Pro­gres­sive metal from Red Rocks

Rhythm - - BEAT! -

It’s hard to be­lieve there was a small but vo­cal cur­mud­geonous pocket of Opeth’s more fan­base that continuously lamented the ad­di­tion of Martin Ax­en­rot to the band fol­low­ing Martín López’s 2006 de­par­ture. López was well-loved for good rea­son; the Swedish-Uruguayan in­jected some won­der­ful latin flour­ishes into the band’s ear­lier pro­gres­sive death metal. But that was then: Opeth have moved on­wards un­der Mikael Åk­er­feldt’s vi­sion, and the idea that Blood­bath and Witch­ery drum­mer Ax­en­rot was ‘merely’ a death metal drum­mer was trashed on 2008’s Wa­ter­shed and 2011’s ex­per­i­men­tal Her­itage. As Opeth have moved fur­ther into rock­ier seven­ties-in­flu­enced tones, Axe has fur­ther ce­mented his po­si­tion as the per­fect en­er­getic foil to Åk­er­feldt’s rhyth­mi­cally de­tailed writ­ing.

Here, at Colorado’s stun­ning Red Rocks Amp­ithe­atre, the band splits sta­ple Lopez-era favourites like the 14-minute ‘De­liv­er­ance’ with what can be called Opeth’s fourth age: the post- Her­itage era. With a su­perb sound mix – great sep­a­ra­tion and de­tail – this fur­ther highlights what an in­cred­i­ble chem­istry this lineup of the band has honed. Its’ also Opeth’s best-shot live doc­u­ment to date.

It’s easy to take for granted just how ground­break­ing songs like ‘Ghost Of Perdi­tion’ and ‘Heir Ap­par­ent’ are as they sweep be­tween ethe­real acous­tic tones and syn­co­pated death metal dou­ble bass. But it’s per­haps the more re­cent ma­te­rial that al­lows Ax­en­rot to shine bright­est; ‘The Wilde Flow­ers’ re­ally comes alive on stage, the east­ern-tinged ‘Cusp Of Eter­nity’ has won­der­ful fill work, and his Ian Paice in­flu­ence is in full force on the re­lent­less power of ‘Era’. [RL]

Extras: Au­dioCD Goto: www.opeth.com

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