Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal/rock band from Stockholm, formed in 1989. The group has been through several personnel changes, including the replacement of every single original member. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth’s primary driving force since the departure of original vocalist David Isberg in 1992.
Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences into its usually lengthy compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works.
The band rarely made live appearances supporting their first four albums, but since conducting their first world tour after the 2001 release of Blackwater Park, they have led several major world tours.
So “Morningrise” is part off the “first four” albums.
It’s the second one, released on 24 June 1996.
Opeth for this album is Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocals and guitars, Peter Lindgren on guitars, Johan De Farfalla on bass and Anders Nordin on drums, percussion. All lyrics are by Akerfeldt and music is by Akerfeldt and Lindgren.
Åkerfeldt has mentioned that “The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden and “Lick It Up” by Kiss made him a metal head, but he also was heavily influenced by “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” by Black Sabbath and his favorite metal album is “Sad Wings of Destiny” by Judas Priest.
Lindgren had a nice diet of Iron Maiden growing up and was heavily influenced by “Master of Puppets” from Metallica along with ’70s progressive rock band Camel.
So with similar influences as mine I was more than interested to listen.
I didn’t hear this album until 2005/06 as I started listening to em after “Blackwater Park”.
5 songs clocking in at 60 something minutes.
The song is almost 14 minutes long as it moves between sludgy grooves, acoustic guitars and fast double kick metal like passages.
Vocally, Opeth during this period was more death metal like with some clean vocal passages.
At 3.20, this acoustic guitar riff kicks in, arpeggio based and very Rush sounding and I’m like where did that come from.
It becomes abrasive again with death metal vocals which don’t impress but the music does impress.
At the 6 minute mark, a different acoustic arpeggio riff kicks in and this time, the vocals are in clean tone and I’m all in.
At 8 minutes a Thin Lizzy/Iron Maiden/Helloween like galloping riff kicks in which is great to play on the guitar.
But it gets better, there is this metallic riff at 9.20 which has a jazz like bass line behind it with double kick drums. It feels unsettling and jarring.
The Night And The Silent Water
At 11 minutes long, it’s another short song.
Im not a fan of the death metal vocals, but goddamn I really like the music and it’s movement between distortion and acoustic.
Around the 8 minute mark, this “Children Of The Grave” feel/gallop starts. It keeps building until the guitars explode into playing octave melodies.
At 10 minutes long it’s maybe the shortest song on the album.
The music is very Iron Maiden”ish” like. There is this riff that kicks in at the 2 minute mark, which is excellent.
At 7 minutes there is another acoustic like arpeggio passage which comes out of nowhere and yet it fits nicely. And the last 90 seconds has a riff which appeared on a Dream Theater album in a few years’ time.
Black Rose Immortal
Almost 20 minutes long.
The song has a lot of harmony leads that feel like they are influenced by Thin Lizzy as it’s got that major key Celtic like vibe.
Check out the Maiden like instrumental sections from 7.30 and the excellent volume swell section around 9.30 to 9.43 which is way too short. But hypnotic and very violin line.
To Bid You Farwell
Another 11 minute song to close the album. A “Fade To Black” like arpeggio riff starts it off.
And the song percolates in the acoustic domain until it explodes into distortion at the 7 minute mark.
The amount of acoustic progressions in this song, another person could have written 10 different songs.
The vocals are clean tone and make sure you check out the bluesy kicks at the 4 minute mark.
And it returns back to the acoustics for the last 90 seconds to end the album on somber note. Like Empire Strikes Back.