Thursday, November 1, 2007

Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes

Recorded at a gig played with the iconic Paradise Lost in London’s very own Camden Roundhouse on November 9th 2006, two-disc set “The Roundhouse Tapes” proves, if proof were needed, that the Swedish black metal legends can be just as captivating live as they ever could in the studio. Opeth are one of those bands besides which other well-established bands look like immature, amateurish teenagers playing their very first gig. They were formed in 1990 and over the intervening years have established a reputation as a formidable talent on the scene, unafraid to experiment with new musical forms and concept albums in a bid to explore their boundaries ever further. Now in full bloom, the Opeth sound is melodic, complex and sophisticated, combining elements of disparate genres from the progressive to the death in such a way that they have managed to elude ultimate categorisation for a long time. And really, it’s amazing how well this translates to the live arena. Older tracks like “Face of Melinda” from the 1999 album “Still Life” a song so beloved of Mikael Akerfeldt that he named his daughter in honour of it - and the title track from 2001’s “Blackwater Park” have a mellow, seasoned sound to them. Opeth are, too, very much at ease in front of the live audience, and the often self-deprecating banter makes interesting inter-song listening. Recorded on the tour for 2005’s “Ghost Reveries”, this is an unforgettable snapshot of one of the scene’s most fascinating mavericks at the peak of their skills.

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