical and production traits already evident on Heritage and Sorceress -- and to a lesser degree, on Pale Communion -- as organs, synths, Mellotron, acoustic guitars, syncopated rhythms, strings, choirs, and key changes are crafted into the band's two-guitar-bass-drum attack. But where the previous three studio albums were rife with experimentation, In Cauda Venenum is focused on a cohesively pre-arranged whole. It may be the fourth entry in their progressive evolution, but it's their first to deliver the full realization of the band's potential. These ten songs are laden with lush textures, painstakingly crafted melodies, unapologetic gothic overtones, startling dynamics, and visceral presence. Opeth may deliberately borrow inspiration from many sources, but they aren’t trying to re-create them. The band recorded at Park Studios in Stockholm with all-analog gear and a goal: "to be as epic as possible." While set-opener "The Garden of Earthly Delights" is a three-and-a-half-minute Gothic intro; the first tune proper, "Dignity," is heavy as hell, with multi-tracked wordless choral choruses, swirling organs and Mellotron, sampled spoken voices, sound effects, popping drums, and spiky lead guitars. Its intense opening section gives way to fingerpicked acoustic, gently sung lyrics, and textural atmospherics before roaring back into riff-laden hard rock. "Heart on Hand," the other advance track, commences with a guitar-and-bass riff right out of "Immigrant Song," framing the cleanest, most emotionally resonant vocals in Åkerfeldt's career before swirling into instrumental chaos and transforming itself into a lilting ballad in the final third. There are brutal moments here, too, in angular jams like "Charlatan," with its overdriven, filthy bassline. "Universal Truth" alternates between folk-inflected prog and spidery hard rock. The moody classical guitar and piano intro to "The Garroter" gives way to spooky, swinging dark jazz. While the sprightly keyboard and strummed guitar vamp on "Continuum" are a sinister musical perversity, they circle toward spiraling prog metal with the vocal and rhythmic section syncopations of Yes, then unwind into moody pastoral, poly-harmonic, folk-inflected Gothic rock. Though it emerges slowly, there is a biting crackle in the sweeping majesty of closer "All Things Pass." Åkerfeldt's and Fredrik Åkesson's guitars spiral and slash in a loss-saturated vibe colored by swirling organ, Mellotron, and crashing tom-toms, as Opeth buoy the singer whose lyric is drenched in loss and grief. On In Cauda Venenum, Opeth have thoroughly revisioned prog rock for the 21st century. While there are referents to the past, they have merely been folded into a brand of heavy music that reflects not progressive rock's history, but Opeth's enduring, evolving image. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 17, 2014 | Roadrunner Records

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Rock - Released September 30, 2016 | Nuclear Blast Entertainment

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Progressive Rock - Released June 1, 2003 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Released in 2003, Damnation is easily the most radical departure of Opeth's career. The companion piece to the previous year's Deliverance set, to which it was originally inextricably married (before record company marketing men got their dirty little hands on them), the album is the first to explore the group's non-heavy metal-based songwriting both at length and exclusively. Since all of Opeth's previous outings were specifically conceived for the express purpose of contrasting heavy and light, violent and delicate, black and white, such a uniform presentation would already be surprising enough, but perhaps even more astounding is the realization that Damnation can't even be termed a heavy metal album. This is because, except for very brief moments in the excellent "Closure," not a distorted power guitar chord, not a pounding bass drum, not a growled death vocal is to be found here -- only mellow, melancholy, deeply reflective numbers boasting melodic electric and acoustic guitars, the odd bit of piano and Mellotron (performed by the producer, Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson), and background string arrangements. Rather, alluringly mournful tracks like "Windowpane," "Death Whispered a Lullaby," "Hope Leaves," and "Ending Credits" are at once complex and supple. Relatively of short length by Opeth standards, they often resemble the short musical interludes separating the band's prevalent explosions of black metal fury and progressive rock excursions. Laid out in unnaturally fluid sequence here, these songs obviously fail to provide the striking, surprise-filled experience that longtime Opeth fans have grown accustomed to, but once the novelty sinks in, those fans will easily come to enjoy and recognize Damnation for the finely executed if unique chapter it represents. In fact, even traditional rock fans with no interest in heavy metal whatsoever are likely to appreciate Damnation for its beautifully assembled, reliably high-caliber songwriting -- it's that good. As for devout metalheads seeking their first taste of Opeth's usual, furiously metallic onslaught, they should start with the aforementioned Deliverance or perhaps 2000's Blackwater Park in order to get a more accurate glimpse of the Opeth they've been reading about. Ideally, however, open-minded listeners will sample both Deliverance and Damnation in the manner intended in the first place: together, as dissimilar halves comprising an astoundingly inspired whole. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Progressive Rock - Released June 1, 2001 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Not since the release of Tiamat's groundbreaking masterpiece Wildhoney in 1994 had the extreme metal scene witnessed such an overwhelming show of fan enthusiasm and uniform critical praise as that bestowed upon Blackwater Park, the astounding fifth effort from Swedish metal titans Opeth. A work of breathtaking creative breadth, Blackwater Park (named after an obscure German progressive rock outfit from the 1970s) keeps with Opeth's tradition by transcending the limits of death/black metal and repeatedly shattering the foundations of conventional songwriting, to boot. Rarely does a band manage to break new ground without losing touch with its roots, but Opeth has made a career of it -- perhaps never as effortlessly as on this occasion. But the biggest difference between Blackwater Park and previous offerings lies not in the remarkably high songwriting standards achieved by main man Mikael Åkerfeldt (that's a given with him), but in the first-time involvement of Porcupine Tree leader Steve Wilson, whose contributions as producer lend an unprecedented fluidity to Opeth's restlessly inventive arrangements. Like all Opeth LPs, Blackwater Park is divided not so much into songs as "movements," as the band likes to call them. Tracks start and finish in seemingly arbitrary fashion, usually traversing ample musical terrain, including acoustic guitar and solo piano passages, ambient soundscapes, stoner rock grooves, and Eastern-tinged melodies -- any of which are subject to savage punctuations of death metal fury at any given moment. Likewise, Åkerfeldt's vocals run the gamut from bowel-churning grunts to melodies of chilling beauty -- depending on each movement section's mood. With all this in mind, singling out specific highlights is pretty much a futile exercise; but for the benefit of first-time listeners, why not start out with the colossal, Arabian-flavored riffs of "Bleak," the memorable chorus of "The Drapery Falls," the surprisingly gentle intro of "Dirge for November," and, finally, the all-encompassing title track. Then, with patience (Opeth's music is everything but immediate), the rest of Blackwater Park's grand scheme will be revealed. As for more experienced Opeth disciples, few will disagree with the fact that, even compared to lofty prior achievements, Blackwater Park is surely the band's coming-of-age album, and therefore, an ideal introduction to its remarkable body of work. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 22, 2005 | Roadrunner Records

Stockholm's most unpredictable metallic sons Opeth have offered another step on their dark journey into the Maelstrom that combines progressive sonics, and acoustic and electric instrumentation, all the while extrapolating on their now-trademark brand of death metal. Stepping aside from the malevolent acoustic elegance of 2003's Damnation without abandoning the textural advances, Ghost Reveries is a tour de force of creativity, power, and innovation. Alternately melodic and brutal, the album takes the band's progressive acumen to a new level while never abandoning the crunch. Vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Mikael Åkerfeldt has become a complete poet of the dark side. With bandmates Per Wiberg on keyboards, drummer Martin Lopez, guitarist Peter Lindgren, and bassist Martin Mendez, Åkerfeldt has forged ahead into a vein of this music that moves it further forward while embracing not only elements of the band's foundational past, but also elements from the annals of heavy metal. The sheer, harsh, tragic beauty of Ghost Reveries reveals it as more a hunted album than a haunted one. The opener "Ghost of Perdition" is layered with heartbreakingly lyrical beauty -- amidst its crack and burn -- with vocals either sung poetically or growled from the depths of the ravages of the human throat: "In time the hissing of her sanity/Faded out her voice and soiled her name/And like marked pages in a diary/Everything seemed that is unstained/The incoherent talk of ordinary days/Why would we really need to live/Decide what is clear and what's within a haze/What you should take and what to give...." The guitars, electric and acoustic, intertwining and winding around one another with quick figures, move the melody into the labyrinthine "Reverie/Harlequin Forest," that goes on for over 11 minutes while its tales of sickness and tenderness rub against one another and become one tortured being. Justification and easy moral judgments become futile, reflections of painful memory and dislocation are taut, walking a rusty razor wire as propulsive drums and crackling guitars carry the singer into his desolation. Ultimately, Ghost Reveries comes together like a suite, characters have various faces and traits, but they are all reflections in a mirror that retains no permanent image. This album is a culmination of everything Opeth have worked toward throughout their career. It's fully realized, stunningly beautiful, and emotionally fragmented; it's a terrain where power, tenderness, and sheer grief hold forth under heavy manners. Awesome. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released February 27, 2001 | Music For Nations

Not everyone has the talent to create an album that can both serve as a real reference point for a whole genre, and yet still sound fresh 20 years after its release. That's a tricky feat in the world of metal, where trends in production came and went at a frenzied pace between the 90s and the first two decades of the twenty-first century. But Opeth pulled it off. When Blackwater Park came out in 2001, the Swedish combo had already laid the groundwork for what their style would become in the following years, somewhere between death metal and vintage progressive rock. But this record has an indescribable magic that crosses boundaries of genrebto help unite followers of different registers around its content. Is it still really death metal? Maybe it's better to see this album as the offspring of King Crimson mixed with Pink Floyd with the darkest of saturated guitars, and vocals that switch from clarity to guttural growls with unsettling ease. It's easy to lose one’s bearing in this sound... and fun, too.The strength of Blackwater Park lies as much in its writing as in its production. Beyond its offbeat approach to metal, it is lyrical and adventurous without ever lapsing into pomposity. This little gem has a more open, less cramped and clearer sound than many of its contemporaries. That's the result of hard work by Steven Wilson, for whom this was the first experience of producing this kind of music. This is also an album that marks the beginning of an abiding friendship between the English artist and Mikael Åkerfeldt, the frontman of Opeth. The two men even set up a joint project named Storm Corrosion a few years later.It all starts with The Leper Affinity whose dark power immediately establishes Opeth as a band in full command of the lexicon of death metal... until a first break arrives, with acoustic guitars and a calm and airy voice. It is here that it becomes clear that this is only the beginning of a hypnotic musical adventure. One of this adventures highlights is the sublime Bleak and its central sequence, which is worthy of the greatest progressive bands of the late 60s. Just a few tracks in, and already we have heard twenty minutes of rare beauty and intensity. It will be the same with the rest of the album. Each musician has mastered his instrument. Despite the apparent structural complexity of the tracks on offer, everything flows together with disconcerting ease, all the way to the closing Blackwater Park, in all its deep darkness and rare beauty. This album was a masterpiece and a milestone that brought Opeth into the pantheon of the essential metal acts, who have broken down the boundaries between genres. A cult classic. © Chief Brody/Qobuz
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Rock - Released September 14, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

Heritage, Opeth's tenth studio offering, finds the Swedish band abandoning death metal: no growled vocals, no blistering fast power riffs, no blastbeats. Mixed by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) and engineered by Janne Hansson, Heritage is easily Opeth's most musically adventurous -- and indulgent -- recording. Written primarily by vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt, these ten songs are drenched in instrumental interludes, knotty key and chord changes, shifting time signatures, clean vocals, and a keyboard-heavy instrumentation that includes Mellotrons, Rhodes pianos, and Hammond organs -- ironic since keyboardist Per Wiberg left the band after Heritage was completed. Opening with the title track, a haunting solo piano instrumental, it careens into the explosive "The Devil's Orchard," with spectacular, arpeggiatic guitar work by Fredrik Åkesson and matching drums by Martin Axenrot. With a huge, swirling B-3 in the backdrop, it melds progressive metal to prog rock, with Åkerfeldt's clear, clean singing. "I Feel the Dark" marries Åkerfeldt's classical guitar to piano, flute, a droning Martin Mendez bassline, and double-timed, quietly tense drum kit work. "Slither" sounds like Motörhead meeting early-'70s Deep Purple. "Nepenthe" begins as a ballad but shifts toward jazz-rock in the instrumental break before finding its way back to a middle ground with sparse instrumentation and taut dynamics. "Haxprogress" draws real inspiration from early King Crimson; Mellotrons and nylon-string guitars give way to Åkerfeldt's crooning, thundering basslines, and syncopated drums. At eight-and-a-half minutes, "Famine" is the album's most abstract cut, with guest Alex Acuña adding Latin percussion to the mix, creating spaciousness in a long intro before giving way to colliding prog rock at the seam where King Crimson's "Larks Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" meets Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick." "The Lines in My Hand" is the set's most aggressive cut, with a deeply satisfying guitar crunch. "Folklore," with its myriad instrumental and vocal parts, complex melody, and breakbeats, comes off as an eight-minute suite before closing with another jazz- and folk-inflected instrumental entitled "Marrow of the Earth." Love it or hate it, Heritage, for its many excesses and sometimes blurry focus, is a brave album. It opens the door for Opeth to pursue many new directions and reinvent themselves as a band. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Sony Music UK

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Metal - Released March 31, 2008 | Peaceville Records

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Metal - Released August 18, 1998 | Spinefarm Records UK

On their third album -- and first to be released simultaneously in Europe and the U.S. -- Opeth continue to refine their epic, progressive death metal style, replete with harmonized leads and acoustic passages. My Arms, Your Hearse flows logically from one composition to the next, and the mostly long songs have enough variation in texture and mood to hold the listener's interest fairly consistently. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Nuclear Blast Entertainment

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Rock - Released September 27, 2019 | Nuclear Blast

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In interviews before the release of In Cauda Venenum, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth's vocalist, guitarist, and chief songwriter, stated that "heaviness" was an aesthetic rather than a sound, to explain why he had abandoned death metal. Beginning with 2011's Heritage, Opeth made a conscious shift toward progressive rock that has, as evidenced here, become pervasive. This set is their first to be issued in English and Swedish editions. Sonically and musically, the album contains musical and production traits already evident on Heritage and Sorceress -- and to a lesser degree, on Pale Communion -- as organs, synths, Mellotron, acoustic guitars, syncopated rhythms, strings, choirs, and key changes are crafted into the band's two-guitar-bass-drum attack. But where the previous three studio albums were rife with experimentation, In Cauda Venenum is focused on a cohesively pre-arranged whole. It may be the fourth entry in their progressive evolution, but it's their first to deliver the full realization of the band's potential. These ten songs are laden with lush textures, painstakingly crafted melodies, unapologetic gothic overtones, startling dynamics, and visceral presence. Opeth may deliberately borrow inspiration from many sources, but they aren’t trying to re-create them. The band recorded at Park Studios in Stockholm with all-analog gear and a goal: "to be as epic as possible." While set-opener "The Garden of Earthly Delights" is a three-and-a-half-minute Gothic intro; the first tune proper, "Dignity," is heavy as hell, with multi-tracked wordless choral choruses, swirling organs and Mellotron, sampled spoken voices, sound effects, popping drums, and spiky lead guitars. Its intense opening section gives way to fingerpicked acoustic, gently sung lyrics, and textural atmospherics before roaring back into riff-laden hard rock. "Heart on Hand," the other advance track, commences with a guitar-and-bass riff right out of "Immigrant Song," framing the cleanest, most emotionally resonant vocals in Åkerfeldt's career before swirling into instrumental chaos and transforming itself into a lilting ballad in the final third. There are brutal moments here, too, in angular jams like "Charlatan," with its overdriven, filthy bassline. "Universal Truth" alternates between folk-inflected prog and spidery hard rock. The moody classical guitar and piano intro to "The Garroter" gives way to spooky, swinging dark jazz. While the sprightly keyboard and strummed guitar vamp on "Continuum" are a sinister musical perversity, they circle toward spiraling prog metal with the vocal and rhythmic section syncopations of Yes, then unwind into moody pastoral, poly-harmonic, folk-inflected Gothic rock. Though it emerges slowly, there is a biting crackle in the sweeping majesty of closer "All Things Pass." Åkerfeldt's and Fredrik Åkesson's guitars spiral and slash in a loss-saturated vibe colored by swirling organ, Mellotron, and crashing tom-toms, as Opeth buoy the singer whose lyric is drenched in loss and grief. On In Cauda Venenum, Opeth have thoroughly revisioned prog rock for the 21st century. While there are referents to the past, they have merely been folded into a brand of heavy music that reflects not progressive rock's history, but Opeth's enduring, evolving image. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 3, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

After album (or "observation," as the band likes to call them) number eight -- Ghost Reveries -- Opeth could have very easily coasted, merely rehashing their sound. Instead, they opted to challenge themselves and their listeners, creating an album that can -- at times -- expose its true nature and scope slowly and -- at other times -- be jarring, as if it were turning itself inside out. Opeth take chances that many bands in the same situation would be too scared to have a go at. It's hard to say if the recent membership changes affected bandleader Mikael Åkerfeldt's writing and production, or if he was enjoying his trip down classic rock (see: Deep Purple) lane. For whatever reason, Watershed is a new benchmark for Opeth. The tricky part is pointing out that while Watershed is a fantastic record, one that takes chances while remaining totally metal (dude), it feels less like a complete statement than a preview for something even greater. After the pastoral introduction of "Coil," Opeth move into pummeling mode with "Heir Apparent." It's one of the few tracks here to feature growling death metal vocals. But it is track three where Opeth really take the listener by the ear and twist. There's a gently humming prologue, then "The Lotus Eater" becomes a slab of blastbeats iced with clean vocals that -- as with many Opeth tunes -- takes a "break" two-thirds of the way through, only to take one hell of a left turn out of nowhere. The tune doesn't just go back to heavy riffage, but explores a prog metal, psychedelic organ quasi-freakout that touches on pure jazz. "Burden," arguably the strongest of the classicist tunes on Watershed (closely followed by "Hessian Peel"), is lush and grandiose. It's the moment on this collection where the listener realizes how incredibly talented this band is. And if the songs themselves aren't enough, the structures and fade-outs on some of them are. An example: "Burden"'s gentle guitar outro is deconstructed by someone manually detuning Åkerfeldt's guitar as he plays. Another: "Lotus Eater"'s Dark Side of the Moon-esque "voices in your head" send-off. These add more depth to an album that surprises continually, even after repeated listens. Sure, there are some (sort of) weak moments -- "Porcelain Heart" seems a bit mainstream, and "Hex Omega," while a stunning closer, has insanely tough competition as a standout from the other six tracks. Essentially, Opeth's perceived weaknesses would be pivotal moments for any other band. This is a band that has managed to get exponentially better with each release, taking amazing chances and managing to not only win new fans, but not alienate older ones. A perfect blend of the death metal of Still Life, Blackwater Park, and My Arms, Your Hearse, the monolithic riffage of Deliverance and Ghost Reveries, and the prog/classicism of Damnation combined with classic Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Scorpions, Watershed marks a new chapter for Opeth, one that promises infinitely more than its predecessors. © Christopher M. True /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 14, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

Heritage, Opeth's tenth studio offering, finds the Swedish band abandoning death metal: no growled vocals, no blistering fast power riffs, no blastbeats. Mixed by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) and engineered by Janne Hansson, Heritage is easily Opeth's most musically adventurous -- and indulgent -- recording. Written primarily by vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt, these ten songs are drenched in instrumental interludes, knotty key and chord changes, shifting time signatures, clean vocals, and a keyboard-heavy instrumentation that includes Mellotrons, Rhodes pianos, and Hammond organs -- ironic since keyboardist Per Wiberg left the band after Heritage was completed. Opening with the title track, a haunting solo piano instrumental, it careens into the explosive "The Devil's Orchard," with spectacular, arpeggiatic guitar work by Fredrik Åkesson and matching drums by Martin Axenrot. With a huge, swirling B-3 in the backdrop, it melds progressive metal to prog rock, with Åkerfeldt's clear, clean singing. "I Feel the Dark" marries Åkerfeldt's classical guitar to piano, flute, a droning Martin Mendez bassline, and double-timed, quietly tense drum kit work. "Slither" sounds like Motörhead meeting early-'70s Deep Purple. "Nepenthe" begins as a ballad but shifts toward jazz-rock in the instrumental break before finding its way back to a middle ground with sparse instrumentation and taut dynamics. "Haxprogress" draws real inspiration from early King Crimson; Mellotrons and nylon-string guitars give way to Åkerfeldt's crooning, thundering basslines, and syncopated drums. At eight-and-a-half minutes, "Famine" is the album's most abstract cut, with guest Alex Acuña adding Latin percussion to the mix, creating spaciousness in a long intro before giving way to colliding prog rock at the seam where King Crimson's "Larks Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" meets Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick." "The Lines in My Hand" is the set's most aggressive cut, with a deeply satisfying guitar crunch. "Folklore," with its myriad instrumental and vocal parts, complex melody, and breakbeats, comes off as an eight-minute suite before closing with another jazz- and folk-inflected instrumental entitled "Marrow of the Earth." Love it or hate it, Heritage, for its many excesses and sometimes blurry focus, is a brave album. It opens the door for Opeth to pursue many new directions and reinvent themselves as a band. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released June 24, 1996 | Spinefarm Records UK

While they have taken a different approach with each album, Opeth has a very distinct and instantly recognizable sound: somber, mysterious, and very serious. Their style falls at a meeting point between melodic Swedish death metal and '70s progressive rock, though without any of the technical busyness that description might imply. Morningrise is, as far as the metal scale goes, possibly their least heavy album; it also contains their longest songs -- just five of them, ranging in length from ten to 20 minutes. The tracks all take their time developing, shifting back and forth from full-on metal sections (marked by distorted dual guitar riffs and growling vocals) to calm, acoustic guitar-based passages with more softly sung vocals. These shifts happen much like scenes changes in a movie, as there is very little repetition within the songs, and there are sometimes distinct pauses separating one section from the next. In fact, given the strongly narrative lyrics (which primarily revolve around the subject of a lost lover), the tracks here could best be described as miniature audio movies. This is a very painstakingly put-together album, and listeners will have to have some patience in order to mentally piece it all together. Some will be turned off by the long songs and the cold, gray atmosphere the album gives off, but for those who are on this band's wavelength and willing to show some patience, this album will repay many, many repeat listens. © William York /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 22, 2003 | Music For Nations

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Rock - Released May 24, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

After album (or "observation," as the band likes to call them) number eight -- Ghost Reveries -- Opeth could have very easily coasted, merely rehashing their sound. Instead, they opted to challenge themselves and their listeners, creating an album that can -- at times -- expose its true nature and scope slowly and -- at other times -- be jarring, as if it were turning itself inside out. Opeth take chances that many bands in the same situation would be too scared to have a go at. It's hard to say if the recent membership changes affected bandleader Mikael Åkerfeldt's writing and production, or if he was enjoying his trip down classic rock (see: Deep Purple) lane. For whatever reason, Watershed is a new benchmark for Opeth. The tricky part is pointing out that while Watershed is a fantastic record, one that takes chances while remaining totally metal (dude), it feels less like a complete statement than a preview for something even greater. After the pastoral introduction of "Coil," Opeth move into pummeling mode with "Heir Apparent." It's one of the few tracks here to feature growling death metal vocals. But it is track three where Opeth really take the listener by the ear and twist. There's a gently humming prologue, then "The Lotus Eater" becomes a slab of blastbeats iced with clean vocals that -- as with many Opeth tunes -- takes a "break" two-thirds of the way through, only to take one hell of a left turn out of nowhere. The tune doesn't just go back to heavy riffage, but explores a prog metal, psychedelic organ quasi-freakout that touches on pure jazz. "Burden," arguably the strongest of the classicist tunes on Watershed (closely followed by "Hessian Peel"), is lush and grandiose. It's the moment on this collection where the listener realizes how incredibly talented this band is. And if the songs themselves aren't enough, the structures and fade-outs on some of them are. An example: "Burden"'s gentle guitar outro is deconstructed by someone manually detuning Åkerfeldt's guitar as he plays. Another: "Lotus Eater"'s Dark Side of the Moon-esque "voices in your head" send-off. These add more depth to an album that surprises continually, even after repeated listens. Sure, there are some (sort of) weak moments -- "Porcelain Heart" seems a bit mainstream, and "Hex Omega," while a stunning closer, has insanely tough competition as a standout from the other six tracks. Essentially, Opeth's perceived weaknesses would be pivotal moments for any other band. This is a band that has managed to get exponentially better with each release, taking amazing chances and managing to not only win new fans, but not alienate older ones. A perfect blend of the death metal of Still Life, Blackwater Park, and My Arms, Your Hearse, the monolithic riffage of Deliverance and Ghost Reveries, and the prog/classicism of Damnation combined with classic Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Scorpions, Watershed marks a new chapter for Opeth, one that promises infinitely more than its predecessors. © Christopher M. True /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 23, 2002 | Music For Nations

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Rock - Released September 17, 2010 | Roadrunner Records

While In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall may not be Opeth’s only live album, it’s certainly their classiest. Recorded at the famous London venue, the live album features the Swedish progressive death metal masters masterfully executing a nearly three-hour set. Most notable about the live set is that Opeth chose to kick it off by performing Blackwater Park, their artistic breakthrough, in its entirety. With an amazingly tight performance and a sparklingly clear recording, In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall is an easy addition for metal fans. If you’ve ever wanted to hear the quintessential death metal band at work live, it won’t get any more convenient than this. © Gregory Heaney /TiVo