Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal 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. Many songs include acoustic guitar passages and strong dynamic shifts, as well as demonic vocal characterization. Opeth is also well known for their incorporation of Mellotrons in their work. Opeth 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.
Opeth has released 13 studio albums, four live DVDs, four live albums (three that are in conjunction with DVDs), and two boxsets. The band released its debut album Orchid in 1995.
Although their eighth studio album, Ghost Reveries, was quite popular in the United States, Opeth did not experience major American commercial success until the 2008 release of their ninth studio album, Watershed, which peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200, and topped the Finnish albums chart in its first week of release. As of November 2009, Opeth has sold over 1.5 million copies of their albums and DVDs worldwide, including 300,000 collective SoundScans of their albums Blackwater Park, Damnation, and Deliverance in the United States.
Opeth was formed as a death metal band in 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden, by lead vocalist David Isberg. The band name was derived from the word "Opet", taken from the Wilbur Smith novel The Sunbird. In this novel, Opet is the name of a fictional Phoenician city in South Africa translated as "City of the Moon".
In 1990, Isberg asked former Eruption band member Mikael Åkerfeldt, who was just 16 years old at the time, to join Opeth as a bassist. When Åkerfeldt showed up to practice on the day after Isberg invited him, it became clear that Isberg had not told the band members, including the band's current bassist, that Åkerfeldt would be joining the band. An ensuing argument led to all members but Isberg and Åkerfeldt leaving to form a new project.