Opeth is a progressive metal band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. This band with the exception of Dream Theater is pretty much what opened me up to metal and progressive rock. I was driving to get food after work one night about five and a half years ago listening to Sirius Satellite radio. When a song came on called Ghost of Perdition by Opeth. The mix of fast paced drums, a singer who can growl with the best of them and a hypnotic guitar riff had my curiosity peaked. At the time I wasn’t into a lot of metal, I had the stigma of radio and mtv metal which consists mostly of noise mixed with other noises to make a mind numbing combination of shit my brain isn’t capable of decoding. Rightly so there usually isn’t anything to hear cause it is all mediocre musicians who think making more noise makes them better. This however wasn’t that at all, it had rythym and didn’t sound like it was composed by five twenty somethings banging drums really fast and screaming something that I won’t ever understand and I am better for it cause most of the lyrics are tripe anyway.
Well, I am into the song thinking man this kind of rocks out, then it happened, one of my favorite things in all of music the transition. What is a transition to me? Its when the pace and tone of a song changes either getting more aggressive or mellows out. This guy who seconds before was growling was now singing. I have been impressed by alot of singers but I have never heard one who could go from a roar to alto highs maybe higher. Needless to say after listening through I felt that I had to hear more. So I got Ghost Reveries the album on which Ghost of Perdition was on. I instantly loved it. Never before had I heard such a mix of musical style from one band. One second you could be listening to the Moody Blues or Deep Purple (which Opeth covered a song by called Soldier of Fortune) then you are getting your ass kicked out of your seat by a sound that could be compared to 80′s Metallica or Pantera yet those names don’t even do this band justice in terms of chemistry they make with vocals and instruments alike.
So here I am with one Opeth album and I had played the hell out of it in an enthralling trance of sonic euphoria. I went out and found more Opeth and sometimes you tell yourself ok that album was great but it has to be the best they have to offer. Boy was I wrong. Each album equally impressed me, even Damnation which was a soothing masterpiece, no gutteral screaming, no fast drums, just a superb example of the range of art these musicians are capable of. Their newest album named Watershed is another masterpiece which captures some of the same brutal and calming sounds they are known for but still manages to be different from what they have done before. It almost seems these guys sold their souls to the devil for their talent. If their next album features a song with the words “train a comin” I will know my previous statement to be true.
The fact that a band of this caliber gets only an underground recognition in the states really makes me sick to my stomach with the record industry controlled by old men who have no idea what good music is and want to sell us pretty people who have very little talent let alone the ability to create their own music. Thank god for the internet age I’d hate life if it weren’t for some of the music out there. Bands such as Opeth and Dream Theater should be the bands you hear on the radio on a regular basis because they put so much into writing their music even if it isnt for you, you can still feel the amount of love these guys have for the music they make.
If you are reading this and thinkin bah I don’t like metal, I urge you to go find an Opeth album. Damnation isn’t a good starting point but if you fail to care for the heavier elements of Ghost Reveries and their newest release Watershed, Damnation may be a good album to pick up.
Keep trying out new music, you may not like everything out there but it is good to broaden your musical horizons. You may discover something you love along the way.