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REVIEW: Opeth @ Roseland (Portland, OR – 10/16/11)

17th Oct 11 (Mon) 6 comments

This tour was primed to be a Swedish metal onslaught… combine the dire, bleak sound from opener Katatonia with the melodic, progressive power of Opeth, and you have a tour combo made in Heav… um… Hades

Katatonia played about an hour… I was jonesin’ for some thrash, and was initially disappointed by their slower, doom metal sound.  It grew on me by the end, but knowing that Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt wasn’t breaking out the growls for this Heritage tour, I felt a little slighted…

Well, that, and the mix-up in the “photo pass situation“… all I was able to get was a few iPhone shots of Opeth.

Opeth went on around 9:45pm and led off with the opening song from their latest album, Heritage.  Mikael’s lyrics are almost always poetic, but sometimes straight to the point as with “The Devil’s Orchard” and its Nietzschesque anthemic chorus “God is dead, God is dead.”

Mikael toyed with us several times… the first being the first non-Heritage song… “this one is from Still Life” and then they play probably the only slow song on Still Life – “Face of Melinda.”

Oh, the crowd, ever wanting them to bust out into the heavy stuff – the band, ever restrained.

Mikael joked with crowd a bit.  He’s going to grow his beard back.  He’s only mustache’d now, and apparently he got hit on while taking a swim in Portland.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that

After breaking out the acoustic guitar (yes, at an Opeth show!), Mikael remarked fondly of seeing an acoustic set from Winger.  Some crowd members booed.  He retorted, “well, Winger is better than your band.”  Followed by “Winger is better than this band.”  The crowded booed again and Mikael followed up with, “I’m glad you don’t agree” before starting into their acoustic set…

Opeth’s Setlist: just under 2 hours

  • The Devil’s Orchard
  • I Feel the Dark
  • Face of Melinda
  • Porcelain Heart [with drum solo]
  • Pyre
  • The Throat of Winter [acoustic]
  • Patterns in the Ivy II [acoustic]
  • Closure [acoustic]
  • Slither
  • A Fair Judgement
  • Hex Omega
  • Encore: Folklore

Probably the most cruel moment was during the acoustic set…

This one goes back to the Blackwater Park days!

*crowd roar*

Don’t get excited. This wasn’t actually on the album.

All said and done… no growls, no cookie monster vocals… but a fucking amazing Opeth show.  The tour is really showing off that Opeth is more than just “Swedish death metal.”  They’re great performers, great musicians.  They can be melodic and still rock our faces off.  Sure, I’d love a “The Leper Affinity” appearance, but I enjoy the more subdued Damnation/Heritage sound that they put forth this time out.  Accessible?  Maybe.  Quality? Definitely!

iPhone photos… all I got… *sadface*


The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault @ Cozmic Pizza (Eugene) on 10/20 [yeah, I’m skipping Ryan Adams]…

~Dan – np: ToolLateralus

Opeth/Katatonia 2011 North American Tour Dates:

  • Sep. 19 – The Palladium @ Worcester, MA
  • Sep. 20 – Webster Theater @ Hartford, CT
  • Sep. 21 – Webster Hall @ New York, NY
  • Sep. 22 – Webster Hall @ New York, NY
  • Sep. 23 – Trocadero @ Philadelphia, PA
  • Sep. 26 – Newport Music Hall @ Columbus, OH
  • Sep. 27 – Expo Five @ Louisville, KY
  • Sep. 28 – Cannery Ballroom @ Nashville, TN
  • Sep. 29 – Amos’ Southend @ Charlotte, NC
  • Sep. 30 – Center Stage @ Atlanta, GA
  • Oct. 01 – House of Blues @ Lake Buena Vista, FL
  • Oct. 03 – Warehouse Live @ Houston, TX
  • Oct. 04 – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater @ Austin, TX
  • Oct. 05 – Granada Theater @ Dallas, TX
  • Oct. 06 – The Beaumont Club @ Kansas City, MO
  • Oct. 07 – First Avenue @ Minneapolis, MN
  • Oct. 08 – Burton Cummings @ Winnipeg, MB
  • Oct. 10 – Edmonton Events Centre @ Edmonton, AB
  • Oct. 11 – MacEwan Hall Ballroom @ Calgary, AB
  • Oct. 13 – Commodore Ballroom @ Vancouver, BC
  • Oct. 14 – Knitting Factory Concert House @ Spokane, WA
  • Oct. 15 – Showbox SoDo @ Seattle, WA
  • Oct. 16 – Roseland Theatre @ Portland, OR
  • Oct. 18 – The Warfield @ San Francisco, CA
  • Oct. 19 – Mayan Theatre @ Los Angeles, CA
  • Oct. 20 – House of Blues @ San Diego, CA
  • Oct. 21 – The Fox Theater @ Pomona, CA
  • Oct. 22 – Marquee Theatre @ Tempe, AZ
  • Oct. 24 – The Complex @ Salt Lake City, UT
  • Oct. 25 – Ogden Theatre @ Denver, CO
  • Oct. 27 – The Rave @ Milwaukee, WI
  • Oct. 28 – Vic Theatre @ Chicago, IL
  • Oct. 29 – St. Andrews Hall @ Detroit, MI
  • Oct. 30 – Guelph Concert Theatre @ Guelph, ON
  • Oct. 31 – Mr Smalls Theatre @ Millvale, PA
  • Nov. 01 – Rams Head Live! – Baltimore, MD
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Opeth’s Heritage (goofy cover art)

1st Jun 11 (Wed) 9 comments

Behold, the cheesy-as-hell-looking cover art for Opeth’s upcoming album Heritage (out 9/20/2011 on Roadrunner)…

I just checked, it’s not April 1st again.  Does June 1st represent a similar joke day in Sweden?  Seriously… their faces as fruit on the tree?  Seriously, you guys.  I think it’d actually be an OK album cover without the heads on the tree thing.  With it, though, I classify this as a “death metal fail.”

And, I can’t make out which band member is in the lower right.  Should he be fearful for his job?

~Dan – np: U2How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

REVIEW: Opeth & Enslaved @ Roseland (Portland, OR – – 5/12/09)

12th May 09 (Tue) 13 comments

Similarly to the professional Abba cover band I saw play with the Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra / POPS, the band I saw tonight (Opeth) is from Sweden.  Un-similarly to the Abba cover band, Opeth is… HEAVY.  I didn’t want to risk bringing my nice, new camera to a Swedish & Norwegian Death Metal double-bill (Strongbad email link).  So, I’ll post and point you to some from BrooklynVegan’s blog.  I also won’t be able to bring my camera into Flight of the Conchords in two days due to venue restrictions.  Boo… anyway, here is Enslaved (from the recent NJ show):

photo by Justina Villanueva

This Oregon concert was billed as just the two bands.  Enslaved went on first.  I have an odd history with the band name Enslaved.  I have some friends in Dayton, Ohio, who briefly had a metal band called Enslaved (in 1994-ish).  Then I had to break the news to them that there already was a band named the same, and that they’re from Norway.  Well, the Dayton band changed their name to Gnashing of Teeth.

I ran into the Norwegian Enslaved here and there, but never listened to them… until tonight.  They were… hmm… they were OK.  Musically, they had chops, but their sound seemed hollow.  Maybe not enough guitars or bass in the mix, but especially compared to Opeth, Enslaved didn’t fill the room – – and not for lack of trying.  Vocally, they were fairly brutal, but mostly uninteresting.  One of the “singles” from Vertebrae that I heard on the MySpaces before the show was played.  It just doesn’t work, IMO.  Oh well, I suppose I’m continuing my streak of not all that great opening bands, but at least Enslaved were the only opener.  All-in-all, they weren’t what I’d call “dreadful.”  I just don’t really need to dig much more into their music.

Next up, only after a short 25 minute set change, sound check… OPETH

Opeth‘s Mikael Akerfeldt in NJ
photo by Justina Villanueva

This was my 3rd Opeth live experience.  Previously, I would say that there is the law of diminishing returns going on with live Opeth.  The 1st show I saw was awesome, and then the 2nd show was a little dissappointing.  Well, third time seeing them, they ripped into some great material.  Overall, utterly fantastic show.  Their sound was much fuller than Enslaved’s, and they just seemed like a better band.  I guess this didn’t come as a surprise.  Mikael announced early on that the band formed in 1990.  So, next year is their 20th anniversary.  Holy cow, when did that happen!?  Their maturity and breadth of material was on display tonight.  They hit post-Blackwater Park songs, and they even hit songs from Morningrise, Still Life, and My Arms Your Hearse – – which has to go down as one of the best metal album names ever.  Anyway, here’s what Opeth played…

Setlist:

  • Heir Apparent
  • Ghost of Perdition
  • Godhead’s Lament
  • The Leper Affinity
  • Credence
  • Hessian Peel
  • Closure
  • Night & the Silent Water
  • The Lotus Eater
  • Encore: band introductions and “swine flu blues” guitar solo
  • Deliverance

Great set… right around 2 solid hours, 10 songs… so, yeah, your basic pop songs. :)  I’m looking forward to next year’s 20 year anniversary Opeth takes a nap-a-thon.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Wynton Marsalis – He and She

The rest of the Opeth tourdates (so far)…

May 13 2009 Senator Theater, Chico, California *
May 14 2009 Regency Theater, San Francisco
May 15 2009 Glasshouse, Pomona, California *
May 16 2009 The Avalon, Los Angeles, California *
May 17 2009 Rialto Theater, Tucson, Arizona *
May 19 2009 Scout Bar, San Antonio, Texas *
May 20 2009 Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma *
May 21 2009 New Daisy Theater, Memphis, Tennessee *
May 22 2009 Bijou Theater, Knoxville, Tennessee *
May 23 2009 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio *
May 24 2009 Clutch Cargo’s, Pontiac, Michigan *
May 26 2009 Grand Ballroom at The Manhattan, New York, New York *
May 27 2009 9:30 Club, Washington, Washington DC *
May 29 2009 Rock Hard Festival, Dortmund
May 30 2009 Wave Gothik, Leipzig
May 31 2009 Schlachthof, Wiesbaden
June 1 2009 Skaters Palace, Munster
June 12 2009 Download Festival, Donnington
June 13 2009 Provinssirock, Seinäjoki
June 21 2009 Metal way, Zaragoza
June 26 2009 Peace & Love, Borlänge
June 27 2009 Metaltown Festival, Gothenburg
July 2 2009 Festival, Arvika
July 3 2009 Oslo Live, Oslo
July 17 2009 Art Mania Festival, Sibiu
July 26 2009 Zwarte Cross Festival, De Schans in Lichtenvoorde
July 30 2009 Storsjöyran, Östersund
August 7 2009 Brutal Assault, Jaromer
August 15 2009 Summerbreeze, Dinkelsbuehl
August 21 2009 Lowlands, Biddinghuisen

* w/ Enslaved

Opeth "Porcelain Heart" (video & my babble)

23rd Apr 08 (Wed) 2 comments

The first time I heard about Opeth was from a former roommate who had a mild lisp.

“Have you heard of Opeth?”
“Opus?”
“No… Opeth.”
“Opus?”
“No… Opeth.”
“OK, I hear you saying ‘Opus,’ but that’s obviously not what you’re saying… argh…”

Flash forward a few years, and I get into a prog band called Porcupine Tree.  I had pretty much sworn off prog, as I was seriously getting sick of most of the prog bands with their singers who wear too tight of pants… anyway, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree turns out to be a fantastic singer, guitarist, writer, producer, et cetera.  He does solo stuff, has side bands (Blackfield, No-Man), produces other bands, et cetera…  I quickly gobbled up his stuff, and then I heard that he produced this Swedish metal band Opeth.

Opus?


No, Opeth.

Anyway, Steven Wilson produced three of my favorite records of theirs: Blackwater Park, Deliverance, and Damnation:

Damnation was the oddity, though… it was primarily mellow.  The other albums (even those not included above) always had mellow “interludes,” but the primary songs on the records were full-on Swedish progressive death metal, complete with “cookie monster” vocals and kick drum blasts that could knock the Pope right off his bejeweled seat.  (I would have stated that the Pope was sitting on his bejeweled seat at a truck rally, but I know that that’s a given.  So, I didn’t mention it.  Obviously.)

Anyway, Damnation was a primarily non-metal, metal album.  It was released simultaneously with Deliverance (which was the muy-metal, metal album to “relieve the haters,” perhaps).

Anyway, Opeth‘s next album, Watershed (not produced by Steven Wilson but likely still damn good), comes out on June 3rd.  Here’s a video for the edit of the song “Porcelain Heart.”  It dances on the cusp of what’s good about Damnation, but hints about what the non-edit sounds like:

Porcelain Heart

I’m looking forward to the album.
~Dan

Oh, for an example of the cookie monster Opeth, here’s “The Grand Conjuration” (1:06 for cookie monster):

I love it, too!

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