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15 October 2012 | Music
It’s official. I’m in love with a ‘Swedish Death Metal’ band. And they’ve been hiding themselves in full view, just waiting for me to fall for them. I’ve been aware of them for a while but the genre tag made it difficult for me to get past the growling vocals. So after catching a couple of their songs with ‘clean’ vocals during a televised set from Sonisphere festival, I felt very confused as I immediately wanted to hear more. Upon further investigation, I was ecstatic to discover that there were two full albums containing said singing. 2003’s ‘Damnation’ and last year’s ‘Heritage’ were just the start of a joyous and surprisingly rapid roller-coaster descent into complete infatuation with a band that has a glorious 18 years of back catalogue to choose from.
Suddenly, the growling didn’t seem so bad. Until I saw what was producing it. Mikael Åkerfeldt, the longest serving member of the band, is almost solely responsible for the writing of both the music and lyrics which, in itself is an astounding achievement. But his ability to switch from a powerful growl to the kind of singing voice that most singers would sell their soul to the devil for(he he), has to be seen to be believed. He also has the option of a career in stand-up comedy if he ever becomes bored with the whole prolific musical genius thing. I kid you not. He is the most bizarre and mesmerising frontman I have ever seen and the quality of musicianship from the whole band is outstanding.
If you’re still not sold, you can sample some of their progressive-medieval-jazzy-folk-metal goodness via the wonders of the internet. There are also 3 official pro-shot gigs available on dvd with ‘Lamentations’ being a good place to start as it’s the full ‘Damnation’ album plus some extras (ie.a sample of what else they are capable of). And you never know, you too could soon be growing your hair and wearing an ‘I Love Swedish Death Metal’ t-shirt.
Seek out deliverance via damnation at https://www.opeth.com
p.s.They will be gracing the Glasgow ABC with their presence on November 13th on the 2nd leg of their Heritage tour (which also includes some ‘unplugged’ dates). I’ve got my tickets…