Opeth’s debut is a rare blend, it’s good old British metal melody, but decked with prog, folk, black and death metal textures. It’s the most accessible elements of metal combined with the least. Songs effortlessly transition from murky black metal to deathly blast beats, and then frequently into melodic folk passages — and they are also interestingly devoid of that punk dissonance integral to extreme metal. In short, it’s a unique cross-over. Guttural riffs, acoustic melody, and Akerfeldt growls with clean vocals – all stitched together into 10 minute epics.
Not surprising that Dan Swanö is the producer, Edge of Sanity is reflected all over the long and meandering eclectic passages. That infamous ‘Thomas Gabriel Fischer’ like curt grunts is also frequent and numerous. Opeth weaves that Celtic Frost like textures into the more accessible 70s and 80s metal progressions. Orchid is composed of those two divergent heavy metal strands, but spun seamlessly into one prog symphony. Examine long enough and we can discover Black Sabbath to Bathory to jazz elements – even for early 90s metal this is avant-garde. With drawn out extreme metal sound, but still illustrating that melodic classic metal roots, Opeth comfortably slingshots a casual metal listener — straight into the abyss of 90s Scandinavian scene.