Morningrise Opeth - Morningrise (Century Media) 1997

1. "Advert" (13:46)
2. "The Night and the Silent Water" (11:00)
3. "Nectar" (10:09)
4. "Black Rose Immortal" (20:14)
5. "To Bid You Farewell" (10:57)

Epic, progressive, technical death metal that incorporates everything from melodic acoustic parts, to pure aggressive speed, to slow, plodding doom metal. Musically this band is quite outstanding. Unfortunately the death vocals are a bit monotonous and lacking in any sort of range whatsoever. After a few listens, the vocals begin to blend with the music. Occasionally the band incorporates a melancholy, clean vocal style that is actually quite refreshing aside the growl. Gotta love a CD that only has five songs but is over an hour long. While not something I would probably play on a daily basis, the mix of styles, along with a sense of melody that few death metal bands have make Opeth a unique listening experience. My copy is the original the first re-release on Century Media. The newer pressings have bonus tracks as well. The first 3 albums were originally released on Candlelight Records.

My Arms, Your Hearse Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse (Century Black) 1998

1. "Prologue" [instrumental] (0:59)
2. "April Ethereal" (8:41)
3. "When" (9:41)
4. "Madrigal" [instrumental] (1:25)
5. "The Amen Corner" (8:43)
6. "Demon of the Fall" (6:13)
7. "Credence" (5:29)
8. "Karma" (7:52)
9. "Epilogue" [instrumental] (3:59)

Opeth's third album is yet another mixed bag of beautiful melodies, sheer brutality and epic, progressive death metal. Dynamic changes, stop on a dime breaks and tempo changes, and acoustic passages, "My Arms" is quite an entertaining disc. At points, songs like "April Ethereal", even have touches of black metal, but without the cheese associated with that style. The standout tracks are most definitely "Demon of the Fall" and "April Ethereal." Despite the length of the songs, there is enough variation within each song as to not fall asleep. Well ok, perhaps an occassional cat nap during some of the more melancholy moments, but this won't last long once the gutteral vocals start up again. I must admit, after having hear "Blackwater Park" and "Deliverance" before this disc, that I prefer the bands later works to these earlier discs. I really like the addition of the doom metal pars in those discs, that aren't a part of this CD. However, "My Arms, Your Hearse" certainly won't be a dust collector and most likely will grow on me more and more over time. That seems to be the way some of my most cherished albums become my most cherished albums. This disc has been re-released and remastered with bonus tracks. Nothing really wrong with the mastering here however, and I already have the Celtic Frost and Iron Maiden covers on the tribute discs that Opeth was on, so for now I will be sticking with the original release. (Thanks Vartan)

Opeth - Still Life (Peaceville Records) 1999

1. "The Moor" (11:28)
2. "Godhead`s Lament" (9:47)
3. "Benighted" (5:01)
4. "Moonlapse Vertigo" (9:00)
5. "Face Of Melinda " (7:59)
6. "Serenity Painted Death" (9:14)
7. "White Cluster" (10:02)

Opeth are a diverse band. They successfully manage to bridge the gap between many different styles, not unlike Extol and In Flames. However, they sound like neither of those bands. Opeth sound like Opeth, extreme metal with atmospheric phrasings and melodies to form a unique listening experience. The variety in vocal styles also works well for the band. I particularly like the mix of death growls and clean vocals. This diversity, together with the layers of vocals and the sometimes beautiful melodies are all quite compelling.

Opeth - Blackwater Park (KOCH) 2001

1. "The Leper Affinity" (10:23)
2. "Bleak" (9:15)
3. "Harvest" (6:01)
4. "The Drapery Falls" (10:53)
5. "Dirge for November" (7:53)
6. "The Funeral Portrait" (8:44)
7. "Patterns in the Ivy" (1:52)
8. "Blackwater Park" (12:08)

Blackwater Park is simply awesome! This is one CD that deserves the praise that is heaped on it in the metal underground. Unfortunately when a band reaches this point, it suddenly become cool to "hate" a band. Time will tell if Opeth is the victim of such nonesense. Regardless, the music on here is a fusion of Pink Floyd, Yes, death metal and traditional heavy metal. While Opeth are heavy, they also have created a dynamic atmosphere that isn't usually present in most metal bands. The use of acoustic guitars, beautiful piano passages, ambient sounds, heavy grooves, and Eastern-tinged melodies adds quite a bit of dynamics to the sound of "Blackwater Park". Unfortunately, several reviews have labeled Opeth "black metal" which couldn't be farther from the truth. While there are some intense moments that may have been influenced by the black metal movement, the entirety of the CD is so far removed from the corpse painted hordes that it is a totally inaccurate label.

Deliverance Opeth - Deliverance (Koch Records) 2002

1. "Wreath" (11:10)
2. "Deliverance" (13:36)
3. "A Fair Judgement" (10:20)
4. "For Absent Friends" [instrumental] (2:17)
5. "Master's Apprentices" (10:29)
6. "By the Pain I See in Others" (13:50)

I have a real hard time reading reviews of this CD that list it as "melodic death metal". The only thing this CD has in common with death metal is the occasional growled vocal and some of the faster, heavier parts like in the opening moments of "Wreath". However, the majority of the CD is not death metal. "Deliverance" is progressive metal. Tight, technical and melodic songwriting that is quite unique, without being overbearing or boring. I must admit in the past, Opeth sometimes just put me to sleep. "Deliverance", however, is quite entertaining. "A Fair Judgement" is a slow doom metal song with clean vocals. "Deliverance" is a straight-up, technical, epic heavy metal jam. Jam is not a word you usually associate with death metal but it is appropriate here. At times it's not even metal, but would be better described as progressive rock along the lines of King Crimson. Just take a listen to the haunting nuances of the short instrumental "For Absent Friends" and see if it doesn't bring back flashbacks from the 70's. "Master's Apprentices" comes the closest to being death metal with it's pummeling double bass assault and grinding vocals. However, even this song displays the same progressive song writing tendencies, stop-on-a-dime precision and melodic nature as the rest of the disc. This is especially true in when in the middle of the song the band breaks into a melancholy acoustic ballad. Even in the heavier moments the guitar riffs are of a slow, doomy nature, and certainly aren't death metal. Album opener "Wreath" is also a pretty heavy track, and one of the few to offer psuedo blast beats, but again features some traditional stacotto guitar picking, as well as the melodic nature that gives this band it's character. Overall, my favorite disc by Opeth so far. There will be no snoozing this time 'round.

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