[Candlelight/Century Black]

Ah, Opeth. What can I say about Opeth? Well, I hear an awful lot about them. They seem to be the critics' darlings, their fans pretty much adore them, and I guess it's safe to say that they are considered to be a thinking (and sensible) metalhead's type of band. Anyhow, I finally decided to investigate what the fuss is all about, so I proceeded right to the root of the, ahem, problem and purchased "Orchid" - their first release.

Usually I am pretty reserved when it comes to progressive side of metal, but this accomplished combination of prog-death-metal and acoustic guitars is an exciting work. Relaxed, acoustic passages with bits of clean vocals deliver a saddened, romantic mood, which would smoothly transform into the technical guitar solos, edgy riffs, drumming replete with double-bass, and searing vocals. The delicate contrast and balance between these two parts is what makes this work so compelling. The continuous, cyclical shifts produce a manifold of mood swings that keep you very much intrigued. So much so that you don't even notice how the lengthy songs pass you by, as they are turned into a single flow that is as smooth as the smoothest velvet, and as thorny as the thorniest rose.

This may not appeal to the fans of the more straightforward and brutal forms of metal, but for the passionate, romantic types, this is a must-have.

2000 boris