Rhythmic intensity and beautiful, crunchy dissonance fuel the prog-metal stylings of one of Sweden’s heaviest exports.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Learn to toss out the rules in pursuit of a great riff.
• Develop a keener rhythmic awareness.
• Understand how to create biting, heavy riffs—without tuning down.
Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Formed in 1989 in Sweden, Opeth has been the creative outlet for progressive maestro Mikael Åkerfeldt for almost 30 years now. As a band, Opeth has worn many hats. Although its music fits comfortably under the label of progressive death metal, the group has flirted with Celtic folk, black metal, jazz, and most recently '70s prog. It's incredible how many times the band has reinvented itself. Listen to the sprawling, progressive sound of 2016's Sorceress compared to “The Twilight Is My Robe" from their 1995 debut album, Orchid. Quite a difference!

Mikael's trademark sound can be traced to his openly admitted lack of theoretical understanding or formal musical education. He has simply played guitar for over 30 years and found all the things that sound good to him. He still claims he can't name any of the chords he uses, and even if this is an exaggeration it still teaches you an important lesson: There are no rules in music. Limiting yourself to the things you understand and can explain is to put yourself in the smallest box of all.

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