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Opeth: The Roundhouse Tapes

The long awaited live album from progressive metal legends Opeth is finally here in the form of the double CD package The Roundhouse Tapes. Recorded at London's famous Camden Roadhouse on November 9th, 2006, this first official live album from the band contains songs from all the Opeth albums, save Deliverance, and is a very well balanced set, although die-hard fans will no doubt finish listening to 90 minutes of music here and want more.

Overall it's a very intimate listen, as you almost feel like you are sitting right there in the crowd. The furious thunder of the band, the delicate intricacies, and the between song banter between vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt and the crowd makes for a very personal sounding audio experience that works on every level. How can you go wrong with classics like "When", the raging epic "Blackwater Park", the gorgeous numbers "Face of Melinda" & "Windowpane", the atmospheric "The Night And the Silent Water", or the stunning "Bleak" ? Simple, you can't. Add in the surprising decision to dust off "Under the Weeping Moon" from their debut Orchid and absolutely kick ass versions of "Ghost of Perdition" (from their latest Ghost Reveries) and "Demon of the Fall", and you have a virtual drop dead amazing set from these progressive death metal veterans. Sure, it would have been nice to have "Deliverance", "The Drapery Falls", "Serenity Painted Death", "The Moor", "Advent", "Baying of the Hounds", or "The Leper Affinity" here as well, but we can't have it all, considering how the average length of Opeth's songs are probably close to 10 minutes or so. The performances throughout this two CD set are staggering, the band extremely tight and energetic, with Akerfeldt's roaring death growls and folk tinged clean vocals working perfectly together while the whole band fires away at every twist and turn of their complex music.

The line-up here is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals, guitars), Peter Lindgren (guitars), Per Wilberg (keyboards, background vocals), Martin Mendez (bass guitar), and Martin Axenrot (drums). Lindgren recently left the band, leaving Akerfeldt as the sole original member, so in a way The Roundhouse Tapes is sort of like a closing of the door on one chapter in the career of Opeth. Currently the band is writing new material, with former Arch Enemy guitarist Fredrik Åkesson in tow replacing Lindgren, so a new Opeth opus will hopefully be upon us sometime in 2008.

A mandatory live album for every progressive metal collection... for this year or any year for that matter.

Track Listing
1. When
2. Ghost Of Perdition
3. Under the Weeping Moon
4. Bleak
5. Face Of Melinda
6. The Night And the Silent Water
1. Windowpane
2. Blackwater Park
3. Demon Of the Fall

Added: December 8th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Opeth Website
Hits: 3690
Language: english

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Opeth: The Roundhouse Tapes
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-12-08 18:31:38
My Score:

When Opeth gave us "Lamentations – Live At Sheperd's Bush" as a live DVD release it was indeed awesome but on it we found the band primarily focused on their "Damnation" album and choosing to perform it in its entirety and then close the show with six numbers from their earlier releases. A great performance without a doubt, but one that left the older fans wanting a little more from those classic releases in the bands catalog. "The Roundhouse Tapes" makes up for this and then some by offering the fans a live concert album from their most recent tour and one that takes you back to review something from almost every Opeth release that has come before. The tour would be in support of their already classic album "Ghost Reveries" and give us a mind-blowing rendition of "Ghost Of Perdition" from this popular release. They bring us back to their beginning with the early classic "Under The Weeping Moon" and bring new dynamics to life during my own favorite number "Blackwater Park". The set is crushing overall and proves to anyone who listens to it that Opeth is one of the most important bands in the realms of Progressive Death and Progressive Metal on the whole. Having seen them in concert a number of times I was happy to find that the release shows just how tight and energetic they sound in the live sense. In terms of their execution of their material in concert the band is just as adept as we find Rush and Dream Theater based on how together the group sounds and how dead on accurate they remain. Its incredible to hear how simply leader Mikael Akerfeldt switches between his two vocal styles during the set and of course how easy the band makes it seem to go from crushing Death Metal to subtle Psychedelic Progressive. Akerfeldt also speaks a few times during the set and even kids with the audience as he announces "Windowpane", as the number that will get the chicks backstage. This is a stunning tune and when compared to the heavier side of the band will have you wondering if you are listening to two distinct acts instead of one incredibly talented entity. There is just something about these guys in concert that is hypnotic and the feeling comes across even as you listen to the concert in your living room.

The lineup for the recording is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals, guitar), Peter Lindgren (guitars), Per Wilberg (keyboards), Martin Mendez (bass) and Martin Axenrot (drums). Sadly, guitarist Lindgren would choose to leave the band shortly after the tour completed and this makes the recording the closing chapter of his work with Opeth. It also leaves Akerfeldt as the sole original member to remain as the group also lost long time drummer Martin Lopez in 2006. Lindren's replacement was announced as being Fredrik Akesson from Arch Enemy. The elaborate and intricate melodies are complimented by the releases beautiful packaging which finds the two discs in a slip-cased foldout digipak. The booklet that's enclosed and the interior/exterior of the package feature some truly beautiful photos that have been made to look like old drawings. It's a very dramatic visual that adds well to the level of atmosphere that Opeth delivers during a show. This is a must have release for fans of the band and a perfect means for those who are still among the curious about them. Once you listen you will be convinced about the level of creativity and difference that Opeth brings to the table and just how interesting they have been over the course of their career. The future certainly seems bright for Metal if Opeth has anything to do with it.

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