one of my long-time favourite bands is the swedish progressive death metal band opeth. (if measured by band t-shirts i possess, this is my absolutely favourite band.) over their existence – they had their 20th anniversary last year –, their sound shifted from a more “foggy forest” style to a more progressive one. in this post, i want to shed light on the older period, when they did their “famous melodic progressive forest death metal”, as someone fittingly called their style back then.
let me begin with one of my most favourite songs, under the weeping moon. its from their 1995 debut album, orchid. when i first listened to it, it reminded me a lot of the soundtrack of one of my favourite movies, dead man, which was done by neil young. and the first time i saw opeth live, which was 2005 in zürich, they played this song as well.
the second song is another song from orchid, called the apostle in triumph.
the third song is the night and the silent water from the 1996 morningrise album. a song about mikael åkerfeld‘s grandfather, being sick, and who died before the release of the album. this is another one of my favourite opeth songs.
the fourth song is the moor from the 1999 album still life, which is still one of my most favourite albums ever. not only the sound of this song is great, the interweaved melodies, which make you think you’re walking through a foggy moor, but also the twisted, complex lyrics, such as:
the sigh of summer upon my return
fifteen alike since I was here
bathed in deep fog, blurring my trail
snuffing the first morning rays
weary from what might have been ages
still calm with my mind at peace
would I prosper or fall, drain the past
the lapse of the moment took it’s turn
the fifth song is face of melinda from the same album. the album is a concept album, centered around the story of an outcast returning home to take his girlfriend with him. the girlfriend’s name is melinda (after whom mikael later named his first daughter). this song tells the part of the story where the storyteller meets melinda, and asks her to come with him. the first half of the song is rather calm, until it becomes more heavy, when he meets her:
i took her by the hand to say
all faith forever has been washed away
i returned for you in great dismay
come with me, far away to stay
the sixth song is from the blackwater park album, which was opeth‘s breakthrough. the song’s bleak; a dark, angry, powerful song, with beautiful and calm intermissions.
the last song is blackwater park, also from the blackwater park album. bleak and blackwater park are my favourite songs from this album, and some of my most favourite opeth songs. another powerful, fast song, featuring a wonderful calm instrumental part over 2 1/2 minutes long. (for other bands, this would be a full song. it’s good that opeth is not other bands…)