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Opeth - Hollywood, October 16th

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Friday, October 28, 2005 @ 12:26 AM

House of Blues

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As reviewed by Brad D.

The mighty Opeth.

I'd been anticipating this concert for a while now, as a newly initiated fan, still growing with this acquired taste that is well worth the time to get to know. I came to know Opeth, interestingly enough, through my brother in law, who generally is a fan of the more alternative stuff and never in a million years would I expect to see at a death metal show.

Upon first listen, I found them musically interesting, but couldn't really get past the growling death metal style vocals. I'm not a big fan of the "Cannibal Corpse" kind of band, so I was weary about spending a lot of time listening to this. However, when I questioned my brother in law about all this, he just said, "There's nobody like Opeth, you have to give them a chance.” Turns out he was right on both points, Opeth is a unique band that stands completely on their own and are truly head and shoulders above any other band who would be put under the "death metal" label. There just isn't another band that writes such musically complex, intricate, involved songs, flowing back and forth vocally from a deep sonic growl to a downright impressive, clean and at times even (dare I say) beautiful vocals.

Anyway, I'd been planning on getting tickets to see Opeth at the House of Blues in Hollywood, but by the time I called, I was told that they were sold out. However, lucky for me, the band had passport/visa trouble and the show was postponed to the following Sunday (a much better date than the previous Monday anyway) and tickets became available again. I didn't hesitate to snatch mine up.

It was a packed house for Opeth that night as we expected. Unfortunately, Nevermore had not yet joined the tour, so we skipped the opening act and just showed up just for the main attraction.

Opeth came out with a bang, playing ”The Baying of the Hounds” from their new album Ghost Reveries. For the next two hours or so, Opeth managed to squeeze in 9 incredible songs. Every one was well received by the audience. Aside from ”In My Time of Need”, which was an entirely slower tempo/clean vocal song from their mellow, experimental Damnation album, each of the 9 songs they played that night was a musical roller coaster from powerful loud distortion to quiet acoustic guitar work. Their new stuff was just as well received as songs from their earlier albums as Opeth continues to play their own style of radio and video unfriendly songs without bowing to musical trends...if only all our favorite bands had this much integrity!

Opeth did an excellent job playing a variety of songs from their many albums, considering that their songs are so long, they could only fit so many into one concert. However, they played tunes from most of their albums, going from Blackwater Park to Still Life, Deliverance, Damnation, My Arms Your Hearse and of course, Ghost Reveries. Each song illicited a loud cheer from the audience. Although the crowd often would fire out requests for what to play next, the singer, Mikael Akerfeldt laughed as he let us know that they "aren't playing requests tonight.” They finished with ”The Moor” from my personal favorite album, Still Life. A chant of "Opeth...Opeth" continued until they came back out to play Serenity Painted Death as the encore.

Akerfeldt was as good as could be that evening, as was the whole band. From the guitar, bass, drum and keyboards, every song was tight and seamless, despite how long and complex they tend to be. It's truly amazing to watch in person as Akerfeldt goes back and forth in his style of singing all night long. Opeth proved without a doubt that they put on a show like no other and are a band on the cutting edge of today's metal scene. Mikael thanked the crowd for their unending enthusiasm as well as the fact that apparently Opeth sells out the show every time they play in L.A. That being the case, I'd vote for adding a second night next time and playing a different set of songs. Speaking of which, Mikael mentioned that Opeth would be back early next year and would be playing a completely different set of songs next time. Rest assured, I'll be there.

Now, cut me some slack here as this was my first Opeth show (and I don't have all the CD's yet). I'm pretty sure I got all of the songs except one:

  • The Baying of the Hounds
  • When?
  • From Blackwater Park I think it was Bleak, but can't be sure.
  • In My Time of Need
  • The Grand Conjuration
  • Blackwater Park
  • Deliverance
  • The Moor
  • Encore: Serenity Painted Death

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