Tag Archives: martin axenrot

“The Wacken Carnage” by Bloodbath

Artist: Bloodbath
Title: “The Wacken Carnage”
Label: Peaceville UK
Release Date: 6/2/2008
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

It’s not too often that you find the term “super group” applied to the likes of a Death Metal band, but when it comes to this particular lineup for the band Bloodbath is most certainly makes sense. The Swedish Death Metal group delivers the no-holds barred approach to the genre and this rare concert appearance from 2005 is not something we can easily expect to see again based on the daytime gigs of its roster. The supposed “one time only gig” finds Michael Akerfeldt and Martin Axenrot (members of Opeth) handling the vocal and drumming duties, while Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renske (guitar and bass respectively) hail from the Doom Metal band Katatonia. Rounding out the project is Dan Swano (Nightingale/Edge Of Sanity) who not only provides crushing guitar riffs but also additional and very necessary growling. According to research this was the band first ever live performance and supposed to be the only one as well for the band was formed as a studio only side project based on the very busy schedules that its members are involved in on a daily basis and while the future might find this to be a different case altogether I am glad that the cameras were on hand to capture this one. The film finds the guys dressed in bloody tatters as the pummel the audience with a very traditional brand of Swedish Death Metal. The sound while different from the USA brand of the stuff is no less heavier or intense and what made this most interesting for me was that it offered the viewer the chance to see these musicians performing outside of the roles that we know them most from. Seeing Akerfeldt with no guitar for example is one thing, and to find him doing nothing but the gut-wrenching soul tortured growls as opposed to any level of melodic singing is the other. It’s true that while Opeth offers many levels of heaviness across the board there is much more brutal intensity being brought to the table during “Cancer Of The Soul” and “Eaten”. Clearly the bands subject matter is very along the lines of their equally brutal name.
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“Watershed” by Opeth

Artist: Opeth
Title: “Watershed”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 6/3/2008
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Rating: 5/5

When Opeth first signed to Roadrunner Records there was scuttlebutt about the label interfering with the bands creative vision and ruining it for everyone as a result but despite this kind of talk the band gave us “Ghost Reveries” which was a stunning release. It was an album that presented new worlds of heaviness meets progginess to their fans and found them reaching for higher ground in terms of musical quality. The response that the release earned them made many wonder how the band could possibly hope to follow up the album and have the output be as good or impact the genre as much as this one had done and when you place “Watershed” in your CD player you will be happy to discover that the group has surpassed all expectations with flying colors. Such seems to be the common practice with a band like Opeth for they can never be referred to as a band of predictability or following the acceptable standard and instead make great strides in their material with each and every release. They are a band that has become as important to the Death Metal genre as Rush had become to the Progressive Rock genre so many decades ago. That being said, the scene and its ever changing geography are in excellent hands.
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“The Roundhouse Tapes” by Opeth

Artist: Opeth
Title: “The Roundhouse Tapes”
Label: Peaceville Records
Release Date: 11/20/2007
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Rating: 5/5

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.
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