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Rock - Released October 28, 2016 | Roadrunner Records

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Progressive Rock - Released July 17, 2006 | 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
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Metal - Released January 1, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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Rock - Released September 14, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released November 2, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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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
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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Sony Music UK

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Rock - Released September 20, 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
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Rock - Released July 22, 2016 | Music For Nations

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Opeth will most likely be remembered for adding class and elegance to the typically foreboding and nasty death metal realm. The Swedish group also surprised many by crossing over from black T-shirt-clad punters to musicianly prog rockers thanks to simultaneously recorded sister albums Deliverance (2002) and Damnation (2003), the latter setting aside their trademark forward-thinking, highly dynamic Scandinavian death metal for graceful, melodic, and contemplative excursions. With Damnation deemed a one-time experiment for Opeth, it seems appropriate that Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire documents a unique period in the band's evolution via a two-hour live show recorded in London, as well as an insightful 65-minute documentary, "The Making of 'Deliverance' and 'Damnation'." The live gig finds the band Jekyll-and-Hyde-ing through a two-hour set, split into mellow and beastly halves. The first is comprised almost completely of Damnation's relatively delicate Porcupine Tree-inspired mood pieces, best illustrated by the dynamic crescendos of "Closure" and "Death Whispered a Lullaby," the Led Zeppelin/"No Quarter" Mellotron atmospherics of fragile number "Weakness," and instrumental "Ending Credits" (which vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt describes to the crowd as a blatant Camel rip-off -- a reference perhaps lost on the theater-full of metal worshippers). While the quieter songs lack the hair-whipping immediacy of Opeth's more aggressive material, Akerfeldt, whose melodic vocal abilities shine on such material, appropriately explains the band's M.O. while introducing "To Rid the Disease": "Just because it's slightly mellow doesn't mean it's less evil." Viewing the two-hour show as a whole, however, one realizes Opeth is simply building tension (or impatience?) for the crowd-pleasing, jagged Swedish ice shards to come: Five expansive and stunningly masterful extreme-metal epics, including the inventive, wallop-packing riffery of "The Drapery Falls" and "Deliverance"; Akerfeldt telling the crowd that such songs are "what we really sound like" -- although the group disappointingly delves no deeper into its catalog than 2001's Blackwater Park. While the group isn't exactly the most visually engaging live band, their lack of gimmickry and intense focus on the music are refreshing, and the live show's overall production keeps Lamentations from being a needlessly arid, two-hour sit-a-thon -- mostly thanks to the anamorphic widescreen presentation, extraordinary 5.1 Dolby digital surround mix, and intimate camera angles (although the Akerfeldt "orifice cam" gives a few too many close-ups of the vocalists oral and nasal cavities). The documentary, as the title implies, chronicles Opeth's 2002 recording sessions; disappointingly, the film only brushes the surface of the group's stress-filled studio time -- they faced massive technical difficulties and ended up switching studios mid-way through -- but offers plenty of in-depth, equal-time interviews with all the bandmembers and producer Steven Wilson, touching on writing, recording, and influences. Certainly, only the most diehard Opeth-ateers will appreciate the documentary footage, but as an overall capturing-the-moment-type document, Lamentations as a whole serves only to increase one's appreciation for the band's diverse and unparalleled combination of death metal, unwieldy, ambitious prog, and earthy folk -- and exemplifying exactly why Opeth stands head and shoulders above most of its Scandinavian peers when it comes to creativity, musicianship, and intelligence. ~ John Serba
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Rock - Released May 24, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

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Progressive Rock - Released July 17, 2006 | 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
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Metal - Released June 28, 2008 | Spinefarm Records UK

Collecting their early work into a three-disc compilation, The Candlelight Years revisits the formative years of quintessential death metal band Opeth. Consisting of Orchid (1995), Morningrise (1996), and My Arms, Your Hearse (1998), the set shows the band as they worked to find their sound, hinting at the band that would eventually release the ground breaking Blackwater Park just a few years later. Definitely a great place to start for anyone interested in observing Opeth's development during their embryonic years. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Metal - Released November 2, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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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
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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
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Metal - Released May 1, 1995 | Spinefarm Records UK

Opeth's debut, Orchid, was quite an audacious release, a far-beyond-epic prog/death monstrosity exuding equal parts beauty and brutality -- an album so brilliant, so navel-gazingly pretentious that, in retrospect, Opeth's future greatness was a foregone conclusion. Fact is, these Swedes -- with the opening cut, "In Mist She Was Standing," exceeding the 14-minute mark -- laid their cards on the table at the beginning of the hand and still took the pot, so ambitious and convincing is the band's artistic vision. And while the record finds the group searching for the razor-sharp focus and prominent emotional hook put forth on the later, classic releases My Arms, Your Hearse, Still Life, and Blackwater Park, Orchid is still an exhilarating listen, with the band meshing double-time death tempos with bleak, frostbitten riffs and moodily expansive, jazz-influenced, melodic instrumental passages sporting an abundance of delicate acoustic guitars and pianos. Mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt's guttural growls puncture the nearly interminable arrangements with the kind of brutality that stops die-hard death and black metal fans from giving up on the lengthy arrangements completely, although with five exorbitant cuts clocking in at ten-plus minutes (three of them over 13 minutes), some fat-trimming would have kept things even remotely manageable. Still, one has to admire Opeth's unwavering adherence to the album's astoundingly depressive tone, Orchid being a near-brilliant ode to misery that would kick the door down for Akerfeldt and his cohorts to claim sole ownership of a well-conceived and, at the time, startlingly unique sound. [Note: Orchid was originally released in 1995 and reissued in 2000 by London-based label Candlelight with a bonus track, "Into the Frost of Winter," a considerably gritty, unproduced rehearsal recording from 1992; not surprisingly, the bandmembers vastly improved their songwriting and instrumental skills prior to Orchid's release. Parts of the track would eventually morph into the song "Advent" on Opeth's 1996 album Morningrise.] ~ John Serba
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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
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Rock - Released June 17, 2014 | Roadrunner Records

When Opeth released Heritage in 2011 -- the wonderfully indulgent, somewhat unfocused exercise in prog rock aesthetics -- some longstanding fans were offended because the band had abandoned death metal. Truthfully, they had been exploring prog in fits and starts since 2005's Ghost Reveries. Pale Communion completes the transition, proving that Heritage was not only a next step, but a new beginning altogether. Vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt has obviously been listening to loads of prog in the interim -- ELP's debut, Deep Purple's In Rock, early King Crimson and Eloy, National Health, U.K., Bill Bruford's early solo work, Pär Lindh, and even jazz fusion. Produced by the singer and mixed by Steven Wilson, Pale Communion states its ambitions outright. Opener "Eternal Rains Will Come" explodes with knotty, labyrinthine organ (from new keyboardist Joakim Svalberg) and Martin Axenrot's skittering, propulsive drums. Åkerfeldt's and Fredrik Åkesson's serpentine yet raucous guitars and Martín Méndez's fat, humming bassline kick in immediately thereafter. They all stop on a dime to be replaced by flute and acoustic piano. After another few moments, they return to establish the song's vamp and melody. Åkerfeldt's multi-tracked vocals don't enter until three minutes in, then give way to a dazzling finish provided by a guitar solo and massive swathes of organ and Mellotron. Lead single "Cusp of Eternity" employs repetitive metal guitar and bass riffs, while the modal melody suggests Middle Eastern origins. "Moon Above, Sun Below" is the set's hinge piece and longest track. It contains no less than five sections in nearly 11 minutes. These are introduced variously by samples of Tibetan thigh-bone trumpet and vibraphones, as well as acoustic guitars, Rhodes piano, thundering organ, anthemic electric guitars atop cracking rim shots, kick drum, and a forceful bassline that creates dynamic textural passages illustrating the rage, loss, and acceptance in Åkerfeldt's lyrics. "Goblin" is an instrumental, a tightrope walk between hard rock and jazz fusion, and it's among the finest things here. This is countered by "River," with rich, multi-layered vocal harmonies, 12-string, piano, glistening cymbal, and snare, highlighted by a melodic electric guitar solo à la Argus-era Wishbone Ash. The metallic syncopation in "Voice of Treason" is dramatic with Eastern interludes via the primary instruments, painted by Mellotron as Åkerfeldt soars. The first half of closer "Faith in Others" is instrumentally sparse; it begins reaching for the skies about halfway through, but gets dialed back to allow the gorgeous melody prominence. Pale Communion is more focused and refined than Heritage. Though they readily display numerous musical influences here, ultimately Opeth sound like no one but themselves. This set is a massive leap forward, not only in terms of style but also in its instrumental and performance acumen; it is nearly unlimited in its creativity. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released October 23, 2015 | Music For Nations

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Rock - Released November 21, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

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