A good first live recording from one of modern prog's, and metal's, finest. Opeth's first DVD, Lamentations Live at Sheperd's Bush Empire, is a good showcase of the two extremes the band is able to play flawlessly - Acoustic, folky based prog rock, and death metal, often with progressive tendencies and sections. The two sets are recorded lovingly and played flawlessly. The atmosphere is brutal at times, and beautiful at others. The lighting suits the concert perfectly - Black and grey, laced with shades of green, purple and blue. The band is tight, and the interplay between the members is perfect. The presence of the now full-time member Per Wilberg on keyboards adds a little extra atmosphere, like a finishing touch. Unfortunately, Wilberg's presence is hidden in the metal tracks, which may dissapoint.
The playing is all fantastic on this disc - Some stellarly soft moments, and some ear-bleedingly brutal segments. The two things which make Opeth special for me are their unpredictability and their quick changes from fast to slow, heavy to soft, a angry to heartbroken, or any combination of the few. These always change up the atmosphere and emotion of the songs, and they are displayed here in full force.
My only complaint is about the acoustic set - I find Damnation to be one of the band's least dynamic and thrilling albums, although this may be a plus for a viewer who is a large fan of this album. The second set, however, is quite a bit better, playing two of the band's best (and heaviest!) tracks in The Drapery Falls and Deliverance. Its hard to believe a band can play such soft music so perfectly and genuinely, and then play such brutal metal with such vigor and enthusiasm. It really does still surprise me after multiple listens and watches of this DVD and the album it concerns - At one moment I'm stunned by the beauty of Hope Leaves, and the next I'm picking myself up off the floor from Master's Apprentices.
This DVD never reaches into 5 star territory in my opinion - Its a great showcase of the band, but it is not a masterpiece in any way, so I'm giving this DVD four stars.