Opeth - HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Thu 10 Nov
Mesmerising show from the Swedish prog metallers
Prog metal (from Rush to Mastodon) is an acquired taste but Sweden’s Opeth are at the top of their game and it is in the live arena where you can really appreciate their musicianship. You can watch each musician and really piece together their input, tuning into each note or beat each individual coaxes from their instrument. They have toned things down from their early death metal influences, there’s a folky element to some of their more recent work (even an acoustic section tonight) which actually gives them more room for invention.
There’s everything you’d expect at a proper prog gig: complex time changes, synth interludes, fiddly guitars and the obligatory drum solo (from Martin ‘Axe’ Axenrot during ‘Porcelain Heart’ which admittedly is astounding). The most exhilarating moments are the heavy Sabbath riffs of ‘A Fair Judgement’ and their tribute to Ronnie James Dio, ‘Slither’, with its pounding drums and heavy retro rock guitar -- ‘basically it sounds like a shit Rainbow song’ laughs frontman Mikael Âkerfeldt (he’s seriously underselling it). Perhaps the biggest revelation of the night is how funny he is, the between song banter is great.
However it is still the music that still leaves the biggest impression, intricate, imaginative and spellbindingly beautiful in places, hard, heavy and sonically challenging in others.
‘The Devil's Orchard’
‘I Feel The Dark’
‘Face of Melinda’
‘The Throat of Winter’
‘A Fair Judgement’