In the early and mid-eighties Mikael Åkerfeldt was more interested in sports than music but eventually things changed. When he was 8 years old he bought his first record namely "The Number Of The Beast" from Iron Maiden. In 1986 he got his first electric guitar and immediately started practicing. His long-time friend Anders Nordin had a big brother who used to play drums in a metal band and the two friends started jamming together in his cellar in Sörskogen, Sweden. In the end of 1987 they came up with the name Eruption for their band. In the beginning they played mostly death metal covers like Bathory, Death and other bands. In 1988 they were a full band with four members: Mikael on guitars/vocals, Anders on drums, Nick Döring on guitars and Jocke Horney on bass guitars (who according to Mikael could not play at all). Jocke was soon replaced by Stephan Claesberg who could play somewhat better. Eruption stayed alive between 1987 and 1990. They never did any gigs or demos, only some rehearsal tapes that Mikael probably still has. Some of their songs were "Abandon Life", "Walls Of Dwell", "Condemned To Hell", "Procreation Of Maledictions" and "Sarcastic Reign".
During the Eruption time Mikael met a guy named David Isberg since they were both into skateboarding. David had formed a band called Opeth with some friends from Täby (suburb of Stockholm) and the name was taken from a book by Wilbur Smith where Opet (without the h at the end) was the city of the moon. Eruption passed away and Mikael wanted to get into another band. One day David asked him if he wanted to play bass with them and he accepted the offer. When he came to the rehearsal place none of the other guys in the band knew they were coming and they didn´t w want to kick out the bass player they already had. They all started arguing about the matter and Opeth was history for the Täby guys who renamed themselves Crowley and released a demotape called "The Gate" in 1991 (according to Mikael a horrible one).
Mikael and David went on under the Opeth name as a 2-man band. They asked Anders to join the band which he accepted and Nick joined as the bass player. An additional guitar player was also found in Andreas Dimeo. In February 1991 they performed their first gig together with Therion, Excruciate and Authorise. Mikael and his friends were so nervous that they just wanted to cancel the show and go home but they still went through with it. David fixed them a second gig in Gothenburg but inbetween Nick and Andreas left the band "due to obvious reasons". They asked two guys from a metal band called Crimson Cat - Kim Pettersson and Johan DeFarfalla - if they could play with them on this gig which they gladly did. The other bands on the gig were At The Gates, Therion, Desecrator, Megaslaughter and Sarcazm. After the gig Johan went home to his girlfriend in Stockholm and left the band for some time but Kim stayed with them for one more gig.
Their third gig was in late 1991 with Asphyx and Desultory. They now needed a bass player which they found in Peter Lindgren who Mikael had met through his girlfriend. Peter was originally a guitar player in his hobby/joke band Sylt I Krysset and since he wanted to do something more serious he joined them. Shortly after the gig Kim left the band and Peter changed back to the guitars. For more than a year they rehearsed as a 3-piece band but soon enough they found a new bass player named Stefan Guteklint who played with them for about a year. When they received a contract from the British Candlelight Records Stefan was fired and for the recording of their debut album "Orchid" in 1994 Johan played bass as a session musician but soon he became a full-time member of the band.
After the recording of the debut album they were given the chance to play a couple of gigs in the UK in the Spring of 1995 together with bands like Impaled Nazarene, Ved Buens Ende and Hecate Enthroned. In March/April 1996 they recorded their second album "Morningrise" in the Swedish Unisound Studios. Before the release of this album they did some shows in the UK again with Morbid Angel and The Blood Divine. After the release they did their first European tour together with Cradle Of Filth with 26 shows. During this tour they felt that Johan didn´t really fit in the band on the personal level so he was fired when they came back home. At this time Anders had gone to Brazil on vacation but when he called back home he told Mikael that he was going to quit the band and move to Brazil. Mikael was very sad and had plans to put Opeth to rest. He changed his mind though and managed to find two new members in Martin Lopez and Martin Mendez. In August/September 1997 they recorded "My Arms, Your Hearse" at Fredman Studios. In December 1997 they returned to the UK once again to play some shows, one with Cradle Of Filth at the LA2 in London. Later on they signed a deal with the British label Music For Nations and in March 2001 "Blackwater Park" was released.
In May 2005 Opeth signed a new record deal with Roadrunner Records after the closing down of Music For Nations.