Review of the Album "Orchid" by Swedish Progressive Death Metal Band Opeth
Orchid Was Released in a Year That Was Great for International Metal Bands
Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth released their debut album called Orchid in 1995, a year that this writer thinks was outstanding for international heavy metal bands. For the purposes of this discussion, international would mean bands formed outside of the United States. Right from the beginning of the first song called "In Mist She Was Standing," the main riff kicks in creating an outstanding atmosphere for these guys.
A Photo of the Cover for the Album Orchid
Why Opeth Was Great From Their Inception As a Band
Early on, they established themselves not as riff masters so much but they knew how to create just the right kind of enjoyable start to an album. The tone kind of changes early on and then shifts back to traditional Opeth style.
What Is the First Song "In Mist She Was Standing" About?
The song is about the ghost of a woman appearing and smiling at the man’s presence. Then a kiss was given, bringing on an eclipse but eventually her shadow. Opeth shows that they change quickly from the heavy riffing to the progressive metal atmosphere that is softer to provide a sort of contrast. The part starting around the 8 minute and 40 second mark is such an impressive riff that even Finland’s Catamenia would be impressed with it.
"In Mist She Was Standing"
Not Every Heavy Metal Fan Will Like Opeth's Music
Opeth is a band that I’ve grown into and it takes a while for some to get used to. Listening to Opeth’s music is like an acquired taste but with music. You will either enjoy their music or you won’t. Opeth is a good alternative to traditional heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden whom I feel have dropped off a bit since about 1995. Opeth was just getting started and they started off VERY strong and this sort of songwriting prowess led them past at least the excellent album Morningrise.
Analysis of the Other Songs On Orchid
The next song called "Under the Weeping Moon" is about a person that spends his nights weeping under the darkness of the moon until his soul gets absorbed by a very strong burning flame which has helped him get through life’s toughest moments. Then comes one song that even I did not expect. The song is called "Silhouette" and it is a classically influenced piano song. No wonder why some fans may think Opeth is an awesome band! A move like this musically can either make or break you and for Opeth I think this song increases their diversity and strength as a band. The only other metal band that would have included parts or songs like this early in their career would have been Theatre of Tragedy. There is also an influence of early Amorphis in this song (think Tales from the Thousand Lakes). The song "Forest of October" has two noticeable qualities the first of which is a small clean vocal part by Mikael Akerfeldt in which he says: “please take me there.” The second musical thing that I notice is the influence of Florida band Death in the beginning. The solo in the song in terms of its style is similar to the album Human released in 1991. So even though Chuck Schuldiner has passed away, his influence is still felt even though in 1995 he was still active and alive. All the acoustic time changes that Opeth uses are done pretty effectively, thus making them perhaps the elite band in the progressive death metal genre. "The Twilight is My Robe" has a start musically similar to 1980’s Fates Warning but then the song switches to typical Opeth style. The song "Requiem" is an instrumental but unlike Silhouette, the piano is not there and instead we have simple acoustic guitar in this song.
Final Thoughts About the Album Orchid
The last song called "The Apostle in Triumph" starts with a musical part that Italian band Lacuna Coil would be influenced by when they did their acoustic sessions for the album Comalies. Sometimes the only way to follow a path that is right is to open up your soul to the light of the Universe which radiates pure love and this love will help you to travel your way to success even when the rain is falling. Along with Morningrise, Orchid is a very solid way for Opeth to start their career and it is well done even if the songs are long. Special thanks to all the members of Opeth will be given including Mikael Akerfeldt and now former guitarist Peter Lindgren for their creativity, hard work, and musical prowess as they created many fine progressive death metal albums!
Orchid vs. Morningrise
Which one of these first two Opeth albums do you enjoy more?
© 2017 Ara Vahanian