OPETH

Progressive Metal / Non-Metal / Death Metal / Metal Related / Hard Rock • Sweden
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Opeth is a progressive death metal band from Sweden that is influenced by many diverse musical styles ranging from 1970s progressive rock, death metal, and blues. Their recent releases have deviated from their traditional death metal influenced style, with more emphasis on progressive elements. Vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt is also noted for utilizing both clean singing and death growls, often in the same track. Due to their unique blend of melodic and progressive elements, Opeth are often classified separately from more typical death metal acts. The name Opeth was taken from Wilbur Smith's novel Sunbird and derived from Opet, a city of the moon named in the novel.

History

Opeth was formed in Stockholm, Södermanland, Sweden in 1990 by David Isberg. Isberg invited Mikael Åkerfeldt to join the band at a practice session as a bass player, but failed to inform the current bass player or any of the other members
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In Cauda Venenum (Swedish & English)  2CD, DigipakIn Cauda Venenum (Swedish & English) 2CD, Digipak
Nuclear Blast 2019
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$16.28 (used)
In Cauda Venenum (Swedish/English Version) Limited 2CD DigipackIn Cauda Venenum (Swedish/English Version) Limited 2CD Digipack
Nuclear Blast 2019
$13.89
$19.91 (used)
Blackwater ParkBlackwater Park
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
$27.02
$31.37 (used)
Sorceress 2-disc deluxeSorceress 2-disc deluxe
Nuclear Blast America 2016
$10.50
$7.81 (used)
DamnationDamnation
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
$5.21
$2.61 (used)
Ghost ReveriesGhost Reveries
HiFi Sound
Roadrunner Records 2005
$7.64
$5.11 (used)
DeliveranceDeliverance
Original recording
The End Records 2011
$3.84
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Pale CommunionPale Communion
Roadrunner Records 2014
$11.31
$3.88 (used)
My Arms Your Hearse [2 LP][Blue/Yellow]My Arms Your Hearse [2 LP][Blue/Yellow]
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Candlelight 2019
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Still LifeStill Life
PEACEVILLE 2017
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OPETH Discography

OPETH albums / top albums

OPETH Orchid album cover 3.66 | 77 ratings
Orchid
Death Metal 1995
OPETH Morningrise album cover 3.85 | 85 ratings
Morningrise
Death Metal 1996
OPETH My Arms, Your Hearse album cover 3.90 | 96 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
Death Metal 1998
OPETH Still Life album cover 4.34 | 175 ratings
Still Life
Progressive Metal 1999
OPETH Blackwater Park album cover 4.21 | 141 ratings
Blackwater Park
Progressive Metal 2001
OPETH Deliverance album cover 3.68 | 105 ratings
Deliverance
Progressive Metal 2002
OPETH Damnation album cover 3.92 | 112 ratings
Damnation
Non-Metal 2003
OPETH Ghost Reveries album cover 4.27 | 140 ratings
Ghost Reveries
Progressive Metal 2005
OPETH Watershed album cover 3.92 | 116 ratings
Watershed
Progressive Metal 2008
OPETH Heritage album cover 3.71 | 96 ratings
Heritage
Metal Related 2011
OPETH Pale Communion album cover 3.71 | 46 ratings
Pale Communion
Non-Metal 2014
OPETH Sorceress album cover 3.67 | 28 ratings
Sorceress
Metal Related 2016
OPETH In Cauda Venenum album cover 4.22 | 5 ratings
In Cauda Venenum
Metal Related 2019

OPETH EPs & splits

OPETH Burden album cover 3.12 | 4 ratings
Burden
Progressive Metal 2008

OPETH live albums

OPETH The Roundhouse Tapes album cover 3.99 | 30 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
Progressive Metal 2007
OPETH Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire album cover 4.62 | 4 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire
Progressive Metal 2016
OPETH Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre album cover 4.07 | 3 ratings
Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Progressive Metal 2018

OPETH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

OPETH Apostle in Triumph album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
Death Metal 1994
OPETH The Drapery Falls album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Drapery Falls
Progressive Metal 2001
OPETH Mellotron Heart album cover 2.00 | 2 ratings
Mellotron Heart
Progressive Metal 2008
OPETH The Devil's Orchard - Live at Rock Hard Festival album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Devil's Orchard - Live at Rock Hard Festival
Progressive Metal 2011

OPETH re-issues & compilations

OPETH Collecter's Edition Slipcase album cover 4.14 | 3 ratings
Collecter's Edition Slipcase
Progressive Metal 2006
OPETH The Candlelight Years album cover 4.10 | 11 ratings
The Candlelight Years
Death Metal 2008
OPETH The Wooden Box album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wooden Box
Death Metal 2009

OPETH singles (7)

.. Album Cover
3.50 | 3 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 6 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
3.39 | 5 ratings
Porcelain Heart
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
3.39 | 5 ratings
The Throat of Winter
Non-Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 6 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
Hard Rock 2011
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 4 ratings
Sorceress
Progressive Metal 2016
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ghost Of Perdition (Live)
Progressive Metal 2018

OPETH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.84 | 29 ratings
Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.27 | 22 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.38 | 26 ratings
In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
Progressive Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Progressive Metal 2018

OPETH Reviews

OPETH In Cauda Venenum

Album · 2019 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
These days there are literally a gazillion metal bands that come and go with even some of the bigger names which often blur into the massive number of albums that emerge every single month and then there are bands like OPETH, a band that has become so legendary that it actually creates quite a stir even over two decades after the band’s debut with “Orchid.” This Swedish band founded by lead vocalist / guitarist / songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt all the way back in 1989 has successfully straddled the fence between the disparate genera of death metal and progressive rock often blurring the distinctions. While fans on both sides of the fence have been routing for the band to take one path or the other, OPETH for the most part has successfully remained staunchly in hybrid mode at least until the last few albums.

While starting out as the former and taking the leap into the latter beginning with 2011’s “Heritage,” the group has successfully created some of the most lauded albums that decorate both the prog and metal top album lists and with the band’s 14th studio album IN CAUDA VENENUM (“Poison Of The Tail”), OPETH shows no signs of slowing down and have crafted yet another album of intricate melodies teased into progressive sprawlers that are bathed in aspects of psychedelic rock, folk rock and progressive metal. Only the growly vocal death metal elements have been jettisoned as OPETH has decloaked any traces of its earliest aggressive tendencies and have instead seemingly adopted the permanent features of clean vocal styles and King Crimsonian style prog rock circa the “Red” area. And still going strong which started all the way back in the very beginning are those beautiful arpeggiated acoustic guitar segments are still riding high in the mix.

OPETH tried something new on IN CAUDA VENENUM, which was somewhat common with Italian prog bands of the 70s but not so for the Scandinavian scene. This album has been released twice both in English and the band’s native Swedish. Despite the differences in language, the music is exactly the same and both albums clock in exactly at 67 minutes and 44 seconds. While the choice of language may appeal to some, for those like me who are less concerned about lyrics and much more into the compositional meat and potatoes, i personally don’t care if a song is titled “Universal Truth” or “Ingen Sanning Är Allas.” Having said that, Swedish is a beautiful language and although this review is based upon the English version of the album, i will inevitably want to absorb the majesty of an OPETH album in its native lingo. After all, Swedish is the language that sings and love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Åkerfeldt is one singing MF and becomes more nuanced with his vox box as time goes one.

After releasing “Sorceress,” the band received a lot of criticism for jettisoning too much metal and becoming just another retro prog band. Yeah, those metalheads can get really testy about things. Even on the prog side of the music world, they got shot down in some circles for not being original enough, by recycling 70s sounds and jumping on the bandwagon that seems to be all the rage today which may be fine for, let’s say a band like Wobbler, but for metal superstars like OPETH? No way, just ain’t cuttin’ it. IN CAUDA VENENUM corrects that faux pas and adds some extra metal oomf to the mix once again however in many regards, this album is a lot like “Sorceress” in that its progressive elements are the main focus, the clean vocals shine in the forefront and the music is lushly orchestrated to create pleasing atmospheric counterpoints to the folk-tinged melodic developments. As far as the psychedelic rock aspects are concerned, IN CAUDA VENENUM is drenched in piano, Fender Rhodes 88, harpsichords, Moogs, mellotron and a Hammond CD to boot.

The metal almost seems like an afterthought that is there solely to add a bombastic contrast to an otherwise super chill album. So much for the band’s original intent of becoming one of the most evil bands in the world. Now much closer to Pink Floyd than to Mayhem, OPETH seems to have nurtured this new path into the prog world quite well. IN CAUDA VENENUM is an amazingly consistent album that may be a much more metal-free zone than say albums like “Morningrise” or “Deliverance” but still manages to sneak in some ferocious guitar riffing and power chords amidst the proggy time signature rich passages as they tick off all the proper prog check lists.

Out of the newer OPETH albums that rely less on the metal aspects, IN CAUDA VENENUM is actually one of the most diverse of the lot so far expanding OPETH’s sounds into new arenas (such as the jazzy “The Garroter”) to the more familiar (which is most of the album.) One of the main tricks up Åkerfeldt’s sleeves has always been those appropriately placed classical guitar segments which tastefully starts off the album intro on “Garden Of Earthly Delights.” The twin guitar attacks of Åkerfeldt and Frederik Åkesson are still in action especially in the more metallic tracks like “Heart In Hand.” There are new developments in OPETH’s arsenal such as the overdubbed choir parts in “Dignity” and let’s face it lots and i do mean LOTS of organ parts. Despite scouring the periodic table to add as many metal elements as possible, IN CAUDA VENENUM is firmly in progressive rock territory with just a touch of heavier bombast to hopefully entice the older crowds into the new OPETH show.

On a personal level, OPETH has never been a top band in my reality but i am amazed at how consistent the quality of the material is on every single album in its long never-ending canon and therefore they have my utmost respect and admiration. Åkerfeldt was born to bring to life catchy yet proggy tunes that while crafting the instant ear worms of pop music still have quite the catchiness factor even if it takes a few spins to sink in. Whether OPETH is in full death metal regalia or simply taking a siesta in organ drenched prog makes no difference to me personally. I find the Jekyll & Hyde peekaboo act to be amusing since the band so successfully masters both styles quite well and on IN CAUDA VENENUM, the band seems to find new ways of incorporating both aspects into a cohesive whole without deviating from the current trajectory of settling on the prog side of the equation.

IN CAUDA VENENUM will surely not win over those who ditched the band when “Heritage” declared the new OPETH was in town but it certainly won’t disappoint those who have been digging the recent prog albums such as “Pale Communion” and “Sorceress.” While taking cues from both, this one moves on into ever more diverse pastures and the great thing about OPETH is that it is a band that no matter what criticism is heaped upon it, is never afraid to just sally forth in whichever direction the musicians feel it right for them. While IN CAUDA VENENUM will receive ample amounts of hate from metalhead purists and equal amounts of love from retro-proggers, taken as a work of art, IN CAUDA VENENUM is a compelling album with rich seductive melodies and intricately crafted musical developments. Another excellent album in the OPETH camp.

OPETH Orchid

Album · 1995 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
When it comes to progressive extreme metal, no story would be complete without a reference to Sweden’s OPETH, a band that started out as just another pioneering death metal band from the Swedish underground but would soon blossom into one of the most unique metal bands of any genre. While long associated with Mikael Åkerfeldt who has been the only member to appear on every single OPETH release, the band was actually formed in 1989 by the original vocalist David Isberg who after finding a lineup would soon solicit band membership from former Eruption band member Åkerfeldt. For whatever reason the other band members rejected this decision and soon departed and the pair were left together to start anew.

Interestingly the band name came form the word “Opet” which was taken form the Wilbur Smith novel “The Sunbird” and is the name of a fictional Phoenician city in South Africa which translated into “City Of The Moon.” After a ridiculous amount of personnel changes, the whole thing became too much for founder Isberg who left the band in 1992 which allowed Åkerfeldt to take control of the project and the rest is history. After the tumultuous start Åkerfeldt took the bull by the horns and recruited the new lineup of guitarist Peter Lindgren, percussionist / pianist Anders Nordin and bassist Johan De Faralla. OPETH was quite lucky in the fact that they circumvented the whole demo thing after Lee Barrett of Candlelight Records offered to sign the band with a mere exposure to a rehearsal.

OPETH were also fortunate to have tutelage of the metal veteran Dan Swanö who participated in not only the production and engineering but also provided the necessary funding and mentoring of what he deemed a promising talent emerging. While 1994 was spent developing the band’s sound and recording the debut ORCHID, the album finally emerged in May 1995 to mixed reviews. Riding the initial explosive underground growth of both the death and black metal scenes as well as the progressive rock revival of the early 90s, OPETH was one of the most audacious bands to emerge in the mid-90s with roots in all of the above and delivered an epic progressive death metal sound well beyond the scope of other extreme metal contemporaries. ORCHID was both bellicosely brutal as well as tenderly melodically beautiful.

Unlike the following OPETH releases, ORCHID is a far more diverse album that introduced the reverie of classic 70s progressive rock wrapped up in blackened death metal clothing that allowed complex epic length tracks to unfold on ever-changing journeys that embarked on heavy death metal riffing, folk music, subdued acoustic classically inspired guitar parts and piano parts along with death metal growls, black metal shrieks and even clean melodic vocals. The mood is one of complete depressive annihilation with pummeling distortion and frenetic vocal insanity to sublime twin guitar sweeping melodies that evoke calmness, placidity and the light of eternal hope. This rollercoaster ride is a true metal mood swing as the alternating dynamics sound as bipolar a concert that would feature Morbid Angel playing with Simon & Garfunkel.

ORCHID is the test of perseverance and patience as the original album clocks in close to 66 minutes and most later releases contain the early underproduced demo “Into The Frost Of Winter” as a bonus track. The inclusion as a bonus was a wise move as it demonstrates how quickly the band had grown from a brutal raw black / death metal band to the sheer sophisticated prowess of this debut studio album where five of the seven tracks exceed eleven minutes, one is close to ten and the only two short tracks are the acoustic interludes of “Silhouette” and “Requiem.” Åkerfeldt was obsessed with the occult during these years and likewise the lyrics are dark and twisted about Satanism and evil and likewise the downtuned guitars and overall sound was created to accompany the gloominess of the underworld.

In many ways ORCHID encapsulates the entire career of what OPETH would become on the more successful following albums. The brutal death prog that mixed extreme metal and 70s progressive rock was already fully developed as were the myriad ingredients of heaviness with folk, classical and even jazzy extra touches. While i may be in the minority, i truly find ORCHID to be the most captivating album of OPETH’s entire discography as it embraces a wider spectrum of sounds that would be jettisoned for the more streamlined albums to come. One of my biggest complaints about the majority of OPETH albums is that the percussion is tamped down to simply keep the beat of the compositional flow. Not so on ORCHID where fully fueled bombast is allowed off the leash as much as it is tamed into submission.

Likewise this is the album that is allowed to express the most extreme examples of death metal with faster tempos, blastbeats and absolute fury delivered in Åkerfeldt’s unique vocal style. While many may find this one a bit too long for its own good, i find the opposite true as it more than any other OPETH album has enough changes in the tempos, dynamics, intensity and stylistic shifts that allow the melodies to exhibit extreme beauty and the bombast to pummel the senses. Even within the greater OPETH canon, ORCHID is utterly unique and single-handedly launched a completely new strain of death prog just at the time when bands like Dream Theater and Anglagard were reviving the progressive rock scene from its lengthy slumber. Yes, i stand in a lonely room but ORCHID is the epitome of what i consider the perfect OPETH sound and there is not one track that doesn’t shine as brilliantly a supernova in the heavens above. A woefully underrated masterpiece to my ears.

OPETH Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Live album · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
On 11th May 2017 Opeth played the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado, and it has now been released DVD, Blu-Ray and vinyl formats. I was rather late coming to Opeth, but still remember when ‘Ghost Reveries’ came to my attention in 2005 – their 8th studio album – and was absolutely blown away. Since then they have moved further into the progressive field, but in its truest sense, as they mix old school early Seventies organ-dominated progressive rock with death-influenced metal, often in the same song. There is no point in trying to work out what genre is the right place to fit Opeth as Mikael Åkerfeldt threw the rule book away long ago, if he ever owned a copy in the first place, and that is certainly debatable.

Harmonies and gentle baritone vocals can give way to death growls, and heavily commercial songs can turn into metallic monsters with little or no warning. There is a huge sound to the band, incredible to think that the noise is being created by just five people. It is bombastic, heavily over the top, yet can also fall into pure folk if that is what is needed. The band are in full control, and they take the crowd with them at all times. At one point Åkerfeldt tells the crowd that it is being recorded, but that if they then buy the album any mistakes will have magically disappeared!

There really isn’t any other band like Opeth, so if you are a fan then you simply must have this. And if you’re not, why not give a try anyway?





OPETH Still Life

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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Vim Fuego
Really and truly, what is the deal with this band and this album?

Opeth’s “Still Life” is fawned over almost universally, inspiring gushing reviews where critics fall over themselves in pursuit of the most lyrical platitudes. And for what? A dark concept album following a tale of unrequited love? A reinvigorating breath of fresh new life for a stale metal scene? A melodic progressive death metal masterpiece? The answer is none of the above.

What does progressive even really mean? It conjures up thoughts of widdly, boring songs which fill the entire side of an old vinyl LP, pretentious, self-indulgent musical masturbation which milks every last drop of tepid hope from a terminally bored audience. By that definition, “Still Life” is most definitely a progressive metal album.

There is the odd growl, but it’s hardly backed by death metal. Most of the time it’s hardly even metal. This album is littered with acoustic interludes and ooo-woo vocals. It doesn’t really offer much of a contrast from the metallic parts, because both are flat and grey. Even at full volume, this is still background music, inoffensive pap which slides in one ear and straight out the other. The band is castrated by it’s misguided attempt to transcend metal.

There might be song titles, but they don’t really matter, because there are no highlights. There are no bottomless depths of depraved mediocrity either. “Still Life” is just that- a flat-lined corpse.

The whole thing is just ditch water dull. And no, not a cool flooded ditch, sweeping along tree stumps and unlucky sheep with dirty, roiling depths raging down it’s course while threatening to burst it’s banks. No. This is stagnant, stinky green ditch water, so putrid even mosquitoes won’t lay eggs in it, instead looking for somewhere less torpid.

OPETH Still Life

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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The Crow
For me this is the first Opeth's masterpiece, and of course it’s also one of their best albums

Dan Swäno's production is very proffesional, and the guitar's sound is killer! The riffs of Serenity Painted Death and White Cluster are amazing, for example. And here we can hear a clear improvement in the acoustic parts too, which sound in a more melodic and classic way, not as dark as in Orchid or My Arms Your Hearse, much more in the vein of the 70’s influenced Morningrise.

For that reason, I think this album is the true follow-up of the excellent Morningrise but much better and mature. I consider that in My Arms, Your Hearse they lost the right direction a bit, despite being a very good album. Face of Melinda, for example, it’s almost a sequel of the song To Bid You Farewell from Morningrise.

Conclusion: the best album for Opeth's beginners, and one of the best metal albums of all time. The band reached their next level with this record, taking all that they learned in the three previous efforts and achieving an incredible mastery in songwriting.

To be experienced many, many times. An immortal classic!

Best Tracks: Every song in Still Life is marvelous, and I can't really decide which are the best. Maybe The Moor, Godhead's Lament and Face Of Melinda are a little over the rest, but all the others are great too.

My rating: *****

This review was originally written for ProgArchives, and rewritten to be included here.

OPETH Movies Reviews

OPETH Lamentations, Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003

Movie · 2003 · Progressive Metal
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kluseba
I really like a few studio albums of this band, especially "Blackwater Park" and "Watershed", so I bought this slipcase compilation by Koch Records with three studio albums and this exclusive live CD. That's why I will just talk about what I hear and not what I see on this release.

And what I hear is not very positive. The band divided its set in two halfs, the first one is based on their acoustic stuff from the "Damnation" album. The acoustic album has a really introspective atmosphere on the album, but it doesn't work at all on stage. Each song seems to be alike, the live versions sound exactly like the studio versions, the band has no contact with the silent and hypnotized crowd and there is no magic in the air. After a few songs, this first part of the album makes you fall asleep because of its infinite boredom. The most interesting song is the only one which is not included on the "Damnation" album, "Harvest", which develops a magic warmth and gives me at least some goose bumps and chills.

The second half of the album is a lot heavier and more progressive and wakes the crowd up a little bit. But the heavier song are performed with a lack of passion and intesity and work less well as the studio versions. The band does some routine work but I can't feel any passion in it. This part is a little bit more enthousiastic than the first part, but not by much.

Another problem of this release is - due to legal problems - that the setlist is mostly limited on the three last albums and not very diversified. That's a sad thing because the early works of the band had some magic moments and something powerful and fresh.

I can't recommend this CD (or even DVD) and would give the advice to listen to the studio albums instead.

OPETH In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall

Movie · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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AtomicCrimsonRush
"Big gig today, people, big gig".

Okay, I finally got around to seeing Opeth live at Royal Albert Hall with a bunch of fans, and as usual with Opeth, as far as I am concerned, it is a real hit and miss affair. Parts of the concert send me into bliss with gorgeous guitars and vocals and amazing dextrous lead guitar with choppy riffs, and parts make me search for the skip button. Okay let's get past the first point of concern for me; the concert is perhaps designed for the younger target audience who prefer death metal growls over actual singing. To be honest there is a heck of a lot of gravel voice vocals on this, more than I expected or wished, as I have 4 albums and there are definitely large chunks without growling on albums; though not so here. Unfortunately, this live performance really focuses on the heavier side of Opeth with only the occasional let up in speed and growling. When Akerfeldt sings clean vocals it is mesmirising so I wish he'd shut the dang death growls up as it is really not that impressive. The band play all of Blackwater Park but I would have preferred Still Life.

Another point about the DVD is that the crowd are rather a subdued lot. Their preferred colour is black and mostly guys are present with a smattering of females. The crowd stand still, not much bouncing and moshing as they are there to listen I guess, not have a full body thrash work out. They are definitely into the music and enjoying it, but it is not a mosh session, which shows how different Opeth are in comparison to death metal bands that incite a virtual riot when playing live. The crowd are head banging and raising the horns as you expect. You can hear then yell out stuff during the pauses between tracks, at times quite amusing too.

Yet another point to make about this live DVD is it really is a no frills concert, a bit of smoke and some cool lighting, occasional strobes and an ominous glowing logo with the large screen showing pictures of forests and water, and album covers, to generate a part of the atmosphere, with nice swirling lights cascading across the transfixed crowd. The band pretty much stand in the one place and thrash one track after another, and head bang during the instrumentals. They don't speak much at all at first. At one point Akerfeldt pretends he is going to say something and then stops and just plays; quite a humorous touch. At the end of 'April Ethereal', Akerfeldt begins to open up, he does mention that the band have gone through changes; "a few people have been (pause) fired (laughter) and we have a new lineup". He then intros the guys that are new to rapturous applause. Then he mentions how he used to write when he was too poor to afford a demo and recording equipment. He just wrote things like the Morbid Angel riff 4 times, freaked out bridge and the Bathory section. Ironically I referenced those two bands on my review for Still Life ("The growling reminded me of the black metal I used to listen to with the likes of Bathory or Morbid Angel.") so I wasn't far off the mark as Opeth definitely are influenced by this extreme metal sound. Akerfeldt mentions that Still Life is their most complicated album and then proceeds to play the awesome 'The Moor' from this.

From the beautiful acoustic guitar, it leads to the familiar distorted riffs that blast in without remorse. Akerfeldt's growls are brutal and soul chilling. There is a clean vocal chorus and it is so refreshing. I longed for more of this. At 6 minutes in the riffing stops and we have an acoustic interlude, a moment of respite. The Damnation style clean vocals chime in and they are so good, like a different band. I was drawn into the music at this point. At the end of 'The Moor' Akerfeldt asks "was it good?" which is funny as obviously the response would be a massive roar. He tells the tale of how Steven Wilson emailed him once. The crowd roars at hearing that name mentioned in their presence. He goes onto say that "we hooked up, had dinner, kissed, and I asked him to produce the next record which was gonna be Blackwater Park." But Steve was also involved in Deliverance "making it more sick and evil and twisted" he continues, and he says they should play something nice as they are in such a nice environment "but we want to be bad." I kind of like these moments as it shows the humour of the band and their personalities come through.

Another point about this section of the concert during 'The Wreath', is that Akerfeldt snaps a string and does a very fast guitar switch. His hand signal to the roadie is interesting as he just stops playing but keeps growling away. The roadie just hands him a new guitar and plugs it in as Akerfeldt screams "cover me with sweat" and he just hooks it over his shoulder and starts playing it as if nothing happened. Well worth checking that out. Axe's drumming should be commended too as it is fantastic, though many might miss the style of Lopez of course. I liked his cymbals with holes in them. 'The Wreath' is a thrashy fast thing that has the cookie monster vocals, (I know, I stole that phrase from a reviewer here but that's what it is) and I prefer Oscar the Grouch vocals myself. 'The Wreath' comes from my least favourite Opeth album but was tolerable due to the amazing chord changes and structure.

In the pause between the songs, a girl yells out that she loves Akerfeldt, and he replies "how you doin'?" as he seems quite shy and nervous which is better than being obnoxious of course. The girl has leaped over the barricade and as she is escorted off by guards everyone applauds. Akerfeldt says it's a long show for a metal singer but luckily he still has a bit of voice. At this stage I was hoping that meant he would sing some quieter stuff. He does the beautiful 'Hope Leaves' from Damnation and of course it is a highlight for my ears. I love that album and every song on it is compelling; in fact that is how I came to know Opeth so it is personally one of my favourite moments of the show. The purple and blue lights with sparkling logo give the stage an ethereal appearance.

Then next is a moment of brilliance from Ghost Reveries, 'Harlequin Forest'. I must admit the concert was improving for me as the band moved onto the more progressive sound. The concert ends with Watershed's 'The Lotus Eater', which is of course is excellent as always. Akerfeldt mentions the leaving of Peter and Martin and intros the new members again. Axe has dyed his hair just for this concert, he says. This track is a masterful progressive thing with amazing time changes and innovation throughout. This time Fred breaks a string, or has a technical goof, and stuffs up his solo and it is quite humorous how he plays silently while the roadie tries to rig up a new guitar. Akerfeldt and the others watch with amusement as Fred is hooked up. The crowd quietly clap observing with interest. When Fred begins to play again there is a roar and the whole thing is an unforgettable moment. The band could easily have edited this out but kudos for keeping it in as it provides some entertaining and interesting footage. I believe in the interview mention is made of how a camera man stepped on a pedal and screwed up the sound, and these moments are what make this concert so compelling, as it is a raw concert DVD with all the mistakes unedited but left for us to talk about. There were some conversations about this section with the guys I watched with. It actually provided more intelligent conversations than the rest of the DVD which were basically phrases like, "awesome, unbelievable, shredder, what's he on about, Axe is better, I miss Lopez, and, shut those bloody growls up." At the end the band have a photo opportunity with lots of Opeth addicts and after a bow it is over with a standing ovation.

The special features are generally similar to Pain of Salvation, and Dream Theatre DVDs, in that they show a lot of behind the scenes stuff, tour footage, some interviews, fans spouting off "I am dead serious when I say Mikael Akerfeldt is the reincarnation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", and a few outtakes from songs. They sign CDs and apparel, take photos of fans and talk at the fans meet and greet, one says "best day ever" and another is shivering with excitement. The sound check was intriguing, done in front of some chosen fans. I like the comment when they are heading down the stairwell to the stage and we hear someone say "It's Spinal Tap." We see a bit of the clean up afterwards, meeting fans back stage who are terminally polite and grateful and Fredrik turns to the camera and says, "you are nothing without your fans never forget that", and there are roadies loading the trucks while the band have a quiet drink with friends. In the truck Fred talks about the mistakes but said they were part of it all after months of build up and the tension they felt. We see Opeth hanging round bars and visiting a Deli with an eccentric owner, and we see them in the trucks getting drunker and funnier.These moments were highlights for me and held more interest than the actual concert.

Overall, this is a great concert for Opeth addicts of course, there are quieter moments but you have to search for them, but it delivers the heavier side of the band with brutal aggression. That is the target audience and it definitely is an extreme sound, and the Opeth fans sitting with me are obviously under the impression that it is a flawless DVD. Seeing past the fan boyism it really is not a masterpiece at all but certainly an excellent live record of the very special event. Personally I look forward to them touring Heritage as that would be worth seeing.

OPETH The Roundhouse Tapes

Movie · 2008 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bartosso
Valuable music - Voluble Mike

I'm a huge Opeth fan so I bought this release on spec. I'm not disappointed, oh no. Quite the opposite, it's one of the best live releases I've ever seen. Absolutely flawless execution, almost perfect sound, very good set list = fantastic DVD release!

What is a very distinctive feature of this concert, and every Opeth concert in general, is a lack of any kind of rock/metal pose or showing off. There is professionally illuminated stage of Roundhouse and an old good folk sample which serve as a introduction to their concerts since I remember. The band members enter the stage and without unnecessary fuss start to play.

If you remember Mike from LAMENTATIONS as a shy and mellow guy you might be surprised by his present stage behaviour. Mike from Roundhouse is a funny guy with many good (and sometimes not so good) jokes to hand. He feels at ease on stage and with the audience and it's admirable. Still, for some people his long conversations with the fans might be slightly irritating.

ROUNDHOUSE TAPES is a very well produced album, and what's more, almost completely devoid of mistakes usually made by musicians playing live. However, there is one thing which might be annoying for minimalism fanatics. Namely, the producers decided to ornament mellow and atmospheric parts of the concert with retro filters which are supposed to enhance the Opeth experience. If it worked you should check on your own.

OPETH Shouts

Please login to post a shout
more than 2 years ago
Heritage their worst? Not even close my friend! Watershed, or maybe MAYH.

adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Their worst? Hardly. Try My Arms, Your Hearse.
Wilytank wrote:
more than 2 years ago
It's safe to say that Heritage is their worst.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
* make of it.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I don't honestly know what to make it.
more than 2 years ago
I love the new album 'Heritage' !!!!
Prog Geo wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The greatest band on Earth!!!
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
NorseGangsta, you were right. I always thought it was a single, but I checked the release out on the Roadrunner website, and they refer to it as an EP. EP it is now.
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
And thanks for reminding of its existence, I filled in the missing info.
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
It's there under the singles tab, as far as I know it's regarded as a single rather than EP.
NorseGangsta wrote:
more than 2 years ago
There should be a 3-track EP titled Burden released in 2008.

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