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2005-09-08 GB – London - Mean Fiddler

Another trip to London for the 2nd day in a row to see a band that I’ve been a fan of for quite a few years now, but never had the chance to see them.
With a superb new album to promote, The Ghost Reveries…I knew OPETH were going to be the only band in town tonight to bring the city Of London down…

OPETH are one of the only bands that can take their own version on Death Metal, Progressive Rock and Acoustic Rock, combine it to make it work, and over the last 10 or so years, have really captured a strong underground following.
Covering a career of some 5 or 6 albums now, and with a monumental new album on their new label, one of the top labels for heavy metal at the moment Roadrunner Records, OPETH are ready to reach the levels of exposure they have been threatening for years…no, ‘deserving’ for years.
It’s sad how some forums and people have slated OPETH for signing to Roadrunner, saying that the label would insist on changing the bands sounds, etc… My response is… AS IF MIKE AKERFELOT WOULD ALLOW THAT!?!?!? Enough said…

Unfortunately, we were late due to leaving work late and having to travel the 200 or so miles to get to gig, thus missing EXTOL… who I’m assured were ‘ok… if you like that sort of thing’ by a punter I asked.

The house lights went down…the roar went up…the band took the stage… I just thought “Oh yes…here we go!”

With a brilliant piece of metal arrogance, the brilliant Swedes kicked off the show with the superbly epic Deliverance. A fantastic song that really set the stage for tonight’s events and for what OPETH are all about. Diversity, progression and a good old-fashioned headbanging riff!
Bain Of The Hounds is up next from the new album, a stunning prog journey through landscapes initially forged by bands like Tool and King Crimson, both who’s influence on the new album is very apparent. After the opening salvo, Mike graces us with some amusing crowd banter including such classics as: “Hey guys, you all drunk yet?” The crowd appropriately responds with shouts and roars… “Ahhh…well, I’m just tripping off some heroin, as ALL rock stars do…” is his response. Great piece of deadpan wit from Mike, made me and my fellow travellers laugh…some people didn’t get it… Then again…some people don’t get OPETH… think 90% of the crowd understood.

Next on the set list: Harking back to 1996-ish from the My Arms, Your Hearse album, OPETH dug out the classic When. I was most surprised to hear them announce this and it was even more of a surprise how I had forgotten this album a little. It all soon came back after the 3rd bar of the riff! Headbanging ahoy!!!

Two chilled ballad tracks from the Damnation album allowed me time to go to the bar and recover from the opening 25 minutes of continuous moshing. (Yes! 3 songs taking literally 25 minutes…that’s a real headbanging work out I’ll have you know!) The diversity of OPETH is what makes them so vital to music in general, how they transcend so many guitar-based genres in one foul metal swoop. Great tunes and it perfectly set up the mood as the majestic opening lines of “Please remedy my confusion…” weeped from the house PA system. Yes…a kick-ass tune in the form of The Drapery Falls, sweeping and winding its way through crystal clean sound (well done that soundman!) into the minds of the assembled throng.

My personal fave moment of came next with The Face Of Melinda, it was a little heavy on the phaser effects they had on their guitars, but no denying what a great and moving tune this song is. Had me singing along for a start!
A couple more tracks from the new album graced us next, sharply delivered and stunningly executed led us to the end of the show… People started to leave, to catch trains, to catch buses, to meet loved ones… We had none of this business to attend to, so we waited…hoping…

After leaving the stage for some 10 minutes, the band came back on to rapturous applause and promptly silenced the crowd as Mike spoke his soft tones.
Brilliantly done, how to calm a crowd…Speak softly…none of this ‘speaking in my death metal voice ALL the time in between songs’ malarkey that I suffered the previous day at the Harvest Festival… though amusing, it got tired REAL quick. Blackwater Park was the encore… I won’t write about it as I’ll save that for myself and my memories.

To summarise:
Magical, mystical, splendid, divine and generally damn good! Best live band I’ve seen since Meshuggah last year…


story & pics © Defiance