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Album Reviews : Opeth – In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall

By on December 18, 2010

Let’s not beat around the bush here, Opeth are a pretty amazing band. Over the course of twenty years and thanks to the brains of one Mikael Akerfeldt, the Swede’s have endured the usual debilitating line up changes and record company woes to create some of the most unique and frankly outstanding music both the Metal and Progressive music world has seen. Now that the fanboy gush is over, Opeth’s third and latest DVD In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall is a recording of one of the six worldwide shows that the five-piece played as a celebration of their two decade millstone.

The show is divided into two sets, the first being a run through of the classic Blackwater Park album, and the second being a chronological performance of one song from each of their other albums. Of course the first disc is amazing, with the band faultlessly recreating the album, but to be honest as a live cd it seems a little unnecessary as it really just sounds like the original but with crowd noise – that being said however, it’s awesome to watch the band play it on the DVD, with the immaculate footage and the Royal Albert Hall’s very elegant interior working wonderfully with Opeth’s performance.

Akerfeldt’s often humorous between song banter on the second set is one of the highlights of the concert, as he explains the back story from all the albums before playing a song from them, and while the setlist will never fully please every fan, it’s still a strong representation of their back catalogue, however it does seem a little strange however closing with a relatively new tune though. Cuts like “Wreath”, “Forest of October” and the outstanding “April Ethereal” are enormous light and shade workouts, with the songs having more in common with orchestral concertos than regular metal tunes. A guitar stuff up during closing number “The Lotus Eater” – apparently caused by a camera man carelessly treading on Fredrik Akesson’s guitar cable – adds to the ‘real’ factor of the DVD, with the humour of the situation written all over Akerfeldt’s face as he and his band mates watch Akesson frantically try to get his guitar working again.

With all three live DVD’s having been recorded in London, it’s pretty obvious that Opeth has a strong affinity with their British fans, as the entire three hour show gets a huge reaction from the sell out crowd. The two documentaries are a nice addition as well, with one being the usual ‘on the road’ style movie, which documents some of the backstage meet and greets at the other anniversary shows, along with the obvious tour bus partying and backstage boredom. Documentary number two is a fan submitted Q & A answered by Akerfeldt, and while the questions are decent enough nothing too revelatory is revealed that it will shock any hardened Opeth fan.

Fans of the band will of course lap this up whole heartedly, but more casual listeners – if Opeth even have ‘casual’ fans – would probably find the DVD a tad overwhelming. That being said, as this reviewer falls into the first category, In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall is another extraordinary live release from Sweden’s most progressive sons, and will tie over quite nicely until the release of their next album. 9/10

Band: Opeth
Album: In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
Year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Metal
Origin: Stockholm, Sweden
Label: Roadrunner Records
www.opeth.com

Track listing:

1. The Leper Affinity
2. Bleak
3. Harvest
4. The Drapery Falls
5. Dirge For November
6. The Funeral Portrait
7. Patterns In The Ivy
8. Blackwater Park
9. Forest Of October
10. Advent
11. April Ethereal <-Reviewers Choice
12. The Moor
13. Wreath
14. Hope Leaves
15. Harlequin Forest
16. The Lotus Eater

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.