[[caption-width-right:300: The dudes themselves. Opeth logo visible in the background.]]
Influenced by:
+ Music/JudasPriest, Music/{{Camel}}, Gracious, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Music/{{Slayer}}, Music/IronMaiden, Music/{{Death}}, Music/BlackSabbath, Music/DeepPurple, Music/CelticFrost, Music/KingDiamond, Music/MorbidAngel, Music/{{Voivod}}, Music/PorcupineTree

Opeth is a [[ProgressiveMetal Progressive]] [[TechnicalDeathMetal Death Metal]] band formed in Stockholm, Sweden, by David Isberg and Mikael Åkerfeldt. After the band was formed, David later quit and left the band; Mikael became the main vocalist and guitarist.

In 1995, Opeth released their debut album ''Orchid'', which was critically praised for its unique style of death metal, having twin guitar harmonies, also adding acoustic guitar, piano, and clean vocals, something rather unusual for the Scandinavian death metal scene at the time. A couple of years later, they released ''Morningrise'', which continued to explore the techniques used in ''Orchid''. While it was quite popular, Opeth noticed that other metal bands began to copy them and Mikael urged the band to change their signature style. This lead to the release of the dark ConceptAlbum ''My Arms, Your Hearse''. A couple of years later, they released the fan favorite ''Still Life'', in which they began to deconstruct their sound. However, they never went on tour because their music, while well liked, was not mainstream.

This all changed with the release of ''Blackwater Park'', which many fans and critics considered then to be Opeth's best. After the massive success of ''Blackwater Park'', they began their first world-wide tour. Within a six month period of time, they released two albums: ''Deliverance'' and ''Damnation''. The former is considered to be the band's heaviest work while the latter is a more elegant acoustic based album. While ''Deliverance'' was well-received, ''Damnation'' instantly became a fan favorite, most notably the song ''Windowpane''. (Note that Opeth originally planned these two to be a DistinctDoubleAlbum, but ExecutiveMeddling nixed the idea). After extensive touring, they released 2005's dark and majestic ''Ghost Reveries'', which (just like other previous albums) became an instant hit. After the release of ''Ghost Reveries'' however, Peter Lindgren and Martin Lopez (guitarist and drummer, respectively) left the band, leaving Opeth's future in doubt. Nevertheless, in 2008, Opeth released ''Watershed'', which has been praised as their deepest and most mature work to date.

Starting with 2011's ''Heritage'', Opeth underwent a GenreShift to ProgressiveRock, with which they had already experimented on ''Damnation''. This continued on 2014's ''Pale Communion'', and the band members appear to have no interest in returning to their metal style. The shift has predictably met with mixed reaction from existing fans, though it has won them some new fans as well.

Despite their departure from the genre, Opeth are generally accepted to be one of the poster children for ProgressiveDeathMetal. While they are firmly rooted in Scandinavian death metal, they have shown many elements of ProgressiveRock throughout their albums. They are known to combine elements of heavy metal, progressive rock, Scandinavian folk music, blues, jazz, and acoustics into their songs. While Mikael has stated that groups that inspired Opeth were ones like Music/{{Slayer}}, Music/{{Black Sabbath}}, Music/{{Death}}, and Music/CelticFrost, he fully admits that other bands like Music/{{Yes}}, Music/{{Camel}}, Music/{{Magma}}, and other progressive bands inspired the progressive rock side of them. They are well known to try something new even after an extremely successful album (à la ''Blackwater Park'' and ''Ghost Reveries''). They remain one of the world's most popular DeathMetal acts, and are considered to be engaged in the work of opening up that scene to a wider audience, as their acoustic, jazzy, and folkish elements can easily draw fans of those styles into a position to appreciate the legitimate musicality of the abrasive, sonically violent, and dissonantly deconstructive nature of the death metal soundscape.

Opeth isn't a band for everyone, however. Their songs are extremely long (the average clocking in between eight and ten minutes) and musically complex. This makes their music very difficult to listen to without some dedication. A large majority of their songs demand repeated listening for full appreciation. This can make listening tedious to those who find the music alienating either for its lack of simple accessibility or death metal sensibilities. One critic put it this way: "It is very hard to be a casual Opeth fan, due to the length and complexity of their songs."

Not to be confused with Music/{{Otep}}, as they often are.

!! Discography:
* ''Orchid'' (1995)
* ''Morningrise'' (1996)
* ''My Arms, Your Hearse'' (1998)
* ''Still Life'' (1999)
* ''Blackwater Park'' (2001)
* ''Deliverance'' (2002)
* ''Damnation'' (2003)
* ''Ghost Reveries'' (2005)
* ''Watershed'' (2008)
* ''Heritage'' (2011)
* ''Pale Communion'' (2014)
* ''Sorceress'' (2016)

!! Current Band members:
* Mikael Akerfeldt: vocals, guitar, bass on ''My Arms, Your Hearse'' (1990-)
* Fredrik Akesson: guitar (2007-)
* Martin Mendez: bass (1997-)
* Martin "Axe" Axenrot: drums (2006-)
* Joakim Svalberg: keyboards (2011-)

!! Past Band members:
* David Isberg: Original guitarist and vocalist (1990-1992)
* Micke Bargstörm guitars (1990)
* Rille Even drums (1990)
* Dan Nilsson guitars (1990)
* Martin Persson bass (1990)
* Anders Nordin drums (19901997)
* Andreas Dimeo guitars (19901991)
* Nick Döring bass (19901991)
* Kim Pettersson guitars (1991)
* Johan [=DeFarfalla=] bass, backing vocals (1991, 19951997)
* Mattias Ander bass (1991)
* Peter Lindgren guitars (19912007), bass (1991)
* Stefan Guteklint bass (19911994)
* Martin Lopez drums (19972006)
* Per Wiberg keyboards (20052011)

!! Guests:
* Nathalie Lorichs sang the second verse and chorus on the song "Coil" from ''Watershed''.
* Music/StevenWilson of Music/PorcupineTree has provided backing vocals on ''Blackwater Park'', ''Deliverance'' and ''Damnation'', and was producer for those albums.
* Renowned Swedish flautist Björn J:son Lindh played flute on the song "Famine" from ''Heritage''.
* Peruvian percussionist Alex Acuña (who has performed with many other notable musicians, including Music/ElvisPresley) also played on "Famine".

!! Opeth shows examples of:

* AwesomeMcCoolname: Martin ''Axenrot''. It certainly helps that his nickname is "Axe".
* BreatherEpisode: While songs like "Hours of Wealth" and "Patterns in the Ivy" count, the best example is ''Damnation'', which is wedged between the heavy ''Deliverance'' and the extremely dark ''Ghost Reveries''.
** And just to remember some other breather songs, there's "Silhouette", "Requiem", "Madrigal" and "For Absent Friends".
*** And subverted as well, as the heaviest song on "Ghost Reveries", "The Grand Conjuration", is stuck between the two lightest and shortest songs on the album, "Hours of Wealth" and "Isolation Years".
** "Burden" is a very peaceful, if mournful, prog-rock ballad, which follows the extremely heavy "Heir Apparent," and very heavy and experimental "The Lotus Eater."
** "Benighted" from ''Still Life'' is a very mellow, acoustic song between "Godhead's Lament" and "Moonlapse Vertigo." It is also much shorter than both songs.
* CarefulWithThatAxe: Plenty of examples:
** Song "Advent" features quite many sudden screams between the constant growls. "The Leper Affinity" has a solid one near the climax ('deafening shrieks pierced the '''NIIIIIIIGHT!!''''). Also the start of "Ghost of Perdition", halfway through "The Grand Conjuration", etc.
* ConceptAlbum: Quite a few...
** ''My Arms Your Hearse'' is a story about the ghost of a man who follows his wife in suspicion that she wasn't truly sad after his death.
** ''Still Life'' is about a medieval atheist who returns to face the Christian government and regain his love, Melinda.
** ''Ghost Reveries'' was intended to be one surrounding the turmoil of a man who commits an unconscionable act (symbolised by killing his own mother), but Mikael abandoned the idea of having the whole album qualify after writing "Isolation Years", which didn't fit into the concept. Several songs still reflect the original idea, however, so it could be considered roughly two-thirds of a concept album. However, the final track order also does not reflect the originally intended sequence of events.
** The songs on the album ''Watershed'' are connected by the theme of parting with the loved one and subsequent alienation from society.
* CoverVersion: The band has covered Music/CelticFrost, Music/IronMaiden, Music/DeepPurple, Robin Trower, Marie Fredriksson, Music/AliceInChains, and (at a recent live show) Music/BonJovi.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mikael is pretty renowned for this. See his speech under FunnyMoments.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''Orchid'' and ''Morningrise'' are pretty much the odd balls of the band's catalog: They have a surprising amount of BlackMetal riffs and have much longer compositions than anything before it (with songs such as "In Mist She Was Standing" off ''Orchid'' clocking at fourteen minutes and "Black Rose Immortal" off of ''Morningrise'' infamously clocking at '''''twenty minutes'''''). ''My Arms, Your Hearse'' was when the band's more progressive death metal style kicked in due to Mikael becoming annoyed at the FollowTheLeader bands ripping off riffs off of the first two albums.
* EpicRocking: Their longest song, "Black Rose Immortal", lasts 20:14 and many of their songs exceed 10 minutes in length. Eight minutes is probably about Opeth's average song length.
** The average is currently 7:31.5 (not counting live and re-release tracks).
** Another fun number fact: as of 2016, the band has released twelve studio albums (Sorceress included). They come with 94 tracks total, 25 of which are over 10 minutes long. And then there's the bonus tracks, live albums, compilations...
* GenreShift: As mentioned above, ''Heritage'' and all studio albums after it have no metal influences.
* HatesEveryoneEqually: ''Blackwater Park'' has themes of this according to the ''Blackwater Park: Legacy Edition'' linear notes by Mikael.
* IAmTheBand: Zig-zagged with Mikael. While Mikael stresses the fact each band member is important to the band, everyone (even his bandmates) agrees that he ''is'' Opeth, as he's the main songwriter.
* ILoveTheDead: The subject of "The Leper Affinity".
* LastNoteNightmare: "Burden" - [[{{Nightmare Fuel}} nothing said]]. Also "A Fair Judgement".
** "Nectar" manages to get ''two'' in the space of about a minute.
* LighterAndSofter: ''Damnation'' and everything from ''Heritage'' onward.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: The band's name is a slightly modified version of a place name (Opet) from Creator/WilburSmith's novel ''The Sunbird'' (note that the person who named the band was ThePeteBest and left pretty quickly). Also, ''Blackwater Park'' is one by proxy; see below.
* LoudnessWar: Their metal albums are pretty squished, even the ones Music/StevenWilson (who hates this trope) produced. ''Damnation'' isn't that dynamic either. By the time of ''Pale Communion'' they had stopped doing this.
* MinisculeRocking: Much of the instrumentals such as "Requiem", "Madrigal", and "Patterns in the Ivy".
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Generally around 9, but they go all over the place. ''Damnation'' in particular is pure 3/4.
** Interestingly, many individual songs vary wildly between rankings, such as "Dirge for November," which starts about a 2/3 for the first couple minutes, then rockets straight to a 9 pretty much without warning before going back to 2/3 territory for the coda. Almost every song on ''Watershed'' has these extreme variations as well, with "Hessian Peel" being probably the most extreme example (unless you count the transition from "Coil" to "Heir Apparent").
** Their 2011 album, ''Heritage'', would be in the 3-7 range for the most part. It's quite a bit more straightforward and less scattered than other Opeth records (except, of course, for ''Damnation''), so it's much easier to rank on this scale. ''Pale Communion'', their latest, follows in a similar vein.
* MoodWhiplash: Oh god ''YES.'' This is your average reaction to a song by Opeth: "Who the fuck put DeathMetal into my jazz?!"
** One of the best examples is the song "Hessian Peel" from ''Watershed'', which contains around six minutes of serene ProgressiveRock before abruptly transforming into blasting DeathMetal. "Dirge for November" is also an excellent example, as noted immediately above. That said, many of the band's transitions are more gradual ("The Drapery Falls" is a good example here, as it builds up steadily to the death metal section in a BoleroEffect-like fashion before transition back to progressive rock somewhat more abruptly).
* MurderBallad: ''Still Life'', ''Ghost Reveries''.
* NewSoundAlbum: Twice.
** ''Damnation'' is an album consisting of, essentially, nothing but the quiet bits that had usually been sandwiched inside death metal songs before. This was followed by two more albums of their regular progressive death metal mix.
** ''Heritage'' features a new sound entirely, abandoning the death metal influences for heavy progressive rock. This change has stuck, with their albums since refining the same style.
* NoEnding: "Serenity Painted Death" and "Closure" both cut off abruptly. In the former it is intentional to indicate the capture of the protagonist, while in the latter it is an ironic pun on the title of the song (as the abrupt ending means the song has ''no'' closure).
* OneSteveLimit: Averted twice, When Martin Lopez was replaced by Martin Axenrot.
* ProgressiveMetal
** [[TechnicalDeathMetal Progressive]] ''[[TechnicalDeathMetal Death]]'' [[TechnicalDeathMetal Metal]].
* ProgressiveRock: ''Damnation'', ''Heritage'', ''Pale Communion''. Most of their metal albums have at least one song that fits into this style as well. (''Watershed'' has ''four'').
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: '''THE! GRAND! CON! JUR! AAAA! SHUUUUNNNN!'''
** Also, pretty much the entire lyrics of "Blackwater Park" (song). "THE SUUUUUN SEETS, FOREEEVEEERRR, OVER, BLACKWATER, PAAAAARRRRKKKK!!!"
* RedOniBlueOni: Two examples:
** Mikael and Martin Mendez, the former being a very energetic and brash man and the latter being very quiet, rarely speaking in interviews.
** ''Deliverance'' and ''Damnation'', the former being the band's heaviest work while the latter is the band's softest work.
* [[ReligionRantSong Religion Rant Album]]: ''Still Life'' has anti-religious themes (it specifically attacks religious fanaticism and theocracy).
* RockMeAsmodeus: Per WordOfGod, most of the lyrics to the first album were this. This is also an element of ''Ghost Reveries'', but for the most part they abandoned this as their career progressed.
* RunningGag: Mikael's endless snark at everyone concert will be this.
** Asking the band to perform "Black Rose Immortal" is this a lot.
* SelfDeprecation: Much of Mikael's [[DeadpanSnarker snark]] during their live shows usually revolves around calling the next song "The most boring song on the album" and mocking the [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible pretentiousness]] of their music. [[StealthInsult Or maybe mocking their fans.]]
* ShoutOut[=/=][[TitledAfterTheSong Titled After the Song/Album/Band/Lyric]]: Mikael loves to name his songs and albums after bands, albums, songs, lyrics, and so on. A representative sample:
** ''Blackwater Park'' is named after a German {{Krautrock}} band. By proxy it's also a LiteraryAllusionTitle since they took their name from Creator/WilkieCollins' ''Literature/TheWomanInWhite''.
** ''Still Life'' is named after an album of the same name by Music/VanDerGraafGenerator.
** ''My Arms, Your Hearse'' takes its name from lyrics to the song "Drip Drip" by Music/{{Comus}}.
** "The Baying of the Hounds" also takes its name from a Comus lyric (this time, "Diana").
** "For Absent Friends" is titled after a song by Music/{{Genesis}}.
** "Master's Apprentices" is named for an Australian progressive rock group.
** "The Seventh Sojourn" is named after an album by Music/TheMoodyBlues.
** "Strange Brew" is named after a song by Music/{{Cream}}, though the title is all the two songs have in common.
** "The Wilde Flowers" is named after a semi-obscure English group which gave rise to the "Canterbury Scene" movement in early prog.
* SincerestFormOfFlattery: Mikael has stated that the song "Ending Credits" off ''Damnation'' is "totally a Music/{{Camel}} ripoff". Given how he's also said how much of an influence they are to him, the song becomes more of a tribute than a FollowTheLeader kind of thing. "Benighted" is another example of clear Camel influence on Opeth's work; its resemblance to "Never Let Go" has been repeatedly noted.
** Mikael has also admitted that "Slither" off of ''Heritage'' was basically his attempt to rewrite "Kill the King" by Rainbow; fitting, as it's a tribute to Music/RonnieJamesDio.
* SopranoAndGravel: Mikael is a shining example of the one-man version. He is effortlessly able to change between a towering, operatic clean voice to a deep, crackling death growl. It's much better exemplified by "The Lotus Eater".
* TheStoic: Martin Mendez, and the fans love him for it.
* SubliminalSeduction: There's a section in "Hessian Peel" that parodies the infamous "Stairway to Heaven" backmasking UrbanLegend. There are a couple of other examples of deliberate backmasking in their catalogue, such as the intro to "Demon of the Fall" and the hidden track after "By the Pain I See in Others".
* SurprisinglyGentleSong: "To Bid You Farewell", "Credence", "Epilogue", "Benighted", "Face of Melinda", "Harvest", "For Absent Friends", several others, plus the entirety of ''Damnation'', ''Heritage'', and ''Pale Communion'', all of which qualify as [[SurprisinglyGentleSong Surprisingly Gentle Albums]].
* ToAbsentFriends: The song "For Absent Friends", titled after the Music/{{Genesis}} song of the same name.
* TogetherInDeath: "White Cluster", the ending track for ''Still Life''.
* UncommonTime: Pretty much mandatory for being a ProgressiveMetal band. "Deliverance" contains one of many examples (quite a lot of the song is in 7/4).