Written By: Matt Bolton
Swedish heavy hitters Opeth need no introduction and any lucky fan who got a ticket to their sold out, once in a lifetime event at the Sydney Opera House next year would tell you they always deliver the goods when it comes to a live show. Today’s HEAVY ROOTS branch out from a dark forest in Stockholm.
Starting as a bassist for a band called Eruption, a 16-year-old Mikael Åkerfeldt was asked to play bass for a new band. The man later became lead vocalist for this death metal band, and the rest was history. Opeth, derived from Opet, which translates to ‘City of the Moon’, was given to this seminal band. The first root to branch out brought Orchid; the band debut, which was produced by Dan Swanö, the man responsible for Edge of Sanity and Witherscape, who only recently brought The Northern Sanctuary to our metal ears.
Morningrise was the album to follow and now with 12 solid albums under their belt and an equally solid lineup the sky’s the limit for the band. A song that has always stuck with me that I always lose myself to was the final song on that five track masterpiece, that being, To Bid you Farewell.
The album that first got me into Opeth, before going back and listening to all their work, was Blackwater Park. Since then I was hooked, and spines tingle every time I would hear a track off this album at a live show.
Continuing to produce stellar work with help from some friends; Jonas Renkse of Katatonia came up with the idea of a heavier and a softer album, which brought on Deliverance and Damnation.
Former member Martin Lopez was a big part in the history of Opeth playing the drums from the My Arms, Your Hearse up until the Ghost Reveries albums. Lopez now plays the drums for a band by the name of Soen.
In 2012 Åkerfeldt joined good friend Steven Wilson, all round musical genius and front man for Porcupine Tree to form a project by the name of Storm Corrosion.
Storm Corrosion brought out the best from the two musicians, and the album is pure progressive greatness. The video for Drag Ropes would entertain the likes of Tim Burton.
Martin “Axe” Axenrot is the current drummer for Opeth. He has accompanied Åkerfeldt in the past and to this day is the present drummer for Bloodbath. The soul collector is my all-time favourite from the band which Åkerfeldt sang on. However, Swanö was the drummer on that album, Resurrection in Carnage.
Axe keeps himself busy, also playing for thrashers Witchery.
Current guitarist with Opeth is Fredrik Åkesson who can be seen doing his thing on both the Arch Enemy, Live Apocalypse DVD and Tiamat, Church of Tiamat DVD.
To this day Opeth continues to create fantastic music. Both Åkerfeldt and bassist Martín Méndez are the longest standing members, with Méndez joining in 1997, however as stated previously the band now have an epic line up and twelfth album Sorceress which will be released later this month looks like it will be welcomed with open arms by loyal Opeth fans such as myself. \m/
After selling out in record time for an intimate performance at the Sydney Opera House, the band have extended their Australian tour. Be sure not to miss out on tickets.