The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time!

The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, #18: Opeth


The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Timeopeth 25 bands list MetalSucks recently polled over a hundred of metal’s most revered musicians, critics, journalists, artists, publicists, and industry insiders to find out which 25 bands represent the very BEST in the history of metal. Today we continue the countdown with Sweden’s…

30 Votes
364 Points

“I think we are definitely still a death metal band,” says Mikael Åkerfeldt in Choosing Death, the definitive treatise on the origins and development of death and grind by Decibel EIC Albert Mudrian. Yeah, sure thing, Mike. No problem. You can claim death metal, as long as we all agree to kick just about everybody else out from behind that banner. If you can be death metal, then I get to call myself an accomplished author.

Of course, that quote was given sometime before 2004 (the book’s copyright date), so I suppose we can accept that the statement is mostly free of irony. That’s still pre-Ghost Reveries, which is pretty damn heavy for an unabashedly progressive record. Thing is, Opeth were never simply a death metal band. Their 1995 debut Orchid holds five songs that reach or exceed ten minutes, none of which are entirely devoid of melody or riffs as narrative devices. Åkerfeldt has always been open about his love for jazzier, musically knottier styles from bygone decades, and while the band has included very non-deathly melodies, structures and instruments in their songs for years, only recently have Opeth given themselves entirely to over to the prog rock muses.

Opeth are both lauded as geniuses and derided for their intricate flamboyance… but never have they been called hacks. Their homeland’s apparent last-word-haver on Swedish death metal, author and Usurpress bassist Daniel Ekeroth, has much baser tastes in extreme metal but easily finds compliments for the band regardless: “Though I personally don’t like the band’s music at all, I surely respect them. Åkerfeldt in particular is an extremely talented singer and musician. The band’s commercial and critical success has been beyond imagination.”

Opeth mark the metal landscape by their presence, by their conviction, by their restless pursuit of the stories they wish to tell. They have scorched the earth with high velocity heaviness and blazed new paths with their baroque sense of songwriting. They opened doors from the bleak confines of harsh extreme music to the lush terrains beyond. From the blackened horrors lashed to acoustic delicacy on Orchid and Morningrise through the rising death metal confidence of My Arms, Your Hearse and Still Life; from the break-out punches of Blackwater Park, Deliverance and Damnation to the molting transformations of Ghost Reveries and Watershed – Opeth has always found ways to awe and fascinate its audience. Heritage and Pale Communion are less stylistic departures as they are a final acceptance and embrace of the music that Åkerfeldt has been collecting all this time.

We have Immolation. We have Carcass. We have Teitanblood and Pig Destroyer and Nails and all the others. We need Opeth. The Swedes have made a career of showing us how expansive, how elegant, and how openly musical death metal can really be.


#19 – Testament (33 Votes, 347 Points)
#20 – At The Gates (28 Votes, 331 Points)
#21 – AC/DC (17 Votes, 313 Points)

#22 – Celtic Frost (24 Votes, 310 Points)
#23 – Ozzy Osbourne (21 Votes, 290 Points)
#24 – Napalm Death (22 Votes, 278 Points)
#25 – Lamb of God (29 Votes, 277 Points)


Chris Alfano – East of the Wall, Gear Gods
Paul Allender – White Empress, ex-Cradle of Filth
Rob Arnold – The Elite, ex-Chimaira, ex-Six Feet Under
Alan Averill (aka A.A. Nemtheanga) – Primordial
Chuck B.B. – Artist
Matt Bachand – Shadows Fall
Micke Berg – Below
Chuck Billy – Testament
Randy Blythe – Lamb of God
Paul Booth – Last Rites Tattoo and Art Gallery
Jake Bowen – Periphery
Terry Butler – Obituary
Liz Ciavarella-Brenner – Publicist, Earsplit PR
Blake Charlton – Ramming Speed
Richard Christy – Charred Walls of the Damned, ex-Death, ex-Iced Earth, ex-Control Denied, The Howard Stern Show
Monte Conner – President, Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Bruce Corbitt – Rigor Mortis, Warbeast
Doc Coyle – ex-God Forbid
Sergeant D. – MetalSucks, Stuff You Will Hate
Topon Das – Fuck the Facts, Merdarahta
Anso DF – MetalSucks
Peter Dolving – Rosvo, ex-The Haunted
Ryan J. DowneySuperhero Artist Management
Sacha Dunable – Intronaut, Bereft, Dunable Guitars
Vince Edwards – Head of Publicity, Metal Blade Records
Excretakano – MetalSucks
Extreme Management Group
D.X. Ferris – Slayer ScholarThe 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, #18: OpethMetalSucks
Ryan Fleming – Black Table
Jon Freeman – Publicist, Freeman Promotions
Matthew Friesen – Culted
Ville Friman – Insomnium
Mike Gitter – Senior Director of A&R, Razor & Tie
Frank Godla – Metal Injection, Meek is Murder
Mike Greene – Director of Digital Marketing, Razor & Tie
Shane Handel – Set and Setting
Jeff Hodak – Head of Sales, Razor & Tie
Terence Hannum – Locrian
John Hoffman – Weekend Nachos
Mark Hunter – ex-Chimaira
Don JamiesonThat Metal Show
Daniel Jansson – Culted
John Jarvis – Pig Destroyer, Fulgora
Gaz Jennings – Death Penalty, ex-Cathedral
Patrik Jensen – The Haunted
Rick Jimenez – Extinction A.D.
Kassa – Below
Mirai Kawashima – Sigh
“Grim” Kim KellyMetalSucks
Zeena Koda
Erik Kluiber – Gypsyhawk
Eyal LeviUnstoppable Killing Machine, Dååth
Jason Lekberg – IKILLYA
Adam Lindmark – Morbus Chron
Ryan Lipynsky – Serpentine Path, Unearthly Trance, The Howling Wind
Jonah Livingston – Ramming Speed
Bob Lugowe – Director of Promotions/Marketing, Relapse Records, Brutal Panda Records
James Malone – Arsis, Necromancing the Stone
Jose Mangin – Director of Music Programming, Sirius XM Liquid Metal
Bobby Mansfield – 16
Misha Mansoor – Periphery
Morgan McGrath – Live Nation
Mike “Gunface” McKenzie – The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Nightkin
Vince Neilstein – MetalSucks
Eventansvarig Biostaden Nyköping – Below
Chris Ojeda – Byzantine
Casey Orr – Rigor MortisWarbeast
Rob Pasbani – Metal Injection
Anders Persson – Portrait
Chris Pervelis – Internal Bleeding
Karim Peter – Artist Relations, IndieMerchandising
Raphael Pinsker – Booking Agent, 3Thirteen Entertainment Group
Markus “Rabapagan” – Metsatöll
Josh Rand – Stone Sour
Emperor Rhombus – MetalSucks
Gus Rios – Gruesome
Tobias Rosén – Noctum
Axl Rosenberg – MetalSucks
Travis Ryan – Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Nader Sadek
Marc Schapiro, Branch Marketing Collective
Zach Shaw – The Syndicate
Patrick Sheridan – Fit For An Autopsy
Alex Skolnick – Testament
Brian Slagel – Chairman/CEO, Metal Blade Records
Mark Solotroff – Anatomy of Habit, Bloodlust!, BLOODYMINDED
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Exodus, Hatriot
Kevin Stewart-Panko – Decibel, MetalSucks
Black String – Vampire
Jason Suecof – Audiohammer Studios
Bram Teitelman – Metal Insider
Nick Tieder – No Jacket Required Marketing, Indegoot
Tone Deaf Touring
Aaron Turner – Old Man Gloom, ex-ISIS, Hydra Head Records
Brody Uttley – Rivers of Nihil
George Vallee – Head of Publicity, Street Smart Marketing
Dirk Verbeuren – Soilwork, Bent Sea, Scarve
Jens Vestergren – Below
Jake Wade – Columns
Kelly Walsh – Publicist, Prosthetic Records
Mike Wohlberg – The Fat Kid Illustration
Wookubus – The PRP

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