Opeth’s debut is a rare blend, it’s good old British metal melody, but decked with prog, folk, black and death metal signatures. It’s the most accessible elements of metal combined with the least. Compositions effortlessly transition from murky black metal ambience into deathly blast beats to melodic folk passages — and they are interestingly devoid of that punk like dissonance which is integral to this genre.
Guttural riffs, acoustic melody, raspy growls and clean vocals – all stitched together into 10 minute epics – progressive metal at its intriguing best.
Not surprising that Dan Swanö is the producer, Edge of Sanity is reflected all over the long and meandering eclectic passages. The 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 two divergent heavy metal strands, but spun seamlessly into one grand symphony. Examine long enough and we can discover Black Sabbath to Bathory to jazz elements – even for early 90s metal this is avant-garde territory. With drawn out extreme metal sound, but illustrating the quite melodic classic metal roots, Opeth can comfortably slingshot a casual metal listener straight into the abyss of 90s Scandinavian scene.