An observation on Opeth.

So… The Artist’s Way started getting more and more personal, but I do have observations on that process that I would like to share. But first, something that really isn’t that unrelated…

Opeth. Best known for being a Swedish death metal band who has had one foot firmly planted in the world of modern progressive rock for quite some time.   But their most recent album, Heritage, is not death metal. At all. And they didn’t play any songs with growling death metal vocals at their absolutely stunning live show here in San Francisco.  Heritage is a tribute to the bands’ influences, to metal and progressive rock of the 1970s, but with a personal, modern, and truly unique approach.  It blends classic heavy metal with quiet acoustic interludes and even a Swedish folk song played in a jazz style.

What makes Heritage so brilliant, though, really?

One:  It is not a hackneyed attempt to revive the musical trends of the past. It is a showcase of technical and emotional musicianship and a clear understanding of the music that paved the way for bands like Opeth to form and gain worldwide fame.  These five men are masters of their art, tip their hats to the past, and make emotional songs.  There is a fresh passion in their work, even as it references sounds from nearly 40 years ago…. and music even older than that in their reinventions of Swedish folk melodies.

Two: The lead singer makes no apologizes for any changes in the band’s musical style.  Ever.  In fact, he says that if someone doesn’t like it, they can fuck off.  Death metalheads lament the lack of RAWR in the recent album and tour setlist, but Opeth stands firmly by their creative decision to showcase more mellow and melodic songs from their already diverse repertoire.

Honor the past.  Know your roots. Be a master of your instrument (whether that’s your paintbrushes, your guitar, your words, or your body). Create honest art.  Stand by your creative decisions.

Wise lessons to live by, I’d say.

 

 

 

 

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I saw Opeth when they came around to Orlando. They’ve always been one of my favorite bands, and them touring with Katatonia made it even better. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do the heavier stuff, but their album “Damnation” was one of my favorites. Heritage came off as a combination of that and Watershed for me. They’ve been moving in the less heavy direction, and even though I enjoy Mikaels growls, His singing voice is just so… well, Chill.
I’ve been behind Opeth for quite some time now, and their decisions to go with this style is quite alright right me. I mean, half the shows enjoyment is Mikael cracking jokes so if he continues to do that, I’m good :)
-Soraya

 

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Opeth had kind of fallen off my radar- I had no idea they’d released a new album; I’m going to check it out now after reading what you’ve said about it. I saw them twice, one of which was their tour for Damnation with Porcupine Tree. It was brilliant. Opeth was my introduction to death metal- I picked up Blackwater Park after hearing an entirely mellow song, only to have my little new wave and post-punk-loving brain blown away by double kick bass drums and growled vocals. I’d never heard anything like it, especially intermingling with haunting acoustic guitar passages and that lilting singing voice.

 

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OPETH! This made me smile. I do shimmy drills to “The Grand Conjuration” all the time. Martin Lopez is a machine.

 

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