Opeth have a lot to be proud of. They’ve pioneered a generation of progressive music, shifting the boundaries of metal in wonderful ways. For £40 (or £250 for a signed limited edition, complete with sleek black box) you can look back on their journey from obscurity to international stardom, as told by the band (mostly Mikael Åkerfeldt and ex-guitarist Peter Lindgren) – complete with photos (arguably, these are the stars of the show), and insights from collaborators like Steven Wilson. There’s also an exclusive seven-inch of acoustic versions of 2005’s Atonement and 1998’s Demon OfThe Fall.
The only trouble is that Opeth’s actual story isn’t that thrilling. The music is compelling, and Åkerfeldt is an intelligent, interesting guy, but the inner workings of Opeth life aren’t exactly juicy (not helped here by some dismally boring pull-quotes). Band is formed. Members come and go. Life is tough for a while. It get better and things become easier. Personal issues are alluded to but seldom delved into. There’s no real controversy besides the aggressive reception to the death grunt-free Heritage, and even then they remain pretty cool-headed.
It’s a nice read, attractively packaged, and fans will enjoy the fleshed out details of their evolution. But for a gripping saga, look elsewhere.