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Record 9 of 51
Band's Name:  Opeth
Contributor(s):  Justin Cassidy (messiah15@hotmail.com)
Last Time Updated:  7-Mar-2000
Band's Country:  Sweden
Discography:  

Orchid (1995)
Morningrise (1996)

My Arms, Your Hearse (1998)
Still Life (1999)

State(Active or Disbanded):  Active
Biography:  From the Official Opeth Website (http://w1.891.telia.com/~u89100955/Opeth/):

I reckon that the first columns of Opeth were created due to Anders and myself forming Eruption. We had been friends since we were about 5 years old or so, so we were, and still are, the best of friends. During the early and mid-eighties my interests leaned more towards sports than to music, and the same for Anders. But my good taste had developed on an really early stage. I bought my first record when I was 8 years old, a metal record, namely "The number of the beast"/Iron Maiden. Since then I guess it was destined that I would end up in some band of any kind. In 1986 I got my first electric guitar and started immediately practice them "Smoke on the water" licks. The guitar was a pretty cool Les Paul copy in a black finish, actually very similar to the one Peter plays today even though his is the real thing. Anders big-brother had been in a metal band earlier, playing drums, so Anders and me eventually started jamming somewhat in his cellar in Srskogen where we lived at the time.

I think the time for it all was end of 1987 or something when the "Eruption" name was found. In the beginning we did mostly death metal covers like Bathory, Death and other bands whose music was simple enough for us to handle. 1988 we had developed into a full line-up, a 4 piece as we are today. Myself on guitar/vocals, Anders on drums, Nick Dring on guitars, and a guy called Jocke Horney on bass guitars( even though he couldn't play at all). The latter, was soon enough replaced with a guy who could play somewhat better, called Stephan Claesberg. Eruption were going strong for a couple of years actually...1987-1990. We never made any gigs, no demos, no nothing. Well, I've got a couple of reh-tapes actually. Some titles were: "Abandon life" (The first track I ever wrote), "Walls of dwell"(Quite bad english, huh?), "Obedient souls", "Condemned to hell", "Procreation of maledictions", "Sarcastic reign". Apart from these tracks we had several more, and we also used to cover bands such as the Misfits, Black Sabbath and other thrash/death bands. At the end of our short-lived "career" we actually were a 3-piece band, and we had to carry all our stuff a rather long way through a tiny forest to get to the rehearsal place, including a fucking heavyweight PA system that had belonged to Swedish punk legends Ebba Grn! Not that we cared that much as we were fucking metal!

I met David Isberg sometime during the same time I did Eruption. We were into this skateboard thing, you know? All of us were having a fucking skateboard. Anyway, he was really into extreme music as well, and I guess I owe it to him that I like this music so much. He really sparked my interest when he loaned me the Mefisto demotape called "The puzzle"! I was awestruck! They had cool solos, grim vocals, acoustic guitars, everything! I thought they were way better than most Death metal records I had bought. Together with Morbid Angel, Death Bathory, and Voivod, Mefisto became a big influence for all my future compositions. During the same time Eruption died, Opeth started to live.

David had formed the band together with some bums from Tby. The name was taken from a book by author Wilbur Smith, and was originally spelled Opet without the "h" at the end. The meaning was unknown for me until I quite recently found the book myself, and got the knowledge that Opeth is the city of the moon. Eruption was dead, and I wanted to get into some other band. David had earlier showed me the Opeth logo, the old one with the inverted cross, and I was really impressed with that logo, so I guess I got somewhat interested in the band since I had seen it. He approached me one day asking if I wanted to play bass with them. I thought I could try it out, so one evening we went to their reh-place in Tby. The thing was that none of the other guys in the band knew that I was coming, and they didn't really want to kick out the bassplayer they already had. The climax was when the other bassplayer appeared as well. It was fucking embarrassing! They started arguing about the matter, and the very same night, Opeth was history, at least for the Tby guys. They renamed themselves "Crowley" and released a terrible demotape called "The gate" in 1991.

However, me and David wanted to do something together with Opeth. We "reformed" Opeth as a 2-man band. I remember at the time that we said that Opeth was destined to be the most evil band in the world!! As you might understand I was more or less influenced by the occult back then, although in no serious manner. Music wise I was really into the twisted, dark, and evil-sounding riffs. The lyrics written by both me and David were pure Satanic chantings! The two songs we I first wrote was "Requiem of lost souls" and "Mystique of the Baphomet" (later "Mark of the damned" and later "Forest of October"). However, we needed to complete the line-up. We asked Anders to join the band which he did. We also asked Nick to join as a bassplayer. A second guitarist was found in Anderas Dimeo. It didn't take long until David had fixed us a slot on one of those various death metal gigs that were arranged in Stockholm during the same time. We rehearsed in a elementary school at the time, only using old 60?s equipment that we found there. The gig was in February of 1991 together with Therion, Excruciate and Authorise. We had practised 3 songs of which only 2 was played on that show. I reckon it was probably the worst appearance one can have witnessed. We were so fucking nervous that we all wanted to cancel the fucking gig and just go back home.

Not long after that, David had fixed us another gig, down in Gothenbourg. Since the last gig both Nick and Andreas had quit the band due to obvious reasons. For this 2nd gig we contacted 2 guys who played in a sleazy metal band called Crimson Cat, if they could help us out for the gig. One was Kim Pettersson and the other was Johan DeFarfalla (Yes, the very same)!! They were glad to, thinking that Playing death metal would be the easiest thing in the world. I tell you, they had serious problems learning our tracks who had by then become quite complex. The gig was fucking cool! Other bands playing were At the gates(they had just started playing), Therion, Desecrator, Megaslaughter and Sarcazm. We went down pretty well, and afterwards we stayed at Adrians (ATG) place. All but Johan, who immediately drove back to Stockholm to his girlfriend, and that was also the last we would see of him in Opeth, at least for a while. Kim actually stuck with us for yet another gig.

One was booked together with Asphyx and Desultory, in late 1991 or something like that. By now I had written a track called Poise into Celeano who turned out more different than the other tracks. No blast beats, no ultra doomy parts. This track had acoustic parts, harmonies, and lots of double bass drumming! Some parts of this track ended up in "Advent" on the 2nd album. Anyhow, for this third gig we needed a bassplayer. I had met Peter earlier due to my girlfriend at the time, being a good friend of his girl friend, you know how it is! He was originally a guitar player, but his band, Sylt i krysset, was just a mere joke band, and he wanted to do something more serious, so he accepted our offer. The gig was pretty cool as well!

A short time after this gig, Kim left the band, so Peter changed gears and became the second guitarist instead. David also left the band in early 1992 in favour of Liers in wait. Honestly, at the time, I thought it was good for the band, as he no longer seemed as interested as the rest of us. Since I had been the vocalist in Eruption, I became the new vocalist. Me and Peter started writing material immediately, as we really felt that we had found a real original way of playing. There were at the time almost no other band using that many harmonies as we did. Songs like "Forest of October" and "Black rose immortal" started to take form. We rehearsed as a 3-piece for more than a year, but eventually we found a new bassplayer in Stefan Guteklint who played with us for a year or so. We actually gave him the boot when we received the contract from Candlelight records. We recorded Orchid in 1994 with Johan as a session bassplayer. He eventually became a full- time member.

The first volume was hugely delayed, and we were really anxious to do a couple of gigs. Lee of Candlelight brought us over the the UK in the Spring of 1995, and we did a couple of gigs there. One was a rather big event held at the London Astoria together with Impaled nazarene, Ved buens ende, Hecate enthroned and some more band When we got back home we rehearsed frequently as we had already booked Unisound for the follow-up CD. Morningrise was recorded in March/April of 1996, and the record that granted us somewhat of a big status amongst all people involved in the metal scene. Before its release we were offered to do a couple of gigs together with Morbid Angel and The blood divine in the UK. We couldn't refuse of course, and even though my old heroes were a bit too arrogant, I think we had a great time playing with them! For this album, we also did our first European tour, this one together with UK vampires Cradle of Filth. It was a 26 date tour reaching from Scandinavia to Spain/Italy. It was fucking marvellous to be honest! The reception we got in Rome was far fucking out! They were fucking crazy those nutters! We loved it of course!!

Going back home from the tour was really boring actually, although the Christmas seasons were close. We had during this tour felt that Johan didn't really fit in the band on the personal level, so we decided to boot him too. At the time of this dismissal, Anders had gone to Brazil on vacation, so the decision to kick out Johan was only mine and Peter?s choice. But when Anders eventually called me up from Brazil, I was eager to tell him these news, as well as that we had booked Fredman studios for the third record. He had even bigger news: "I'm moving to Brazil...I'm quitting the band"!! I was honestly in tears, as he and I had started this whole thing, and there actually was a short period of time when Opeth was no more. However, I changed my mind as the new material we had was so fucking exciting! We started advertising for drummers/bassists, and we almost immediately got contacted by Martin Lopez, a huge Opeth fan! We tried him out, and he seemed to be a competent drummer, so we took it one step further, and tried him out in the studio as well. His first Opeth recording is Remember tomorrow which was recorded in 1997. Later on, his friend, Martin Mendez, completed the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle by becoming the new basist. We didn't have time to try him out before the recordings of the third album, so I decided to put the basslines down myself on the record. My arms your hearse was recorded at Fredman in August/September of 1997, and it is probably our best work yet! In December 1997, we returned to the UK for a couple of successful gigs. One of which was together with Cradle of Filth at the LA2 in London.

Opinion(s) on Band's Discography:  

By Justin Cassidy:

This unique progressive/death amalgamation has three discs out, but I only own their 1996 offering, Morningrise, and IMO it is one of the best things to come out of that year in metal. It combines death riffs and vocals and mixes them with long acoustic passages of remarkable beauty. All songs are over 10 minutes in length, and employ unique song-structuring... no verse/chorus/verse repetitiveness here. I would highly recommend Morningrise for fans of Paradise Lost's doomy style, or fans of progressive or melodic black/death who don't mind a little experimentation beyond the stricter genre definitions. 9/10

Present and Past Members:  Mikael kerfeldt-Guitars, Vocals (1990-)
Peter Lindgren-Guitars (1991-)
Martin Lopez-Drums (1997-)
Martin Mendez-Bass (1997-)
Anders Nordin-Drums (1990-1997)
Johan DeFarfalla-Bass (1991, 1994-1996)
David Isberg-Vocals (1990-1992)
Stefan Guteklint-Bass (1992-1993)
Nick Dring-Bass (1990-1991)
Andreas Dimeo-Guitars (1991)
Mattias Ander-Bass (1992)
Kim Pettersson-Guitars (1991)
Reference Bands:  -many- numerous melodic black/death bands, namely Edge of Sanity.
Links related to the Band:  

http://www.opeth.com

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