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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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“Ghost Reveries” by Opeth

Artist: Opeth
Title: “Ghost Reveries”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/30/2005
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Rating: 8.5/10

With the release of “Ghost Reveries”, the Swedish powerhouse Opeth continue their journey in becoming one of the key leaders in the Death Metal genre. There are those that have followed Opeth since early in their career and they can clearly identify each change very succinctly. The band has trekked musically since “Blackwater Park” (which some consider their masterpiece) to “Damnation” which was met with some hesitation. On “Damnation” the band took a very abrupt turn and made the entire piece Progressive with not much Metal on it at all. This was not received well by the diehard Death heads. The record showed that the band had grown and matured over time and during this has achieved a level of transition that most other bands can only hope for. No longer simply a very good Death Metal band they have shown that all genres can be progressive if they are creative enough have the daring to try. I don’t want to lie to the audience and say I have been an Opeth fan for many years and as a matter of fact while the name is long familiar, it was not until the “Lamentations” DVD that was released early last year that I even sat down and tried to absorb what this band was all about. The DVD showcased their entire “Damnation” CD and then did some of their heavier material at the end. I listened to friends copies of “Orchid” and “Blackwater to get a better idea of where they came from. It was an interesting study.
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